Who I am Vs My Mental Illness Vs Spiritual Crisis

Ah, our favourite topic returns. Mental illness! I saw this post topic floating around some time ago on the bipolar collective writing blog, and thought it was a fabulous idea. How do we understand ourselves vis a vis our illness, an illness that so often influences our mind and thoughts?

Well, to me it is simple. I am how I choose to react to my symptoms. It is not ‘me’ to have racing thoughts. It is ‘me’ to try and find a solution, panicking slightly along the way. It is not ‘me’ to have terrible mood swings. It is ‘me’ to isolate myself during them to try and minimize the pain I might cause those around me.

You see, people are still the same people they were before a mental illness struck. A mental illness is nothing but a list of symptoms affecting one’s brain chemistry, in turn affecting our mood, thoughts, etc.

Interestingly, though people LO-OVE to compare and conflate a mental illness with a spiritual experience, you don’t see people wondering who they are vs their spiritual experiences.

And yet, I found my spiritual crisis of late to have been quite distressing, out of the ordinary for me, and indeed, to be something that made me wonder about myself MORE than my normal symptoms do.

Maybe it’s because I’ve become used to my symptoms. Maybe it’s because spiritual crisises are made to be acute. But still, there is this all-pervasive notion that one is intrinsically ‘you’ and the other is a force acting upon you, and one is negative and the other positive.

Here’s a hint: they’re both forces acting upon you. Screwy brain chemistry vs spirit messing with you with neon signs, both are forces acting upon you.

My point? Surprisingly, they have something in common. It is our reactions that define us, not the actions hoisted upon us. And so I encourage people to think not only of their symptoms, but also of their spiritual experiences. After all, I am a hard polytheist and I believe the spirits to be exterior and independent to us. Because of this, I do not believe that having spirits contact you makes you special. Rather, it is how you choose to respond to them that makes you a shining star.

 

 

I Wrote a Thing!!

I did, I did, and I did it despite being horribly depressed! And damn, if this is the story that makes me feel better then so be it! Because I’m not doing so good these days, and writing it actually helped a little.

So what did I write out of the usual? Well, a LOTR inspired fanfiction. I know, who cares? There’s a zillion (gay) ones already out there. Well, I saw an idea whip by on instagram, and I thought, hey, I’mma write that.

So, BEHOLD ya fuckers,

What if the Elves were Evil and the Orcs good?!

Yes, I know, such an ingenious title. It totally summarizes the story and ‘vibe’ so well. But chill with me here a minute. The concept is not only that the orcs are good beings with a heart and soul, but that they are being led by a badass woman who just came to power. Oh yeah, she rocks. Me likey.

But the story centers around an uruk-hai who gets captured by humans, saved by an obligatorily beautiful elf prince, and you can probably guess how it goes from there. Or can you?

I just wrote the first chapter, and would love some feedback. But, you know, it’s fanfiction so don’t take it too seriously.

Meet Ranger!

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Now y’all are maybe getting downright sick of hearing about my novels, but don’t worry – I’m just getting started.

So meet Ranger! She’s the official main character of my current WIP that means oh so much to me. She’s a brain-fucker extraordinaire, a licensed ‘crazy person’ (she’s high-functioning schizophrenic), and my favourite badass. Not only does she suffer and rise above her mental illness, she rises above everyone’s mind games. She’s just the person no one knows what to do with because she’s unpredictable and won’t play their games – or will she? Sometimes she actually does, you know, just to mess with them.

She’s like my own private superhero, everything I wished I could be I guess. And I’m mildly terrified that I won’t do her justice. That her story is going to be a terrible flop and no one is going to understand what she’s all about. And that, well, will mean that I will have failed her.

I’m worried her mental illness will come across as a cry for attention and tokenization on my part instead of it being seen as an integral part of her character.

I have so much to worry about with her and her novel that it’s sometimes paralyzing. I really want to get her plot and character across – but I still don’t know what’s her driving force in the novel. What does Ranger want? Why does she mess around with people? Does she even know? It’s frustrating, but there’s so many unanswered questions in this novel. It’s so complex in subtle ways and all those subtleties are so important for me.

Anyways I’m done ranting here. Y’all have a nice day and if you have a moment, what do you think of my picture of Ranger? Do you like the style? I’m super fond of it and really like the ‘feel’ of it. I’ll probably keep the rest of the pictures for this novel in that style.

I’ve been Unleashed!

