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This index was last updated 27 AUG 2011
So, it's about half four in the morning, I've been awake since about ten to three, and I've just had another mini-meltdown because each time I think I've realised all the packing I have to do and how much stuff I have to fit and how little space I have to fit it into, there turns out to be another fractal level of it I've forgotten. Things like "how do I fit an entire wardrobe's worth of clothing into one suitcase"? Admittedly, it's a large suitcase. But it's still only the one suitcase, and I have to try and fit clothing which currently fills a wardrobe, a chest of drawers, and a couple of storage tubs into it.
Plus there's the whole question of "what do I do with the contents of the pantry?" I suspect most of it will have to be thrown out (because there's no way known to mankind I'm going to be able to fit all of it into the pantries of either my mother or Steve's mother) and I'm not sure how much of it can be given to various food banks, or even how to get into contact with those food banks to find out whether they take donations.
There's so much needs doing, and so little time and so few spoons for me to be doing it with.
Well, it's half five now, and I've decided to do some dishes (I want pancakes for breakfast, so I have to wash the frypan and some cutlery).
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The State of Things 07 APR 2013
So, just a bit of an update to let everyone who's interested (and anyone who's reading this) know where we're standing at present.
* Our car has just returned from having two CV joints and the muffler replaced (courtesy of Steve's parents, who heard about the problems and offered to pay for the work to be done by the mechanic they've been using for years).
* We have to be out of our current rental accommodation by Monday 15 APR 2013 at the absolute latest. We've asked about getting the lease extended by a week, but apparently the owners have contractors coming in to do things pretty much immediately after that, so we were turned down.
* We had an application in with a real estate agent to rent a 2-bedroom flatlet in Mandurah (Silver Sands area) at $200 per week. We heard back from them regarding whether our application has been successful yesterday - it hadn't.
* On Monday (08 APR 2013), we're heading down with Steve's parents to visit some friends of theirs who have access to some storage space in Yunderup. If it looks okay, we've then got somewhere to store all our excess furniture and goods.
* On Friday (12 APR 2013), we're getting a removalist to move our gear out of our current location in Parmelia. Current destination for us is the caravan at my parents place for a week or so, and then the downstairs rooms of Steve's parents place.
* We'll have to spend at least the week from 12 APR to 22 APR 2013 staying either in my parents' caravan, or in a motel room, because Steve's folks are expecting one of their sons and their grandson to visit for that week from NSW.
* The plan at present is that Steve's folks are planning to do a bit of a tour of various friends and rellies during the winter (sort of doing the grey nomad thing, only in a bit more comfort, from what I can tell) and they'll use us as house-sitters during the meanwhile.
* We're still both on the dole. Steve's looking for work. So am I, officially (although given I can only do about three days a week at most before the stress starts getting to me, unofficially I'm pretty damn certain I really should be looking into the various hoops I'd need to jump through for Disability Support Pension to see whether I'd be able to get it).
* I've wound up withdrawing from study (again!) because while I thought at the beginning of the semester that I'd be able to cope with everything, it turns out that I'm not. I would have had a major essay due about a week from now, and I really wasn't coping with keeping up with things for that, so rather than try and fail (which the uni tends to get a bit icky about) I decided to just withdraw. My withdrawal was after the HECS census date, so I'll still be paying for this attempt at the unit. To be deadly honest, I couldn't give a monkey's. With regard to paying off HECS, it's a case of first I need a job, then I need a job which is going to be paying me more than the HECS repayment threshold for three days a week, and then I'll start worrying about the size of the debt I have to pay off.
* In the meantime, we're in the process of packing things up, handing on the excess to the Salvos or the Sammies, and either selling or Freecycling the stuff which is in good enough nick to get rid of. If anyone in the Perth area has a whole heap of packing boxes they want to get rid of, we're on the lookout for them, since it's pretty clear we're not going to be able to fit our entire household into the boxes we have even after thinning things out. Contact me by email (megpie71 at yahoo dot com dot au) if you're able to offer 'em.
* Either way, from about 12 APR 2013 until we have a fixed abode again, don't expect to be hearing from me - 'net access is going to be patchy at best, I suspect. I have plans to drop in to the nearest Centrelink to wherever we wind up on Monday 15th and use their self-service facilities to make my fortnightly income report (because hey, they've got them handy), as well as bringing them up to date with either our new address, or the best available postal address for us.
