Archive for the 'Living Conditions' Category

09
Sep
20

Evac

Nothing much to report today, and not expecting much for tomorrow, either; apparently Oregon decided it wanted to show solidarity with California by spontaneously combusting.

We’re not on the evac list, yet, but we are on warning. Which means we’re all sitting around on pins and needles, afraid to do anything for fear you’re not going to be ready when the call comes and you have to decide what parts of your life are important enough to cram into the truck alongside yourself and your two cats.

Not great for the mental health, and that’s not even touching on what the raining ash is doing to my already compromised lungs.

Hopefully this will pass, and I can get back to work on Distressed, but we’ll see.

Stay safe, everyone.

05
Sep
20

Mental Health

I am not healthy, not sound of body nor mind. I know this. I’m in the care of a half-dozen doctors for that very reason. But sometimes I think I was better off before they started meddling.

Five years ago, I was still unwell. I was a walking basket case, a wonderful bundle of borderline schizophrenia and severe bipolar depression. I was unmedicated for those conditions, and life was miserable, but there was a plus side: every once in a while, the stars would align, and I’d be blessed with an extended manic period. In such a period, I could crank out five or six short stories, could slam down 30-50k words on a novel length project, had no real need for sleep or other distractions and was able to ignore naysayers and invisibility with an ease that was almost narcissistic in nature.

Then the doctors got ahold of me. Sure, I may not spend nearly every day in a semi-suicidal haze; they’re only once every other week or so, now. But in addition to the hellish, bottom of the pit lows, the wonderful flying above the clouds highs have also largely made themselves absent, and don’t hang around for the week or two they used to last when they do appear. It’s an afternoon or evening of superpowers, and then nothing.

It’s depressing in and of itself. I feel like whatever chance I had to actually be productive and finally write whatever it is that will actually get me noticed, that will sell more than six copies to what family and friends I have, that will actually matter is gone. I could flush the meds, but I don’t think I’d manage to muddle through the black period before I hit the high time, because even missing a day or two is enough to open up the maw of hell beneath my feet and leave me wrecked and shaken for a week afterward.

I don’t know what to do about it. I don’t know how to reclaim my muse. I don’t know how to summon the willpower to care. All I seem able to do is sit and fester, and that’s not healthy… but I don’t seem to have any other options.

It’s especially exciting to be feeling this way in the jolly month of September, apparently designated Suicide Prevention Month, given my online interactions frequently involve people telling me to kill myself. Those same people are often seen pouring out support and encouragement for others. Of course, I’m the “wrong” sort of person to encourage, and I’ve known that for years.

I’m not suicidal, at least not directly – I have too much fear of what’s waiting after death to be eager to meet it – but neither am I particularly enthused to be alive… and I don’t know how to tip the scales. Part of me doesn’t care which end goes up and which goes down, just that the stalemate is broken.

Any fellow sufferers out there? How do you deal? What kind of treatment helped? Do you keep bullishly trying to push through to no effect or just throw your hands up and say “I quit?” Let us know down below.

03
Sep
20

Doctor Hate, mk 2

So, after being subjected to a surprise sleep study, the results came back. To no one’s surprise, except apparently my doctor’s, I have severe sleep apnea.

Well, no shit, Sherlock.

The doctor then, rather than accepting the results, mandated that I do an inpatient sleep study. So I get to go somewhere, sleep in someone else’s bed with a bunch of wires strapped to me, so they can confirm the results because, in his words, “sometimes things are a little different at home.”

In other words, he thinks I rigged it and is checking for trickery. At least, that’s how I took it. Meanwhile I’m sitting here wheezing and thinking to myself “just prescribe the goddamn C-PAP machine already, dickhole.”

I’m so tired of this crap. Playing doctor roulette is getting exhausting, and going through the same battery of tests every time – I also get to redo my allergy needles and spirometry – so they can hit the same brick wall, scratch their head and decide I’m lying or they don’t know is infuriating.

Sorry for the less than positive post. I’ll try to be cheerier tomorrow.

01
Sep
20

Can’t We Just Have Fun?

It feels like entertainment always has to “mean something,” anymore. There has to be some sociopolitical message behind it, there has to bee deep and lasting consequences for the characters, we have to walk away having learned something.

