Had to make a joke with the title. It was too easy to be honest.
November is nearly over but thankfully in this years NaNoWriMo quest, I hit the 50,000 work mark a few days ago so I've earned my winner's certificate and can close the book on another year. I finished writing up my story today in the 53,300 work range.
This year was slightly difficult in that I didn't have a title going in or a clear cut story. I typically have every thing laid out in advance but this year it didn't gel. I tried out something new and it proved to be a challenge but I managed to make it through.
Making it through this time of year can be a challenge. I actually did something this year I've never done and that was take a couple of mental health days under the guise of celebrating some personal anniversaries. It was nice to step away from work as this time of year slams me mentally.
All the craziness with shopping, gifts, parties and people bounding with joy making me a bit sick. Finding the holiday spirit is a bit hard but I didn't have week where I did something good. Right now there are some kids who didn't have a hat, gloves, or scarves clothed in winter wear. I wanted to help out a friend so I donated a bunch of items to the non-profit he works for to help families.
I don't have much to write about at the moment but did dig out my knitting tools and tried to refresh my memory on how to knit on a loom. It took me a few tries but I got the hang of it.
Musically, I'm still listening to Eminem along with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston and a whole bunch of '80's music like Men at Work, Culture Club and Paula Abdul although Paula might have come around in the early 90's. Doesn't really matter. The goofy pop stuff is helping a little to counteract the winter weather but I swear if I hear that darn Katrina & The Waves song, I'm going to
punch someone in the arm.
With that in mind, this particular song seems to fit this time of year or at least the way I feel. Please enjoy the musical stylings of David Gilmour.
I am still working my way through Eminem's discography and have two books to read about him. Listening to his music, especially his newer music has been a welcome treasure into my life. Admittedly, Revival and Kamikaze aren't technically new, they are to me as I have been catching up. Listening to Eminem has been good for me. Given the turmoil in my life since my dad died and getting adjusted to my new life in a new home. I have essentially started over.
I have been connecting with Eminem's music and have found a place of great comfort. A safe space for me to cry, to laugh, to smile, to ponder, to suffer...so many emotions and all of them so very valid to feel. I don't care what the critics say, Revival is an important album in the musical mythos of Eminem.
Music has always been a place of comfort for me. It helps me battle my depression and keeping suicide away which has been harder to do in the past year and half. I've done the best I can and have pushed on, moving forward even on days that I feel I cannot. Feeling lost is not a good feeling.
Listening to Eminem has provided an outlet for me, a chance to reflect on my own fight and realize that although I celebrate my "death day", which is the day of my last suicide attempt, that I don't own anything that signifies it. The same can be said for my friend Sean. I don't think I've mentioned my friend Sean on here but he died long time ago. He was very important to me, much in the way that Proof is important to Eminem.
I light a candle or try somehow to honor Sean's memory on his death anniversary each year, but something was missing. I needed to have something more substantial to honor him. Listening to Eminem made me realize that I need to honor myself better. To have something that signifies the battle I've been in. Eminem has his chip from AA, he earned year 11 recently and that made me wonder where my chip was. What do I get for having kept suicide away from nearly 27 years now. If Eminem had a chip then I needed to get my own and also to do something for Sean. I needed this.
What did I do? I had custom necklaces made to honor Sean and myself. For myself, I have a necklace that has three lines from Eminem's "Not Afraid" with the date of my last suicide attempt on the back, a reminder of how long that darkness has not touched me. That is my chip, my token, one that I have rightfully earned. I've got battle scars to prove it.
For Sean, his necklace is still being made by the jeweler. It will have a blue larimar stone in the center of it set in silver. Sean's name and dates will be on a silver disc and then one line from a prayer to the Archangel Michael. Sean's middle name is Michael and Sean always felt connected to him when we talked about such things. It seemed appropriate to honor Sean this way.
I have worn my necklace twice and when I do I feel different. I feel at peace but sense the fighter in me too. I have worked so hard to be where I am. I've come a long way even though there are times where it doesn't feel like it.
YouTube has given me some added spark especially Lem and Marcus who do reaction videos. I've watched a number of their videos and it's always a joy to get some knowledge and listen to them dissect songs and take trips down memory lane. If you like hip hop/rap, they're really good at picking up on stuff and honestly they pick up on Eminem's double, triple and quadruple entendre better than other reviewers and they know their old school hip hop too! So when Eminem mentions someone, they remember the artist and mention songs and will give a history lesson if needed. I love these guys! They know their stuff! They are artists themselves so do check out their work.
Check out their channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/ScriptWork/
Here is their video reaction to Eminem's Killshot:
The past month has been a time of remembrance and honoring. I've started to come out of a different kind of depressive haze, one I've never dealt with before. That is the gift Eminem has given to me through his music. He has now become part of my musical toolbox to help me manage my depression. I don't know how I could ever thank him for what he has done except to tell him I "Believe".
Sorry for the silence. The past few months have seen me battle my depression a lot more than I would have liked. I do have some good news in that my father's estate is now officially closed. It's been over a year that I've had to deal with courts and lawyers and it feels amazing to be free of all of it.