 Good Samaritan Industries - a charity group which provides a lot of jobs for the intellectually less abled in the WA region. They do a lot of work reprocessing second hand clothing.
This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/36396.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
New Stuff up at AO3
I got carried away last Wednesday and posted up a couple of new bits and pieces at AO3. So here's links and info about them for anyone who's curious.
Fandom: Kingdom Hearts
Why: I was fifteen. Riku looks back, and tries to explain his reasons.
This one has been sitting about on my IJ for a couple of years now, having never really been noticed when I first posted it, and not having received much feedback at all. It's another one of those "character introspection" pieces I write occasionally, in this case trying to explain from the perspective of the antihero of the Kingdom Hearts game series what his motivations were for some events very early on in the game. I've spent too long on the culture studies side of things to ever believe actions happen entirely free from context, so I started thinking about what the context might be for the characters in this case.
Fandom: Final Fantasy VIII
What A Good Boy: Part two of the "Singing the Travels" series which started with "Hooked on a Feeling". I suppose we all have our moments where we look back at some kind of past innocence and long to head back there. Squall reflects on events and history, and finding the perfect tune to sum things up.
I am still working on the series - part three is in progress even now. It's just the progress is rather glacial (and in this day and age, yes, this does mean it comes with the threat of the driving interest melting away long before the expected output!). However, Part Two has been written for a while now, and had been edited and fiddled with to the point where I was now down to minor word and punctuation tweaks, which meant it was ready for public consumption.
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An Open Letter to the People Defending the Steubenville Rapists
(Or indeed to anyone else saying any of a number of victim-blaming things about the young woman who was raped by the rapists in question).
I've been reading a bit about the Steubenville rape event in various blogs and articles. Not too much - I'm not really in a psychological space where I can take the stress at the moment - but enough to get an idea of what's being said. I'm hearing an awful lot about the victim of this rape - about things she should have done, things she shouldn't have done, attitudes she should have held, behaviours she should have avoided. Things she could have done to avoid being raped, and thus avoided this whole mess coming to light, and "ruining" the lives and careers of two young men who apparently thought rape was a permissible thing, and bringing to light an entire town subculture wherein being part of the high school football team gives a person social licence to act as though the normal rules of society are not applicable.
The young woman in question was going to a high school party where members of the local high school football team (who were local heroes, and from what I can discover, practically deified in the local area) were going to be present. I sincerely doubt she thought of herself in context as "a sheep among the wolves". These were people she went to school with. People she attended classes with. People she knew. She most likely thought of herself, if anything, as a human being among other human beings.
She thought she was safe. She didn't know she wasn't safe. She found out AFTER THE EVENT she hadn't been safe.
How the bloody hells was she supposed to have known she'd be targeted for this sort of thing? How was she to know nobody would be looking out for her? She thought these people were her friends. She thought, more importantly, she was their friend, that she mattered to them. She found out, sadly, she wasn't their friend, and they weren't her friends, in the worst possible way.
And victim-blaming strangers say "she should have known better than to get drunk in the presence of rapists". SHE DIDN'T FUCKING KNOW SHE WAS IN THE PRESENCE OF RAPISTS, YOU SELF-IMPORTANT FOOLS!. She thought she was in the presence of friends.
Now, I learned at a very young age I couldn't trust other people to be looking out for me. I learned at a very young age if someone said they wanted to be my friend, they were most likely either attempting to lull me into a false sense of security, or trying to trick me outright. I learned I can't trust other people to stand up for me, to stand by me, or to take my side.
I know I'm broken.
But I'm broken in possibly the only way that might have protected this young woman from what happened to her. If she'd been broken in the same way I'm broken, she probably would have been suspicious of an invitation to such a party. She would have either said no outright, or more likely she would never have been asked to the party in the first place (because the kinds of bullies who are adept at setting up victims get pretty good at recognising the ones who won't take the bait).
You know what? I wouldn't wish my brokenness on anyone, not even my worst enemy. But you seem to think this is a necessary and vital state for all young women who want to be able to avoid rape.
I'm broken. I'm unable to function as a social animal, because I can't trust people. I'm able to fake it for a bit, but I will never let people close to me. I'm broken, and I'm child free by choice, and I've made the deliberate decision that my line of brokenness stops with me, because I know I'm not capable of functioning as a parent or a caregiver. I'm constantly depressed, I'm constantly miserable. I wake up every morning and my first thought every morning is "oh damn, I'm still not dead".
