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Glimpses of Freedom

Six months. For six months, Clare sat in the Council Tower penthouse, in a secret room with scant amenities, a prison cell with a four-poster canopy bed. Her only connection to the outside world was the pseudoglass window, which overlooked the city she had once called home.

The Tower was a thing of beauty when viewed from below. Sleek lines of TrueSteel and pseudoglass rose from the ground to disappear into the low-hanging smog that permeated the skies of the city. From above, on clear days, she could see out for miles.

Throngs of people crowded the streets below. People of every size, every shape, every color hustled by. Some stopped to take holophotos of the famed Tower, but she knew they’d never see her in those images. The window, like all in the Tower, was mirrored on the outside.

Her breath left steamy clouds on the pane as she leaned against her window. Sometimes she wrote the names of her lost lovers in the steam and watched as they disappeared from her life again. Breathe. Write. Watch. Cry.

Other times, she allowed herself the luxury of letting her imagination run wild, of picturing herself among the throngs, free from confinement and free to do as she pleased. She traversed the streets with strangers from all walks of life, mingled at parties in the building across the way, perused the shops on the far corner of the only intersection in her line of sight.

She’d never lived in this area of the city. Her upbringing had been humble, quiet, a life lived under the radar because of what she was. Even after the deaths of her mother and stepfather, she tried to adhere to her mother’s teachings, to keep a low profile. Her life was lived in small bars and block parties in the seedy part of town, in places where a single young woman would go unnoticed. She’d never been to the kind of lavish soiree she now watched from her window, but she could imagine.

In her mind, she glided through the crowd of upper-crust Somebodies with a glass of champagne in one hand and a small plate of hors d’oeuvres in the other. She mingled and laughed and conversed, and Eli and Harper were there as well, one on each side, a consort and a courtesan, the two who always ended the evening in her bed, whose warmth kept her safe.

She missed that warmth now. Though the temperature in her room was regulated with the best in thermostatic technology, without Harper and Eli it remained ever cold, always frigid. Goosebumps trailed up and down her arms in the chill.

With a hand on her rigid stomach, she sat in the lone chair and pressed her forehead against the pane. Now she was in the clothier on the corner; she tested the feel of the fabrics: the plush authentic cotton, the sleek NeoSkin, the softest of Truesilk. She tried on pants and corsets and gowns, and her lovers gushed over each outfit.

A glance downward brought her back to reality and reminded her that she wouldn’t fit into a corset again for a while. The baby inside slept while her mother lamented her imprisonment.

Six months without a communique. Six months without word, without knowing if she was remembered fondly or not at all.

In a few months, the baby would be born. Then her captor’s plan would be put into motion. Ezekiel would use her as a brood mare, an incubator, and egg donor for his future child–or children. His grand designs changed from day to day, dependent on how cooperative and compliant Clare behaved. Clare knew she had at least a year before Ezekiel disposed of her–long enough for his heir to be born. If she behaved, maybe a few more.

Until then, Clare had her glimpses of freedom, her gazes out into the city, her imaginary adventures with her lovers.

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Every cloud

This weekend has been nice. Low-key, home alone, and best of all: not sick as fuck.

I made myself retrospect a little too much, though. I was cruising Netflix, looking for something to watch, when I found a good movie. Silver Linings Playbook. Excellent flick, great acting….and maybe a little too real.

Being bipolar, I feel this movie on a visceral level. No, I’m not quite like Pat. Or Tiffany. Not really. I’ve never been hospitalized for my emotional state, never been that far off. But yeah, I’ve missed work over my mental state before. I’ve obsessed over failed relationships, I’ve written nutball letters/texts/emails to my exes, I’ve been the “backup.” I’ve slept around because my depression had me down, or because my mania had me horny. I’ve quit taking my meds more than once. So maybe I’m bits of Pat and Tiffany. I’m Piffany.

I’ve been doing okay for a while now. Well, mostly okay. I mean, I get depressed sometimes. I get manic. I’ve been on an embroidery kick this weekend, and I’m pretty sure it’s not completely deadline-induced. I’m probably manic. I mean, I’m tearing through these embroidery projects, stopping briefly to eat or go to the bathroom or take a catnap. But mainly I’ve been embroidering. To the point of dry skin and calluses on my fingertips.

The whole Pat thing happened to my brother a few years ago. Not the beating-a-man-almost-to-death thing, but the bad ending to a bad relationship that ultimately resulted in him being committed. I won’t go into it too much here, because it’s his story not mine, but it was scary to watch.

