Battle royale

It’s been a while since I’ve had a legitimate bipolar breakdown, so I guess yesterday’s little panic attack was overdue. Still, it would be nice not to have to go through that at all.

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Yeah….

So the marketing process for Abnormal combined with the marketing workshop that my publisher is running on Facebook combined with general anxiety about the projected success or failure of said book all are working together to create that perfect environment for a bipolar freak-out. Last night was the first of what I hope is a minimal number of said freak-outs.

It all started with the sudden realization that the workshop assignments were leading up to us authors identifying and contacting our top genre influencers about our works.

Wait…I have to find out who the top sci-fi/dystopian/LGBTQ bloggers, vloggers, podcasters, journalists, etc, are, then I have to write out emails asking them to read and review my book or do an interview with me, then I have to send out those same emails? Like, actually send them? To people who have thousands and thousands of followers, who probably already lead busy lives and already get gobs of junk emails with the same type of requests? But–but–but…what if I’m bothering them?

Ah, yeah, there’s that irrationality. There’s the anxiety rearing its ugly head.

Fuck you, anxiety. You ruined my evening yesterday.

Fighting with this type of anxiety is a tough one. I can always go to friends or family or to my husband or my publishers with my unfounded concerns, but I can’t always take their logical, rational advice and apply it to the very much illogical and irrational fear I’m experiencing. The irrational fear eats logic for breakfast, chews it up, and spits it out in a sloppy wet wad on the carpet. I always end up stepping square in that wad. I hate stepping on anything wet, literally or metaphorically.

Why is it so horrifying to have to send out some nice, polite emails requesting consideration for myself and my book? I don’t know. Again, it’s an irrational fear. And no, it’s not the fear of them ignoring my emails or sending rejections–it’s the fear of being a bother. A nuisance. An annoyance.

It was difficult to send email requests to some of my favorite authors asking if they’d be interested in having an Advanced Reader Copy of Abnormal to peruse and maybe write a blurb on. I was terrified of annoying them. Of being viewed as spam–even if it was potentially some random assistant who was handling that day’s particular emails. That is what had me paralyzed yesterday. It’s still got me shaken up a bit, but so far this morning no fountains of tears. So that’s progress, right?

Another stressor to add onto these imaginary stressors is the feeling that I have to get all my marketing done before the September 1 release date–which is now ten days away. Ten. Short. Days. My publisher assures me that’s not the case, that I have the entirety of the series to build upon and market to my fanbase, but the timing of the marketing workshop is not helping. Don’t get me wrong–I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to have such a workshop. It’s just giving me a minor heart attack thinking about all the assignments that are being given with “just ten days” in which to complete the assignments.

Ten days…I’m almost in the single digits.

I had my freak-out. I talked with close friends, with my publisher, with my husband. I whined and moaned and misunderstood the assignments and cried and sobbed and overreacted. I did all the things except stay calm and look at it from a logical standpoint. Logically, the bloggers and vloggers and podcasters and journalists are there to build on their own fanbase, and they (theoretically) welcome the opportunity to read and review something that their fanbase might enjoy. Illogically, they’re going to view me as an overeager spammer nobody who needs to leave them alone.

I’m going to get past this. I’m going to finish this post, search for my genre’s “influencers,” and get started on a template to share in the workshop to eventually turn into emails to said influencers.

It may not be within the next ten days. But I have a whole series to get this done in.

Still, better now than never.

Off I go.

Kicking and screaming, but off I go.

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Whatever happened to the girl who could stab people for hours?

Man, the first time I put a rapier in my hand that was it. Game over, man. I was hooked.

So what happened?

Let me backtrack a bit: I started out super gung-ho about rapier fighting and fencing. I wanted to learn All The Things, and I would get uber frustrated if I didn’t get something right. I went to every practice I could, and I joined a local fencing school to get even more practice in. I did tournaments at events (even though I’m not the greatest at it)–once with a broken foot–, and I even tried melee fighting (which I am even less the greatest at).

Lately, though, and I mean for a good few months now, I haven’t been at it as much. I’ve been withdrawing from the rapier fighting and even exercise days with my rapier friends. Why? What’s got me shying away from the one sport that ever got me excited, that ever made me feel like I could be good at a sport?

Part of it, I think, is that I got burned out after Estrella War. I practiced so much that I just got practiced out. Another part might be that, for whatever reason, my performance in tournaments has dropped significantly. Not that I was ever even close to winning–I wasn’t–but I feel like I’m just flailing around, whereas before I was more focused and driven.

