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Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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Still not a Hannibal recap, sorry
alana, she mad
I'm doing well at this point, but I want people to know exactly what's going on. I have a project I've been working on currently, and that's basically what's put me permanently behind (conversely, the recaps--to be honest--have gotten me behind on that project as well). There's some stress/anxiety about IRL issues that I'm dealing with as well, the usual chronic health issues, allergies and weather headaches, so on and so forth. But what's really been happening is that I've been hypomanic for several weeks now--not unusual this time of year, but as I get older, the bipolar II is shading more towards bipolar I, the hypomania into mania, and it's becoming actively uncomfortable. Too focused to focus, don't want to sleep, don't want to eat, oversensitive and hot-tempered. So after a lot of discussion with my psych, we've decided to try reducing my Zoloft (one of three medications I take in mild doses).

I tried to do this before a few years ago, and it ended badly. When we increased my Lamictal a little too quickly early on, I was struck by shooting back pain as a side effect--I mean that I had to crawl up the stairs for a couple of days, it was so bad. One of the known side effects of Zoloft, both taking it and coming off it, is suicidal thoughts. Which is some useless-ass bullshit for an antidepressant, but there you are. It's also why I'm not sure I'll ever be able to totally get off it, after taking it for something like fifteen years. And it's served me pretty well on the whole. But when we tried to decrease it however long ago, I was struck by a few weeks of some of the deepest, darkest depression I've ever experienced. And I knew that was a potential side effect, I was watching for it, so I was incredibly fortunate in that I could locate it outside my natural thought processes and try to quarantine it. I told my family what was going on, and I just oozed back and forth between the sofa and the bed for a while--this after I went back up to the regular dose for my own safety. It didn't matter; side effects linger, and all I could do was ride it out. And I don't personally consider suicide to be an option, so I don't want to frighten anyone, but I think it's important to tell people that suicidal ideation is a potential side effect, and important to say that yeah, I was in a bad place, whether I keep the "magic door" locked or not. And that's another reason why the "Takiawase" recap was hard to finish--I just really dreaded having to write up the Bella Crawford scenes. Not because I was afraid the "death is a cure" train of logic would be contagious for me, per se--although I did worry about that for other people--but because I just really, really dread ending up in that "I just hope I don't wake up in the morning" place again.

Ironically, it was right in the middle of writing that recap that we decided to reduce the Zoloft; I made that decision knowing that it might be a pretty hellish experience... all over again. But the mania was getting to the point where it's hard to concentrate and therefore hard to write or work, and so the risk seems worth it; maybe my brain chemistry is different now, maybe what I need has changed. In seasonal terms, this is a pretty good time to try it--the increasing sunlight and general frequency of "up" episodes may be able to counteract any possible side-effect depression. So I want you guys to know that this is what I'm doing. And you know what? A week into it, it seems to be going pretty well. I'm still "up," but in a milder way; I'm less hot-tempered generally (which in turn helps my blood pressure) and I'm able to eat and sleep better. The reactive depression still might sneak up on me, so I'm trying to watch that very carefully.

So, as a side note, you need to know how things are going to work around here. We've started doing open discussion posts for the show, so people can talk about it as it airs in the U.S., but since I'm over on Twitter to help the ratings, I can't participate a whole lot or monitor/moderate the discussion all that well. But I try to keep up with it. Given that the most recent episodes have been a bit controversial, I'll tell you my approach to moderating preemptively so that we can move forward with clarity. Here's how it works--has always worked--around here:

1) If a thread gets contentious or unpleasant, I will tell people to ease up, drop it, or take it somewhere else. This is an "everyone walks away, no one gets hurt" warning. Sometimes I freeze a thread to save everyone from themselves. If it got really unpleasant, I might screen the thread entirely. I have never held this against anyone. While I try to give new commenters the benefit of the doubt, I tend to assume more good faith of long-time readers I recognize and cut them more slack, because if you've only recently wandered in, I don't know what your intentions are. I find that thought process to be a reasonable way to cope with my inability to read minds. That said, I have only rarely had to intervene at all, so you don't have to get nervous about this. This has always been my policy, and nothing has changed in that regard.

2) If you give me attitude or keep going after I have directly told you to drop it, I will tell you to knock it off. This is a genuine warning. Take it seriously.

3) If you argue that warning or give me further attitude, I will either tell you to cut it out one more time or I will ban you right there, depending on how badly it escalated.

