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Self Sabotaging Spiral

Self harming isn’t always cutting oneself. Never in my life have I cut myself. Well, on purpose. I’ve cut myself plenty of times by accident. So many depressed people have scars, whether they show them or not. Sometimes it almost feels as though I’m faking, as though I’m not really as depressed as I feel, because I don’t self-harm. Not every person with depression fits into the same mould however. It would be silly to think that I should automatically fit into the hollywood-ised mould of cutting myself, when that’s not all there is.

Most depressed people harm themselves. It’s self-destructive behaviour which they may not necessarily do on purpose. It’s not always cutting yourself. Sometimes it’s as simple as staying up late when you have to wake up early. Eating when you’re not hungry, or not eating. We all utilise different forms of self harm that sabotage ourselves in different ways. It can often be a spiral of self sabotage.

In my case, I’m currently eating more than I should. I feel full, but I continue eating, because eating gives me some form of release. I know I shouldn’t. I know it’s bad, and that I’m hurting work that I’ve put in to lose weight. It’s so hard to stop, though. It’s almost a form of punishment. I feel like shit, so this is how I will punish myself.

That’s not all. I have tried sleeping schedules in the past. They’ve helped a little, if not a lot. What I used to use most was waking up the same time each day. However the worse I feel mentally, the more likely I’m going to reach over and turn my alarm off. At the moment, I’ve turned my alarms off entirely because getting out of bed is so hard, there’s no way I’ll be able to do it on command.

The other day I had a few drinks. By a few, I mean I had 6 cans of Little Fat Lamb cider. The next day was spent half lying down, half on the toilet emptying my stomach of any acid it had the audacity to keep within it. I tried to eat some dry toast around midday, not having much else that would be good for an upset stomach. I didn’t even manage to eat half of the slice I made myself, or drink half a bottle of water, for most of the day. It wasn’t until around 7pm that I finally managed a whole slice of toast, and almost a bottle of water. Alcohol poisoning is not a fun experience.

All this past week, I have been feeling useless and helpless. I mentioned in my previous blog my current experiences with centrelink which aren’t helping matters. There’s also the lack of jobs that seem available for what I want to do. It doesn’t help that those few jobs that do exist all seem to want people more experienced. Even those open for the new to the workforce are likely to accept someone with experience over me. I’m already racking up disheartening rejections, which doesn’t exactly do much for my mental health state.

There are so many things I could do right now which could make me feel better. Attending my graduation ceremony today. Going out for drinks with some friends from uni afterwards instead. Going to my friends’ place to play games or watch things and just hang out aimlessly. Unfortunately, all of those things require money which I simply do not have. What I could do instead, those things that I find enjoyable which requires no money, are sadly driving me crazy. I’ve been playing a lot of games lately. A lot of Overwatch, and Monster Hunter World in particular. Both these games can become very bad to play when you’re not in a good mood.

While I love Overwatch, and enjoy playing it with my friends, there are a lot of toxic people who play it. Whether on my team or the enemy team, it can become highly demoralising when someone starts abusing you… Before I started drinking on Wednesday night, I was playing a game with some friends, and we had one random on our team. I was doing what I could as a Reinhardt, trying to shield my team. Yet there were times when I needed to try to just get on point so that we wouldn’t lose it. At which point our random teammate started abusing me in chat, calling me the “worst Reinhardt” for “just charging in there”.

Another game, a few days later, we had a six-stack, and went up against another six-stack which completely rolled us. We tried to counter them, unfortunately when you lose a point as quickly as that, it’s easy to become demoralised, and tilted, and not do your best. The enemy team basically just laughed at us.

You can be trying your hardest, but still lose. It’s very much the type of game where the more you lose, the more demoralised you get, and the worse you do. Being in an already low mood makes losing all that much harder on me right now, unfortunately.

The same goes for Monster Hunter World, a game which can be quite difficult. It doesn’t help that while I like playing games, I’m hardly the best player in the world. I’ll never be the top player of any game, or able to do any speed runs. There are some (supposedly simple) games which I’m currently trying to play, but unable to figure out how to proceed. Which gets frustrating.

With Monster Hunter World, you’re up against monsters. The other week I was playing by myself up against a ratholos. Technically, I was playing with friends. Unfortunately, however, they were unable to join my quest because I hadn’t seen all the cutscenes. If I had pulled out of the expedition and started a new quest, they would have been able to join. Of course, I didn’t really realise that until I had already done what felt like a fair amount of damage. Besides, in an expedition I had as many faints as I needed.

