Self Doubt Runs Rampant

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So, lately I have been having some serious self doubts about myself and my abilities. All my abilities…as a parent, grandparent, partner, writer, artist…

It started in November. It just started as a small inkling behind the eyes…a small thought here and there. A doubt in judgement here and there, and it just escalated.

Then I was sitting here the night before last working on something and I thought…should I continue to even try? My book is far from being as perfect as I want it. My writing doesn’t feel as smooth anymore. I have lost many followers and readers.

Should I keep my Zoe Ambler persona, all the time and work. Should I just let it go? Should I refocus elsewhere?

I am feeling very inadequate of late. Its a nagging feeling that is bringing me down more and more. I can attribute some of it to the holiday season. I always get a little depressed this time of year, no matter how well things are going.

However, I dont seem very productive. Mind you, we are all busy this time of year. This is a big book time. Here I am with the promise of a new book, yet not producing the final product.

I have family things going on that I was not prepared for.

I just have to question myself on why I keep up with things when I seem to be failing and falling behind. Am I disappointing anyone? The answer to that may leave me in tears.

I had a dream. I have talent. I am squandering it, I know. I am just not finding it within myself to chase these things. I feel so very let down.

Perhaps after the holidays I will feel better…if not, some hard decisions will have to be made.

Take care, my sweets~

Mental Illness from my perspective

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I suffer from many disorders of the mind. Chemical imbalances, terrible phobias, psychotic tendencies.

Back in the day, the mid 80’s, the medical world did not have the aptitude for mental illness that it does now, so, as my mental illnesses emerged and ran rampant in my early and mid-teens, I received more disapproving looks and glares than actual help.

There is nothing more painful than a 15 year old who has been cutting for a few years to overhear a shrink tell your parents it’s a cry for ‘attention’. They also dumped the blame on my mother, who was riddled with guilt for years thinking she had done something wrong in raising me. Cutting and self-mutilation are not cries for help. There is actually a chemical reaction within the brain that cutting and pain produces, while also the act of pain itself is an indicator that you can indeed feel, and it feels good.

One of my suicide attempts at 16 landed me in the hospital for a good while. Do you know what the therapy consisted of? The doctors yelling at me and threatening me to straighten up and fly right and quit being a ‘brat’. This same mentality also deems suicide as ‘selfish’. Suicide is not a selfish action. If someone commits suicide, it was not for selfish reasons or to hurt those who cared for them. It is a release from all that is twisted and broken on the inside.

To this day, one of my nearest and dearest tries to argue that I am selfish for even entertaining suicidal thoughts. It hurts when you can’t change a stigma. However, I am honest in my feelings when asked.

I wear many scars of my cutting. I’ve hand many trips to the ER because I let things get out of my control. My best friend gets sad when she looks at my scars. She, however, does not lecture. She empathizes the best she can. Most of my friends do. I don’t have many friends, really, a bare handful that I will sit down with face to face. I like my friends to be pen pals or online friends due to my own quirks that society doesn’t deem acceptable.

I had a complete nervous breakdown in 2004. With that mental collapse came acute agoraphobia. I stayed inside, rarely even leaving the bedroom. I had my nest there…all my needed things. Computer, books and all my comforts.

Getting me to leave the house for something important, such as a doctor’s appointment, when I finally gave in to see one, took nearly a month to plan. Part of agoraphobia and social anxiety is ‘mapping your route’. In my ‘mapping’ I refused left hand turns. I know this sounds so illogical, but this is simply one instance of how my mind works and copes with things.

Through therapy and medicine, my agoraphobia is more under control. I mean, look…I am teaching classes at the local library. I’ve been to Arizona and New Mexico several times to see my best friend. Yes, I am medicated throughout the journey, but the point is…I am leaving my comfort zone.

Speaking of ‘comfort zones’, I have carefully and painstakingly crafted my own personal room within my house. It was once the garage, but the original owners turned it into a sunken den sort of thing. It’s very big. I could put a bed in here if not for all my bookcases and swords and general (very odd) toys. Everything has its place. When anyone else comes in here and moves something, it irritates me to no end. Others may see this room as just an office, but to me it is so much more. This is my haven. And when I say I don’t spend any time in any other place in the house, I am being completely honest. I recently purchased a new living room suit with the intent of spending more time in the living room enjoying movies and whatnot with the family. It’s been two months now, that has yet to happen.