It was even scarier knowing that our great-grandfather died of psychosis. “Exhaustion in the progression of psychosis”–that was the CoD on his death certificate. He was so fucking crazy it killed him.

Since I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder before my brother was, I always assumed that was my eventual fate. Then my brother got diagnosed, and combined with his substance abuse issues he’s way worse off than me. He had his psychotic break in his mid-40s….the same age good ol’ Great-Granddad was when he died.

My brother didn’t die. We’ve got better meds now, better tech, better treatments. But guess what? This year I turn 40. Now, like I said, I’m not as bad off as my brother. So I’m not necessarily on a timeline here. The past doesn’t have to repeat itself. Maybe my brother’s incident was the repetition, and I’ll be passed over. Like the Christian thing. I dunno–I’m not the religious type. But maybe I don’t have to dread my mid-40s. Maybe I don’t have to go go go, to push myself so much, to worry about whether or not I’ll make it long enough to do the things I want to get done.

I want to finish my sci-fi series. I want to finish the collaboration I’m working on. I want to learn more about making garb and clothes and embroidery and get good enough at researching it all to become a Laurel. I want to learn more rapier techniques and practice enough to be good at them. And I want to lose this weight I’ve gained. I want so many things, and I think the back of my brain is telling me “You’ve got a few years left. Five, six max. You need to hurry up. You need to get your shit together while you have the mental capacity to do it.”

I gotta get that out of the back of my head. I gotta tell myself that there’s no deadline to insanity, that it’s not written. It’s not predestined. I don’t have to go crazy. I can stay sane, stay mostly stable, stay me.

I also have a secret weapon: my husband. Even if I do go crazy, I have him to keep me alive, to keep me from going so far down the hole that I can’t crawl back up.

That’s it. That’s my silver lining. That’s my ace in the hole.

Five or six years. I pass that, and I win. I beat history.

Crossing borders

It’s 0520 on a Thursday. I’ve been up since about 0230, and ready for the day since about 0330. Just another day in the surgery department, right?

Nope. I’m headed off to war–SCA war, that is. And it’s not in Atenveldt. No, my husband and I are headed to California for Potrero War.

It’s not my first out-of-Kingdom war, but it’s a new one for me, and as of right now I’ll know all of one person there (well, one person who lives in Caid… There will be some Atenveldt people there as well). For the introvert in me, it’s a little nerve-wracking, but I think I’ll do okay. I’ll have a book with me, I have some embroidery to work on, and I’ve promised my fencing teacher that I’ll at least try some tournament fighting. And if all that fails, I can nap in the tent. Lol

The forecast is looking kinda gloomy, with chilly temps at night and possible rain. I hope it’s not as much rain as Estrella had this year! A quick check online shows that it’ll mostly be before we get there and after we leave, but forecasts are notorious for being a little inaccurate. Either way, I’ve got my trusty wool Viking coat for the day and some thermal pajamas for the nights.

Supposedly the cell coverage will be decent, so hopefully I’ll be able to share some photos of the apron dress I made. I’m pretty proud of it (even though it still needs trim and embroidery), and I’m so glad my Laurel showed me how to math out the pattern so I can make more if I want to.

Well, by now the sun is starting to come up, so I’m going to get the book I brought out and read until it’s my turn to drive.

Spark-ling conversation

I’ve had an epiphany about my WIP, and it’s all thanks to a podcast I was on the other day.

I was feeling like the third book in my sci-fi series was falling flat, but I couldn’t put a finger on how to vamp it up. Then, the conversation turned to a subject that sparked an idea. Yeah, it means rewriting much of what I’ve already gotten down, but I’m not too far in yet. That means I don’t have to rewrite the whole kit ‘n’ caboodle, just the bits that don’t jive with the new direction.

Once I’ve revised/rewritten up to the point I had stopped before, it’s all new material from there. I’m glad I have a new focus, though, because I think this will add depth and interest to what was looking rather lackluster.

I’m going to get as much done before my trip this weekend as I can, but I don’t think I’ll write on this trip. Usually, if I have a WIP to work on, I bring my laptop and hotspot my phone to save changes to Dropbox. That way, I can work while I camp. This time, though, I have a book that a friend traded me (he’s got a copy of Abnormal) that I can read, and it’s been entirely too long since I’ve read for pleasure. My TBR (to be read) list is a long one, and I need to get to it. I know how important reviews are to an author *cough cough* so I want to be sure to read as much as time will allow.