Then, after many faints, and lots of frustration. After I had cut off the ratholos’s tail, and broken several other pieces of it. When it had to have been close to being ready to capture. It left the area. Meaning I would have to start again from the top with a new one.

I almost wanted to uninstall the game after that.

Thankfully, in the next few days, with my friends’ help, I managed to defeat it. Now a ratholos is one monster I can more or less handle by myself if I need to. (I don’t even want to think about the azure ratholos fights coming up.)

Apart from games, I have other entertainment options of reading a book, of watching something, or playing a different game. Unfortunately, reading can be hard when I crave some form of activity where I’m doing something. Watching something has a similar problem, along with a second that is shared by my difficulty in playing a different game.

There are so many options. There are entire libraries of movies and TV shows to watch. I have so much to watch which I’m behind in. And so many games to possibly play. It is so hard to choose when there’s such a large number of things to choose from.

It’s all too easy to sit in this self sabotaging spiral I’m in, staring at games I could be playing, or things I could be watching, and instead of doing anything, just keep staring. It’s too easy to want to curl up in bed and do nothing instead of something.

Life with depression can be very hard. I applaud all of you out there who are currently doing your best and keeping on going in spite of how hard your own self makes it.

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Happy Halloween

There’s a cauldron with a cat’s face near my feet which is filled with many delicious sugary treats, and while I am happy to give it away to trick-or-treaters, I imagine that come tomorrow the only subtractions made from its insides will be when I crave something sweet.

I talked about Halloween in my first blog post on this site, and now it’s time to revisit the subject. Today I plan to talk about how things compare now to then, as well as give a brief overview of my October.

Unsurprisingly, given I only just started this whole thing up, I haven’t exactly had an influx of people demanding my editing services. Although even one little email might have been encouraging. I’ll get there one day, I’m sure. At least I have had the chance to further practise my editing skill with one of my assignments at uni. So far I’ve edited eight short manuscripts, with two left to do by Friday. Definitely getting there. Similarly, I have only a few edits left of my manuscript, and once that and my peer reviews have been handed in, I am officially done for the year.

I don’t know about you, but I am absolutely terrified to be leaving university. Of course, there’s still a part of me that’s worried that I might fail or otherwise not do as good as I might want to. Overall, however, I’m far more scared of what’s to come. I’m sure I mentioned before that I plan to move down to Melbourne eventually, where the publishing houses are… well, more. It’s not going to be an easy thing though. Which definitely sucks, because I’m actually really looking forward to being down there.

Moving is going to be hard. My whole life is up here, for starters. Not to mention, due to a certain four legged being covered in fur, and a bit of a hoarding mindset, I’m going to have to drive down. (The license is something I’m in the middle of working on. It will get there.) The move itself is going to be hard, but before that I’m going to need a job.

It is so hard to get a job today. It’s ridiculous. And getting a job that you can hold down? Don’t get me started. Recently, a friend of mine moved up from Sydney. Her area of work was in hospitals, but she didn’t really have an “in” up in Brisbane. Thankfully, I had that in for her. All I could really do was send through expressions of interest, passed on from someone who works in a hospital. But it was enough. She got an interview, and she got the job. That’s not exactly the end of her worries, however. She, and the vast majority of people she works with, are on 3 month contracts. Sooner or later, there’s a chance that her job might not be her job anymore, if she doesn’t get a permanent contract. Those aren’t exactly easy to get.

My friend was lucky that she had me. Sure, I have some friends down in Melbourne, but none of them are exactly in the position where they could help by sending me expressions of interest for jobs in my field. Or even any job, really. Which means that I’m going to be relying on Seek. Which is fine, I’m sure many people manage to get jobs through job sites. Or else the sites would no longer be active. Right? My biggest problem is that I might not get many places willing to do Skype interviews.

I’ve also recently had some fun determining how I’m going to continue getting Centrelink payments after uni is finished. To cut a long story short (perhaps I’ll get into the longer story one day) the Centrelink app was telling me to do something which it wouldn’t let me do, which apparently I didn’t need to do. Instead of sorting out to switch my payment over from Austudy to Newstart now, I simply have to wait until my Austudy expires, then make a claim for Newstart. At least hopefully that person was right, and I’m not going to have several weeks or months waiting for Centrelink to give me a payment.

So yeah, I’m not particularly confident about my future right now. But, for now, enough about me, and the void of uncertainty that I’m currently looking at. It’s my favourite holiday!