Obviously I am getting better at social situations, so long as they are controlled, like the classes I teach at the library. Though, don’t call me up and say ‘how about I introduce you to some of my friends and we go out for dinner?’ That would be a no. I have one close friend here locally that I will meet up with for coffee, or go to our favorite lunch spot. Sometimes with nothing more than a few hours’ notice. That’s a huge step for me. An accomplishment.

A large part of going out west to see my best friend and going down to Dothan to meet with my other close friend is that they empathize. They have taken the time to know me and understand me, and would never ask anything of me that would tax my limits. These people are rare and very much loved by me. They ask questions sometimes, to better understand things, and that’s good! It shows me they want to know the limits and they are looking out for my comfort levels.

One thing I am not in control of, despite the heavy medications, is my bipolar disorder. When I am in a manic high, well…its best to lock me in a room with no sharp objects and let me talk a lot, because I tend to get very chatty and animated. When I am in a down, you will be lucky to get me out of my room. I tend not to take care of myself as well. No sleep, no food, I neglect personal hygiene to a point. I am just utterly sad and feel so very alone. It’s painful.

When my bipolar disorder gets out of whack, so does my schizophrenia. I hear things. Sometimes just awful things. I used to see things a lot, but not so much anymore. I may see a flutter or shadow from my peripheral vision. Hearing the voices though…that’s something I can definitely do without. My meds usually keep me on a pretty even keel, and when I do slide up or down, it’s not as terribly drastic as before the meds.

I also have severe depression with psychotic tendencies. Pretty self-explanatory.

I feel things very deeply sometimes. It really depends on what it is. I have little empathy for the population at large. However, don’t ever let me see animal abuse.

Most of the time, I take criticism very well. I mean, you have to when you are a writer or artist. You are under scrutiny. I’ve tried to take all my reviews that were less than favorable as learning experiences.

However, someone in a game I play said my writing was ‘underwhelming’. I have not written anything on that site since. I can’t bring myself to do it. I feel ashamed. I feel as if the whole community on that site is sitting back looking at everything I’ve ever written there (we’re talking 15 years of stories) and just grimacing as they read my words. It’s like a wound that just won’t close…it keeps bleeding and bleeding…and it only took one person to inflict it and drive me away.

As with most people that are on a lot of medications, when I am feeling good and happy, I tend to think I don’t need the meds. Huge mistake. I will admit, when I have a writing piece that needs to be done, or, say, NaNoWriMo is here, I will only take half doses of my bipolar meds, because yes, they honestly make me feel a little zombie-like. I am a very doped up person. In this little cheat time when I half my daily dose, it takes maybe a week before I start sliding up or down. In cases of an event like NaNoWriMo it is pretty solid that I will slip into a manic high.

I have admitted this all to my psychiatrist, and now every three months he orders blood work to check my Depakote serum levels. Damn it…he makes it hard to cheat!!

Another little thing I learned is to come up with tales of how I got hurt and need stitches. I used to be honest with the ER. Then my record made them stricter with me. They put me in a room to be stitched up, but they take my shoes, keys, purse, phone and even my water! So, the last time I did go to the ER, I had a wild tale as of how something sliced my arm.

I don’t know why I still cut. Sometimes, the thought just comes into my head and before I know it, I’m sitting there with a bloody rag and a feeling of calm. A serene calm. Other times, when I am manic, it seems to be a focal point for me, because my brain can’t seem to grasp hold of any one thing for more than a moment.

Are mental illnesses curable? No, I don’t think so. They are treatable, however. It takes a while. I’ve been trying and changing medications over the course of the last…almost 15 years or so. Hell, I was just changed to a new anti-depressant last month. It’s working, too! My Depakote has to be adjusted a lot though, it seems.

I think I am trying to make a point with this post…

If you know someone who seems like their struggling, try to help them. I know insurance and the cost of everything makes it very hard for people to get the treatment they need and the meds. Having good friends makes a lot of difference, too. Be a support system. If you suspect someone is hurting themselves, do not admonish them for it. Try to talk to them. Get to the heart of it. I have 4 people right at this very moment, at 3am, that I could call and they would not be grumpy or grouchy that I called them and woke them up. They would talk to me, ease me, their words would be meaningful and gentle and encouraging for me not to hurt myself. They would be there even if I just needed to cry. And I hate crying.

Mental illness is not a fad. Yes, I know there are people out there who claim to have illnesses that they don’t for the attention or benefits, but not everyone. In this day and age, depression is on the rise. When people do seek help, you aren’t just prescribed something and everything turns out fine and dandy. My first round of meds sent me so far out of control it was scary. A lot of the treatment is trial and error until you find something that fits with your body and brains chemical disposition.