This weekend is more SCA stuff, but I’m excited to be going this time. We’re going to a different “kingdom” (aka leaving the state), and I’m hoping to have some time to embroider and read while I’m on vacation.

Speaking of embroidery, I’ve now started squirreling and I’m getting my embroidery stuff out before I have this post finished! The project is long overdue, though, and the person I’m making it for has had the patience of a saint when it comes to waiting on my slow ass. Best get cracking so I can have it all done in a reasonable time.

Something old, something new, someone wicked, someone blue

I love when I get unstuck in a WIP that I’ve been stalled on for months.

Here’s what happened: I was doing a streaming podcast called “Writer Imperfect” (www.twitch.tv/roberstonwrites), and the discussion turned to a subject that kind of jump-started the ol’ brain into motion. Now, I haven’t written anything new yet, but soon I’ll be opening that file and getting down to business.

I knew that Book 3 was falling flat, big-time, and I knew I needed to shake things up somehow while still fitting with the story. Then that conversation got my gears moving, and I know now how to change the story to fit what now is going to happen.

First off, I have to go back and find where to make the shift. Then, I have to rewrite the parts that need it. Then I have to weave those rewritten parts into the existing parts to make it all fit. It’s doable, and I think it’ll make the story richer when it’s done. I just have to, y’know, do the work. Lol

Having a new direction for the story is a great feeling, especially when I was stagnant for so long. I had a major depressive episode that affected pretty much all aspects of my life, and I’m only just now crawling up out of the muck to get situated and reorient myself to being on an even keel. I’m posting on Instagram more, interacting more on Twitter, and trying to get myself balanced before I dive into anything more involved.

I know my publisher is probably ready to strangle me for not marketing/branding like she wants me to. I just…can’t right now. Every time I even look at their marketing plan posts I get anxiety, and that’s no way to live. I’m trying to get myself out of the ditch, not dig myself deeper.

For now, though, I need to rest. Spent the morning cleaning house for a guest who ended up not coming over, so I am a little tired. Also, I can’t remember if I took my pills this morning and don’t want to take too many, so I guess I won’t fight the nap. Lol When I wake up, though–it’s on!

Idols

I have few true idols in life. There are some that I look up to because of sage advice, some that I look up to because of their calibre in their field (whether it’s a field that interests me or not), and some that I look up to because of sheer badassery.

Carrie Fisher and Betty White are in the third category. Stan Lee is in the second. But today, I want to talk about a couple of idols of mine who always have words of wisdom when I am working on any art project. I can call on either or both of these men to tell me how to get through any artistic flub, block, or mishap.

I’m talking, of course, about Bob Ross and Tim Gunn.

Most people recognize Bob Ross the moment they see a picture of him. And yes, I realize he’s been dead for quite some time. In today’s media age, though, death less permanent than it may once have been. You see, Bob Ross doesn’t have to be alive to give me words of wisdom. He’s already given them to me–to millions, really.

Happy accidents. That’s right, fuck those mistakes. Make that errant brush stroke, that missed stitch, that “oopsie” into an intentional part of the work. Own it.

I’ve forgotten this advice at times. I get frustrated or upset at my mistakes, but at least in terms of art I can still hold my head high and be proud of whatever my happy accidents have wrought.

Tim Gunn is another art idol of mine–and while this one is living, he’s also someone I’ve neither met nor interacted with. So how does he give me advice?

He tells me to make it work.

How is that not inspiring? And for anyone who’s seen him on Project Runway, he doesn’t say it in a pushing, bossy, or degrading tone. Ever the gentleman, he says it in the classiest way possible.

Even when he’s not too sure about the work in progress that he sees, he’s still encouraging.

“Carry on.” He will tell you to carry on because he’s giving you the chance to prove him wrong.

“Happy accidents,” “Make it work,” and “Carry on.” Sage words from top men in the realms of art and fashion.

How can I use these words to get me through my daily life? Well, in healthcare, you can’t really make accidents happy. You can’t always make it work. But carrying on? Hmm… that one may require reinterpretation. Perhaps not interpreted as “carry on with the mistake that you’re making”–more like “carry on despite any mistakes”? I don’t know. They’re not my work idols, after all.