Another part, and it’s not necessarily his fault mind you, but another part is my husband. Due to some … we’ll say “unsportsmanly behavior” … from some more experienced, respected rapier fighters, my husband withdrew from rapier first, before I did. He didn’t want to go to the regular practices, and more recently he stopped going to the rapier academy practices as well. It’s largely a personality clash issue. Not to say that either personality is “wrong,” just that they don’t jive together well. He doesn’t want to go back, but I do…don’t I?

We’ve also been super busy; we go to more out-of-Barony events than we did at this time last year, so Sundays we’re either exhausted from traveling or still heading back from wherever we traveled when it’s time to practice.

I’m still gung ho about trying to get a rapier practice area set up on our land. I’m still plotting that out in my head. But I don’t go and actually practice anymore.

Is it because I live further away now? Well, that would explain the SCA practices, but I’m a tad closer to the rapier academy practices now, so that’s no excuse. I still love my friends and love fighting them and learning from them, so that’s not an issue. So what is it?

Last night I went to a different Barony’s rapier practice. I got to fight a couple of people that I don’t usually fight, and that may have helped a bit to motivate me to do better. I need something more though, some extra push, to get me back in the rapier game. Maybe if I ask my White Scarf for a set day during the week to practice I will get back into things. I mean, I can’t use traveling as an excuse if it’s a work day–I’ll theoretically already be in town.

Regardless of the hows or whys, something’s gotta change. I have to get back at the stabby-stab so I can improve, learn, and excel.

I just gotta figure out tho hows of that bit.

 

Rained out

Well that was a wash…

… I learned this weekend that outdoors + stupid boot on my foot + rain + arthritis does not in any way equal fun. I was cold, damp, and miserable. Every time I tried to roll over or shift on my cot during the night I cried out in pain a little bit.

The event got cancelled, but not before we abandoned most of our stuff on the mountain. We’ll go back for it tomorrow, but it was just too hard to try breaking down camp in the rain at the time.

I have to admit, I wasn’t looking forward to a cooking event. I don’t cook. Like, unless it comes out of a box or bag, forget it. But I told my husband I’d go, so despite dreading the event I went. A bit of precognition, perhaps? Probably not, but regardless it was a hot mess.

We ended up going to our friends’ house, where we’ll stay the night before reclaiming our belongings. There are a bunch of people over as we ended up having an impromptu party. So not a total bust, but I kinda wish I’d brought my laptop. Clare and her story are calling out to me.

After obsessing over the changes I had to make to accommodate the new ending to Abnormal, I’ve finally figured out how to work it in. I just need my computer. And time. I need time.

Book 2’s first draft reboot will be done, hopefully by the end of the year, but I’ve got to buckle down and focus.

A second time around for the second time

In the midst of house party prep, work, sleep, crafting, and never-ending laundry, I somehow managed to get a start on the rewrites for Book 2. I haven’t counted how many new words I’ve written, but between cutting and pasting the usable stuff from the first draft, rejiggering it to fit with the new ending of Abnormal, and fresh writing, I’ve gotten about 2.5k words in about three or four hours of work.

It’s not much, but it’s the start I’ve been trying to achieve. Well, the restart.

The bad guy’s even more of an asshole than he originally was, but I know something he doesn’t know. 😉 The little surprise from a minor character I mentioned when I first wrote the draft is still good to be left in, and they may even have more up their sleeve than even I knew.

It’s not going to be easy, but now that I’ve got a start I feel much less anxious about the work I have ahead of me.

Tomorrow marks the first official housewarming party, though, and it’s the SCAdian one at that. I should be focused on not losing my shit with so many people there. Lol It’s not exactly a small get-together, and my social anxiety wears me out at times. I can’t escape from this party. I have to suck it up and pretend to be sociable no matter how freaked out I am inside.

Dis-Courage

I admit it. I’m a wuss. A coward, even.

Well, maybe not a coward. It’s not that I’m “afraid” to go back to exercising with my friends…or am I?

One thing’s for sure: I’m definitely discouraged. Between the month or so we all took off to prepare for Estrella war and my work schedule, I was off the wagon for too long, causing me to regain almost all of the weight I had worked so hard to lose. Couple that with the new exercises that we’re doing that require more coordination (which I highly lack) and you have a recipe for relapse. I just can’t make myself go anymore. I think about it. I try to psych myself up for it. But in the end, most days I end up staying home and wallowing in self pity.

