What's up at Ravens March.

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Posts Tagged ‘depression’

Posted by Dirck on 12 March, 2020

Before the status report, a status report, because one of the regular readers here expressed appreciation at my tiny contribution to the effort to de-stigmatize mental illness. There is a substantial amount of stress at The Regular Job right now. There was not quite so much about a month ago, but apparently it was enough to move one of my colleagues to reach over her head, grab the yellow and black striped handles, and launch herself into early retirement.

This is what everyone’s desk chair looks like, right?

She had been here quite a while, and thus had accreted a lot of small duties with obscure processes, known to her more as muscle-memory rituals than as steps in a logical sequence. It’s fallen to me and one other co-worker to take over doing what she did, which involves a certain amount of archaeology, paleography, and cautiously touching a quivering fingertip to the huge black monolith in the break room.

Stressful.

And yesterday, as I was finally finished the work of the previous day, it struck me that six months ago, this turn of events would have destroyed me. Every bit of the shattering sensibility in the concept nervous breakdown would have come to me. Absolutely no doubt. But as it stands… well, no one likes extra work, but there’s no attendant dread to the current load.

I can’t say whether this is down to coping strategies from counselling, Magic Brain Pills, or whatever went wrong in my head last year correcting itself as mysteriously as it blew its breakers. It’s probably a combination of the first two, with a possibility of the third providing extra flotation. I’m strangely unwilling to experiment by discontinuing use of either cognitive tools or modern chemistry. I’d rather live with this small uncertainty than try to live with a return of the full-size Black Dog.

I occasionally hear it sniffing around, just the other side of the metaphorical tree line.

But enough introspection. Let’s have a look at what the week’s self-imposed labours produced:

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 9 March
  • 10 March
  • 11 March
  • 12 March
  • Third (but really second, sort of) draft of “Filter Feeder”.
  • Revision of “The Mermaid’s Husband”.
  • First draft of “Morgue Attendance”.
  • Rubbed with a towel, weighted at 2402 words, and sent to the publication it was meant for.
  • Dropped about a page of unwanted weight, and also sent to that same anthology.†
  • 5 manuscript pages

 

†At the risk of uttering a spoiler against my own work, “The Mermaid’s Husband” contains more direct Lovecraft reference than “Filter Feeder”, since it’s crammed with his blasphemous fish-frogs. Seeing that the Lovecraftian anthology smiled upon multiple submissions, why wouldn’t I try to find a home for one of my slime-dripping darlings?

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Posted by Dirck on 6 February, 2020

 

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 3 February
  • 4 February
  • 5 February
  • 6 February
  • First draft of “Second Impression”.
  • 15 manuscript pages.

 

 

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Posted by Dirck on 30 January, 2020

 

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 27 January
  • 28 January
  • 29 January
  • 30 January
  • First draft of “Second Impression”.
  • 13 manuscript pages.

 

†This pen reminds me that pens of this age are not very pleased to be left sitting idle for days at a stretch. I uncapped it this morning to find that what ink remained in it was… not freely flowing, let’s say. As a back-up, I’m pressing the TWSBI Eco which produces my fictional output into some non-creative uses. I’m sure it will be all right.

In fact, it may even get rotated out for a different high-capacity modern pen I don’t mind leaving at The Regular Job for months on end. I don’t remember the last time it had a break, and it will be in my pocket at the end of the day.

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Posted by Dirck on 23 January, 2020

 

Day What How Much Pen Ink
  • 20 January
  • 21 January
  • 22 January
  • 23 January
  • Third draft of “Grand Finale”.
  • Third draft of  “Uncle Bert’s Best Friend”
  • First draft of “Song of the Pen”.
  • SO MANY TYPOS
  • Fewer. Still plenty.
  • 5 manuscript pages.

On the depression front, because I might as well update that too: General improvement, but with a recent hitch. The magic brain pills I’ve been prescribed have been slowly ramping up dosage, and a week ago they got to what the doctor described as the low end of “a maintenance dose.” Cool. Except now I’m always very sleepy– I should have gotten more done on “Song of the Pen” but yesterday I actually had a nap instead.

Well, not really. I sat in my chair at The Regular Job with my eyes closed. Actual sleep might carry on past the end of the lunch break and demand official notice.

I’ll have to look into whether this is something one eventually gets used to, because right now it’s very like I’m perpetually crammed with antihistamines and that doesn’t seem a lot more supportable than the depression.

…and maybe it’s worth having thyroid levels looked at, too. Who knows? “Don’t assume zebras when you hear hoofbeats” is something said to young doctors on TV, but there’s other things than horses in the farmyard.

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Case of the Mysterious Spoon Thief

Posted by Dirck on 1 November, 2019

I hope everyone is having a happy Fountain Pen Day. First Friday in November, right? A big event, for people like me.

It kind of snuck up on me. I’ve been at my silly Inktober exercise (which I have decided in an act of vicious ret-conning is an excuse to not participate in NaNoWriMo), but when I realized what today was, my reaction was something like this:

I should get something really splendid out and fill it up. But… I’d have to look back in the blog and see what I had used. And then go all the way down a single flight of stairs to get it out of storage. God, and then it would join all those others that need cleaning. Poo. Too much effort. Let’s just go with this not-yet-empty thing.

Which is slightly alarming, coming from me. Well, it turns out that an inclination to depression which I’ve been nuturing since… oh, about 1992… has finally borne fruit.

You’ve heard the spoon metaphor, I imagine– a person with a fatiguing disability has a set number of spoons to dig through the day’s activities, and once those spoons are used up, that’s it for the day’s activities, regardless of whether they’re onerous or delightful (go to movie with friend and clean toilet are equal demands upon the spoon drawer; indeed, the former may be a two-spoon affair). Well, I have come to realize that someone has been making off with my spoons, and it’s finally at a point where I need to get some outside assistance with it.

I suspect my recent decision to pull back from repairs is also founded in this development. If I’d realized it at the time, I’d probably be happier (ho ho, a joke about depression!) now.

But, realization has dawned at last, and calls are being made. I am lucky, in that I live in Canada and have an employer who has some resources to throw at this kind of problem, so all it took was noticing there was a problem… and then carefully building one extra spoon out paper clips and tape to actually act upon the realization. Because I actually knew I should be doing something about a week ago, but figuring out what that something was required, oh, poo, it’s too much effort and so on.

Anyway. Here we are. Not yet, quite, getting help, but listening to the mechanism for getting help running its motor up. And that in itself is helping.

For those who are right now wondering how many spoons I’ve squandered on this little screed, never mind the whole enormous pile of stories over the past month— it turns out that, at least in my case, writing is no more than tiny souvenir teaspoons of effort. Perhaps it even uses forks instead. I could to a lot of this and not affect the useful spoon count. Another thing I’m grateful for.

Today’s pen, which is very nice and a perfectly adequate Fountain Pen Day observance: Sheaffer Sovereign II
Today’s ink, the maker of which claims to be an avatar of Fountain Pen-ness, so of course it’s right for the day: Montblanc Royal Blue

PS – I suggested yesterday that this would be the usual progess report. Well, I decided to do this instead. That’s not a metaphorical spoons thing, that’s just a question of available time.

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