Now, I can focus on me and taking better care of myself. I admit I haven't been doing too well in that department since my dad died but the universe decided to step in and help me out in recent weeks.
Musically, I tend to listen to classic rock, hard rock and metal or anyone rocking a guitar but as of late I rediscovered Eminem. I was baking cookies while I let my CD jukebox shuffle through albums. I had forgotten I had an Eminem CD loaded in it and while I'm loading cookies into the oven, the opening lines to "The Real Slim Shady" come blaring through. It's been YEARS since I heard this song and actually remembered most of the words as I sang along. It made me smile and laugh.
I took my CD player off shuffle and listened to the entire Curtain Call CD. You know how you get a song stuck in your head and it just plays over and over? That is what happened to me. I had Eminem lyrics running through my head for days!
As I mentioned, my depression has been hitting me a lot harder than normal as of late. I battle it on my own, no meds, just deal with it and keep going. I do speak to someone every other week so I do have a resource to go to but I mainly do it on my own. Listening to Eminem has brought me out of my funk a bit. My depression will never go away but I was feeling more like my normal self. It's hard to believe the Curtain Call CD came out in 2005.
After listening to the CD for two weeks, I finally decided to branch out and see what Eminem has been doing these days. Boy, have I missed a lot! I am almost caught up though as I had to catch up on everything since 2005. That's when I learned about his own struggle with addiction and depression.
We've all gotten older and I had forgotten that I am only a year older than Eminem. I've been bouncing between Relapse, Recovery and the Marshall Mathers LP2. I've got four other CDs to listen to yet.
Listening to the Recovery CD has been difficult for me at times and comforting too. Eminem gave voice to so many things that I have felt or experienced myself. I could relate on many levels. My last suicide attempt was 26 years ago but the past couple of months has tested my head space. I've battled for a long time not to go back to that dark place. I live in a dark place but where suicidal thoughts reside is a lot darker.
I realized that I'm exhausted from dealing with everything regarding my dad's estate and given the upheaval of dealing with my dad dying, having to leave my childhood home which I lived in for 43 years and see it demolished to moving into a new place, 2018 was tough. The battle has been tough and I desperately would like a breather. Eminem has been the relief I've needed.
Listening to Eminem has been a blessing as I feel like I'm resetting myself. I'm feeling good again and more stable than I have been in months. A new chapter in my life is here and the fact that it's Eminem that's helping me start it is interesting. He's the last musical artist that I had expected to be diving into to help me through this rough patch but given my twisted sense of humor, he's the perfect person to help me get back to being me.
I saw online that he received his chip for 11 years of sobriety. I'm sincerely happy for him. I'm sure some days are better than others for him but I'm glad he's doing well. Some days are better than others for me too and Eminem's music has helped me cope and heal some of the hurt I've been carrying the past year. He's been a nice reminder that my depression doesn't own me, I own it.
With that in mind, I'm leaving you with Eminem's Not Afraid.
Rock on! Maynard
I have renamed my blog to The Dysthymic Writer because that is who I am. It's not all that I am but it's a part of me and I've decided to stake a claim to it.
As you all know, I write and have published three books. I have been a yearly participant in NaNoWriMo since 2005. I write in a journal everyday and my mind constantly comes up with ideas. However, there is one thing that shows up in my books and that is usually a character that has depression.
I have dysthymia and although it has been renamed in recent years to persistent depressive disorder (PDD), I am still calling it dysthymia. It's one form of depression hardly any articles are written about. To throw in the fun on my dysthymia, I'm all also high-functioning. In a nutshell, I get out of bed in the morning and go to work. There are different types of depression and none of them are fun.
I'm sure you're wondering what is dysthymia. Some would call a mood disorder but moods tend to shift and dysthymia is chronic. People with dysthymia think depression is part of their character, that its normal to be in the funk all the time and to be honest, that's how it is.
Long ago, long ago when I was a teenager on her way to college, I had a four year span where not only was I depressed but I wanted to end the pain. In a four year period, I tried to end my life seven times. Twenty-six years later after my last attempt I'm still here.
The depression has stayed but the suicidal thoughts have not. I did get a wake up call after my last attempt and did see the world differently and moved to a new level of depression. Where I am now and to be honest, being where I am now is far superior to where I used to be.
Do I ever think about suicide? Sure. I don't think about it with intent but think about it in trying to understand why I went there. What pain was I carrying that led me to death's door? Turns out I was carrying a lot and I still carry a lot, but now I have the tools to look at my inner self and my outer self and try to understand.
Please forgive me as this post has runaway from where I wanted it to go. I'm still me. I'm writing, working on my craft projects and sharing tips with you and music. My depression doesn't define me but some days I'm okay if it does. It's who I am but it's not all of me.
Today, I offer this - to simply be a good parent to yourself. If you need a break from the world. Take one. Go sit in a park and watch squirrels or go hiking or sit near a lake. Whatever you do, take time for you and ignore the world that is calling and texting you. Forget Facebook and Twitter and for 15 minutes or a whole day take care of you. The rest of the world can wait.