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Re: Is Tar Valon a vagina? To be strictly accurate, the island in question resembles a vulva, rather than a vagina, but don't let that get in the way of the debate. For the record, I can't stop myself wondering if the Oath Rod requires batteries . . . :o
February 06, 2012, 05:05:28 PM
Depression, Struggles and Light at the End of Every Tunnel Although this Forum is and should be mainly about fun and a shared creative passion, we have a community and sometimes real life intrudes. A forum friend sent me the poem below expressing the debilitating impact of depression. We all know that depression is a physical illness, like osteoporosis, if you will - not a disease of lifestyle or personal "issues." But while there shouldn't be any stigma on it, there can tend to be. Fear of this can reinforce the emotional dark night of the soul for the depression sufferer and make the person feel even more isolated.

Here's the poem:

Do you know what depression is?
Feeling down, black dog, grey clouds…
No. Wrong.
Depression is an illness, a disease. Faulty brain cells.

Do you know what depression feels like?
Feeling down, black dog, grey clouds…
No. Wrong.
Be thankful you don’t know. It’s different for every single person, every single time.

This time, a switch was installed.
It flickers on and off, with neither rhyme nor reason.
One moment you’re ok, the next you’re sobbing uncontrollably. Tears are optional, just the ragged breathing and the feeling are there.
One moment you’re walking, moving, the next you stop. You’re paralysed. Your legs feel heavy, your arms like they belong to someone else. Everything about you is frozen.
One moment the world is normal, the next the smallest decision feels overwhelming. There’s no future beyond the now.
One moment you’re laughing, the next there’s a knot in your throat and you’ve forgotten what it feels to be ok.
Nothing makes sense. There’s no night nor day.

Chemicals mean hope. Repair.
Weeks pass, months pass, a year or more. And you no longer know what depression feels like.
Until next time…

The friend asked me to share this poem, and doesn't want some big outpouring of "OMG! Are you okay?" no matter how heart-felt and well-intended.

But you may know someone - or be someone - who suffers from this disease, and the words here may be a balm or an opening of the eyes. We hope so.

May 08, 2015, 04:19:12 PM
Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend Interesting.

I'm useless when it comes to poems, couldn't write one to save my life, so I don't know how to comment on that form of expression really, but the idea of making a poetic description of one's depressive state, and beyond that the way it is delivered are quite touching.

I don't know that I would agree that depression is only a matter of brain cells and chemicals. If only because any human emotion is ultimately nothing but a matter of brain cells and chemicals. I think it does depend on the circumstances and the people. Each case, each time being different and always serious.
This poem conveys the very curious impression that the origins, the reasons of the depression are unknown, and as someone who barely made it out of the worst fit of depression of my life, it's a scary idea.

As far as I was concerned, the reasons for my falling slowly into deeper levels of depression were well known.
I was taken by hopelessness, lack of purpose, the sense of losing life, incapable of gaining back what I had lost, and the ever looming prospect of being forced to front a crippling phobia, combined with a negative and oppressive environment, it made me spiral down into obsessive behaviours.
I cut myself off from any friends and contacts and single-mindedly, if not maniacally occupied myself in a attempt to distract me from darker impulses.
When my situation got worse with consistent lack of sleep due to dogs barking all night long 3m out of my window without me having any possibility to make it stop, I seriously entertained ideas of killing some of the dogs (that I all loved). I would spray them in the night with the hose and cry and beg them to shut the heck up.
Sleep deprivation was torture, I think that was the lowest point in my life, that deadly combination.

While I read 10 novels of the Black Dagger Brotherhood in a week during those dark days (which I'm rather not proud of), I also laid my hands on many books that sparked real interest and emotions in me, and at the darkest of moments, it always was the nagging idea that I had more to read, more series of books to finish, stories that had left me hanging, or the prospect of discovering new authors who might hook me even more, and ultimately realising that I had things I wanted to write, that kept me from completely letting go.

I was stranded in complete loneliness with nothing but daily work, compulsive reading and writing when I came on this forum, looking for a shred of human society, of people who shared my interests and might teach me things, advise and entertain.
Forums made of close, active members is certainly a great place to be for someone having personal problems. Who better to talk to than friends that perpetually remain strangers?
More and more research are proving that people create tighter bonds and get more involved and speak up more easily on the internet, precisely because of the anonymity (and you end up with very effective organisations like anonymous, besides the crazy band of Fantasy Faction).

These days I'm working hard, trying to give myself some berth (aka, AUS$), but I still fight moments of hopelessness.
So I definitely understand the writer, when he/she says that sometimes it comes unannounced, this sudden moment of anxious realisation your future is a void and nothing is there but the rotten moment you're going through.
However I hope the writer likewise has some lifeboat reasons to keep from utter despair, things to do or things to see and read, that will keep them out of trouble some time more until laugher and a bit of carelessness comes back, be it the next episode of Supernatural, it doesn't matter.

Hang on tight, and if the smallest window of opportunity to change your life towards a path that you crave opens, lunge.  8)

May 09, 2015, 04:17:31 PM
Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend It's good to see a dialogue about this kind of stuff.
It's also interesting to see that the writer puts chemicals as a source of hope at the end. I sympathise entirely. I've been on my "dried frog pills" for a couple of years and others often seem to feel that I should be concerned about being on medication and that it is not a long term cure. Guess they've not had the black dog on them for extended periods (especially ones with sleep deprivation - I empathise entirely @Nora).