Not that I’m doing much for it. I have the aforementioned cauldron of sweets, should anyone appear at my door and utter the correct password. Otherwise, it has been and will continue to be, a relatively chill day for me. I have, however, seen some wonderful costumes today. There was an absolutely stunning Emily from Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride when I went to buy my sugary treats earlier. Worm coming out of her eye and everything. There was also a lovely zombie there. I even saw a witch at the News Agent when I topped up on sugary liquid (vanilla coke) to get me through the day. Okay, so not that many, but all the ones I’ve seen were absolutely wonderful. Not to mention, I saw a Ravenclaw, and any Harry Potter costume will always manage to bring a smile to my face.

Now, costumes and trick or treating aren’t the only things that I have been excited for this spooky season, as those of you who read my first blog will no doubt know. Halloween events have abounded. I definitely enjoyed the Overwatch event while it was up. (Okay, so it’s still up for now. Technically. It will be down sometime tonight though, I believe).

The Mystery at Hogwarts app event, however, hasn’t really been inspiring me. I was right when I thought there would be one. Of course there would be one. The problem, in my mind, however, is that there were so many of them. I feel as though I can barely continue with the story line itself, lately, due to how many events they have had. Instead, I spend all of my time on the game just in lessons, earning whatever I need to at the time in a desperate attempt to obtain all of the limited edition pets and skins that they have on offer.

This isn’t necessarily possible for someone who sleeps, goes to university, (I can only imagine how a job would intervene) and isn’t willing to shell out money for the in-game premium currency which refills energy. At the moment, I am also particularly annoyed at the app developers who put a bunch of people against a bunch of other people for a single limited edition item. I can certainly understand the idea behind it, don’t get me wrong. However, the annoying thing is that some people who particularly care are bound to be grouped up with people who don’t, or even people who are no longer playing the game.

Okay, so maybe I’m just salty that I’ve been screwed over twice. I even did end up using gems to refill my energy a couple of times to try to get the exclusive spider pet. I didn’t bother with the cool goth skin, however, not when there was one person in my group of Slytherins who hadn’t earned a single house pride point. I’m rather disappointed in some of my fellow Slytherins right now, not going to lie. Most of my disappointment, however, is reserved for the developers who seem to just be happy with the money they’re getting from people desperate to get all of the exclusive items.

There have been some other games I play which have had Halloween events. Sadly, however, I haven’t been playing many of those games. Mostly due to a combination of university assignments, and my determination to collect all of the event exclusives in Overwatch. (Achievement successfully unlocked, by the way.)

So, this has been an update on October from your friendly neighbourhood book addict. Coming up next is November. The lovely month of NaNo. I would imagine anyone who is likely to read my blogs in this coming month should expect a lot of exhausted posts about writing. Or perhaps a continuation of the random blogs of whatever passes my mind at the time. Hope everyone who reads this (and, well, everyone who doesn’t as well, I’m not going to discriminate) has a happy Halloween. A truly wonderful Samhain for those of you who celebrate it in the Northern Hemisphere. And for those who celebrate such things in the Southern Hemisphere, happy Beltane.

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Welcome to October

It’s coming into October, my favourite month of the year. Ever since I was a child, I have always loved Halloween. Imagine my disappointment to have been born in Australia, one of the few big Western nations that doesn’t particularly celebrate Halloween. Naturally, all the Australia’s love for all things American when it comes to TV just made everything worse. After all, is an American TV show without a Halloween special actually an American TV show? I don’t think so.

Don’t get me wrong, Halloween not being overly celebrated in Australia never stopped me from trick-or-treating. My Mum and Nana would help me with a costume, and then my god-sisters and myself would walk around my Nana and Grandad’s neighbourhood. I have no idea how Americans always seem to have pillowcases filled with candy by the time they walk around a neighbourhood. I mean, sure, perhaps the neighbourhood I would walk around wasn’t quite as big as the American neighbourhoods, but that wasn’t the real problem. The problem was that no one was prepared for trick-or-treaters to come around. Not when I was growing up. Well, no one is an overstatement. A few people had some candy or chocolate bars. The vast majority, however, would just shrug and say “Oh, it’s Halloween? Sorry, I don’t have anything for you.” A couple of people were really nice, and they would give us two dollar coins instead.

The world is changing, and I like the way it’s changing. Now it’s becoming common for children in Australia to trick-or-treat. We still have a long way to go before it’s as normal as it is in other countries, such as America, but we have come quite far from when I used to be the only child in the neighbourhood to go trick-or-treating. There’s even a set of rules that are being generally acknowledged by parents, children, and just people living in houses. If you wish to participate and have trick-or-treaters come to your house to give away candy, you just leave your outside light on. So parents will take their children around neighbourhoods, going to houses with their lights on. One day it may even be as common here as it is in the United States.

