THREADS Box, The Third!

We’re drowning in Threads boxes, you guys! Not that I’m complaining, because these small, super-affordable sub boxes have been absolutely great so far!

This is our third box, and it actually says June right on the label, so it looks like we’ve finally caught up to whatever strange shipping snafu has been happening. This box was just as great as the first two. The shirt isn’t really my thing, but it’s in Jason’s size anyway, so that’s okay this time (ha ha), and the graphic novel is another winner for sure. All in all that’s three boxes with three great shirt designs and three awesome graphic novels for my collection. I just can’t encourage you enough; if you’re into geeky shirts and reading, you should definitely go check out this box!

The Ultimate Acid Test

I’m throwing myself to the wolves, dear friends, and I sincerely hope I come out uneaten.

Let’s talk about depression for a few minutes.

It’s a shitty, hateful, unfair thing, depression. It doesn’t care who you are, where you’re from, what your background is, or what your future looks like. It strikes regardless of age, race, or religion, and it doesn’t give two shakes of a rat’s ass whether you’re rich or poor, a loser or a success, or whether you have any real logical reason to be suffering from it.

Depression, despite what those who don’t suffer from it sometimes think, is not like being sad. The two can be interrelated, but are not nearly the same thing. Sadness is something you feel when you flunk a test or break up with a significant other or say your final farewells to a loved one. Depression can hitch a ride on those situations, no doubt, but depression also hits a victim with no reason and no warning. Depression can strike because your drive to school was two minutes late, or because you hit your toe on the bed-frame, or because a coworker is mildly annoyed with you. Depression strikes at the tiniest provocation – sometimes so tiny that you’re not even sure exactly what set it off – and quickly swells into vicious self-loathing and an almost physically painful misery. Oftentimes, with depression, you might even have the foresight to see how ridiculous it is to get so upset over something so minor, and yet you can’t shut that feeling off. Like someone with a manic phobia, you might be perfectly able to say “there’s nothing here to be afraid of”, and yet your mind and body tell you otherwise. They act instinctively and take you down with them.

For years I fought silently with depression, laboring under the impression (as many do) that there was nothing truly wrong with me: I was just a weak, pathetic idiot letting stupid things rule my life. I could be better, I was just failing to be better, or so I thought. And those thoughts compounded, making me hate myself even more, making any episodes I had feel that much worse. In my mind depression wasn’t something that I was suffering from; it was something I was allowing myself to get caught up in.

From a place of maturity and understanding, I now realize that I’ve been suffering from depression – as well as anxiety – since my childhood. I was the kid who puked her guts up on the first day of school every year because I was terrified I’d be put in a different class from my friends. I was the nerd who had great grades but would break down into panic attacks if I thought I might have done poorly on a test. I was the teen who relied entirely on her boyfriend to define her personality. I was the college student who landed in the emergency room the night before her Calculus exam because she was just scraping by in that class and the thought of possibly failing it sent her into waves of hyperventilation. And I’m the adult who got so progressively worked up because of gastrointestinal issues that for a few years straight even just looking at a form of public transport made my heart start to race and my body sweat like crazy.

No one ever realized that there was a deeper problem – least of all myself – because so much of what I went through in my earlier years could have been attributed to the overreactions of a kid who took things too seriously, or just wanted attention, or was “going through a phase”. I don’t blame anyone – not my parents, not my teachers, not my family or friends – for not recognizing that there was a major issue. After all, I myself couldn’t see it. Time and time again I’d get through to the other side of an episode and laugh at myself, the way one laughs nervously after a jump scare in a horror movie has scared the dickens out of them. Time and time again I’d tell myself I was being dumb. I was being foolish. I needed to “smarten up”.

But as time went on, things only got worse, particularly after my daughter was born. Whether because of hormonal changes, the ordinary parent life of poor sleep for months at a time, or just the fact that I’d reached a certain age and my brain was starting to morph, the episodes started to come faster and stronger. I’d convince myself that I had a good reason to be “upset”: the baby wouldn’t stop crying, or I’d accidentally burned supper, or a family member with too many strong opinions was hurting my feelings. But eventually, as even more time went on, I started running out of good excuses because the triggers were getting progressively tinier. I’d break down into tears because my husband and I had a mild disagreement about something. I’d lock myself in the bathroom at work and bawl my eyes out because my boss would point out something I’d done wrong. Some days there wouldn’t even be a trigger that I could actually pinpoint. I’d just feel like a huge piece of shit, collapse on the bed or the couch and just stare at a wall or close my eyes and hope to fall asleep in the middle of the day.

