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Occupation: Girl

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

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Checking in: a number of things
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You haven't heard from me much because I have been really, deeply, severely depressed for the last couple of weeks. I tried to write up a huge entry describing what it feels like, and then... I got too depressed to post it. Maybe I'll polish it up and post it later, because I think it might be valuable for 1) people who might recognize themselves in it and 2) people who don't have depression, but want to understand what it's like for a loved one who does.

I think I've been coming out of it in the last few days, slowly. I've started to listen to what I'm like on the phone, because social interactions make my Happy Pretend Everything's Okay mode kick in--which can be good. Because I will say, "Yes, I'm really depressed right now"--that is to say, I'm honest about it, and I try to let people know what's going on because I'm really bad about hiding it and then spiralling down to a really awful state of mind and no one even knows--but then talk relatively cheerfully for a couple of hours. It's a respite, honestly. But I've noticed that I still sound kind of weary, if I'm depressed at the time. When I start the conversation already sounding a bit bouncy, I'm doing better.

(I also know because, when I'm severely depressed, I sit there and wonder why I should even bother trying to work, because it's all been done before and no one's going to care and my book is going to get marvelously bad-to-indifferent reviews before it ends up gathering dust with a crappy cover before it gets thoroughly remaindered, so why not eat some ice cream instead. When I'm myself, I have more of a--you know those young Judy Garland movies where they would have to put on some kind of show to save, like, an orphanage or something? When I'm myself, I have more of that plucky "Let's put on a show!" mentality. I... I haven't had that in a good long while. That's why you haven't had any Secret Life of Dolls, and why it's been so hard for me to post anything else entertaining, like a Fifteen Minutes.)

Meanwhile, I'm trying to steel myself go back to my Black Ribbon drafts. I've been writing a little--but without looking at anything old. So it's stuff that I would have to incorporate into the old drafts, written out of context, because I'm afraid to go look. I purposely took a slightly pulpy tone when I wrote the original version (BACK IN 2003, MY GOD), because I was going to do it as a quick internet serial. So now I'm taking a more subtle tone, maybe one that's a bit drier--have been writing in that tone for a few years now. It's a very slight shift, nothing drastic. Someone asked if it's humorous--not the way that Secret Life is; not the way that, say, Lemony Snicket or Jasper Fforde are. I dislike Here Is the Part Where We Banter For Half a Page bits--parts where the attempts at witty dialogue are trying too hard. I don't want to say "Joss Whedon wannabe dialogue," but--well. Also, you want your characters to have their own voices, and not spout off your one-liners as if they're all the same person (namely: you). I think there will be humor in the sense that this is my general approach to life, but it's not, like, a comedic novel or parody or something. It's pretty straightforward historical horror/suspense.

So I'm going to start with rewriting the first chapter--I should probably work straight through from A to B, which is not usually how I work, but then, I've got a mostly-finished, only-slightly-patchy primary draft now, I think. Maybe missing a couple of chapters in the middle, or a few chapters that are more Narrative Sketchy ("and then have her walk down the stairs, have her see something suspicious to tip her off, not sure what yet"), but I can get to them when I get to them, in chronological order. For those of you who read the original three chapters, the storyline isn't really changing; I just have different background details, a better sense of how the house should be laid out, and a better sense of how to pace it. What happens in those three chapters will probably happen over the course of five or six chapters now, with a lot of new action/plot/characters mixed in. And bits that were kind of stupid didn't really work are gone now. It's a remodeled house, rather than a new one built from the ground up.

Part of my concern is that, while I do have backups, I'd really like to go fish up my primary Black Ribbon folder out of the Retrieved Data, because that was organized (and had all my research). My fear, however, is that I will look at the external drive cross-eyed and it will go up in flames. The Resurrectionist spent a great deal of time impressing upon me that EVERYTHING DIES, and that the external is particularly delicate. Basically, if it falls over, it's dead. If you move it, it's dead. If you breathe on it, it's dead. And if you so much as unplug it without shutting down the computer first, you will reformat the whole thing. Great. Is there not a more stable product than this? Is there not some kind of case or cover or padded cell you can put it in? Because I'm scared to turn it on if there's so much as a cloud in the sky (our power tends to flicker in and out. Oddly, it does this on overcast days, but not actual stormy ones).

