Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Mental Illness, Depression
It’s been nearly a year since I’ve been able to do anything with the site, write a new blog, contribute to the worlds I’ve built, scribble a poem, or… make much of anything, really. It’s been more than 6 months even since Roll Call ended, abruptly, and unceremoniously.
There are many reasons. But… on the whole it boils down to one big one: 2018 was the worst year of my life.
It was a year that broke me. Truly. I lost everything I knew as normalcy. I lost the woman I loved and was convinced I’d marry. I lost my home. I lost my grandmother. I lost friends I truly cared about. I lost and lost and lost some more and I never thought it would end. And all of that happened in such a tight time frame that it felt like an avalanche, and I became buried by it.
It got so bad that by late summer, I was at a place where I simply didn’t want to be alive anymore. I just wanted to die. The idea of suicide as an escape from the hell that I had been walking through was a part of my daily life. And it got very dark for me.
Thanks to some amazing friends I still have in my life(I lost many this year), I was able to find my way above water from being so deep beneath the surface I could no longer tell which way was daylight. They brought me back from the very brink of doing something I couldn’t just erase if I went through with it. Because there are no re-dos. There’s no editing, when you end your personal sentence.
Like many writers(hell, many PEOPLE ), I suffer from severe anxiety and chronic depression(as well as a mild form of agoraphobia.) I’m not ashamed of it. It’s part of who I am, and if the Wil Wheaton speech about his own struggles with mental illness have taught me anything, it’s never to be ashamed of being who I am because of it.
But this was truthfully the first time I had ever been on the verge of suicide. It had always been one of those things that felt like an abstract to me. The thoughts had occurred to me, but I had always kept them at bay and never let them get me to that place. And that place is the deepest, purest black. So much had happened in so short a time, and it just buried me beneath the weight of it. I saw no light left.
But that didn’t matter to some wonderful people I know. When I was bound and determined to let the dark swallow me, they grabbed me by the collar and drug me back. For that I will forever be grateful.
And so each day got a little better, the clouds in the sky parted ever so slightly more, and the water receded, an inch at a time until I could breathe again. Things started to get a little easier. I settled into my temporary living situation, staying with family, while I wait to make a more final move in the spring. And while life has yet to achieve any kind of true “normalcy” again I can claim to be truly happy with, things have stopped falling apart around me.
As a way of reminding myself of what I went through, and that I made it through it, I’ll be getting a tattoo in the spring that showcases the semicolon in solidarity with Project Semicolon. I’ll post pictures on my Instagram/Twitter, etc. when it’s done.
Now that I’m on my way towards a new normal, I couldn’t keep avoiding the things I loved because it was too hard to do them. No amount of pain, no matter how many fires I’ve had to walk through, and no matter how much water seeped into my lungs as I let myself sink deeper, the worlds and people that live inside my head don’t go away. They got quiet for awhile. They gave me room. They let me grieve. And when I was ready, they walked back in, sat down and poured themselves a drink. The message was very clear.
“Let’s get back to work.”
There’s only so much time you can allow to slip through your fingers as you let yourself drown before it becomes a permanent condition. I nearly found the upper limit. Now it was time to find buoyancy. I made changes in my life that I think are for the better. Refocused myself on what was important and what I want to accomplish, and made a game plan. I’m working to develop better habits, taking tips and using tools that are out there and recommended by creative people I admire.
First on the list was to get my website in order, make it operational(which I never actually finished last year due to everything happening the way it did), and make it a place I could actually showcase what I do as I move on to the second step of making the most of my opportunities through marketing and social media. What you see now is the fully realized version of that, redesigned pretty much from the ground up, and reintegrated with content that’s been missing for 2 years in the form of my short stories.
And here, I make a commitment to update the way I wanted to to begin with: Regularly.
To work, make, create, and write to get myself where I want to be because when the world falls down around me, I still have to believe in myself even when no one else seems to. Because I know what I’m capable of. And now I want to get to the point where everyone else sees what I’m capable of.
I’m a flawed person. I’ve made mistakes in my past. I suffer from mental illness. And none of that defines me. I am not what happened or happens to me. I am what I choose to become. I’ve made my choice.
And I didn’t come to this world to be average.
If 2018 was Year of Hell, then let the fires of that hell light the way. Because I will not let this year be like that.
Welcome to my New Beginnings.