Funnily enough, my daughter, when she was a mere five or six years old, seemed to be the only one who emphatically understood, while the adults in my life couldn’t fathom why I was being such a whiny, miserable brat. I’d be having a particularly hard day, and would retreat to my room and slam my face into a pillow, and the next thing I know she’d be bringing me a picture she drew to make me feel better, or she’d snuggle up to me, tell me she loved me, and leave it at that. Children can be incredibly perceptive sometimes, right?

The point that I’m leading up to is that I eventually reached a breaking point. There was only so far that things could go before something drastic happened. Luckily, my breaking point took me in a positive direction. I won’t go into deep detail (I could write a whole other post explaining all that) but it involved some major heart-to-hearts with my wonderful husband, an incredibly sympathetic story from an actor I adore, and the will to finally admit that I needed help. A few weeks later my doctor put me on a prescription for an antidepressant, and over the course of a few months we gradually raised the dosage until we hit something that felt right.

There have been many times since when I’ve contemplated whether or not my prescription is really doing anything. After all, in a general sense I don’t feel any different. My day to day life has continued as normal. I’m not doped up. I’m not emotionless, or anything like that. But there have been all kinds of little moments that make me realize how much of a change there actually has been. I can do something embarrassing in front of an audience and laugh it off. I can have an argument with my husband or daughter and just walk away. Random idiotic comments on the internet don’t make me feel like quitting at life. Poor book sales don’t send me into a spiral of self-loathing. I can use public transport again without a second thought.

And let’s be totally honest: in the past year and a half or so I’ve had plenty that I could have been depressed about, especially when it comes to financial difficulties. Yet I continuously pressed on because, thanks in part to my prescription and in part to a great support system, I no longer feel like my emotions are at the whims of an itchy trigger finger. I’m able to breathe, I’m able to relax, I’m able to look at the bigger picture and see what’s absolutely, positively not worth having a complete meltdown over. Mentally, and emotionally, I’ve felt better in the past year than I’ve felt in practically my entire life.

I was extremely lucky. I didn’t have to see a dozen different therapists and try a hundred different drugs and dosages before something clicked. My doctor was able to prescribe something that made sense for my complaints, concerns, and physiology, and we worked together to figure out how much of that something would make the necessary change. A lot of people aren’t that lucky, and to those people I emphatically encourage you to keep trying. Surround yourself with people who care enough to help, and work your butt off until you figure out what you need to do – or take – to fix things. You can do it if you just keep pressing forward, step by step. I believe in you. Always remember that.

In the meantime, I’m writing this post because I’m about to face my biggest challenge since seeking help in the first place.

The last time I worked an on-site oil-sands job was before I began taking antidepressants. At that time I’d only ever worked a 2-weeks-on / 2-weeks-off schedule in which I’d fly home for my days off every turn around. Some shifts were incredibly difficult, but I always knew that I just had to make it through 14 days of work, plus flight days, and I’d be home again for a little while. Now, for the first time ever, I’m going to be going out on a job that requires me to actually stay put for a few months in a row. Couple that with the fact that I haven’t even been out to the oil-sands in nearly two years, and you can see that this is a bit of a big deal.

Two years ago I would never have even imagined myself taking this sort of job. Two years ago I was so terrified of my own internal ticking time bomb that I regularly refused to even do overtime. I couldn’t handle any more than those 14 days. It was, as far as I was concerned, literally impossible. And even being able to look back now from the other side of things, I still believe that it was impossible. In that previous state of mind there’s no chance I would have survived a shift like the one I’m about to begin. I would have broken down. Extreme things would have happened.

But these days, I have genuine faith in myself to get through this job with relative ease. Will it suck being away from my husband and daughter for such a long stretch of time at once? Definitely. Will it suck working 12 days in a row, then only getting two off before starting another 12 on? Oh, for sure. Will it such spending a few months straight in a work camp, in a small bedroom, sharing a bathroom with my next-door neighbor, only able to eat the food that the camp provides to me? No doubt about it. But the fact of the matter is that I look forward to all of that stuff with a smile on my face, because I know this job (and the money I’m going to make, obviously) is the best thing for my family right now. And I know that, thanks to finally seeking help two years ago, I’m not going to completely dissolve the second I step on the plane.