Gaming is no exception; it seems like it’s just how things are going right now. It’s unfortunate, to me. I play games to have fun, and all too often that fun is toned back or even outright killed by the grim, dark, meaningful things that get jammed in there.

That’s why, after The Last of Us II’s discs proved faulty – or my PS4 just decided to reject it – I ended up scrolling through my backlog and playing something just for the fun of it.

Saint’s Row IV is about as far from a meaning-laden social commentary as you can get. It’s utter batshit insanity and mindless amusement crafted with laser precision. I never once was made sad by it, never was pushed into thinking of the troubled situation we live in, was never punished for making a choice because it was funny or contrarian. I was allowed to just have some bloody fun, and I feel a whole lot better than before I started.

So why can’t we have more like this? Why can’t we just turn off our brains for a little bit and have some good mindless fun? Why is that such a crime? Games are about fun and escapism… why can’t we embrace that more often?

Anything I say about games can easily extend to books and movies as well; we could do with a simple laugh once in a while, instead of just high-brow drama and the few comedic offerings drenched in political commentary and symbolism.

So I ask again… can’t we just have some fun?

31
Aug
20

I Hate Doctors

Doctors. I have like five of them. I’m actually fairly neutral to two of them, and like one of them, but the last two are quickly overshadowing that with a seething irritation that’s bordering on rage.

You see, I had to change insurance. That’s because my work insurance was finally cancelled. This was a few months ago. My new insurance doesn’t cover my old GP, so I had to get a new one. That’s all fine and well; I dislike the situation, but there isn’t really anything I can do about it, so I accept it. But my new GP apparently can’t be bothered to even schedule a new patient until at least October.

That means, from the period of November last year until at least October this year, I am without a GP. Prescriptions ran out? Too bad; wait it out. Feeling dodgy and think it’s a little worse than just a cold or mild case of the flu or bronchitis? Tough it out or hit the Urgent Care and rack up another bill you can’t afford. Keep in mind that October date was pre-plague, as well, so who knows if it’s still valid; calls to his office have yielded no results.

Then there’s the pulmonology department. My old pulmonologist was great. She was helpful, sympathetic, and was willing to try throwing everything at my problems, hoping to help me. She just retired, though, and her replacement is… less than stellar.

He asks me to describe my symptoms, and tells me “Well, anyone carrying your weight is going to be short of breath, anyone can make themselves cough, and needing naps isn’t a valid problem.”

Excuse me? So, your first gambit is to tell me “You’re fat, you’re lying, and I don’t care?” Then he decided to cancel my steroid prescription. He says I’m overmedicated for my problems, which he isn’t sure I have. Then he dismissed me.

That was the ten minutes I got to spend with my new doctor. After I showed up early, filled out all the new patient forms, was still early for my appointment, and then had to wait half an hour past my appointment time to actually see him.

Then I get a call two days later from a clinic wanting to schedule my “procedure.” “What procedure,” says I, not having been made aware of any such thing. “Your sleep study, ordered by Dr. Blahblah.”

Fuck what? So now he’s just scheduling shit and not bothering to tell me? Cool, doc, cool.

Then I get an e-mail from GSK – those guys who make a fortune selling corticosteroids and bronchial dilators to folks like me – telling me I’ve been enrolled in their new test program. Again, at the behest of the doc who didn’t tell me he was going to do that.

I’m fine with taking whatever tests they want, trying whatever drugs they want to try – I’d like to get better and go back to work or be officially declared a lost cause, one or the other – but typically shouldn’t you let the patient know what you’re doing or what you expect of them? Maybe I just live in a different universe.

So, yeah. I’m beginning to hate doctors, and I’m sick of having to swap them around and having to go through the same shit every time with each and every one of them.

What’s everyone else’s experience with doctors? Had one you really hated? Any particular reason? Let us know down below!

26
Aug
20

Take a Breath

Take a deep breath. Hold it in. Let it out nice and slow. Now do it again. Once more.

Feels good, doesn’t it? I hope so, but I wouldn’t know for sure. I can’t do that anymore and haven’t been able to for nearly three years.

I have severe asthma, bordering on COPD, and my condition has been degrading steadily over the last few years. It’s gotten to the point where nearly any exertion, even something as simple as brewing a pot of coffee or taking a shower, leaves me heaving and struggling for breath. I frequently have to use a nebulizer just to attend a doctor’s appointment and generally am so exhausted and weakened afterwards that I end up having to sleep the rest of the day.