4) Abusive comments are an automatic ban. This hasn't happened in a long time, though. I will discuss with anyone who can be civil, polite, and rational, but I'm not going to be sucked into rules-lawyering or passive-aggressive logic circles. If I ask you to stop for any reason and you don't, you get those 2-3 chances and then I'm done, because life is too short and my blood pressure is too high.

5) It's my journal. You don't have an absolute right to comment here. I am unmoved by arguments that telling people to express themselves in a civil fashion is unfair or mean or refusing to allow disagreement or infringing on your First Amendment Rights Omg. I am not the U.S. government, so I don't give a shit. Put it this way: if I don't want to deal with you, I explicitly tell you that I don't want to deal with you, and you insist that I deal with you, I will Deal With You. That said, I am RIDICULOUSLY PATIENT most of the time. If I think a commenter essentially means well and we can straighten this out, I will risk my blood pressure and give it a shot.

So on top of this basic policy, I may have to deal with a severe depressive episode (hopefully not; knock on wood) in the near future. Yeah, it's taking me longer than I'd like to finish things; I feel bad about that generally, and "why didn't you write this other thing instead" and "are you ever going to finish that other thing" and "I hope you finish it this century"-type comments are gonna hit a hot button for me, probably in part because they do hit a guilty nerve. Like, I admit that. And after ten years of people often treating me like a vending machine (THAT SLOT IS NOT FOR QUARTERS), yeah, it builds up, and it's gonna get to me beyond what seems like a reasonable proportion, and I try not to overreact to comments that are meant well; my apologies if I have. On the other hand, focusing on "do your best and it is what it is, fear is the mind-killer, keep on livin,' etc." means that I also feel calmer about falling behind than I usually do. I'm trying to give people extra benefit of the doubt to make up for my own sensitivity right now, but conversely, I need people to not test my patience, because that's a test you're gonna fail. I love y'all and feel that I have one of the best commenter sections on the whole wide internet, and I want to keep it pleasant for your sake as well as mine. We are currently doing fine; I just need you to help me out going forward, because I don't know where "forward" is going to take me.

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I'm so sorry you're dealing with the mania or almost-mania on top of stuff you really want to do and just life in general. I have a relative with bipolar I... and I knew bipolar was bad, but since I've learned more about it recently because of this family member, wow, it's a terrible disease to try and manage. My thoughts are with you, and if you don't mind prayers I'll be praying for your health too in the coming weeks.

I love reading your recaps even though I don't watch the show, but each recap is a huge gift you give us. I'm sorry people demand more when you have been so generous already.

Aw, thank you. Well, given the amount of things I want to do and wish I could do vs. what I actually manage to get done... it feels like not doing enough, even if it isn't, you know?

Honestly, I have been extremely fortunate that it's bipolar II, which is a lot more manageable, and that I have had a good, stable treatment plan for years now, plus a very supportive family. And y'all have always been very supportive over the years as well, so I feel secure enough to be like, this is what's going on, bear with me for a while.

Good luck on the meds adjusting; I know enough friends who have gone through it to know it can be a fraught time. You of course have my best wishes as well as appreciation for what you write, when you can write it. If there's anything further we can do to help not test your patience beyond the obvious and what's expressed above, and you feel up to it, heads-ups are great.

I hope things go well on all fronts. Your recaps are wonderful, whenever they appear (and even if they don't appear, we'll probably just imagine them), and it's very cool of you to host these discussion posts - the absolute best place I've found to discuss the episodes. Thank you for all of the Fannibal glee!

Aw, thanks--I just don't know a whole lot of places 1) where fans are 2) that also have threaded commenting. Like, there's tons of enthusiasm on Tumblr (giant understatement), but it's hell to try to discuss anything on that platform. I'm kind of concerned there won't be any discussion left for the recap comment sections themselves, but--eh, it doesn't really matter which post the discussion happens on, I guess.

I wish you a lot of health and good moments. I'm currently dealing with very heavy depression and while obviously, we're completely different people with different situations, I understand how rough it can be (suffice to say, Takiawase also struck a bit of a nerve with me).

I always really enjoy your recaps and am so grateful that you take the time to do them whenever you do them (I usually don't get involved in fandom discussions, because it's hard to find safe, positive spaces to do that), but health is always the most important thing. So it's good that you're thinking about you. I wish you the best.