Well, I’ve just rambled on, haven’t I?

In addition to the brain, my body is currently out of sorts as well. I took a trip to my family practice doc on Monday for a chest cold. I have COPD, so I don’t play when it comes to chest colds. Turns out I have myself a case of bronchitis. Antibiotics and cough syrup with codeine in it and I am still feeling like poo two days later. I get hot and then cold, I can’t sleep.

To top all that off, its pollen season here in the good old south. Everything outside is covered in a layer of yellow pollen. Allergies Ahoy!!! And with the pollen and nice temps, come all the bugs of the South. Ew.

The kittehs are all doing great. The kitten is growing well, though I think he is stunted from his time being lost and alone and eating nothing but bugs and stuff until my best friend found him.

Since cats are cats, and not all of mine get along, I can’t get a nice group photo. So, I think this weekend I will enlist the help of the daughter in setting up a nice background and sitting each cat up for a photo. Try to make it look all professional. Cyd and Siefer would sit together, and BaxterMarie would sit with Jeff. Any of the cats would sit with Jeff…he’s cool with everyone. However, little Spencer thinks it’s always playtime, so that’s going to be a challenge. And Quinny won’t sit still with anyone. Wow…this is starting to sound like a task…lol.

It has been almost 30 days since my last blog entry. For that, I am sorry. I lose readership and that’s sad, and totally my fault.

I have thought long and hard about even writing on this particular subject. It’s filled my mind every day, while I play with the cats, rearrange my office for the millionth time, read, write and put together my new computer. Oh, yes…new computer. Thank the stars above that I am super paranoid about losing my documents, programs, pictures and music. Everything is backed up on both Dropbox and an external hard drive…I didn’t lose a thing. And the new PC is awesome.

I’ll close this up by encouraging you to think things over, maybe open up some discussion in the comments.

I’m going to strive harder to not let 30 days pass without an entry again. It’s time to share some stories!

Another 30…

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As you can see, the kitten, Spencer, is getting bigger. He is a mighty terror. No toes are safe. He is still small for his age, malnutrition of being seperated from his feral mother and colony so little stunting his growth. He did get that happy trip to the vet to get his man parts …snipped.

In other news, my little sisters biopsy came back positive, so now the family is pooling our resources to send what money we can for treatment.

I had a shrink appointment earlier this week that left me asking myself ‘will I ever be free from all of this’, meaning mental illness. The answer is no. No one really ‘recovers’ from mental illness.

I am also very sick right now. I had to go to the doctor yesterday for x-rays and a breathing treatment. I have bronchitis. I got myself some antibiotics and cough syrup with codiene. Cant beat that. Still feel sick, but groovy at the same time.

I have not gotten a lot of writing done lately. Nope. I found something new to waste my time on. The ground level of a new game. Beta testing and bugs. Its entertaining. Irritation in some instances, but entertaining none the less.

So thats my update for now. I know its a little pitiful, but its sort of reflecting how I feel at the moment. To all those of you I owe snail mail letters to, dont lose hope, I have things underway for those!

~squish~

Family…

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The above picture is of my mother with the late great Fat Cat.

My mom, dad and little sister all live in Guatemala. They went there like, almost 20 years ago. My little sis was only 16 and is now all grown up with 2 daughters. I don’t think she is even an American citizen anymore, and is fine and dandy with it. She speaks the language down there fluently, as do her children.

I don’t have a picture of my little sister, but take my word, she is absolutely beautiful, and her girls are too.

The reason for this post is to keep you aware of the hardships of being so far away from family.

My little sister has tried and tried to have more children. She is allowed to have three children in the district of Guatemala she lives in. She has had loads of pregnancies, some she carried and had to deliver, but they did not survive.

The last child she carried and delivered (again, not surviving) they took note of spots in her uterus and growths on her ovaries. They did a biopsy. And tons of blood work. Remember, Guatemala is a ‘third world country’. Getting work done may be cheap, but they don’t have the means to do it efficiently.

And in that loss of efficiency you lose the lower cost. The medical bills are piling up as more tests are ordered.

My parents live off of my father military retirement and social security. My sister’s husband is an EMT. That’s not a lot of money to live on, let alone get extensive medical care, tests and treatment.

I am going to venture to ask, if you can, to donate via my PayPal link, to send some help to my family. I send what I can every month, my best friends sends money weekly and my older sister is putting lump sums in every two weeks. It’s just not amounting to enough.