Well not literally, lol. But I had been suffering from the quasi-mythical ‘writer’s block’ for, oh say, a few years now. What?! Years? Well more specifically, I suffered writer’s block in a certain story for years. It’s a story that means a lot to me and I was damned if I was going to just abandon it, because it’s those characters that kept me from suicidal thoughts all those years ago. THey were the ones that made me hold on.

And now, be-fuckin’-hold! AFter a dream motivating me to try again at writing it, I realized the other day that my problem with the novel was that I didn’t know how to write it, not that I didn’t know the story enough. Ah hah! After a few  hours of musing and blaring music on headphones, I figured it out. A narrator. What I needed was a narrator who would make this choppy story seamless.

Behold! Meet the narrator!

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This character, ladies and gentlemen, is a sword spirit whose master has gone missing. And so, well, they pop around and tell the story. They’re totally quirky, bizarre, and weird. They’re entirely unreliable, leading the reader down false paths and to erronous conclusions. But that’s the fun of it, right?

And while we’re at it, let’s introduce you to two other characters: Allegra and Ryo, couple extraordinaire. allegra ryo happy.jpeg

Who are they, beside being general badasses (which is slightly more Allegra’s occupation)? Well they’re the leaders of this magical militia that the story is half about. They are in the middle of reviving their goddess, staging a coup, and managing the drama of getting married. Now I don’t want to give too much away though, because I do want to lure you all in and make you inspired to read whenever I start posting this story. But here’s a thing, if anyone gets a spin-off novel, it’s going to be them. These two have enough backstory to make their own mini series.

And yes, I know they’re a straight couple and this post is tagged lgbt? Well there are actually lgbt couples in the story as well, but they’re not drawn yet!

Yup, yup, so that’s about it for now. I’m going back to writing and will keep you all posted as to how this story goes! Hopefully there will be more pictures to come too!

Mental Illness and Creative Writing – A Side Note

This is going to be the maybe-last in this mini series. I just wanted to finish by saying something that I think I’ve already said but that bears repeating.

Mental illness makes writing more difficult.

It bears repeating again.  Mental illness makes writing more difficult. Sure, you can draw inspiration from your experiences of being mentally ill, but as for the actual act of writing, it gets more difficult with the grand ‘ol MI (mental illness).

How so? Well let’s break it down.

Depression! Lauded as the muse of artists and seen as making us all oh so inspired, does the actual opposite. It dulls the senses, sometimes even making us see less colors and experiencing less. Depression, for me, feels like being in a state of unfathomable, nebulous, pain. Can you write better in pain? I found that no, because depression made me not want to move, not want to start anything, not feel capable of doing anything. And the pain, that blinding inner pain, was enough to make me want to die. Nevermind writing, what I wanted was death. Did feeling this way make me a better writer? No, because I was so demotivated I simply couldn’t write. So strike one.

Anxiety! The modern plague, the “it’s all in your head”, the invisible ailment that so many suffer from yet no one seems to take seriously. How does anxiety affect my writing? Well, it certainly made me feel like I “HAD” to write so that I could “make money” and “Not be a BUM”. Was this conducive to good writing? Eh, it certainly motivates me to pick up the pen/keyboard. But when the time of writing came, I would delete half of what I wrote, too anxious to trust myself and just let it flow. I would double-check every word. It slowed down my writing, and not just that, it cheapened it. Being too anxious to ‘let it flow’ shows in the writing. It becomes stiff, startlingly keeled to the side and sort of robotic. So strike another one.

Finally, the seal of superiority that people want to give us if they like us, or the status they give us when we’re despicable: psychosis/dissociation from reality/breaks with reality. (Note, yes I’m lumping those all together but they may very well be different medically. For the sake of this article, I’m squishing them together.) Well! I feel this comes with a big ‘duh’, but I’m still going to break this down. If you can’t understand reality, sentences, or how to brush your teeth (happened to someone I know), you may not be able to even remember the physical act of writing. I’ve certainly been there. Then, forming sentences may be another really difficult task. Again, been there. And finally, if your thoughts aren’t cohesive, your ‘art’ might just not be either. In my humble experiences, art requires a certain amount of functionality. You need to be able to express yourself in a way that can be understood, a thing that for me wasn’t possible during my ‘episodes’.

Literally, when I have my episodes, I can’t write. It’s just too hard, and what I do write comes out like trash compared to how I ‘normally’ write.

So there peoples. Mental illness in itself is not conducive to writing. Like any other difficult experience, it can give us experiences that we can draw inspiration from. But in and of itself it’s something really difficult to cope with, and that hinders the art of writing.

Mental Illness and Creative Writing – The Later Days

As I explained in my previous post, I remained largely alive due to my beliefs in my writing and its reality. I believed that somewhere, in some dimension or other, my characters existed. I believed I was chosen by them to retell their stories, a sort of missionary to the world.

