And I had time to not only think, but talk with my husband about a few things that have been recurring thoughts.
The foremost was that after spending most of my life using my blogs and journals to process my emotions, I've walked almost completely away from them for more than three years. Some of the reasons were good ones, having to do with the change in how the Internet now works compared to what it used to be, where anyone could find out anything that I said about them if they took a moment to look. I had a relative of mine tell me that they'd read every account I had made that mentioned someone dear to them, and they were upset that my view hadn't coincided with theirs.
I said, very gently, that I couldn't have known what their viewpoint was, my sources of information were so limited. I admitted, quite readily, that I didn't have the whole story, that I didn't know the whole truth and that I was probably wrong in what I'd said.
They'd come ready for a fight, but when I said, that they were so surprised, it took all the fight out of them. I didn't want similar things happening with all the church members, with my online gamer guys, or with the writing things that happened before that. But I have been finding lately that I truly miss having the history there to refer to when I wish to. It's odd having decades before that, everything from what I ate to what I did to how I felt and what I thought I'd learned. So many cycles repeated.
So I figured I needed to get back into writing again, whether or not anyone was going to read or follow didn't matter as much as what it does for me. So I signed up for Catie Murphy's 100 words for 100 days and so I'm going to write at least 100 words a day for a while. The secondary part of all this is that the trip reports, with their photos and how they've evolved haven't really filled much of my emotional gap... most of them are just written according to the photographs I happened to snap and have veered away from the feelings and thoughts I've had about the experience, until, of course, I run out of photos...
Another thing I've realized is that I am still depressed. It's not surprising in a lot of ways, but I haven't been willing to face it, admit it, or discuss it. And I seem to be determined to keep myself depressed, worn down, and hurt. Just the other day I saw this video by CP Grey on the seven ways to Maximize Depression, and I'm seem to be doing a good number of them all at once. Some of it under the guise of the video gaming, but some of it just hasn't been making much sense to me. The sleeping pattern part of it is the most obvious one, I've been constantly exhausted.
The Florida trip pushed it way past anything I've hit for a long time. Even when I was doing construction, a full week of heavy lifting and power tools, I didn't feel this bad; but I'd also been working out back then and doing physical work on a consistent basis. For the last two years, now, I've mostly been in my office.
I have walked away from competitive gaming, but I haven't walked away from the people I met on that road, and most of them are true gamers, who spend hours honing skills at their screens. I am playing a lot of Rainbow Six Siege, still, and I'm actually getting competent at the game, learning the maps, situations, and what to look for. I'm making predictive C4 kills, mean headshots, finding cover instinctively instead of just standing in the open, doing good predictive thinking, flanking well with map knowledge, and coordinating with my team: except when I'm tired.
It's an odd way to gauge my condition, go into a game and see how quickly I'm killed or how well I can kill other people; but it's an accurate barometer. The problem is that the entire environment, other than the friends that I play with, deeply feed the depressive aspect of "surround yourself with negative people." Instinctively, I've been only playing with people who can be positive with each other, who can dismiss and forgive the mistakes, and cheer when there are successes; but competitive is competitive and the comparisons are inherently about who is better and who is worse.
I am taking small steps out of the depressive stuff, I think, and doing it in a way where I don't have to abandon my friends. I am really concentrating on my sleep patterns. I am designing my days so that I have time away from screens, and I'm moving. As Tim Minchin says in his graduate address, "Run, my intellectual beauties, run." There is a lot more in his speech that matches the positive side of CP Grey's lovely sarcastic approach to the same subject, and the similes and metaphors and sheer beauty of language Minchin employs is worth experiencing.
One of the great big deep holes of depression has to do with the entire state of the United States right now, with Trump as president, and the whole insanity that's going along with it, especially with regards to the objectification of women and racial bigotry. It doesn't help that gaming is very much prejudiced against women and as a "girl" gamer, I've been treated very badly by a few really awful men. There's underlying assumptions, as much on my side as theirs, and it's been weird and hard to try and untangle what is me and what is them. It's like walking back into engineering as a female, and trying to make my place when even I didn't necessarily believe I should have one. It's a big, deep hole that goes well back into my girlhood, and I haven't even begun to dig there, yet.
I'm afraid to.
But I've pretty much put myself in the middle of that quagmire, and it's starting to look like I'm going to have to start digging to really get out. Especially since it's deeply tied in with the whole aspect of same sex fanfiction that I used to write all the time, and the fact that I stayed totally away from non-con, not because anyone told me, but because I just had to for my own self-respect. No one gets "used". Period. So I am holding some boundaries well, if unconsciously.
Another huge slice of the depressive pie has to do with losing people or losing aspects of people. Seeing people lose capabilities over time, sometimes losing what they felt were essential parts of themselves with strokes or meningitis, or in the case of Alzheimer victims losing their memories and everything but their basic values. I'm at the age where I've lost quite a number of people already, and now I know a 32-year-old with brain cancer, 27-year-old with degenerative spinal injuries, an artist with loss of color vision, etc. etc. etc. and now they seem so awfully young. Half my age, and dying already. Life isn't fair. It never has been, but it just seems more so to me now.
So. I think I have to focus on positive things, good things, things I can do and change and fix in my own corner of the world that may or may not touch on others. I read Jo Walton's My Real Children over Thanksgiving break and it resonated, her micro efforts making huge changes in how the world walked. We'll see what comes of that.
Anyway... I'd rather leave on a positive note. *laughs* One game that John, Jet, and I are playing as a family is Overcooked, a cooperative cooking game which we all play together in front of the TV, and it's reduced us to laughing so hard we can't breathe. The small Christmas miracle that occurred in conjunction with that was that I asked for one XBox controller on Amazon and I received three, one for each of us, which makes the game a lot easier to play. I hope to recount more specifics with regards to that in future bits.