I wanted to start a ‘GoFundMe’ page, but my mother would be livid. She always says its tacky. So, I am asking as a personal favor. (and my mom doesn’t look at my webpage often to see this…lol…she is more about games and reading when it comes to her computer…and she’s not to swooft on my style of writing, as in the horror stories and smut..lol).

So, if you could help out, that would be great and you’d have our deepest thanks. My PayPal link is on my static page. (zoeambler.com)

The news in my own household could be summed up as depressing. Its me entirely. I am just in a slump, moody, mopey. I did win 2nd and 4th in a writing contest, that raised my spirits for all of 30 minutes.

The kittehs are all doing fabulously. Never a dull moment.

I have been a little lax on writing back to my pen pals. Its like I don’t want to get out of bed and put on my people suit and be a person. Blah.

I guess not being able to physically be there when my mom cries is getting to me. We talk on Skype and she is so down. I hate it.

But, as a family, we are trying to do everything we can…those of us that live here in the US and those in Guatemala.

Wish the best for my sister, please?

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November 2016 Day 14

November 2016 Day 14

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This mornings NaNoWriMo writing went exceptionally well, with 3066 in words today, giving me a total of 33468 words written for the NaNo event so far. And I still plenty of days to be writing more. I wont stop at just the 50k goal, because my work would go unfinished, I imagine.

Now, on to NaBloPoMo

Todays prompt:

Nov. 14: What was it like to be you in 2016?

What was it like to be me in 2016? Who on Earth would want to put themselves in that place would be a better question to ask.

My highs and lows were drastic. I mean, when in a manic high phase, I could not sit still, I could not feel anything, and I did the most outrageously stupid things. I cut and cut, got stitches and stitches, all to reach a place that was unobtainable.

My lows were just as bad; just add in not wanting to get out of bed unless absolutely necessary.

Readjustments of meds abound.

My brain had 1001 tabs open and I couldn’t close any of them or make them go away. Insomnia ruled (and still does) me.

2016 seemed like a pretty bleak year looking back on it, but there were highlights that made some of the bleakness seem not so bad. My child is happy, my cats are happy.

My writing had its ups and downs. Sales on my first book are way down, but I am hoping that when I release Book Two, sales will pick up again.

I got out of the comfort zone of my locations and broadened it. I have met, and even spoken publicly to a semi-large group of people. Just getting me out of the house a few years ago, fighting agoraphobia, I would say I have come a long way.

November and NaNoWriMo always invigorates me, though December has me crashing down once again, so I am preparing for that, and thinking of things that will stave that off.

Its not so bad, being me, at times. The secret is in how well you can hide your crazy.

😉

Literature and Mental Health

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I love taking courses from this site. Its not for credits, and costs nothing, unless you want to acquire a Certificate of Participation’ document and web stamp.

The courses vary on subject, and I have completed 15 of them, and there are nearly 100, if not more, from physical and health, to nursing, to Criminology and forensics. I take these courses to broaden my knowledge, and also for research purposes.

The current course I am working on is entitled, ‘https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/literature/2/todo/5796‘.

It is so fascinating, I felt it deserved a blog post. The course exams how literature, poetry (and I would hazard a guess to add reading certain blogs) can have an impation on ones mental being. Certain literature and poetry bring out the soothing side of things.

Sometimes, it can also be harmful. If you are in a dark place mentally, it wouldnt be wise to read a bunch of dark poetry or reading material.

There are some great guest readers, such as Sir Ian McKellan, Sir Anthony Hopkins, and discussions with many poets and celebrities such as Stephen Fry and Ben Okri.

I often choose the blogs I follow and read their content for things that keep me from sliding down. Yes, I have a variety of disorders, the biggest being anxiety, Major Depression with phsychotic episodes, schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder. I have shared in the past that I do self harm.

I have found I rely on my more upbeat bloggers to keep my head above water in time when I am doing my own writing, because, lets face it, I write some dark morbid stuff. My next book is overflowing with tragedy. I try to keep some of my stuff from getting too far off by adding humor. In my last short story, Addison was pretty much the comic relief that I needed.

But as the writing time crunch nears, I will be searching out those bloggers who post positive, happy things.

Future Learn is a great place to expand your horizons, whether for your own curiosity on a subject, or for genuine research on techniques.

Enjoy, my lovelies!

One Year Ago: The day my heart shatttered

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One year ago today my heart broken into a million pieces.

The loss of my Fat Cat – ChesterAnn – devastated me. The vet had worked weeks to try to pull her through, but in the end, she passed away.

My office has become quite the shrine to her memory. And even with getting 3 new cats, there is a void that she left behind.

