We've just passed into the New Year here in the UK. The past few months, down to the last second, have all gone by in a blur too quickly. Though I'm glad that, unlike 2012 and 2013, I didn't end this year thinking "Thank God that's over".
I think I just don't like to do much on New Year's Eve. Spending it outdoors watching fireworks is all good fun, and I still look back fondly on the year that I saw the New Years fireworks over the Thames in London fondly. Though I think, after all these years, I'm still recovering from that journey home, haha.
Instead, I see New Years as a time to reflect on the year before it ends, and that's only done best when I have some quiet time to myself. So I'll take the opportunity to do so now.
For me, 2014 was a year of ups and downs, with a slight incline toward the positive, getting steeper and steeper as the year went on. By far the best, life-changing thing that happened was my new job at Imagine Publishing. I can say, hand-on-heart, that I have never enjoyed a job as much and I haven't felt this welcomed and comfortable around my peers since university. I've had over 15 jobs, and this is the first where I've felt I could forge some real friendships in the workplace. It has also presented me with a lot of great opportunities, and constantly finds new ways to excite me.
All in all, my job had done me a hell of a lot of good and continues to do so. I think I've made a big step in the right direction in terms of my career, and I'm feeling much better about my career progress. C:
I suppose I should explain myself re: what happened to Monster Boy. It has grinded to yet another halt - are any of you really surprised? My new job did factor into its hiatus, of course, but there are other, more personal factors that affected it too.
I've been open and honest with you all before, and you've all taken it well and shown the good grace to be understanding of my condition. I know I can trust you with this information, which comes as a major relief, and I feel no hesitation to tell you the truth.
Here are the mistakes I made with MB this year:
It got to the point that drawing an MB character, or even just thinking about the project sometimes, would trigger my anxiety. To work on MB was to open up the floodgates.
- I knew I'd need a team to help me with the project. I didn't get one.
- I knew I couldn't work myself into the ground, put pressure on myself, and (worst of all) punish myself too heavily for the small mistakes that I perceived as failures. I did so anyway.
- I knew that if I focused only on getting the work done and didn't take of myself in the process, I would only make things worse. So I made things worse.
I needed another break, and I really needed my other projects this year. I'm proud of the progress I've made with those stories (and behind the scenes, it's been a lot
of progress), but I'm even prouder of the scarce few MB pictures I've managed to complete in the past few months. Every time I sat down to work on the project, I was recovering. Every picture I finished and posted to the internet was a little triumph. You can expect more of that for a while, for each piece I complete is a step toward healing this trigger. I hope you guys will like what I produce in the new year.
I feel that my presence and impact on the internet is the smallest its been in a long time, and honestly, I really miss what my DA experience used to be. I'm tired of Tumblr, and I would very much like to keep DA as my home on the internet. However, this site was made great by the people who joined me, people who aren't so active here anymore. Maybe the old DA spark will come back, maybe it won't, but I'm comfortable here and it's still my favourite platform for showcasing my art. And that's what really matters on DA, after all.
But perhaps DA can wait a little while longer, for I feel that the downtime has done me some good. It's like I'm in the middle of a timeskip period: I go away for a while to work, and work hard, and come better than I was when I left. I made an attempt at that last year, but gave in to my feelings of pressure, and forced myself to come back prematurely. I need to turtle down again, to work, improve, repair, and come back only when I'm ready. Letting go of my comfort zone of pressuring myself into constantly having something to show for my time is part of the process. These things take time, my own
time, and as much as I need. No more, no less.I have plans regarding MB for the new year
, plans that are genuinely exciting me and rekindling my lost love for the project. I'm really happy to be able to say that. So, I am going to make a promise to you guys and myself: Aside from the occasional piece of concept art, Monster Boy will not return to the internet as a major project until I have something substantial to show for it.
I think I just work better when my online communities aren't constantly on my mind, when I can work quietly and really focus. I have some plans and ideas regarding MB that I plan to put into motion as the year goes on, but for now, this promise is enough. I feel that I will soon be able to work on MB again, and work comfortably without stopping, and that is a great feeling for me.
The self-destructive behaviour that I exhibited with MB, the behaviour that earned me yet another trigger, is the same behaviour I've exhibited in my jobs. My self-taught behaviour is: that by working constantly, to the point that I block out anything personal that would prevent me from working (particularly negative feelings and illness), I am being strong and doing a good job. I know the dangers of the United Kingdom's "Keep Calm and Carry On" attitude, so I will start acting like it. Putting work before my mental and physical needs does not make me strong. It does not make me a better worker. It's stupid.
I will learn to control this tunnel-vision habit of mine. I should learn that, though keeping happy and productive for long periods of time is great, telling myself that I shouldn't stop
feeling happy because happiness means I'm not depressed and I really don't want to be sad right now because I have to work is not progress. It's damaging. And I'm sure it's one of the reasons I became depressed in the first place. Lesson learned.
I don't feel that my depression has eased this year. More that is has fragmented. I've learned to better control some of my behaviours and triggers, where others have worsened. I've accepted that I need to seek therapy again, and I have the time to do it.
To aim for 2015 to be the year that I fully recover from my depression would be unrealistic, but I am determined to make it a year of progress, healing, and most importantly, happiness.
So, in summary...My List of Resolutions:
These pills are assisting with my weight loss like nothing else. Take advantage of this.> Seek CBT therapy.
I've gone almost two years without it, and though I have taken steps toward recovery on my own, I'd be doing a whole lot better with someone to help me.>
Recognise my damaging mental habits and triggers, and take steps to ease them, and if possible, eventually recover from them entirely.> Turtle down and work hard on a project. And stay down until it and I am ready.
I have done a great job of removing toxic people from my life, and keeping them out. Even better, I've done a great job of finding good people, and learned to trust them enough to let them in. I didn't regret it. >
Keep up the good work at my job, keep networking, and grab every opportunity that comes my way. I've worked my way up from rock bottom and I want to keep going!>
It's painful to let go, but I need to stop dwelling on the past so much, especially the painful memories
. It so easily irritates my triggers, and can hinder me from stepping forward. I've got so much to look forward to; the past is not better than my future. Learn to look back on past experiences and smile, but look toward the future and laugh.
I want 2015 to be a good year for me. Though 2014 was another bumpy ride, it was notably better than the years that came before it, and I end it now with a sense of optimism and excitement that I haven't felt in some time. I'm progressing. I can see that clearly now.
With my own hands, I've changed my life many times before. I know I can do it again.
Thank you for sticking with me throughout these tough years, and I hope all is well for you and your loved ones.
Don't just wish for a happy new year. Make it so.
Take care, everyone. I'll see you again soon.