I miss being able to step outside just after the rain and breathe deep, feeling that beautiful, damp air slide through my body. I miss being able to stop by the game shop and have a chat about what’s coming up. I miss going to my job, helping people, training others, and socializing with the great friends I had there.

There’s something that may help; it’s called a bronchoplasty. Essentially, they want to shove tiny laser beams down my throat and burn away the parts of my lungs that aren’t working right. Very sci-fi. They tell me this may help, that while it may not remove all my symptoms, it will at least hopefully lessen them to the point where I can take a deep breath once in a while, or go back to work.

Problem is, it’s not cheap and the insurance I have won’t cover it. Being away from my job for almost three years has murdered what credit rating I used to have, cancelled the semi-decent insurance that my work provided, and left me clinging to a state health plan that barely covers my meds, let alone something like major surgery.

I do what I can, trying to bring in some income. I don’t just sleep all day. I write, I blog, I try to stream when I’m feeling well enough and can manage to talk for more than five minutes without a severe coughing fit or fainting spell hitting me. None of them pay the bills, let alone build up enough of a nest egg to get what I need, but at least they pass the time and sometimes can buy a sandwich.

That’s where this comes in. I’m throwing myself on the mercy of the masses. For those of you who have the fortunate position of being able to take a deep breath without pain or fear, just think about what it would feel like to have that taken away… and consider if that is worth your mercy. If not, I understand. Times are crazy and tough for everyone these days. But it’d sure help.

The amount listed for the campaign covers the approximately $15,000 worth of surgery and includes a $5,000 buffer for aftercare and living expenses while I recover. I know it’s a lot. I wish it was less, and that I didn’t have to ask. But it is what it is.

That’s all there is to say, I guess.

Take a deep breath. Be thankful you can. Consider helping someone else do the same. Thank you for your time.

The campaign can be found here.

24
Aug
20

Why I’m a Nazi

I am not a Nazi. At least, last I checked. I have no love for Hitler, his ideology, his crimes. My only interest in the Thule Society is the ripe fruit one can pluck from nearly any secret occult society. I have no urge to lay waste to large groups of people based on genetics, religious belief or sexual preference.

But according to the internet I’m a Nazi. An alt-right, bootlicking, neckbeard, homophobic, racist, sexist, transphobic, incel Nazi, nonetheless.

I’m called that because I was against the vape flavor ban. I’m called that because I find the behavior of individuals like Alinity or InvaderVie to be reprehensible, and find it infuriating that they keep doing it and getting away with it. I’m called that because I think Ocarina of Time isn’t a good game, and that Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey was too bloody long. I’m called that because I streamed Ghost of Tsushima, which is a “racist, nationalist murder simulator.” I’m called that because my bookshelf is primarily research books on serial killers and Stephen King novels. I’m called that because I have “the audacity to try selling a book and keeping down others with better books and fewer opportunities.” I’m called that because I need surgery and asked for help. I’m called that because I think making heroin legal and handing it out at dispensaries is kind of a bad idea. I’m called that because my religious beliefs are best expressed as LaVeyan Satanist, and we all know Nazis are Satanists. I’m a Nazi because I believe pedophiles shouldn’t be normalized and appropriating characters like Isabelle or the Babadook to claim MAP positivity is a necessary thing is kind of disgusting.

They usually follow up the insults with an order to kill myself.

Being mentally ill with extremely low self-esteem and suicidal ideation under the best of circumstances, this kind of abuse is dangerously close to pushing me to do that very thing. Of course, they’d celebrate. I’m problematic, after all, because I enjoy bits of fluff like Hyperdimension Neptunia, which is just kiddie porn with a coat of paint.

It’s exhausting. But most of all, it’s stupid. Do you not understand that, at the end of the day, if you’ve reached a point where you call everyone Nazi, alt-right, racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist or whatever other thing you lob at them, then it means nothing at all anymore, and no one cares? The Boy Who Cried Wolf is a thing, you know. Scream it often enough and when you find the real one, no one cares or believes anymore.

There’s nothing else to say, I guess.

19
Aug
20

Too Hot

I can’t work like this. No, really. Given all my problems, dealing with 100+ degree temperatures is just too much.