I think I might try to find (or design) some kind of embroidery that harnesses these three phrases, something I can hang in my house with pride.

Speaking of pride, my Laurel gave me the best compliment today after I told her about my latest “make it work moment”–She said Tim Gunn would be proud of me.

That was the boost I needed today.

So get out there. Make art. Make accidents. Make it work.

And carry on.

On the Agenda…

Okay. I normally don’t get political, or get on a soapbox about current events–but this shit has got to stop.

I’m talking about using a young man’s death to further one’s own political agenda. Yeah, it’s happening, and it makes me sick.

You have probably heard by now (unless you live in a cave somwhere–in which case, how do you get a good wifi signal??), but let me refresh your memory: a young student, just 18 years old, died in the process of trying to stop a gunman from shooting up his school. You may think well yeah, but what does that have to do with agendas? Let me tell you.

This student, as I said, was 18. He was, by law in most states, an adult…but because he was a student, people are calling him a “child” and using his tragic story to push their anti-gun rhetoric. This, in my book, is not okay.

Think about it: He knew that rushing the gunman would be risky. Dangerous. Deadly. He knew it. But you know what? This “child” made a very adult decision: risking his own life to save his classmates. And, when I look back at it, I can totally see how it might have played out in his head. He probably thought of himself as an adult, not a child. Yeah, to me–at almost 40–18 seems like forever ago. It seems so young. But for this “child”? Probably not so much. What fresh 18-year-old isn’t constantly thinking about how old they are, how they’re finally an adult? Able to vote, to serve, etc. To die, if need be. And I bet that’s what he was thinking. He was thinking about how he was an adult and his friends and classmates were mostly “children,” and he probably made a choice to sacrifice himself for them–because that’s the adult thing to do, right?

Okay, so it’s probably not the best decision. It’s never wise to rush an armed person unless you’ve had training in how to properly subdue and disarm them. I didn’t say it was a wise decision; I said it was an adult decision.

But I’ve seen many people who are focusing more on this young man’s student status, thus giving them the ability to dramatize the tragedy by calling him a “child” and demanding stricter gun control legislation. People are using this man’s death to put heat on the government and demonize the NRA…by saying he was a child.

Now, I’m not saying he wasn’t someone’s child. Everyone’s a child in their parents’ eyes, even after they’ve reached that magic age of maturity. That doesn’t give others the right to use his death to push their ideals.

To that young man, I say “Well done.” I’m not going to say that we should ban guns. I’m not going to say that the government is at fault. The government didn’t send that shooter into a school. The NRA didn’t endorse the shooter. Stop. Using. Someone’s. Death. To. Push. Your. Own. Agenda. Do I need to say it louder for the people in the back?

I know who the hero is in this story. I also know who the villains are.

They’re not the government. They’re not the NRA. They’re not the gun-rights lobbyists.

They’re the gun-control lobbyists. They’re the ignorant masses who want to diminish one man’s sacrifice to get their way. They’re the people who can’t get past their own self-righteous causes to see a man’s true worth.

One man. One brave man.

Kendrick Castillo, I salute the man you were. You didn’t get a chance to grow up into the man you could be, but you were grown-up enough to know right from wrong, and to put others’ lives before your own.

Patience is a virtue…. and forgive me, but I’ve sinned

They say it’s good to be patient. Patience builds character or something. All good things are worth the wait. Except…

Except I am highly disappointed that I can’t move forward on Escape the Light yet. I know my publisher is busy, I know they’ve got it on the docket, and I know that, once done, I’ll appreciate the time that is spent on it. Unfortunately, knowing something intellectually and accepting that thing are two different animals.

I’m getting bored in the mornings, which is my best writing time. I’m dying to see what changes they want made and to move forward with those changes. I’m restless.

I’d work more on Book 3, but I have come to a wall of sorts. On the one hand, the more I get written the less I’ll have to write later. On the other hand, if I get too far in and they want me to make sweeping changes to Escape the Light, I will have royally screwed myself.

To proceed or not to proceed? That’s my question lately. I don’t want to do the work only to have to undo it… but if I don’t do the work, it won’t get done.

Decisions, decisions….

Maybe I’ll ask my publisher what they think. To boldly go or to wait my turn?

Missed opportunities.. but not really

Today marked a big day in my SCA life, and it made me think about my personal life as well.

Today marked the day when I knew I’d never be a Defender of the White Scarf. Not that I was thinking I would be one, but I thought I might eventually have a chance. If I practiced hard enough, if I worked hard enough, y’know?