Medicine doesn't understand depression fully, or how serotonin reuptake inhibitors work (when they do - which is not for everyone), but medicine can help.
What stops people getting such help is stigma. We forget that when our car is broken we go to a mechanic. When our mind is broken we should go and see the expert in that too.

I for one would never have gone to the doctor, my wife made me. It was the best decision I've never made.

Whilst I still feel a little exposed talking about depression as an illness, I feel almost responsible that I should in order to help break down the stigmas and barriers that almost stopped me getting help. Posts like the poem in this one are part of the discourse we need to do that, so nicely done @Jmack

May 11, 2015, 10:41:54 AM
Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend Thank you for being an amazing friend to us all here,hugs
May 11, 2015, 01:41:27 PM
Re: Depression is a bitch... from a friend This is Incredibly hard for me to write

I suffer from anxiety. I've always been shy but it it got so bad in my early twenties that I wouldn't leave the house unless I had to (work and shopping) I couldn't even maintain eye contact unless I really know the person (family) and when I did go out I thought strangers were laughing/talking at me behind my back on top of all this I was starting to get eczema on my face it wasn't too bad but my self concious was making it worse. I even worried about my accent thinking people wouldn't understand me  this meant my social life suffered I really wanted to make friends but at same time I was scared of meeting people I throw myself into books

But when I  was really down and feeling lonely and felt I was wasting my life hiding away, I joined a social club on my own called Spice it was one of the bravest thing I've ever done I forced myself to use eye contact and try to talk to people and it was brilliant at first I did zorbing,micro-lighting,paint-balling etc but then disaster a girl who I didn't know very well accused me of stalking her (she split up from her b/f and wanted to be noticed or something) a complete fabrication , I eventually had an apology of her but the damage was done. I left as it had knocked my confidence and trust for a long time

I eventually picked myself up again and forced myself to be brave I wanted to try archery so forced myself to join an archery club. Here I found friends and gained close friendships,  there went to the pub on Friday evenings I joined in which was scary at first but then I got more and more confident which gave me the confidence to join a badminton club

Last year my Dad passed away from bowel cancer to distract me I joined a cycling club. I would never would have had the courage earlier to do this.

Even Fantasy Faction gives me confidence as the people here are so friendly here

I still get scared of meeting new people especially in big groups but I try my best to fight against my anxiety  maybe I should go to the next Grim Gathering


May 11, 2015, 06:20:40 PM
Re: Writing and Solitude I would probably be a hermit writer if I was on my own, but fortunately my wife ensures we have a social life and keep up with friends and family. I have also moved my computer from my High Castle (attic office) to the kitchen table so that I am not reported missing.
June 01, 2017, 12:24:18 AM
Re: Rejections and acceptance issues Got about five or six rejections? On hindsight, I was NOT ready. My writing wasn't half as mature as it is now. I was rushing the process.
Being with a small publisher comes with a load of problems as well, be warned. I'm realising that a lot more now that I work in a big bookseller.
You may write a cool book, but if we don't have big deals with your publisher, then we might not ever get your book, or we might receive one, and not keep it on rolling stock (meaning keeping none on shelf and waiting for people to order it in). But better be published anywhere, to get more consideration afterward too right?
Tough deal.

The one that hurt the most was a story written just for the last months of open subs. Waited almost a whole year for a curt No.
what to do about it? Nothing. Learn to accept it as part of what writing is. Rejection MIGHT be a judgement on your writing (you always need to get better) but not always. Just keep at it and try to not invest too much sensitive pride. If you truly believe in a piece of work, keep offering it.
it wasn't the no, it was the waiting time that hurt.

June 04, 2017, 09:03:37 AM
Re: Rejections and acceptance issues Rejections are always tough.

My only advice is, if you send it out to six people and it gets rejected six times, then swallow your pride and take a good, critical look at your work. Chances are, it's not quite there yet. Put it away for a few months, then reread it, and you're likely to find areas for improvement. Write it again, better, then send it back out.


I got rejected 36 times before I got my agent. After every batch of submissions I rewrote the entire book, so those rejections happened over a period of decade. When it's stretching on like that, you either continue to believe in that piece of work, or you accept it isn't right and you start a new project. Most people have three or four failed novels in their history before they get published. I have about eight - it's just they're all versions of the same novel.

I took the view that rejection meant the book wasn't good enough, rather than it wasn't right for the publisher. That drove me to make the book better every time. Laborious, but ultimately worth it.

Good luck!


June 04, 2017, 10:26:23 AM
Re: UGH... self-promotion
I think social media is how something like 30% of millennials discover books-- meaning 70% discover it another way-- and that can mean that you made it on someone *else's* social media-- and plenty of non-millenials out there don't discover books on social media either.  The largest category is word of mouth, but there are plenty of other ways.  Also, looking at how x% of people discovered books in general doesn't give you the marketing trajectory of an individual book-- that's totally different. People talk or share or instagam or whatever on their own, but what got the book to that point? The first link below is really revealing in that sense.

I'm just gonna leave these here...

June 14, 2017, 01:35:25 PM