Brb, buying six-packs of thumb drives.

Meanwhile-meanwhile, I broke down and ordered a full bottle of Siren (NSFW image) ("White ginger, jasmine, and a touch of vanilla and apricot") from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, because I have a six-year-old sample of it that seems to help me concentrate--it's the ginger, you see. Increases blood flow to the brain, apparently. Only the oil has aged so much that the ginger is strong as hellfire. All I have to do is open the vial, hold it at arm's length and think about it for a moment, and I am covered in an aroma so pungent that even dish soap can't entirely get it off. I really truly do dab a minuscule dot onto the back of my hand,* wash it off, and then breathe in the ginger for the rest of the day. It has become that strong. So, even though I'm trying to rein in expenses at the moment, I went and got myself a fresh bottle. Maybe I'll use it as a room scent. I'll tell you what, BPAL's Wolf's Heart and High John pretty much got me through a three-month breakdown while I was trying to finish the 15M book. And White Light seems to help with panicky moments. Good stuff.

* I tend to wear oils or solid perfumes (like Lush's Honey I Washed the Kids) on the backs of my hands, rather than my wrists, when I'm working because I don't want my desk or computer to smell like them permanently. Particularly if I'm at someone else's desk, as I was during the Compocalypse. I also tend not to wear oils on my wrists if I'm wearing a watch or a bracelet, for the same reason.

Anyway. That's what's going on over here.

Reminder: The Final Lostnesday is on Sunday, and it's going to be a huge Super Bowl/Oscars-esque thing with a pre-show and then a 2-1/2 hour episode and then a Jimmy Kimmel post-show with the actors (and alternate endings? I don't know if these are parodies or real). I would love to liveblog it, but honestly, I'd rather actually pay attention.

I have a couple of other things to discuss, but I think they'd get lost in the rambling here, so: we'll do that later.

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If it makes you feel any better I've had my ghetto-ass external (just a hard drive in an external CASE, not even one of the new fancy ones) for like three years and I've never had a problem with it, and I abuse it more than I should. Also. GMAIL. I email myself every paper I write for classes. You could even set up a separate account just to email your notes to.

Ditto the gmail, or look into something like box.net or dropbox as storage. I have a couple of websites where I dump important stuff into non-publicly-accessible folders, but that might not work for you - I don't recall you ever linking us to your own website, for example. But get your data into the cloud, keep local copies, and there you go. Even if one fails, the other isn't likely to fail at the same time.

(Having said that, now a lightning strike will take out both your external drive and all of Google's servers. Sorry about that.)

ah. yes it sounds like you are doing better.
i have had my head so deep in my own issues that i barely came up for air lately, so my apologies for not noticing.. i do that... it isnt personal, i just get wrapped up and forget to check in on my flists.

continue to do better.

i find that several of the BPAl oils work wonders on my mood. even mundanely scent is a powerful mood /memory trigger.... i was thinking of ordering some of the special blends myself, after the next show when i have a little money.
maybe we could split some, i have decant supplies.....
white light, wealthy business, etc.

I think you should post what you have to say about depression. I've been struggling (to put it lightly) with it as well recently. It's a comfort to know that I'm not alone, and you are always so eloquent. I want to say something encouraging here but I know that all of the words in the world don't really make it better. I hope that the fact that I'm actually speaking up and not lurking (as per usual) is enough :/

Thanks. I've been wildly depressed lately. I like to call it high functioning depression. I get out of bed, make it through the work day, then crash land on the sofa. Later rinse repeat. As a writer-ly hopeful I'm feeling similar crushing doubts about my work, and I haven't had a really constructive burst of creativity in ages.

So what I guess I'm saying is thanks for reminding me I'm not alone, and for the BPAL thoughts. They sound like they work well, and perhaps they'll help out a basket case like me. Thanks for being so awesome, and I hope the clouds part for you soon!

I'm curious about your thoughts on what you call "high functioning depression", if you'd be interested in sharing- that sounds like what I do.

Just stopping by to say thanks for letting us know how things are. Not sure what's most supportive to say right now, (words of comfort, cheering up, acceptance etc.) but whatever it is, I mean it! I do want to reassure you that there's no pressure here and all that. Anything people here can do to help?