And you seem to think my state is somehow a desirable and necessary one for other people to be in, so they can avoid being raped.
From the depths of my misery, I LOATHE you.
This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/36048.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
A Minor Accomplishment
I got around to clearing through the pile of discarded clothing which has been accumulating for the past six or so years today. Basically, it was a process of going through, and sorting into two possible piles. One was the "Salvos/Sammies" pile - the stuff which was basically in good nick, but had wound up on the discard pile because it either didn't fit, didn't suit, or wasn't quite 100%. For example, one shirt on there used to have a pattern of studs stuck onto the collar area, but most of them have come off in the wash. The garment is still structurally intact, and someone who's willing to replace the beading or whatever could probably salvage it and get a number of years of use out of it. I haven't the skills or the interest, so out it went.
The other pile was the stuff which I'd been reluctant to throw out because even though there were things like gaping holes in the front, the rest of the cloth was still sound, and I might be able to make something useful out of it. Problem is, my interest in crafting in the past few years has petered out to around zero (and it was never that high in the first place) so the likelihood of me actually doing so is minimal. I'm not going to be making a rag rug out of old pairs of jeans, so today I decided "stop kidding yourself" and chucked the whole damn lot of them into the bin. Two laundry-basket loads of stuff which should have been chucked out bit by bit years ago.
(For those who read the last entry, it's the "malign Buddha" pile of clothes I've just tackled. So that's that anxiety dealt with, anyway).
Also on the "chuck out" pile were two freebie backpacks which I'd used to bits (one lasted about a year before the bottom wore through; the second had the top rip off after about the first six to eight weeks).
Incidentally - I found a bag of clothes which must have moved over with us from Canbrrra, and hadn't been unpacked since. So that's been unpacked, and most of the contents are in the washbasket, waiting for next week's washing round. I gain two vests, a couple of nice shirts, and a couple of flannies I hadn't seen in years.
The stuff for the second-hand shops all fits into one green reusable shopping bag. The original pile of stuff occupied a sixty litre plastic box, and couple of piles in other locations as well. I'm sure there's a lesson in that, but I'm not interested in learning it right now.
This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/35795.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
I'm F I N E...
... and we all know that stands for Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional, right? Right.
What's stressing me out 15 MAR 2013
* Have to go to Centrelink and hand in paperwork - don't want to deal with bureaucratic bullshit
* Scared we're not going to be able to get enough money from Centrelink between the witholdings for the debt and everything else to afford food and rent simultaneously.
* Scared this is going to count against us when we're looking for accommodation
* Deadline for accommodation is coming up faster and faster
* Behind on assignments
* Haven't been taking meds, because taking meds falls off the bottom of the list very early on when I'm even vaguely stressed
* Don't have enough meds to last more than about a fortnight
* Getting more meds would entail going back to the doctors and I haven't been since about mid-December
* Don't want to go back to the doctor and have to explain why I haven't been taking meds, why I haven't been back to see them since December, and why I didn't book that blasted ultrasound
* Don't want to have to go through the whole rigmarole of explaining why the hell I don't like making phone calls (eg to book appointments for a thyroid ultrasound) because I know it sounds insane and stupid and idiotic and pointless.
* Don't want to have to damn well get back on the medication-go-round for the depression because I know it won't work more than temporarily.
* Haven't done anywhere near enough work on my assignments and study for uni
* Haven't done anything about looking for new accommodation since about Monday
* Haven't been keeping up with the housework
* Feel like I need to be keeping up with all of these things and I haven't got the energy or inclination
* Didn't eat anything yesterday apart from that sandwich and the spring rolls and the coffee
* Don't want to be scolded for not having eaten
* Don't want to cook
* Suspect my period is starting
* Nerve in my right shoulder/upper arm/forearm is trapped *again* and it's giving me gyp
* Scared I'm breaking down again
* Don't want to be homeless, and really can't see how we're going to avoid that at this point
* Steve doesn't seem to understand any of this, so I'm getting next to no support, and what support I'm getting isn't really the useful stuff
* Feel isolated and crazy.