Then I got to thinking about why I stopped practicing. Why I stopped trying. Why I don’t really try to do much of anything physical anymore. And then it hit me: I’ve gotten too big. Really big. Uncomfortably big. Like, sometimes I wonder if it’s going to kill me big.

I need to do something about it.

I need to stop when I get hungry and decide if I’m really all that hungry. I need to try to get more active. And, much as I hate the idea, I might need to talk seriously with a doctor about gastric surgery. Like, dead serious.

At five feet ten inches, I am almost three hundred pounds. I might be that by now–I’m afraid to get on a scale right now. I don’t want to know. I think I’ll break down in tears if I find out.

Something has to change, though. This can’t keep getting worse.

I’m tired of being the fattest person in the room. I’m tired of not being able to breathe when I try to put on my shoes or something. I’m tired of being hungry all the time. I’m tired of seeing myself in the mirror and wanting to puke. I’m tired of seeing myself tagged in photos online and trying not to cry at how I look.

I don’t know if today’s the day that things will change. I don’t know if I’ll ever crawl out of the hole I’ve gotten myself into. It’s gotta change sometime, though, if I’m going to survive. If I’m going to accomplish the things I want to do. I need to do an about-face, and I need to do it fast.

If I’m going to get things done.

If I want to survive.

(gr)Attitude

They say to count your blessings, right? I think I kinda forgot that for a bit.

Here’s what the deal is: my publisher is on this marketing/branding/selling kick lately, and with me already working a full-time job plus having other “non-writing life” obligations, it’s stressful how much they’re pushing it. Like, I already try to spend any waking non-work/non-SCA/non-sleeping hours writing, being active on Twitter, making Instagram posts, sharing links, etc., and for them to pushpushpush like they are, it’s getting to me. Can’t get blood from a turnip or something, right?

But I forgot. Sorry.

I mean, yeah, it’s stressful, but I guess in their own way they’re trying to help. My brain just isn’t wired to accept the pushing for the nudging and encouragement it’s meant to be. My whole life, whenever I’ve been pushed I’ve “pushed back” in the form of passive resistance. Basically, you push me, I dig in and shut down. My personality doesn’t dig it.

I know I should be grateful. I should be thanking the Gods that my publisher came to me and said they wanted to publish Abnormal. They saw potential, and I shouldn’t take that for granted.

But damn, I just keep forgetting.

Now, I’m not saying that for them to push in the way they are is okay by my book, but I do need to slow my roll on the bitching and get over the initial knee-jerk reaction that I have to it. They’re trying to teach strategies; my learning style just doesn’t jive with their teaching style, and I think I need to have a (level-headed) talk with one or more of them about how I would best benefit from what they have to teach. I’m sure that we can put our heads together and figure out the method of encouragement that would work best for me.

Yeah. That’s what I need to do. Talk. Not bitch. Count my blessings. Show gratitude, not attitude. (Cheesy, I know, but it is what it is.)

Epiphanies are strange.

Recharged, refueled, refilled

In the SCA, there’s this thing called “stardust.” It’s the fabric of the Dream that keeps the SCA alive, and it’s something I’ve been sorely lacking lately….until yesterday, that is.

It all started coming back to me when I finished the embroidery for my good friend’s Pelican mantle for her elevation. I’d go into details of what a Peerage is in the SCA and what an honor it is to be asked to do that embroidery, but suffice it to say that being given that honor was something that inspired me and pushed me to do the best I possibly could. Here’s the culmination of the better part of a week’s worth of work (minus day job time and sleeping):

Yes, that was all done by my own two hands. It was such a rewarding thing to do, and I was so happy to see my friend get elevated in the mantle that she trusted me to make beautiful for her.

That was a good start, but it didn’t quite refill my stardust all the way.

Yesterday, during morning Court, my husband and I were given our first Kingdom arts awards (in Arizona, a.k.a. the Kingdom of Atenveldt, the “Flower of the Desert” is the beginning-level arts award). The “scrolls”–which are burned into wood panels–are amazing, and it felt good to be recognized for the work that I do in the arts community in the SCA.

I also got a cool medallion.

But wait, there’s more!

As you can see, I’m in a bookstore in the above picture. I had a signing at a local bookstore for Independent Bookstore Day scheduled smack dab in the middle of the SCA event, so I ended up driving 45 minute to and fro to get to the bookstore and back.

