Long, long ago, in the dim past of the internet—we’re talking 1998. Maybe 1997. Somewhere in there. Anyway, that’s when I started posting ‘stuff’ online. No blogs back then, so the tabletop RPG reviews I wrote were static pages in dirt-simple html. I moved on from those to book reviews, just because it was fun. I was also an article-writing machine back then, so we had the RPG article section, the cooking article section, and the writing article section. With some overlap in topics.
It didn’t take long to move from my little user page at MIT to our own site, which back then meant a server in our living room. That was burningvoid.com (we no longer own the domain name), and it lasted for quite some time. Think low-res title image with little white stars on a background of black letters. I’m at least able to say that I never used a blink tag, nor posted anything on geocities.
Some time ago, it became convenient for various reasons to turn this thing into a company. Partly because at the time, our tiny little cafepress store of gaming-related designs was doing surprisingly well. We ended up Errant Dreams, because seemingly every other company name or website address in existence was taken. I really like it actually, but I’ve discovered that most people go “huh?” when faced with the word “errant”, which makes it hard to verbally give people my email address. Blogs were a thing by then, as well as hosting our site on someone else’s server so home power outages didn’t take it down. Since I was ridiculously prolific on various topics, we had three main blogs: a review blog (hundreds of reviews of books, kitchenware, and whatever else I wanted to rave about), a writers’ exercises blog, and a more personal blog for site news and all of the random things I wanted to post about. I received insane numbers of requests for reviews, until I finally stopped trying to keep up with them all because even at my highest rate of one per weekday, I just couldn’t.
I’ve always gone through periods, usually several months at a time, when I’d post next-to-nothing. See, I’m bipolar/ADD, and those were largely the depressive times, or the ADD-I-can’t-focus times. Anyone who has experienced clinical depression knows how tough it can be to find the wherewithal to make breakfast, let alone write book reviews every day. I’ve always done fairly well on meds, but these things never go away—they can only be managed.
Meds for things like bipolar are always being tweaked. Our illnesses change a bit, our bodies change a bit, or our life circumstances change a bit, and suddenly things don’t quite work any more. I went through most of a year unable to sleep more than an hour or two a night, which is vicious on one’s energy level and ability to think, only to find out it was a side effect of a medication. So, thence started several years of medication meddling. Once you have to change one medication, it tends to cascade until you’re changing all of them. One made my hair fall out, so we moved on to one that caused hyponatremia (your sodium level drops, which is worse than it sounds). I had to go off of that very suddenly while ramping up very gradually on the next stabilizer (usually you do both concurrently so you’re always medicated), meaning that for a time I was essentially unmedicated for my bipolar. That was a truly miserable time, during which I tried to leave the house as little as possible. My husband should be nominated for sainthood for coping with me during that time.
Finally we got the mood stabilizer worked out. It’s best to mess with only one med at a time so you know which med is causing what, so next came pinning down my ADD/anxiety med. By the time we got those worked out the difference was so stark that I thought I was ‘all better’—or at least as close as you can get with the meds. When you come out of a dark tunnel, after all, a gray day seems downright sunny. It took a while to realize that I was still suffering from depression—many people with bipolar need a separate anti-depressant on top of their mood stabilizer. I never had before, but I shouldn’t have been too surprised.
The fact that I’m managing to write this post is a result of trying a new antidepressant. I can’t know yet how well it will hold me up, how steady it will be, and how much energy & motivation I’ll be able to hold onto. I can’t yet be sure I won’t have side effects that cause me to go through all of this all over again. But I’m cautiously optimistic.
I’ve learned not to make grand pronouncements about how now I’m better, and now I’ll be able to get things done, because sometimes it doesn’t last, and there’s always another eventual several-month dip. So I won’t do that now. This break has been long enough that I don’t get review books automatically sent to me anymore, but I’m glad of that—not being able to cope with reviewing books I’d been sent just made me feel even worse. Besides, I have scads of reviews to catch up on, which should last me a long time.
I’m hopeful, however. It’ll probably be a slow and fitful start if it works out at all, but I’d really like to start posting again.
Anyway, to go back to that history: since how I post has changed so much, and all those static pages felt like tattered remnants of a bygone era, my incredibly wonderful husband re-made the site. Everything is one blog now. The old articles exist, as ‘blog posts’ with a date of when I originally wrote them. I haven’t gone through them to make sure links work and things like that. There might be big swaths that have issues. But I’m here writing this update at least, which frankly is a big enough step that I feel pretty damn good about it. He also simplified things: when left to organize things, I inevitably over-engineer. WAY over-engineer.
If you somehow managed to sit through all that babbling, then I wish you all the best for the holiday season and the new year!