* If I go to the doctors to talk about not taking the meds, they tell me to take the meds, and when I explain I'd like to but my brain isn't processing the request properly they tell me to get Steve to remind me, except Steve doesn't seem to take his OWN meds regularly so why the merry hell would he be willing to nag me about mine, never mind my typical reaction to nagging is to run screaming in the other direction. So how this is supposed to help is beyond me.
* There's so much to be done with regards to packing and decluttering and clearing things out and all the rest and I have no idea how to deal with it all.
* I don't know whether there's a clothing reprocessing group (like Salvos or Sammies) which is likely to take the stuff which is piled up in the spare room - all the shirts and clothes I've worn through over the years - and be able to salvage the usable cloth from them, and I don't want to just chuck everything in the bin because there's still something that someone could use in there I'm sure and I don't want to waste it. So it sits there and doesn't get dealt with and sits there and reproaches me because I'm a bad housekeeper and I'm lousy at being useful and it's just THERE squatting in the corner like some kind of malign Buddha.
* Don't know whether the djembe and the bodhran would be resellable (presume they would) and don't know what a reasonable price to ask is, so I'm scared of over-asking and getting no offers, or under-asking and having people laugh at me, and if I just say "make me an offer" I'm going to look like a fool.
* Don't think we can afford to live on foodsicles and takeaway much longer (if indeed we can now) and quite honestly that's all I feel like eating because cooking means I have to cook and clean and shop and function and I'm not functioning and it's all too bloody hard and why can't Steve do some of this?
* I know I'm dropping my bundle, and I feel useless because of it, because I should be able to HANDLE THIS, DAMN IT. But I can't and I can't even make it an amusing post to put up on Dreamwidth because who wants to see me exploding into a billion pieces ... again?
* I haven't done anything for HaT since about the end of January, and the rate I'm going I probably won't do anything for them any time soon and I feel like I'm letting people down when I do that.
* I have no idea where to start with dealing with any of this. (Well, okay, I tell a minor lie - and I'm a horrible person for that, I know - I've taken my meds for today, and I've taken a couple of neurofen to deal with the pain of the pinched nerve). It's all just there and it needs to be dealt with and I desperately need to do some washing today because I have one pair of clean underwear to my name and and and and ... and I just want to go back to bed and hide.
* But I can't go back to bed and hide because I have to go to Centrelink today to hand in paperwork and I don't want to because I don't want to deal with the bureaucratic bullshit, and we're back where I started the list, time to go round again.
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What A Lovely Thing To Wake Up To
This is from the Meetup.com page of a writers meetup group I was attending. It had been going for maybe about six weeks now.
"This is a group for both writers and aspiring writers. Our aim is to help potential authors understand the basic elements of creating a great story, how to bring that story to fruition, and finally how to create the best chance of becoming a published author. I feel that the initial aim of the group has not been fulfilled. Good luck to the fan fiction people in the group but the group was founded for people who wanted their own original work to be published and that is not possible with fan fiction. Best wishes. [Organiser's name redacted for privacy]"
The italicised text is the stuff which is new today. The bolded text is the stuff which annoyed the hells out of me.
I was the only person in the group who stated they were actively involved with fan fiction. I was also the only person in the group who'd attended all the meetings scheduled, aside from the organiser. There'd been about ten to twelve people other people involved, and yeah, there were problems (mostly to do with the venue and the noise levels there).
However, I wasn't monopolising the group. I wasn't demanding everything should be about fanfic. I wasn't expecting everyone else switch to writing fanfic. As far as I know, I wasn't doing ANYTHING which merited the whole damn group being closed down. And I really resent being effectively blamed for the closure.
Now, if nobody minds particularly, I think I'll go work out my anger by beating up kobolds and bugbears in D&D Online.
[Later note: having talked to my partner about the whole thing (he'd attended one meeting) I got a different perspective on things. His belief was the organiser of this group was attempting to form the whole thing as a way of getting groupies, in effect (he'd had a book conventionally published, and tended to bring this up every meeting), and my attempts to be helpful and participate (putting up links to writing on writing by other writers in the forums, offering to help out with problems with the meetup.com interface etc) were read as being threats to his leadership. In which case, the whole thing starts to look like someone cutting off their nose to spite their face. In either case, he still probably would have been better off by writing a private email to me, rather than shutting down the whole group. I still feel angry about the group having been cancelled, resentful at effectively having been blamed for the cancellation, and rather upset about having received this virtual slap in the face first thing in the morning.]This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/34866.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Cranky and Bitchy. Beware
So yesterday was Australia Day, or as I am now nicknaming it in my head, the Bogan Festival of Flags. Some bright spark in our area decided they were going to have a home fireworks display. Which they started doing at about 1pm, and carried on irregularly throughout the afternoon until about 7pm. Some other little darlings decided that our cul-de-sac street was a good one to hoon up and down on their dirt bikes at irregular loud intervals.