Am I doomed to be obese forever? I used to be skinny; as early as ten years ago I was skinny. Then the move to Arizona happened, and the stress of not knowing if I’d have a job and having to make new friends got to me, and I stress-ate like a madwoman. I moved into an extended living facility (basically a hotel that has a pseudo-studio apartment for a room) and it was a lot of frozen dinners for me. That didn’t help. Then I met my husband who feeds me quite well, and I just ballooned. It’s been an up-and-down battle for years, one that I feel like I’m losing.

The most recent weight gain is the most depressing yet. I had worked so hard to lose that 10+ pounds only to have almost all of it back within a couple of months. I almost feel like “What’s the point? I’ll just gain it back in weeks the second I stop this” and I’ll end up quitting. I guess I kind of almost have quit already. I have no more motivation, no drive. I’d rather sit at home and wallow in self pity than get out there and exercise with friends.

I guess I’d better sign off for now. The cats keep walking across the keyboard in an attempt to get their morning wet food early, and I’m tired of deleting the jibberish they type.

Sneaky little sh!t

Well that was unexpected.

There I was, filling out a form at the rheumatologist’s office, when all of a sudden it hit me: I’ve been mild to moderately depressed for a good two or three weeks and I didn’t even notice.

I should have noticed, but I guess I’ve been so busy it just snuck up on me. I haven’t been super interested in the usual stuff, and that should have been a big sign. Combine that with the fact that I ran out of my meds, and it’s hard to believe I didn’t put two and two together. (Not to worry; all the meds are in the process of being refilled.) It just wasn’t until I checked the box stating that I have been experiencing depression that I even gave it a thought.

I guess that’s kind of a good thing, if you look at it a certain way. I was doing well enough for long enough that I almost–almost–forgot I am bipolar. Almost. So much else was going on that “bipolar” and “depression” kind of simmered on the back burner while I dealt with the now.

(Hubby just asked me what I’m writing about. I told him, and he has properly scolded me for not taking my meds.)

To prevent further issues, I have had the pharmacy put my meds on auto fill. Clearly I can’t trust myself to keep track of that kind of thing right now.

One thing that hasn’t surprised me is the increase in arthritis pain and stiffness lately. I’ve gotten out of the habit of exercising a couple of times a week and it’s taking a toll. Work schedules don’t allow for much exercise though, at least with my friends’ current regimen. Their best days and times happen to occur on the longest work days of the week for me, so I don’t get the opportunity to join them often. When the opportunity does arise, I’m usually so exhausted–both physically and mentally–that I just don’t have the drive to go. My joints have noticed the lack of exercise. Oh, how they have noticed. I can’t sit in one position too long or my knees get really stiff and uncooperative. Just this afternoon, on the way to the doctor, I got out of the car at a gas station and almost couldn’t walk inside. My left knee was so stiff and painful that I had to limp most of the way into the store and a little bit inside before I regained adequate range of motion. Not quite to “handicap parking”-level loss of mobility, but definitely not my norm.

I think I have a psychiatrist appointment next week. Better brace myself for the inevitable lecture on keeping up with my drug regimen. At least I am aware of the problem before I go in. I can try to remember not to automatically tell the doctor that everything is “fine.”

You’d be surprised how easy it is to slip into that automatic response no matter how bad things actually are. It’s become customary to say that you’re “fine” when someone inquires how you are doing. We don’t want to burden friends and family with our problems, we don’t want to sound like we’re whining, or whatever the reason happens to be. I have to get over that enough to let my doctor know what he needs to know. He can’t help if I don’t let him know there’s something going on, after all.

All mixed up

I am feeling great. Got my first Arts and Sciences project done (except for the research/documentation), work this week hasn’t been too bad… so why am I not feeling so great?

Oh yeah: mixed episode. It seems that I’ve entered one of those recently. Not quite sure when exactly, but I’m noticing that even though I think I feel fine, I’m not taking as much interest in the things I’m usually interested in. I have a research paper for A&S that I’ve been dying to jump into, but I can’t seem to make myself read more than a couple of paragraphs at a time. I was all excited to finish the physical work on the first project, but instead of feeling accomplished I feel… empty. I’m not writing, I’m not tweeting, I’m not doing much of anything that I usually do with my free time.

I think the art project was providing enough momentum to keep me going, but although I don’t feel like I’m depressed, I’m not acting like I’m not. Makes no sense? Well, it doesn’t make sense to me either.

I’m hoping that my mental state picks up soon. Well, not too up. Mid-level. Hell, just plain level would be nice.

Some day. I can’t be down all the time.