I don’t go trick-or-treating any more. I’m a bit too old for that now, sadly, and don’t have any children to escort around. Maybe one day I might steal a child from a friend. That’s not to say that Halloween is any less boring as an adult. Now, I can just buy all the candy I want to eat and binge-watch Halloween movies.

Which is, of course, my plan for this Halloween. I have a bunch of friends who I plan to voice call while watching the wonderful world of Halloween movies. The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Hocus Pocus are naturally two of the first movies on our list. Of course we’re also going to be watching some Beeltejuice as well. There are just so many other good Halloween movies out there as well that I don’t know what else to add to our list. Especially since I’m trying to educate a couple of my friends, who haven’t seen some of these movies before. (I know, believe me, I’m just as shocked as you are. Don’t worry though, they have agreed to being educated.) Any particularly important must-see Halloween movie suggestions would be more than welcome.

There are three other things that I’m particularly looking forward to this wonderful spooky month. Firstly, there are Halloween events. I don’t necessarily mean at bars, or places like that. Although if I can find any events like that, I may very well do just that. However, what I am talking about is the wonderful world of gaming events. Okay, so, the one game in particular, although I can hope that other games might also have events. For example, I’m hopeful that the Harry Potter mobile game, Mystery at Hogwarts, might have a Halloween event. Given that it’s still a growing game and mostly in development, I would not be surprised if such an event didn’t happen this year, however they are doing some events for unique skins fairly regularly, so I think my hope may just pay out.

The game I’m particularly looking forward to, however, is Overwatch. Now, I haven’t been playing this game since it came out. And don’t get me wrong, I’m not good at it. I’d like to be, but I’m only a lowly bronze player. (In comp as well as border). Maybe upgrading to a better mouse and keyboard might help with that for me. Or maybe I’ll just find out that no, I’m still horrible at it. Though, my skill level isn’t the point I want to talk about right now. Instead, I want to talk about the Halloween event. I had so much fun last year when playing Junkenstein’s revenge. It was the first special event arcade mode that I played, since I joined at the end of the Anniversary event last year.

Overwatch is great, I’ve been enjoying playing it a lot lately. Although it’s one of those things that’s definitely better with friends. Even better when it has those Player vs Environment events, as opposed to constantly Player vs Player. I’m just going to ignore the whole trend towards Battle Royale that games seem to be going to at the moment due to the popularity of some certain free to play ones, because let’s face it, those modes are undoubtedly my least favourite. The PvE modes, however, Junkenstein’s Revenge, Uprising, and Retribution are some of my favourites. Let’s face it, Overwatch players can get quite salty sometimes, whether you’re playing with them or against them. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing competitive, quick play, or arcade, unless you’re playing with a six stack, you’ll almost inevitably find a teammate who doesn’t co-operate. That’s not to say that you don’t find that in those PvE modes. In fact, sometimes you get players who either disconnect or purposefully leave, which results in a very unbalanced group, since unlike other game modes, there isn’t any back-fill for these PvE games, which are designed for four players to work together.

The game mode isn’t the only thing that’s got me excited. I’m a pretty big fan of some of the skins that already exist in the game, but Halloween skins will always be among my favourite on any game that has such a mechanic. Some of the ones that I got last year during the event are still up there among my most-used skins. The Dragon Symmetra skin, and the Cultist Zenyatta skin in particular are absolutely wonderful. As someone who currently “mains” Moira, I’m naturally hoping and praying for a Goblin Queen Labyrinth-style skin. If not this event, perhaps I’ll be lucky next year.

The second exciting thing about this month is that it’s going to be my last month at university. Now, I’m not going to say forever, at this point. I know myself too well to say that. Maybe one day I’ll go on to do a Masters. For the moment, however, with what I’m currently studying, I am nearly done. This is both exciting and absolutely terrifying for me. Having to go out into the real world as an adult with a degree? What on Earth will I do? It doesn’t help that it’s a Fine Arts degree. I’m just going to be so employable!

The third thing that’s happening this month is connected to the second, and is essentially the main reason I’m writing this whole thing right now in the first place. I’ve just spent the past three years working on a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative and Professional Writing. Naturally I want to go on to do something with this. Which is why I’m starting this blog. The blog is just a small part, of course. I’ve also taken steps to become a sole trader, so that I can begin getting paid for writing and editing. It feels like a big step for me, quite possibly because it is. I’m going to be putting myself out there, which hasn’t always ended well for me in the past. Not that such things have always ended horribly for me, but when you have anxiety, you always begin to expect the worst.

So here goes, the first blog for my site, talking about my favourite month, and letting everyone know that Marlee McDougall, writer and editor, is officially open for business.