I react badly to unexpected loud noises. They rattle inside my head, and I wind up getting very stressed by them. If it's been a stressful week for me already (which it had been - re-enrolling for this year at uni had required three separate visits and a very angry performance in the student centre to get things sorted out, which I was not impressed by; then I went shopping on Friday which was more stress again) that kind of thing catapults me into full-on overload mode, and I go straight to depressed and stay there. It was one of the things I disliked about living in Canbrrra (where private fireworks are permitted on certain public holidays), and one of the things I was quite happy to leave behind when I left the place.
Never mind that private usage of fireworks in Western Australia is something which is illegal since 1967 (and was made so due to bushfire risk - a fireworks event permit refers to the Bush Fires Act of 1954, which probably has something to say about it all). Never mind that this street we're living on is close to a couple of small "nature strips" which are currently tinder-dry, due to the prolonged drought.
I called in the performance to the police last night, and wrote an email to the council reporting the whole business. I suspect the idiots who were doing it didn't have a permit from the council, and quite frankly I hope they enjoy the fines and the charges.
So, I'm still cranky, I'm still bitchy, and I'm still annoyed despite having got an extra few hours sleep (slept in until 10am today, which is unusual for me in summer). I still have the beginnings of a headache, and I'm still not in a fit mood to deal with anything else sentient. Sounds like the perfect time to go thump kobolds in D&D Online.
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Falling off the edge of the world... again
Okay, so Christmas day was the start of a rather lengthy heatwave for us here in Perth WA - we've been experiencing temperatures over 38C (the old 100F) every day since 25 December, and they're not expected to go down until the 2nd of January next year. Yay.
I'm coping fine. I'm back to my standard "hot weather" pattern of waking up at around about dawn each day to deal with the business of closing up the blinds on the laundry doorway, and opening the front and side doors so that the cool night air can circulate through the house before the day starts to heat up. Then I dress in a very light voile sarong (and not much else) and spend the day sitting in front of the computer or the XBox with the water cooler going. Unfortunately, our water cooler is a fairly old model (it came west with us from Canbrrra) and it's given up on the water-cooling bit - the various cloth bits drape down into the reservoir, but they aren't wicking anything up any more. So these days it's just a very fancy fan. Still works fine in conjunction with a squirty bottle of water, though. Mist self down with squirty bottle, sit in front of the fan, and I cool off very nicely.
However, our nice neat replacement server decided it wasn't having with all this hot weather. It started sulking on Wednesday night, and when I tried to reboot it on Thursday morning, it gave us the standard "my hardware isn't playing nice" disgruntled beeps. Memory problems. Himself tried fiddling about with the RAM, but it didn't help; he suspected either the RAM wasn't working at all, or there might have been a problem with the motherboard.
So, today he went out and got another server for us (rather than spend hours chasing around in 40C temperatures to try and find a computer parts specialist who had the right bits to replace all this stuff) - or rather, he purchased a second-hand PC from someone who was getting rid of an old box, and set that up to do the Internet thing.
With any luck, we're back on the 'net...
(Late news: new box will not boot without a keyboard. BIOS fiddlery undertaken.)
This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/34554.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
Falling Off The Edge Of The World
Tuesday night, we had a bit of a storm around our place. Or, to put it more bluntly, our area received a lake via air drop (always fun).
( Long Story Below )
However, as a result of all the futzing around, and the lightning flying everywhere and all the rest, our old gateway server had decided it was all too much, and died on us. So yesterday, I had the fun chore of testing the two older PCs my partner had sitting around waiting to be turned into something, and finding out whether they'd boot at all (the original plan was to switch out the power supply from one of them into the existing gateway box).
EDITED TO ADD: Mumblefrotz, gotta remember not to hit enter on the autocomplete for the tags - Dreamwidth isn't LibreOffice.