I know that I can handle this. And now I’m going to prove it to myself.

Throw me to the wolves, friends! I’ll see you on the other side.

Goals 2019: Week 25 in Review


Wait a minute…week 25? Hot damn, we’re almost halfway through the year! Where did that time go on me?

Yes friends, it’s almost summer! The sun is shining (finally), the birds are singing (hi birds!), the town’s children are practically vibrating with joy at the impending end of the school year, and I’m looking at my writing goals, wondering how on Earth I could have let myself get so dramatically far behind.

But let’s not start this post off on a sour note! Let’s look at some good stuff!

On a health-related note, you guys…I’m feeling great! I’m still sticking to my diet and exercise routine, and while there have definitely been days when I’ve wanted to say “screw this jazz”, I’m really genuinely proud of myself for sticking to it. My weight hasn’t really moved much in the last couple of weeks, but I can definitely see and feel the changes. My arms are tummy are getting tighter, my back and shoulders are getting stronger, and in generally I just feel so much better than I did a few months ago. I actually feel lighter, you know what I mean? Like it doesn’t take so much effort just to move anymore. I’ve still got a few aches and pains (hey, I am getting older, after all) but the difference is more than I can properly explain, and I’m loving it. It’s going to be a bit difficult to continue my routine while I’m working out West, especially since I’m restricted to the foods they make available to me on camp, but I’m definitely going to try my best because I haven’t felt this good, physically, in years.

Speaking of working out West, we’re into the final countdown! One week from today I’ll be touching down in Fort McMurray, Alberta, ready to start my new job, which could last up to 5 straight months, depending on when they wrap the shutdown up. I’m obviously a little twitchy, mentally, at the thought of staying out there for so long at a stretch and being away from my family all that time, but I’m also pretty excited to finally be doing something that doesn’t involve dealing with customers and actually pays me a wage on which I can afford to, you know…survive. Plus, even though being away from my family obviously sucks, it also means that my free time will be quiet time, during which I can do my best to actually get some goddamn writing done.

Okay, for the time being I think that’s the bulk of the random personal life stuff. Let’s get into the goals!

Goal #1: Write half a million words.

Hoo boy, did I drop the ball this past week! Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but I definitely started the week off strong and then just dissolved like salt in hot water. (How’s that for pathetically incorporated imagery?) The latter half of the week just ended up being a mess of trying to figure things out for the new job, tearing up some basement flooring to find the source of a leak, replacing a busted water heater, and my last few Walmart shifts. The result of all this was that when I did have a few minutes to spare I pretty much just curled up somewhere and read. In conclusion, I wrote a whopping 3748 words for the week. Not absolutely horrible, but definitely a far cry from the more than 20k was expecting. Yikes!

  • Goal #1a: Write at least a quarter million fictional words. Even worse than above, I once again wrote absolutely zero fictional words for the entire week. I absolutely intended to, but I started the week off by getting a bunch of blog and posts out of the way, and by the time I got that stuff figured out, that’s when we had to dive into figuring out the leak in the basement. So yeah, it got set aside, yet again. That said, I am, in fact, now caught up on all the non-fiction posts, and Jason and I are planning to spend this week filming-but-not-posting so we can get a bit of a backlog worked up before I leave, so that means I won’t have any more of those kinds of posts to do for a little while. Therefore, any writing I do this week probably will be fiction. *fingers crossed!*

Goal #2: Read at least 50 books.

Oh man, is “It” ever a bloody long book! That’s not to say that I’m complaining or anything. I am thoroughly enjoying it and would happily sit and read all day if I could get the opportunity, but it’s definitely slowing down my forward momentum on the Goodreads challenge! That said, I am actually right on track, as far as the overall year goes, so as long as I can finish “It” sometime within the next two weeks, I should have no problem killing this goal for 2019. Woo!

Goal #3: Build my social media communities…EVERYWHERE!

Based on the check-marks – or lack thereof – in my day planner, I bounced back and forth between doing really well and doing really poorly in week 25. And yes, I keep track of my social media posts in my day planner. My memory is a thing of epic failure, you guys. Just go with it.