When I returned, my husband handed me a small metal cup with a bunch of trinkets in it. Tchookies (pronounced CHOO-kees but probably not spelled the way I spelled it) are gifts that SCAdians give to artisans to show their appreciation of the artisan’s work. Most are little bits and baubles, like strung beads, cool stones (one was a nifty black arrowhead!), and small pieces of jewelry. I had put a hood that I made and embroidered for my husband in the arts showcase for the event, and several people left tchookies for me while I was gone. One tchookie in particular was not so small, and it blew me away.

Now, you may be thinking, “Wait, AJ, why is that ring–cool though it may be–the thing that filled your stardust to overflowing?” Well, I’ll tell you why: I was not the only person to wear that ring yesterday.

It’s the King’s ring. His personal ring, one that I’ve seen Him wear on many occasions.

I was blown away. I was shocked. I was a little verklempt. I took a picture and messaged the Queen, who was active on Facebook at the time, because seriously, there was no way the King had given me his actual own ring.

Except he had.

It was like the stresses and tribulations of the past several weeks were washed away with that one gift. Not to downplay the other tchookies–I’ll keep each and every one of them–but man.

Of course I showed off to everyone I thought might give a shit, plus a few extra. Some were happy for me, some were kind of annoyed by me (sorry, folks–I was just excited!), and even though I know I have shoved the ring in more than one too many faces, I still feel the need to share it here.

I feel so much better about…well, everything. It’s like the ring is a stardust-powered talisman or something. Bills? Angry patients? Deadlines? I can stand tall through it all.

Speaking of deadlines, I have at least two more projects to get finished before next weekend’s Coronation, where the current King and Queen will step down and the Prince and Princess will step up to rule for the next six months. Better get cracking! Who knows? Maybe one of those projects will help refuel someone else’s stardust.

Close call

I admit it: I’m an idiot.

Here’s what happened:

I was on samples of a medicine that worked great for my anxiety. Then the doctor prescribed the full strength dose…. and the pharmacy didn’t fill it. And they didn’t fill it. And they didn’t fill it.

I asked why I didn’t have the med yet. Their answer? My insurance required a prior authorization from the doctor. Okay, cool. He’ll fill it out and it’ll be approved and I’ll get my medicine.

Nope. The initial prior authorization was denied. So the doctor was going to write a letter of appeal to the insurance company. In the meantime, his receptionist said I could pick up two weeks of samples again.

But my tricksy mind got to me. It said, “Well, what if the appeal doesn’t work? Then what do you do? You can’t have samples forever; they’ll run out, and you’ll be back to square one.” And stupid me listened to my brain and didn’t pick up the samples.

This was last week (I had been off the medicine, which has a 72-hour half life, since April 3), and this week started off terrible at work. The office was super busy, someone had called out, and my stress levels were through the roof.

Yesterday morning I woke up stressed. I was anxious about getting to the doctor to get those new samples , because maybe two weeks of sanity is better than nothing. That, and I wanted to cut. Like, REALLY wanted to. I didn’t, but the urge was there.

I tried stopping by the doctor’s office on the way to work, but they were closed. I tried calling, thinking maybe I could leave a message. The longer I went without hearing from him, the worse I felt.

I texted my boss and asked if someone could cover the one afternoon patient while I went to Urgent Care (which is what the doctor’s recorded message says to do if you don’t hear from him). I didn’t want to go to Urgent Care, but I knew I needed to do something or else I was going to go over the edge.

Why was I afraid of going to Urgent Care? Because I had convinced myself that if I go to Urgent Care for any kind of mental health issue, I’ll be committed. No passing go, no collecting $200. That is a tremendous fear of mine, and for most of the morning I felt the weight of that fear crushing me.

After a hectic morning (or maybe it wasn’t really hectic–maybe that was just my skewed perception) of working and playing phone tag with the doctor’s receptionist, I finally got my new samples. Full dose, two weeks’ worth.

I took one as soon as I got it, but alas, they’re not instant acting pills. I felt relief at not having to go to Urgent Care, but I still felt wrong.

I was still a little scared. I was still not thinking clearly. All I could think about was how close I might have come to ending up in a psych ward.

It’s a little better now. I don’t feel like I’m going to lose my shit at the moment.

Tomorrow will be a long day. My goal is to survive it and make it to the next day.

It’s pretty sad when you view survival as a goal, not a given.