It’s been a few weeks since I left the comic book shop. I’m glad to have gone through the experience of being a professional nerd, to have met the particular set of challenges involved and flourished, but I could tell it was time to quit when the stress was carrying over from one shift to the next, even with days between.
Without the need to run tournaments, or the pressure of dealing with customers, I have a chance to breathe again. That means doing my best not to worry about being productive or happy. Just trying to feel okay can be enough of a day-to-day challenge.
Their special bond comes from the fact that she lets him get away with more than I do.
Heather and I are taking the next few months off to regain our balance and adjust to our new dosages of SNRIs. Now that I’m in a place where I’m feeling more safe and secure, I can tell it’s still hard for me to let go of negative thoughts, even when the stimulus is gone. I’m coming to terms with the fact that I’ve been fighting depression my whole life, and the fact that I’ll likely be on even more medication for the rest of it.
I wish I could turn to writing for catharsis, but I’m not strong enough to process the memories. Parts of the past are still too recent, too familiar, too painful. And sometimes it’s hard to think of the person I was only a year ago, even knowing how far I’ve come. I’m starting to realize that time is what I need most, which means I also need patience and trust from my friends.
The only commitments I’ve kept are my playgroup on Sundays, and my Wednesdays with Lisa. Otherwise, I’m lost in Guild Wars; the easiest way to escape and feel productive at the same time is to work on daily achievements by slaying dragons.
And that’s how I lost the Autumn. I didn’t even realize the leaves had turned and fallen. Now that I’m not working (and I’m the one who always hosts), it feels like I never leave the house. The only reminder that winter is here is when the heat comes on, and the smell of dry furnace air fills the room. I was looking forward to the first snowfall of the season, but the plows have already been out and I haven’t had a chance to take it all in.
My Canon 5D Mark II has been a faithful companion for five years. It’s followed me on even the most mundane trips, as I wanted to be sure no experience was lost in the years where I found myself growing beyond the furthest plans I’d made. However, it’s remained tucked away in the closet for the last while, as part of an effort to more mindful of each moment; moments that may be lost when I’m finding the right angle or waiting for the right scene.
As a result, the trusty LowePro Fastpack I used to take everywhere — with space enough for a camera body, three lenses, and an assortment of odds and ends — no longer fit my lifestyle and needs. Fortunately, I was given a chance to try out Knomo’s Troon messenger bag, and discovered it’s the perfect fit for my new journeys.
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July was supposed to be my catch-up month. The one where I connected with a lover instead of being rushed to appreciate her at every turn; a chance to finish house projects and all the cleaning I’ve been putting off; maybe even time enough to go for a walk every day, or the patience to work on fretting cleaner barres instead of emotional doodling and clumsy interpretations.
Now here I am, half way through September. Heather and I are at war with our respective pasts, and waiting for relief. On top this comes her dad’s diagnosis of a metastasized cancer of unknown origin. We’re used to being strong for others, but the uncertainty of what may come makes us wonder if we’re truly ready.
If only my mind wasn’t already drifting back to those unhealthy and all-too-familiar thoughts. It’s hard enough letting go of the sense that everything will fall apart at any second. The depth of my struggle has changed me, and I’m still getting used to feeling unconditionally loved and emotionally secure. Thankfully, I have a partner who tells me every single day that I’m a good person, that I’m important, and that I deserve to be happy. Consistent reminders are what I need, however small, cause the recovery process is going to take far longer than I first thought.
We’ve taken to exploring the massive world of Tyria in Guild Wars 2 as a way of coping. Even when I’m away from my computer, I think of nothing but journeying to new locations, instead of the tiny problems that seem impossible to surmount at even my best times. I’ve always been an obsessive person, and my mind would be full of bad things right now if I wasn’t so busy finding the next point of interest, the next champion to kill and loot.
It’s a way for me to get through the difficult days, until they turn into a past that I can look at from afar. I know if I can turn the page on this chapter, I’ll have a opportunity to become the person I want to be every day for the rest of my life.
It’s been too long since my last emotional break. I can tell I’m in rough shape when I start to carry the tension of the last shift to my next one, mostly cause I’m getting lost between people and projects, instead of unwinding and recharging. My Mac Pro also breathed it’s last, and I haven’t had the comfort of my familiar electronic space in over a week. As I build my next system, I’ve turned to other forms of happiness to fill the hole. They’re often just as worth my time, but don’t often leave space for the introversion I need to centre myself.
Still; the fact that I haven’t written in so long is cause I have a chance to talk to Heather on a consistent basis. As a source of immediate feedback (along with endless empathy and attention), she’s become the outlet I’ve needed for so long. On good days, our broken halves make a whole person. But on her bad days, I’m not always ready to be the strong one, and sometimes I can’t help but feel inadequate when she’s she’s still hurting or not fixed yet, even when I know I’m not the cause.
It makes me especially anxious to get over a past that’s stopping me from further growth. I just want to stop suffering from and struggling with various forms of trauma, so I can reach a sense of stability. But that seems further away than ever at times like this, when I’m not coping with the things I can’t control, and I wonder if I should be making peace with it all instead of fighting it.
It’s nice to be at a point where I don’t suffer simply by the act of existing. With my head above water, I can pursue a sense of happiness instead of constantly deciding whether it’s worth going on.
But I have to admit that the depth of my struggle is what gave me the tools to thrive now. When I was trying to survive the most difficult times, I learned that I could limit the effect of life’s inherent instabilities by being in better control of myself. Through my journey with social injustice, I learned how to empathize with people and understand their experiences. From having lost all my most fundamental emotional bonds, I learned to be a more patient friend and deeper lover.
It feels like I’ve been struggling in adolescence, and am now transitioning to the next major phase, one that will involve as much healing as growing. That means I need to practice using these tools, cause knowing how to be a better person isn’t enough by itself; time and perseverance are just as important for a person with so much damage.
There are still bad days, moments of weakness, and groundless insecurities, but they’re getting less frequent and less intense, and I have more time than I ever thought I’d have. As long as I’m on the right path, each step I take toward finding my stride will get me to where I want to go.