*many hugs*

Remember being healthy is more important than recaps and don't let anyone guilt you into it.


The thing is, it's like it's better for my mental health if I do somehow finish them--I was outrageously proud of myself last year for finishing *something,* anything, for once in my life when I got through that first season. It's very much something I'm doing for myself to a certain extent. It's just that I'm having to take my time doing it, and--I guess I want people to be aware of why that is the case.

I watch the show too so really, I treat your recaps as annotations more than anything. Because I can only handle so much all caps so I scroll by Bryan Fuller on my twitter feed. (Blessings on him and his enthusiasm but...eech.) And you obviously notice waaaayyy more than I do and your book knowledge is supreme. So what I am saying is, when the recaps go up a'int no thang.

Thank you for sharing your story, even though you really don't have to. You don't owe anyone anything. So yeah. Thank you.

I'm really glad that you know how this all works and that you're keeping a tight rein on it, know what to watch for, etc. From the experience of people I've known, that seems to be so important and valuable in handling this stuff.

Will be praying for you. Take good care of yourself.

Thank you! It really, really makes such a difference, in terms of knowing what to expect and telling everyone else what's going on, because it cuts down on the shame spiral and possibly mistaking side effects for genuine thoughts. (It's like the Existential Despair or Low Blood Sugar? game writ large, basically.) I mean, there are ups and downs, but nothing's been as bad as the time I spent five months in college in a rock-bottom depression, nearly failed all my classes, and hid it from everyone.

Hello, awesome lady, thanks for telling us what's up and keep reciting the Bene Gesserit litany against fear as much as you need to.

Very interesting, in regard to bipolar: When I was younger, I tended more toward real mania, and now that I'm older, it's more hypomania. I haven't had a Real Mania in, like, fifteen or twenty years. I'm 50 now, diagnosed March 1993.

Take care of yourself (as you already are), and don't let the bastards get you down.

This purposeless comment was brought to you by StageManager Industries.

I was diagnosed with unipolar depression at age 19 (1998), and we didn't identify the hypomanic component that I'd had all my life until--maybe 2007? I'm not even sure. I would have been about 28 then, either way. And once we got that stable, I was like, hypomania is pretty awesome, I look forward to its cyclical return! And that was great for a while. And then it began to be... less great. I guess it eases up for some people and escalates for others? Brains are weird.


I'm avoiding all meta and recaps this season because it's messing with my own soup. It heartens me, however, to see your posts and know that you are still wearing that cute little outfit, skirt, kneesox, and the sweater with the H on the front.



Also, since we are not Jack Crawford, we would like you to take care of yourself even if that means we don't get our shiny, shiny recaps. Go, play with dogs, Have a Nice Day, feel free to yell at people who are causing you stress, etc.

Yes, to that last paragraph. Biiig time.

Agreeing with all the previous commenters, pretty much. At this point I probably sound like a broken record, but still - *you and your health are the main priority*. Always.

I thought this might be interesting to you

I'm pretty behind on Hannibal. In fact, last night I watched the 3rd episode.
Which I wanted to share this with you... I found it on Pintrest this morning

Victor Peñasco y Castellana,

That just SO reminds me of Chilton in the stand! Irony: this is an image of a person that did not survive the sinking of the Titanic.

I understand when the brain squeezings just don't wanna come out.

Good luck with the meds, man. The last time I tried going off mine I got vertigo, which was not fun at all. Brain chemistry! *jazz hands*

And just adding my voice to the chorus: take as much time as you need to take care of yourself. The recaps are a gift, not a contracted service, and if you need to slow down even more or take a break or stop, you are perfectly entitled to that. You're a joy to have in fandom and I hope you know how much you're appreciated by so many people. <3 (And the comments are your house. We're your guests. You can kick out people who are not behaving like good guests.)

<3 <3 <3

Yeah, the getting-off-Zoloft (and some other antidepressants) side effects really make me fk'n *tired*. And I'm sorry/sympathetic that it hit so hard.

I'm glad it's working, this time.

And I know you just said this, but: Recaps unpaid volunteer project. I anticipate with eagerness, but do not *expect* them at any particular time.

(Sorry about getting into it, in the Futamono open post. At least I shut myself up after one comment.)

No, it's fine! See, that's why I was concerned that I wouldn't be present to moderate very much, because all kinds of things happen on both sides when people mean well.