To my readers, however many (or few) of you there are,
In the opening statements I made regarding the beginning of Breaking Backlog, I was really scared that the content for my site would dry up due to, simply put, “life getting in the way”. I suppose that would sound like a bit of a cop-out for the lazy. As a seasoned procrastinator, that is something I am certainly no stranger to. However, seeing as this site did get a small amount of readership over the past few months, I feel like an explanation and an update on content releases is in order. Not only will it help me get the ball rolling again for a good start to 2015 on BB, but it may provide a little bit of insight as to why I seem to retreat into a cave for extended periods of time with no new content for the site. Also this is my blog thing and I’ll write what I want to, so suck it, Internet.
Over the past year I have dipped in and out of what was described to me as “moderate depression”. Getting diagnosed in that spectrum is like getting caught for a spot of grafitti: serious enough to get some air time, but not nearly enough to invoke the sympathies of anyone bar friends who were in the same boat. As a direct result, my writing has understandably suffered. When I do write, it never quite feels adequate enough to put on the site, so it either gets shelved or deleted completely. Case in point, the Legends Of Grimrock entry that I was due to complete almost four months ago, which had at least four false starts before I figured it wasn’t worth trying. Thankfully there was no anxiety or other any motherboard defects found, so it was a slap on the bum to get my head straight.
Fast forward twelve months and things have stayed on the level. For every measure of progress there was always a pitfall I had to climb out of. With every piece I wrote for this website and every measure of satisfaction I received for finishing a piece and making it live, there was a little demon in my ear telling me that it wasn’t quite worth putting up there in the first place. For every small success in my university studies, there was another worry that there was something I had missed. For every relationship decision that ended in a smile, I would spend hours musing over what I might have done to make them care about me a measure less.
Okay, looking back over it, I suppose that there were trace amounts of anxiety thrown in. Of course, it really only served as a catalyst for the real issue. Depression, as I see it, is a stern teacher that wraps you across the knuckles with a ruler every time you want to do something, making you wonder what caused them to hit you in the first place. At first, you ignore it. After a time, that rapping on the knuckles become sharper and more painful with every action, to the point where that mental pain began to manifest in physical ways. It was a hope that, if I slowed down, the mental pain would abate, if only for a time. I would actually be peaceful just lying there not doing anything. Of course, depression is nothing if not a cunning motherfucker, and that teacher would look sternly over their nose at me just sitting there and just shake their head in shame.
Depression breeds apathy, in the worst way. It is an apathy that is accompanied with an ever-present shame – that regardless of what you do, either something, everything or nothing at all – you feel like it was never worth the effort, or in the case of the latter that it might have been worth doing literally anything else than nothing at all. You feel awful being alive, because every act is painful, especially the conscious choice to not act at all. For a brief period of my gloomier times, I sympathized with those who took their own lives, whereas in the past I had been vehemently opposed to the idea. I never planned to take my own life at any point, just so we’re clear. Nevertheless, I would be lying if I said that rest without regret wasn’t tempting as hell. On the days when I could not even muster the energy to do the thing that I love to do most in my short tenure in this whole life thing, it was an oasis at the end of a long stretch of desert.
In the past month, I have taken steps to get my mental health back on track. Most of that is just constant motion: I have moved out of my current dingy flat in the boondocks and am about to move into somewhere lighter and much, much nicer. I have fully stocked my university timetable so that by the end of this year, I will have graduated. Writing this piece, I am sitting on a plane heading to Auckland to celebrate my brother’s 21st. On top of all of this, three of my closest friends and myself have taken steps to produce gaming content and web original shows and articles that will hopefully flourish and grow as time wears on. We have no definitive name or content as of yet, but we are in serious planning stages and gathering equipment to make our plans a reality, so watch this space: you may actually get to see my ugly mug in the foreseeable future.
As for content here, the crucial roadblock for me is to not get caught up on anything that will drain my energy and resources, at least for now. While I am mentally much, much better than I was this time last year, I am still a bit all over the place as far as content creation goes. As far as the latest Breaking Backlog is concerned, the Legends Of Grimrock entry will be postponed indefinitely. I refuse to use the word ‘cancelled’, because it may eventuate that I have the time and patience to write something constructive about it in the future. Right now, however, I have started and stopped it too many times for me to keep it as the most immediate thing on my to-do list. Instead, the next entry in the Breaking Backlog list, and my first entry for 2015 is:
Should be interesting. Also, I’m bandying about ideas for an article about preorder culture, but I haven’t solidified any concrete ideas yet, nor will I be commiting to any sort of rigid schedule. When it is ready, you’ll see it on here and be notified appropriately.
So if you got to the bottom of this page and read through all of my anxiety slash depression bullshit, I want to take the opportunity to thank you – the people who have taken an interest in my work. It would be selfish of me to say that I was writing exclusively for myself. I love writing to an audience, especially listening to and participating in any discussion that follows. If any of my writing has interested you in any way, I have done my job and take great pleasure in doing so. So for sticking around and reading my subpar writing, thank you. I hope that I can live up to your expectations and continue writing bigger and better things throughout 2015 and beyond.
Of course, if no one read this, I want to take the opportunity to zippity bing boom bappity yellow puddin [INSERT MISCELLANIOUS BILL COSBY SOUNDS HERE].
Liam “Doc” Watson