Anyway, we wound up finding one of the boxen worked just fine (it used to be my PC, but the USB ports started playing up on it, and when I got my former laptop, it sort of went by the board) and with the addition of an extra network card (one to connect to the network, one to connect to the router) it should work just fine as a gateway box itself. All we had to do was install a copy of the gateway software on it (which was an adventure in itself - would you believe the boot loader for the gateway software didn't recognised USB keyboards as existing, even though the BIOS for the machine did, and the eventual software itself does? Fortunately Himself has an old keyboard with the PS2 connectors - the round ones which only work one way up - rattling around in his pile of miscellaneous PC junk) and get it up and running.
Installation last night, final configuration touches today, and now we're back onto the internet.
In between times, I've written approximately 10,000 words of a D&D campaign novelisation. How did people procrastinate successfully before there was an internet? I've forgotten...
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Alan Jones Goes To Journalism School
To be honest, I'm not surprised Alan Jones has had to go to Journalism school. What should be surprising people is that this man got a job as a broadcaster without having any journalism training in the first place. Mr Jones previous history (as per Wikipedia) is as an English teacher, a rugby coach, a parliamentary speech writer, and an unsuccessful conservative politician. There's indications he was very successful as a rugby coach (it's what he got his MAO for, after all) but aside from this, most of his paid employment since approximately 1974 has been as a result of his connections in the Liberal and National (formerly Country) parties.
He used to be a columnist for the Sun-Herald (but lost the job after publishing a column which was pretty much a straight lift from a Frederick Forsyth novel without bothering to attribute his sources - the other staff at the newspaper campaigned to have him removed as a result).
Alan Jones was never a journalist. He was never trained as a journalist. He should never have been taken seriously as a journalist. He's a demagogue. Simple as that.
Sources and Resources:
http://theconversation.edu.au/a-very-naughty-parrot-acma-sends-alan-jones-back-to-school-10212 - The Conversation
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-10-18/alan-jones-ordered-to-do-journalism-training/4320534 - ABC.Net.au
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alan_Jones_%28radio_broadcaster%29 - Wikipedia page on Jones
http://www.independentaustralia.net/2012/business/media-2/alan-jones-greatest-hits/ - Independent Australian
http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_600069 - ACMA media release about the conditions they've put on 2GB.
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So, I Got Myself One of Them Tumblr Thingies
At present, it's pretty much earmarked for headcanon, overthinking, and plotbunnies in whichever fandoms take my interest right at that moment.
It's over at megpie71.tumblr.com. Go take a dekko. Ask me a question, leave a comment, talk to me about the weird places my fic brain goes.
This entry was originally posted at http://megpie71.dreamwidth.org/33506.html. Please comment there using OpenID.
R U OK?
It's R U OK Day here in Australia. It's a national day dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues.
So hi, I'm Meg, and at the moment, I'm not OK.
I have chronic endogenous clinical depression. Chronic means this is long-term, it isn't something that's going away any time soon. Endogenous means there's no readily apparent "reason" for why I'm depressed. Clinical depression is the name of the mental illness I have, and as the previous two sentences point out, I don't just have this illness one day a year. It's for life, not just for today.
At the moment, I'm having one of my periodic "black" times. I'm dealing with a depressive attack, which means I'm displaying all the symptoms of depression. I'm feeling vulnerable, self-critical, guilty about long-past offences, unable to be cheerful, unable to find happiness, worthless, useless, hopeless, and I have recurrent thoughts about how I (and the world at large) would be better off if I were dead. Or in other words, I'm depressed. Again.
I've been feeling more or less this way for most of the past two weeks, and I'll probably continue feeling this way for at least another week and a half. I'm not doing much by way of housework, and I'm having to struggle to keep up with my university commitments. I have a lot less energy than I used to have, and while I'm feeling tired all the time, I'm also not sleeping well (I'm dreaming a lot more, and my sleep is a lot more physically restless than it used to be - I woke up this morning with my covers all pulled loose, which is a pretty good indication that there are problems). I'm irritable, and the person I'm most irritated with is myself.
How do I know all of this? I know it because I've been dealing with the depression since I first started going through puberty (my first real feeling of dealing with suicidal impulses was back when I was about ten or eleven, and it just kept going from there). I'm in my forties now, and I'll probably be dealing with this until I die. So I've learned to deal with it.