Basically I had some really good days during which I took some good Instagram pics, got some good convos going on Twitter, and so on, but also a few days during which I did literally nothing and basically vanished from the internet for a 24 hour period. Keeping that in mind, the numbers aren’t half bad.

Last week’s numbers are as follows:

  • The YouTube channel gained 2 subscribers
  • The YouTube Twitter account went up 10 followers
  • The YouTube Instagram account went up 4 followers
  • The Snapchat account’s score went up 8 points
  • The Author Twitter account gained 2 followers
  • The Author Instagram account lost 7 followers

That goddamn Author Instagram account once again destroys my almost-all-positives week, but I’m trying to breathe through the frustration without exploding. What is it about Instagram that has follower counts bouncing up and down so often? If you guys have Instagram accounts, do you notice this anomaly? I can’t seem to figure it out. On any given week either of my two accounts have gained or lost, and then seem to flip the following week. If I don’t post for a while, I lose followers…if I post a bunch of stuff, I lose followers. As someone who never “unfollows” unless I’ve decided that your posts reveal your asshole nature, I can’t figure out why I always seem to be losing as many followers as I gain. Someone explain this one to me!

Goal #4: Play more (proper) video games. 

Games are still well on the back-burner at the moment, as there are simply more important things to be thinking about until I step on my first plane on my way out West. There are videos to film, things to write, stuff to pack, and a beautiful little girl to spend as much time with as I can. That said, some of that time spent with that little girl might end up involving video games in the coming week, so I guess we’ll see what happens!

I expect to have something more to say about this one next week, as I’ll likely spend a good chunk of my airplane-and-airport time on my Vita and/or DS. And if I can get past whatever that weird glitch is I definitely want to go back to Borderlands 2 before I forget what I was doing again.

Goal #5: Put more time, focus, and energy into the YouTube channel.

It might not be the epic push either myself or Jason were imagining, but there’s definitely been some forward momentum here lately. We ended up getting two Threads boxes and two My Geek Boxes in quick succession, so we filmed and posted all of those videos, plus we got a parcel from Zanini Box, a new enamel pins subscription, and we did that video as well. In addition, I filmed a solo vid unboxing something awesome, and I did a vid last night with Jason and Adrianna, and at least one vid is going to be filmed tonight because we got another Threads box. So yeah, things are moving! Everything is going to fall apart once I’m out West, but Jason is going to take over for a while to give me time to get settled and figure out what I can pull off while I’m stuck out there. I’m thinking some voice-over list-style vids, some book reviews, and maybe a couple of livestreams just to prove to everyone that I’m still alive. 😛

And that just about covers it for another week! Nothing much to complain about, other than my inability to write daily (I’M WORKING ON IT AND I’M GOING TO FIGURE IT OUT I SWEAR TF), and a decent week overall that has left me feeling pretty good. Now, let’s see what next week brings, as I’ll be writing this post from, likely, the Edmonton airport, after spending all night in Toronto airport. XD

How was your week? Did you accomplish any goals? Make any new ones? Do anything else that made you feel awesome and accomplished? Feel free to share in the comments!

My Geek Box Unboxing for June 2019

Okay, we now know for sure that the previous My Geek Box we got was May’s, because this one had June written right on it. LOGIC, people! LOGIC!

And speaking of logic, this box had Star Trek in it! Not to mention an awesome shirt design as usual, plus an exclusive Harley Quinn Funko Pop and a few other items as well! This one was pretty nicely stuffed, I have to say, and the Star Trek items (yes, that’s a multiple!) are very awesome. So check out the vid and let me know in the comment section which item was your favorite! Also don’t forget to check out the links in the vid’s description box to get a discount off your own first My Geek Box!

My Geek Box Unboxing (May/June? 2019)

One of these days we’re going to get a handle on which month is which when it comes to My Geek Box. But today is not that day, my friends. Today we ignore the dates and focus on the contents!

May/June/Whatever’s My Geek Box contained a wicked shirt design, a few smaller items, and one larger item that is one of the most fun, unique items we’ve ever gotten in an MGB: Joker Poker! Yeah, you heard me right! JOKER POKER.

Plus there’s always Jason’s hair to be amused by, not to mention stories of my epic, unbeatable poker prowess. *cough cough*

So check out the vid, check the links in the description box if you want to get a discount on your own first My Geek Box, and let me know in the comments what you thought of everything!