"Also, you want your characters to have their own voices, and not spout off your one-liners as if they're all the same person (namely: you)."

This. This is something I've been trying to work on recently, myself.

Or as I like to call it, "Gilmore Girls" syndrome (in which every character -- or at least every female character -- sounds like EXACTLY THE SAME PERSON).

Yeah, I could tell you were still feeling a bit down when we talked, but I am the exact same way - talking cheerily to another person actually makes me more cheery - so I figured if you actually answered the phone, you were ok with talking etc. And to me at least, it sounded like you were feeling a bit better when we talked. *hug*

Re: the writing, I know I'm only one person, but you know I have faith in you! You have the ability and talents to write really quality stuff - you can doooo eeeeet! :)

I do recommend double backing things up, though! Even though my external drive has given me no problems so far.

And I say if the perfume helps you feel better and/or think,it's totally worth it. Some scents do that for me, too, and I have no qualms about owning about 5 kinds of brand-name perfume because they really do make me happy when I wear them. Think of it as homeopathic medicine, because that's really what it is.

It's good to see you back. I've been worrying.
Keep getting better.

Depression is no fun. Glad you're getting back into the swing of things.

It tends to hit me with major fatigue and apathy more than anything. If I'm not working enough, which is hardly ever at the moment, I find myself sinking fast from the stress and I end up sleeping for 12 or more hours. That's no way to get anywhere in finding more work, so I just end up kicking myself afterward.

Thank you for talking about depression, because a lot of people I know who don't have it get weirded out by my talking about it, or if they have some form of mental illness as well it's just not discussed.

It helps knowing other people are supportive, as well as sharing what helps get you out of it, since it might help someone else, too. So, thank you.

I'm glad you're doing better. And seriously, don't feel like you have to deliver a new Secret Life or something. One of my friends and I got into conniption fits of laughter last night quoting the vengeful dolphins speech from Titanic in 15 minutes at each other; you've written enough (extremely memorably) hilarious stuff that you deserve to take breaks.

I would love to liveblog it, but honestly, I'd rather actually pay attention.

I'm still trying to decide if I want to make Lost-themed cocktails to drink while I watch it. On the one hand, a Jin and Tonic would be fun. On the other, I would really like to have full use of my brain.

thinking of you, with love and support. you can always drop me a line if it would help. our 'group' was such a lifeline to me through a very dark period of my life, I'd be honored to pay some of it back.

I use MediaFire to back up a few of my things (it's one of the places, along with my external harddrive, and the family PC, and my old iBook), because they've upped the limit to 200MB per file and you can set it to private, so yay. It's how I also transferred a bunch of files.

Oh, BPAL. I have a ridiculously old bottle of Fae, and it's gorgeous. I remember when I ordered a bottle of Ulalume because i loved my imp of it, and it just wasn't the same. On my skin, it was the same, but straight out of the bottle? It was like, hello toothpaste! Not fun.

I love Fae! I have a full bottle of it. It's a bit mellow from age, though, which might be a good thing. I have that and bottles of Glitter and Dorian on the desk beside me, actually. The Dorian is STRONG.

Hey. From one person struggling with depression to another - sending you good thoughts.

RE: The power flickering- have you considered an uninterruptable power supply? They are a bit pricey, but they keep things going until you can shut them down, we always had them for our computers.

Yeah, I have a UPS/surge protector/power strip now (I mean, it is specifically a UPS first and foremost). I'm still a bit wary. But yeah, this means that I will only plug the external in upstairs, into the UPS.

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Someone up there mentioned emailing everything to yourself - you could even go a step further and start a google docs account with gmail. I use it for work and you can upload docs, create folders and subfolders, all sorts of stuff. That might be a good way to keep your research and drafts organized - you can basically create a database.

Anyway, hope the depression gets easier to bear (what do you say to someone who's depressed - feel better soon? I could use your depression primer). I know its been said, but I hope you don't feel obligated to churn out the funny for us, especially if you're having a hard time in general. Sending you lots of good thoughts.

Oh, I already use Google Docs, plus a couple of online backups. I just really want something here on site that's easier to throw everything onto.

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