I've tried multiple anti-depressants. They don't work for me. Or actually, that's probably mis-stating things. Anti-depressants don't work to deal with the sort of depressive episode I'm dealing with now - they're not for acute short-term treatment, because even the most rapid-acting of them take about a couple of weeks to build up to levels where they're going to be effective. The other side of it is that for me, taking antidepressants on a long-term basis is analogous to walking around on crutches all the time just in case I happen to break my ankle again. The effects of antidepressants - the loss of libido, the anorgasmia, the feeling of losing about half my emotional range (yeah, I don't feel as far down... but I lose all the up, too), the mental fogging that comes with doses strong enough to actually stop the depression in its tracks - all of those are a bit too high a price to be paying for the dubious privilege of not being depressed for the year or so it takes my brain to figure out how to be depressed anyway.
I'm also a bit sceptical about anti-depressants in general as well, mostly because we don't know how they actually work to treat depression. By which I mean: we don't know how reduced serotonin or norepinephrine levels, or strange dopamine levels, or odd amounts of endorphins at the neuron level affects things to make depression visible at the cognitive and emotional levels. It's in the bit of neuropsychology which could best be described as "Step Two: ????". There's also no diagnostic tests available to check neurotransmitter levels in the brain - instead, they have to be guessed at from behavioural and self-reported cues. Which means that the medication-go-round with mental health issues is mostly a case of "well, try this and see whether it works", and if it does work, well, that probably meant your levels of whichever neurotransmitter that one was supposed to be targeting were out of whack. Or something. Probably something.
So at present, I'm back to the tried-and-true strategy which got me through from early puberty until I was about thirty: I just bulldoze through it. Because here's the crucial bit: I've been living with depression since I was fairly young. So I'm used to it. I've accepted it's part of my life. I am going to have days where I'm going to wake up and think "oh damn, I'm not dead. Now what?". I am going to have whole weeks where the most I want to do is sit in a corner and cry. I am going to have months where fun just isn't on the agenda, because I don't know how to have fun. I'm going to be living a life where if someone tells me "just cheer up", I'm likely to shoot back with "how?", and actually get a certain amount of sadistic enjoyment out of watching as they flounder. I'm going to be living a life where the "think positive" types are going to receive a quick rundown of just how useless trying to think about the positives in the middle of a depressive storm is - as I've said elsewhere, I've tried it, and what happens is I wind up absolutely positive that the world would be a better place if I wasn't part of it.
So I get up in the morning, think "oh fuck, still not dead," and carry on. I have routines set up. I have an alarm which goes off at 8.30am every morning to remind me to get dressed, and to take my thyroid meds. I set myself limits on what I'm expected to achieve each day, and those limits are low - they're set for what I can achieve in the middle of the worst of the depression. I'm prepared for the days where I don't want to do anything, and where all I want to do is hide, and I give myself permission to take days where all I'm doing is sitting and watching a DVD, because any other form of intellectual or physical effort feels like too much.
It's like the weather. The storm will pass. I'll feel fucking rotten while it's doing that, and any obstacle is going to seem impassable, but it will pass.
So yeah. I'm Meg, and at the moment, I'm not OK. But I'll probably be OK in a couple of weeks. So that's OK.
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Domestic Upheaval (variety: "Hopefully Temporary")
I'm typing this from my bed rather than my desk. My desk is currently in pieces in the spare room. The kitchen table is out under the back verandah. The kitchen chairs, the fridge, and the freezer are in the lounge. The TV is in my partner's room, and the Xbox and the PS2 are in the lounge, hidden behind the chairs, the large couch, and under a half ton of other junk.
All in all, there isn't much of the house which is actually liveable at the moment.
The reason we're all at sixes and sevens here is that we're having new lino (linoleum, or equivalent thereof) laid in our house today. I'm somewhat ambivalent about the whole mess, to be honest. On the one hand, the existing lino is curling up at all the edges, and has several large rips and tears, not to mention nasty stretched patches, making it pretty much unsanitary to be living with. It'll be nice to have it replaced with something a bit better. On the other hand, we've just spent a weekend hauling every damn piece of furniture off the lino (which turns out to encompass about three-quarters of the living area of the house, as well as the kitchen and the laundry), which included taking everything out of one cupboard, unpacking several lots of shelves, re-arranging a lot of Himself's den, and removing all the contents of my desk. Having the desk fall to pieces when we tried to move it was just the final straw.