How did this change as my psychosis burst over me? How did this change as I fell in love with my wife, and sought out treatment?

Simply, it didn’t. My writing remained there, and I was determined as ever to convey their message to this world.

It was only when I became medicated and more balanced in my brain that I realized that maybe it wasn’t true that these stories existed. That maybe it was all part of a delusion.

It was a terrifying realization, that maybe these novels I’d dedicated my life to were just that – novels. It was hard, and still is hard. Part of me deep inside still believes firmly that they are real in some dimension, but the logical part of me is wary to believe it like I used to.

Presently, I float between the two beliefs, my heart in one and my brain in the other. But my dedication remains the same. Writing is my path, my vocation. I may have become less militant in it, but I still consider it a large part of who I am.

 

Mental Illness and Creative Writing – The Early Days

I’ve written about this before on another blog that I ran about writing (and have since quit) but I think it bears repeating here. I write (duh), and I have mental illness (double duh). But how do the two intertwine?

In the past as a young child and later as a teen, I was suicidal. I felt my life had no meaning. I felt empty, anchorless. When I began to write however, life gained on a spectrum of colors and meaning. My life became bigger than myself, it became about these fantastical characters.

Later, in my teens, as my suicidal desires increased, I struggled daily to find reasons to live. Unfortunately, as is so often the case, my family just wasn’t incentive enough to stay. What made me feel like I had to stay alive was my stories.

Because to me, my characters were alive.  Maybe due to psychosis, maybe because I was in a burst of psychic practice, but I firmly believed my characters existed in another world. I felt I was their chosen emissiary, their special one who would tell their story to the world. And that duty was what gave me reason to stay alive.

I fought my suicidal ideation, my chronic nightmares, survived on three-four hours of sleep a night for years, all because of my belief in these characters and their choosing of me. Largely, I made it through the most dangerous and lonely part of my life thanks to writing.

To Be Continued…

Farfadel

Farfa-What? Farfadel, ladies and gentlemen. It is a land of wondrous beauty, a land of happiness and joy. It is a place that, in the depths of my own despair, I concocted up.

Yep, a few years ago I was in the worst stretch of my mental health. Determined to keep writing, I concocted Farfadel. A happy, fearless, and harmless world where nothing bad happens and shenanigans abound. It was meant to be readable for all, a gentle balm for those suffering from anxiety and depression, for I was at the point that I couldn’t read anymore because the anxiety was so bad.

So what about it? Well, like so many good creative things, it has become an addiction of sorts. One novel spawned another, and another, and another. Two are finished, and many, many, more unfinished. I love writing Farfadel, I love the harmlessness of it, the joy and freedom for silliness.

But what does this have to do with you? Well, dear readers, I need your input. You see, I lose motivation swiftly. I feel like none of this matters to anyone but myself. So I would love if you would read some of my stories and share your thoughts with me. I will share as much as I can for FREEEEE (I love free stuff), and will sell others. For the moment though, I would really just love input and feedback. What do you like? What made you laugh? Did I misspell something? Share with me!

For now, the novel will be published on this website, under the heading ‘Of Adelaide and Shadow (A Tentative Title)’, or you can follow this link HERE to find it.

Testosterone and Writing!

Well it’s happened! I’ve finally gotten that magical hormone! Just yesterday I, under supervision of a nurse, injected myself. I was euphoric. The nurse couldn’t believe how happy I was to stab myself, haha.

At completely the same time, several of my seeds sprouted. What a message to come home to! A new life beginning, a friend suggested it means. It certainly feels like it. I’ve been exercising more, trying to eat healthy, and feel ready to morph into a newer, better, shinier version of myself.

And with that… comes more writing. More stories. And here I am, wondering if there’s anybody out there who wants to read them? Writing can be a lonely affair, so should I share? So far my favorite thing is posting a fanfiction, simply because I get feedback. I love feedback on my works. Yes, I’m one of ‘those’ authors.

But seriously, if I wanted to share the raw version of my novels, what platform should I use? My Facebook reading group doesn’t seem to captivate anyone (unless it’s when I advertise for erotica, haha). Should I post raw chapters here? Or on Archive of our Own? What do y’all think?

Chapter One is posted – for FREE!

Yes,  it is! Chapter one of my lgbt trans-centric novel is now up and available in my facebook reading group HERE.

What ho! Terrible shenanigans are appearing! A Frog King has made his way on stage, and fairies have a mischievous plot as to how to get rid of him! Really, just come and read 🙂

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