ChesterAnn was like no other cat I have ever had. There will be no other cat with her distinct personality…and personality she had in loads.

So today I’ll mope around, look through pictures, talk to the other cats about her. I’ll snivel a little. Okay, maybe a lot.

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Blech. July

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So, the month of July has not been kind to me at all.

I’m feeling bummed and depressed, but I’ve had a recent change in anti-depressants, so thats expected. Still getting used to them.

But, nothing seems to being going as planned. I’m irritable and moody and by no way a joy to be around in any way, shape or form.

Maybe because I am turning another year older? I dont think thats it. The though doesnt really bother me.

I know I am cranky with the people in this house. Not really my kid. She’s been good, and since getting her own employment back, her mood had raised significantly.

The cats are all doing well. One thing that will bum me out next month, is that it will mark a year since Fat Cats passing. I know I will be a wreck.

But why am I so pissy now other than having to deal with one other human who does need to be punched in the throat but I dont wanna go to jail. Why should I let this prick irritate me so much? Blech.

We’ve had daily storms here, which I DO find soothing, but they make it dreadful out when the sun comes back out. It turns this place into a steambath. But, for the most part, I keep my butt indoors.

I have been writing, but its really been sub-par, and my word counts arent reaching my daily goals. I am falling short. That makes me sad. I am trying to find motivation and a kick to the pants. With Camp NaNo, I just feeling like I’m falling behind. Total suckage.

I am seeing no bright sides lately. Thats bad.

Maybe I need more cats.

A Gaming Rant

To the Owners, Admins, Mods, and Players of some of the games I play…

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Maybe a little harsh, I know. I mean, I honestly only am down to playing two games, and one I havent touched in ages. So that leaves one. >_>

In all my years of RP gaming I have found that they are allll alike. I’ve played plenty. Most all of them are still around, sucking in ‘new blood’ players to torment and make all as jaded as everyone else. The thing is, they are doing it on an Out of Character level. Its very disheartening. And disgusting. Cruel.

So, the current game I am playing, my characters crew is totally lacking in any leadership. No one is doing anything. I’ve been RPing with anyone I can to keep interest in the crew my characters are in.

So, my character made a mistake last week. I’ve been working my ass off, it was an oversight on my part in relation to the crew, and someone else paid the price. However, the way Admin, Owners and everyone else cheats in this game to suit their needs, I dont see why it cant be fixed. NNnnnOOO….I totally got reamed by my characters absentee leader for it. It should have been handled better. There was no need to get crude with me, or my character. I am still scratching my head on who he was talking to me as…In Character or Out of Character. Regardless, I went on the defensive, while still owning up to my mistake.

Again, this little mishap can be fixed.

I swear people in these RP games just want to belittle people and make them feel insignificant. I have had both of my character in that crew working hard, earning to the crew, and writing.

So I’ve pretty much decided that I am going to give that game up. I just have to figure out how to get my cash back on things I’ve bought with real money.

I started thinking about going back to the old game. I logged into my messenger for the character and was not enthuastic at all. I still havent even logged into my character, or the RP forum.

I should probably give up this sort of online gaming completely. I loved it because it allowed me to write new stories any time I wanted to, evolving my character and whatnot. But the crossing between the in character and out of character is just too large in these games.

I dont know what I’ll do without the outlet though. I have a very specific sort of RP gaming that I like. I’ve tried other sorts, but have only found a few that suit me.

Blah.

People. They ruin everything.

Easier said than done…

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I have never made it a secret that I self harm.

Today was/is one of those days. The deed is done, however.

They always tell you to reach out and call/talk to someone before you do it. Just likr with NA or AA or anything of that nature. Talk to someone, tell them what you are feeling, tell them what is going on in your head and hopefully they can ‘talk you done’ so to speak.

I have never been able to do that. NEVER. I self mutilation is my burden, and I dont wish to share it with anyone until after the fact.

Today I went to for place that devates from my norm, which is my arms. Today I went for my leg. A good two inch line above the knee. It is haphazard, but I dont think it needs stitches.

There are many things that brought it on. And I thought about it all morning, having my coffee, playing with my ‘tool of choice’.

In all that time, I could have called my friends, talked to my kid, called my mom. I never do it. I wait until all is quiet and do my dirty little deed, and then somehow I feel better.

And then I can talk about it. Well, not really the reason, but I can say, ‘Hey, I self harmed today…’.

So, if you know someone who is like this, or have some advice, or even an idea or two, toss them my way, or, encourage someone you know that self harms not to be like me.