I can foresee the rest of the week being spent in piecemeal replacement of everything along the way, while I try and fit in whole heaps of Java programming around the edges. Goody goody goody.
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Iron Man I & II - Good films, lousy science
So I went on a bit of a buying spree on Friday, and got myself a few DVDs (Iron Man I and II, Thor, Captain America, the Robert Downey Junior Sherlock Holmes), and then spent most of Friday and Saturday in a watching spree. Now the whole thing's had enough time to settle a bit, here's my reactions to various bits and pieces.
( Long rants and rambles under fold )
I'll accept a lot of handwaving in the science of things like rockets, arc reactors, missiles, super-soldier serums and the like. But I expect a bit of consistency with regards to things like illnesses, poisoning, and recovery from same. The information is out there on the internet, and viewers and watchers are able to access it just as readily as writers are. And yeah, we're going to pick nits, and point out things like plot holes large enough to steer a supertanker through.
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A Brief Marvel Avengers Movie-Verse Rant
I swear, Darcy Lewis' middle names must be "Mary" and "Sue".
That is all.
(This rant brought to you courtesy of a lot of Avengers Movie-verse fanfic, from various different authors, where Darcy Lewis gets to be a sorta-sidekick-in-training for just about everyone on the Avengers team, and apparently has the super-secret superpower of superhero wrangling. I keep meaning to watch the Thor movie just to find out whether her apparent ability to be a useful plot device under all circumstances is canon or not).
(Cross-posted to fanficrants. Apologies for any duplications on reading lists.)
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This Is What Too Much Coffee Does To Me
I get all carried away and try and synch up the bookmarks I have in Firefox with the bookmarks list I have on AO3. 175 bookmarks later (about 20 of which were extant before I got home this afternoon), and I'm all done.
I have no idea what I'll be doing this time next week.
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On Being "Socially Awkward"
In the wake of the Readercon incident, and the general rush of convention season in the USA, I feel like addressing the regular refrain which springs up about people who are being accused of sexual harassment at conventions (particularly within the geek community).
This refrain is, of course, that the harasser (particularly a serial harasser) is "socially awkward" or has "poor social skills".
To which I say: bullshit. Absolute and utter crap. I do not believe this in the least.
Why not? Because their behaviour argues otherwise.
It takes a lot of social skill to develop a set of behaviours which are both threatening to the recipients and innocuous to disinterested bystanders. It takes a lot of skill and practice to be able to perform these behaviours in a public setting on a regular basis without drawing attention to oneself. Choosing your victim is a skill which takes practice and social awareness. So does choosing your friends in order to be believed when you tell people you're very, very sorry and it won't happen again (or at least, not until your friends have forgotten the last time).
Serial harassers aren't socially awkward. If they were socially awkward, they wouldn't be the menace they are. On the contrary, they're socially skilled, socially competent, and well practiced in what they're doing. They know where the lines are, and they're adept at walking them. They have enough empathy to figure out what's going to upset their victim, and enough callous self-interest not to care.
Genuine social awkwardness will manifest itself in all environments, in all settings, and around all people. The genuinely socially awkward person won't have many friends, and will have problems fitting into normal social routines under any circumstance. They won't be charming. They won't be popular. They will creep out people of both sexes, and all gender preferences, because they will be obvious. Genuine social awkwardness is rarer than you'd think.
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Fic up at AO3
This is the stuff I've posted since the last update. It's all FF7 for now, and most of it is reposts of old stuff from the archives (back-dated, which is why the majority of it probably hasn't shown up as new).
A look at the way the Turks might have handled dealing with Hojo over the years. After all, taking over ten years to run a retrieval mission is... somewhat unusual, especially when you've known where the subject of said mission is hiding out for all of those ten years.
Purity: A Smutfic in Four Acts
A comedy of errors, wherein Sephiroth learns that going cow-eyed with lust over an attractive cadet doesn't have to be the end of things.
Part 9 of the Nesaverse stories. The one where Zack learns why Shinra doesn't do housekeeping for SOLDIERs.
Plus, chapters 11 - 15 of Murphy's Laws of Combat
I start back at uni on Tuesday, so expect the posting to slow down a bit.
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