It’s Oregon, damnit! It’s supposed to be 50 degrees and damp year round! Or so the brochures told me. Instead we’re on year 3 of heatwaves and record temperatures all summer long. Even inside, with a portable air conditioner running, it’s still 80+ every day, all day, and that’s almost outside my realm of tolerance. It’s certainly not comfortable.

Upstairs, though, that’s the problem. You see, that’s where my workstation is. Mock the insanity of a severe asthmatic who has issues walking and talking putting his computer and such upstairs, but there wasn’t really anywhere else to put the stuff. The apartment is kinda small. But, as we all learned in elementary school, heat rises.

There’s no AC up here. I have a couple of industrial fans, but all they seem to do is move the hot air around. Staying up here long enough to write a quick blog post is torture, and doing it long enough to get work done on my game projects or actually write is just not feasible. This is frustrating, since my mood is such that I actually want to work on things, and essentially can’t.

The heat is the enemy. I hate it. I loathe it. But this too shall pass… or so they tell me. My bones are screaming, which says rain is coming. I could do for a nice six hour long thunderstorm right about now, so keeping my fingers crossed.

What about those of you out there? Is the heat getting to you as well? How does it impact your work and leisure time? What do you do about it? Let us know down below!

18
Aug
20

Do You Believe In Spooks?

Well… do ya?

I do.

I’ve had enough situations in my life that just can’t be explained through any normal means that I feel I kind of have to. I’d love to find rational explanations – though using the phrase “rational” here implies belief in spooks is somehow “irrational,” which seems awfully judgmental to me – but until I do, the ghosts are the answer. It’s kind of frustrating, really.

How do you explain waking up to find both you and your girlfriend bleeding profusely from numerous wounds that certainly weren’t there before you went to bed?

How do you wave away gashes and holes appearing in the walls of a room that no one goes in appearing overnight? Especially when it happens right after your brilliant girlfriend and her buddy start the usual crap of “give us a sign that you’re here!” Or how ever after, no one could sleep in that room, no matter who you rented it out to or if you bothered to tell them about previous tenants or not?

There’s others, though nothing so dramatic as those two. I try to find rational explanations. The girlfriend got a little nutty and decided to dose my coffee, slice away at both of us, hide the knife, then “wake up” screaming to call attention to the situation. The walls were poorly made, the plaster just happened to fall apart in patterns that pareidolia decided to interpret as tridactyl claw marks, and the eight people who tried to sleep in the room and were run off by insomnia and nightmares just all happened to have mental problems, insecurity or a bad drug trip just that one time. It doesn’t work so well.

That doesn’t mean I stop looking for other explanations. Some people specifically ask me to debunk things, to come up with alternate explanations, and I’m more than happy to oblige. I try to follow the scientific method; find a way to break it, and keep trying until I do or run out of ideas. Only then do I say “Spooks, I guess,” and move along… though nothing really leaves the mind, and I keep gnawing at it.

What about you folks out there? Have you had something happen, dramatic or not, that you can’t find a rational explanation for? What was it, and what did you try to do to debunk it? Maybe we can all banish each other’s oogity boogities.

It’d make me feel a lot happier and more secure in my house… which has a room the cats refuse to go in, that makes weird noises, and has lights that come on in the middle of the night, no matter how often you make sure to turn them off before bedtime.

Until next time, folks.

17
Aug
20

What Is There To Say?

Blogging is hard.

I know, that sounds like such a stupid, whinging thing to say, but it is. It’s hard to think of something to say every day – or nearly every day – just to keep your site moving, to keep getting those little dinging bells that say “You’re on a streak!,” to keep people around and justify the money you spend every year to keep your butt parked squarely on your domain name and not fade into complete obscurity.

It’s compounded when you feel like anything you have to say is useless, or has already been said a hundred times before, or will get you cancelled or one someone’s naughty list. Add in a dose of depression, a soupçon of paranoia, and a dash of terror and you have the recipe for why I go silent for long periods of time.

But then, brilliant mind I, figured out what to do… let’s ask the readers! So for those twenty or so brave souls who regularly stop by and click the “like” button every so often, what is it you’d like to see me talk about? What topics would keep you coming back, and what would drive you off? Let us know down below! (Please?)




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