Hashtag Orlando

It’s personal policy not to comment on tragic events because I don’t like debating with armchair activists and dumbfucks, but I’m about to break my own policy because I feel the need to say something.

My weekend was an odd juxtaposition of highs and lows. My great uncle passed away last week and I traveled to the Appalachians to attend his funeral. It was surreal to see aunts, uncles, and cousins who I vaguely remember because the last time I was at a family gathering of size I was still a toddler. What was stranger was meeting second and third cousins that I didn’t know existed.

During a lull in the flurry of activity that accompanies visitations and funerals, I made the mistake of checking my facebook feed. I am still having trouble grasping how I could be surrounded by folks that loved and accepted me – despite years and miles and knowledge of who I am other than I was their great niece, second cousin, or whatever branch of the family tree I swung from – and the absolute hate plastered all over social media.

As information about the events at the Pulse poured in, I was surrounded by individuals banded together by blood and grief and watching my country tear itself apart with blood and grief.

…one nation…indivisible – with liberty and justice for all…

Writers and Mental Illness

It is difficult to believe that a year ago today I was having a complete breakdown because I absolutely did NOT want to go back to the soul crushing toxic environment that was my “day job.” I put that in quotations because my primary duty was to survive mental and emotional abuse – I needed the insurance. The company CEO was (and still is) a narcissistic assbag (seriously – he said “[female employee] can’t run my company with a baby on her hip” during a staff meeting1 after another female employee quit because he’d sent her an abusive tirade via email for not responding to email while she was off for the week. He then proceeded to bash her character for parking in a handicapped space.2) The majority of the men in the office were misogynistic let’s preserve the 1950’s old farts who’s job security could be attributed to a seniority complex and that firing them might cause a heart attack.3 Of course, not everyone I worked with was a terrible human being – I made four of my best friends while working in that cesspit, bonded through survivorship. WTF does this have to do with writers and mental illness?

I was in an environment that exacerbated what I was already dealing with; chronic depression, anxiety/panic disorder, and ADD. That damn job is what made my mental illness more noticeable and made me realize that I could not continue to deal with my shit the same way. This couldn’t be ignored.

At ConCarolinas over the weekend, John Hartness lead a panel along with Darrin Kennedy, Tamsin Silver, and Melissa Gilbert on Writers and Mental Illness – Depression, Addiction, and how to survive as a writer. Thank you. For the first time I was in a room full of people who understood, or wanted to, and who were there to be supportive.

This was new to me. I’ve been open about my diagnoses with a few  very close family and friends, but with certain people in my life I couldn’t be. Mental illness was right up there with being LGBT – there was no talking about it. I lived a life surrounded by people who cared about me, but chose to remain willfully ignorant. Fuck that. John is right – we need to talk about this sort of thing in our creative community, hell the whole world needs to talk. Losing one was too many.4

For those that don’t know, let me explain what it’s like to live with my sort of diagnoses. My experience with depression is the inability to feel anything when I know I should be feeling something. It is not the constant sadness that most people believe that it is. Anxiety/Panic disorder is a different animal. The sudden onset of panic for no particular reason is excruciating, spending any span of time convinced that you’re dying or having a medical emergency is terrible enough, but the after effects are just as awful if not worse. After a bad attack, I can spend days, weeks, even months terrified that it will happen again – because it takes me unawares and it has no particular trigger. It just happens. The ADD is much more manageable. Having not been officially diagnosed until I was an adult, I’ve grown up dealing with a brain that’s on rapid fire mode, multiple thoughts dancing around like fireflies in the dusk – twinkling and fading away, moving, twinkling, fading – making it impossible to follow their flight. Sometimes I’m lucky and capture a few…that’s how I write.

 

 


1The statement was ironic considering said CEO could barely run his company…
2Said employee had the appropriate placard for using a handicap parking space and just because someone doesn’t look like they are disabled doesn’t mean that they are not. Never mind the fact that she was sometimes using crutches after having surgery on her left foot and under doctors orders to not walk long distances in an air cast…
3I fully expect to one day hear that at least one of them died at their desk.
4For Logan

 

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Nickie Jamison

HorrorAddicts.net

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well, they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Nickie Jamison and recently she talked to us about her writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontMelody of Bones is a mashup of the Grimm’s tales The Singing Bone and The Pied Piper of Hameln – stories of love, music, and betrayal.

What inspired the idea? 

My inspiration came from music. The idea came to me during a Valentine Wolfe concert at ConCarolinas. The band was promoting their newest album and the song Twisted Melody resonated with me and became my twisted fairy tale.

When did you start writing?

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