1. Sometimes I think, I’m spiralling again, slipping downward in those cycles of dark depression and deep despair I know very well by now. On days when I can fight I manage to slow the downward slide a little, digging into the dirt with my nails, trying not to scream. It doesn’t bring me back up. It just gives me a bit more time. But for what? I’m so tired I can’t haul myself back up. Can only pause my descent through these awful tightening coils. If only I had more (strength, energy, capacity to rise again).
Sometimes I think, this will be the last; this time, I won’t come back out.
2. I tell myself it will help if I list what I have, instead of what I’ve lost — or am worried about — or am struggling with. For instance: I have a wonderful partner whom I love very much and whose love for me is unquestioned. I have two fluffy adorable and annoying pomeranians; I have the most beautiful princess cat in the world. I have a house whose tap water is clean enough to drink. I have medicine and soy milk and painkillers. I have books; not all the books I want, but some of them — the same thing for my art supplies. I have internet access, and a computer that isn’t very powerful but still works, and a phone. I have clothes that are warm enough for winter. I have friends.
It is not everything. I don’t know if it’s enough — that’s an exhausting word, ‘enough’. But it’s something.
3. I think this spiral started when I went back to the Philippines. Living in Australia, it’s more possible — I will not say easy because nothing about it is easy — to spend most of the time with my nerve endings blocked off from the constant shrieking pain that is my country and my fear for it and my guilt over having left and my gut-deep need to give myself to it, to give it everything I have until I have nothing left and the next logical step is to give my life. It sounds like madness when I write it like that. But what is mad can be real.
Being back in the Philippines, well-protected as I was, I could see again– just how terrible things have gotten and how much more catastrophic they could become; all the places and people (countless) crying out for succor, for support. To simply be seen. It was harrowing. And — again — that wrenching pull to go back, to sacrifice myself for it.
As if that would make a difference at all. And that is what hurts the most, that is where the spiral first rooted and took shape. It wouldn’t matter. There is nothing I can do to help.
4. Writing this out helps. One would think it would hurt more, seeing the words like this. But maybe giving them form is also giving them vulnerability. Isn’t it often a rule in horror? You cannot hurt the intangible. Even if giving ghosts flesh strengthens them, it also makes them weaker. Because that way they can be fought.
5. It occurs to me now that it’s been increasingly helpful to me to view my life through the context of horror. Not that every day is a horror story; only myself: my brain is the haunted house. Depression and anxiety are the ghosts. They are in me, but they are not me.
6. Here are things I have done lately/since I last posted:
– Delivered my Guest of Honour speech at Continuum 13. (There is also video of my speech, including questions from the audience afterward.)
– Ghost-written/-edited three speeches for a high-level Philippine government official. They were exceedingly well-received; many of the portions I wrote myself were quoted throughout social media in the days that followed the delivery of the speeches. (I say ghost-written because I rewrote around 60% of the content and wrote the rest from scratch.)
– Closed my commissions to the public. They are still open to patrons; it is just that I cannot take new requests from everyone, and definitely not any urgent ones.
– Somehow transitioned from being just the business manager + occasional designer at the tech company I work for, to being pretty much the main web designer (plus, uh, all the previous stuff). This has been very difficult, not because the web design work is difficult but because the idea of me doing paid web design/development work is difficult. Between impostor syndrome and being massively behind on a lot of the latest web design technologies and conventions (I have had to do so much learning on the fly)… it’s a lot of pressure.
Did I mention that we have two new web design clients and the target delivery dates for their sites are mid-July? That is a thing.
– Tried to apply for a Schengen visa (via Finland) and failed, because the Consulate in Melbourne cannot do visas. Only the Embassy of Finland in Canberra can. Which means I need to fly there and spend over 400 AUD simply to get to the place where I can submit my application. This is for my upcoming trip to Sweden (for a conference) and Finland (for Worldcon and– gahhhhh.
7. I need to post art; I have finished a few things. It is hard because I don’t feel very good about my art, these days. Again: ghosts.