It’s been a good chunk of time since I last wrote anything in any journal of mine, but I think this part of my life is a good checkpoint to stop at, take a deep breath, and reflect.
This time last year, I know I had a lot of apprehension about being involved in the furry community; mostly due to avoiding people I can’t have in my life anymore. At this point, I don’t feel held back by that. Not to say there aren’t still painful memories, they’ll never go, but they don’t control me anymore.
I attended Just Fur The Weekend with my friend Alice in Bristol recently. It was a really nice small con and I really am grateful to have met so many wonderful people there. Plenty of highlights for sure! Geo-Panda’s NERF war, Cosmik’s variety show, Tyke’s party; all truly amazing experiences and I’m glad to have been a part of them. I'm glad I also got to try more comedy for the variety show; I know I'd said before I wanted to do a podcast, but I think I want to do stand up with an audience first so I can get feedback and figure out if I'm actually funny or not.
Carrying on with the convention theme, just recently I attended my first ever Confuzzled; I think being a larger convention I had a lot of apprehension around it and while it didn’t start especially well for me (more about that in a bit) it was a terrific experience. The variety show went ok, I’m glad I did my stand up again, I just wish I wasn’t upstaged by a fucking piece of furniture.
My mental health over the last year has been a bit of a roller coaster ride I’ve wanted to get off. I started on anti-depressants (Fluoxatine, 20mg) about a year ago. It’s hard to say exactly what effect they’ve had. I’m certainly better than I was a year ago, though I can’t discount the effect of the passage of time. I had said to people the only effect I’ve noticed is reduced libido, perhaps not necessarily a bad effect, but I think I expected more.
I have stopped taking them (with my GP’s knowledge—don't shit the bed). As of writing, this is my third day without them and I’ve been pretty alright. My hope is that my depression has been situational rather than clinical; I say hope, I don’t really know, it feels like such a minefield to try and understand my own thoughts like this. I hope without anti-depressants at this stage I can try and get a clear picture of what my mind is like, I might find I need them after all but at the moment I’m concerned they’re having a counter-productive effect. I hate the idea I might be reliant on them to be happy, but I recognise the idiocy of that argument; I take drugs to keep my lungs working, not necessarily that different to taking drugs to keep my brain from trying to off myself.
Confuzzled started badly, I partly blame myself and partly blame depression. I didn’t help myself by having too much beer the first night, but then a combination of factors left me crying alone in my room. I think that was one of the worst instances of depressive thoughts I’ve ever had. I think it was a bit of anxiety, and worry about fitting in, as the con went on that got easier to deal with and I made friends. But fuck Christ that was hard, I mean, telling my brain “No Doveux, you do have friends and people do like you.” Just seemed the hardest thing to try and do. There are a few people in particular I ended up baring my soul to and they were supportive as fuck; thank you for being a true friend to me.
I’ve tried to get back onto talking therapies, as usual the waiting list is longer than the EF room waiting list so I’ll be waiting, but I’m going to do an advanced form of CBT. I'm hoping to examine my values more closely and get myself onto a path where I'm actually working for the things that make me happy, rather than staring at other people and feeling envious of their happiness, talents, friendships, relationships.
One thing that certainly marred the end of Confuzzled for me was the lorry that ploughed into the side of me on the way back home. Despite the circumstances (high speed, big lorry) only me and the lorry were involved and neither I nor the lorry driver were injured. It looks likely my car is going to be written-off though, so that sucks massively; you were a good reliable Volvo V50 and I will forever hold you in my heart.
I say that to be a little melodramatic about my car but the truth is I'm quite lucky to still be alive, I don't think I realised how much the sock of the incident had affected me until I got home, sat down and realised a fucking HGV just squished my car!
It's shunted my perspective a bit, one thing is I've previously not been that open with my family about my mental health troubles. I love my family but I've never felt especially willing to be open and myself with them. That means in a lot of ways, I didn't want to tell them I was bisexual, I didn't want to mention the furry thing to them at all, I didn't want to discuss my mental health. I've done that now, they're exactly as supportive as I imagined and I'm glad of it.
The thing I find a bit tough is this worry cycle, just talking to my mum about it, and she's clearly concerned about me; I hate that she's worried, I don't want to worry her. I can and will be ok, I want her to be as well.
I've still got that job but I think that's more a footnote at this point, I've been feeling a little dissatisfied with my work in recent times, in fact I've been feeling dissatisfied with life in Newcastle. I might need to make a break. Might move to Leeds, might move to Wellington, I feel the need to shake up my life and move on.