For the past few weeks I haven't been feeling good at all - a growing sense of hopelessness, of everything feeling like too much effort, constant nagging anxiety.
Earlier in the week, some old social media bullshit flared up again. That was the final straw; by the time Cate got home that evening, I was practically a wreck. I just about managed to cook dinner for us. At which point I decided Facebook and I needed a break from one another.
I thought it might just be stuff on the news - Brexit and so forth, and all the worries that go with it - and they probably helped tip me over the edge, but ultimately this is just the return of an old enemy. The black dog: depression. It's a bloody horrible thing that I hoped I wouldn't see again - but it's back, worse than before.
After a lot of prevaricating - too bloody much of it - I'm going to see my GP on Monday. Hopefully get something sorted.
I think I've said this before, but it bears repeating: do not suffer in silence with this. Men, especially, seem to, believing you're supposed to 'man up' and soldier on. And all too often that makes it worse - and more likely to kill you. I could have saved myself a lot of pain by ringing the surgery on Monday. There's no shame in antidepressants, if they're what you need. You wouldn't think twice about taking painkillers if an injury was causing serious pain; they help you function as normally as possible while you heal. This is no different.
My friend Ren Warom, in addition to being a smashing writer, has blogged and vlogged candidly about mental health issues and recovery. I heartily recommend her blog posts on the subject. And indeed the rest of her blog.
Cheers to Ren, Sarah Pinborough, and a few other people for kind words and cyber-hugs this week. And to Cate, without whom I really don't know how I would have coped. Love you, hun.
*clears throat following embarrassing schmaltzy bit*
Otherwise, what things have there been this week?
Steady progress on Devil's Highway; hopefully the beast will be finished soon. It's taking shape, and I think I'm going to be pleased with how it turns out. Hopefully the publisher will too.
Tomorrow we're off to Edge-Lit in Derby with Priya Sharma - some good company and laughter will, I hope, do me a lot of good.
Saving the best till last, though: I am very, very proud to announce my inclusion in an anthology that will be released at Fantasycon By The Sea this September.
Joel Lane passed away in 2013 - Jesus, nearly three years ago now - he left behind him a wealth of notes for stories he'd never found time to write. Last year his old friend Pete Coleborn of the Alchemy Press invited me to contribute to an anthology he was editing with Pauline E. Dungate, another of Joel's friends: a number of writers, each working with a different set of notes, would set out to complete the stories.
Here's that TOC in full:
- Foreword by Peter Coleborn
- Introduction by Pauline E. Dungate
- Joel by Chris Morgan (Verse)
- Not Dispossessed: A Few Words on Joel Lane’s Early Published Works by David A. Sutton (Essay)
- Everybody Hates a Tourist by Tim Lebbon
- The Missing by John Llewellyn Probert
- Charmed Life by Simon Avery
- Antithesis by Alison Littlewood
- Dark Furnaces by Chris Morgan
- The Inner Ear by Marion Pitman (Verse)
- Broken Eye by Gary McMahon
- Stained Glass by John Grant
- Threadbare by Jan Edwards
- The Dark above the Fair by Terry Grimwood
- Grey Children by David A. Sutton
- The Twin by James Brogden
- Lost by Pauline Morgan (Verse)
- Through the Floor  by Gary Couzens
- Through the Floor  by Stephen Bacon
- Bad Faith by Thana Niveau
- Window Shopping by David Mathew
- Clan Festor by Liam Garriock
- Sweet Sixteen by Adam Millard
- Buried Stars by Simon Macculloch
- And Ashes in Her Hair by Simon Bestwick
- The Pleasure Garden by Rosanne Rabinowitz
- Joel Lane, Poet by Chris Morgan (Essay)
- The Reach of Children by Mike Chinn
- The Men Cast by Shadows by Mat Joiner
- The Winter Garden by Pauline E. Dungate
- Natural History by Allen Ashley
- The Second Death by Ian Hunter
- The Bright Exit by Sarah Doyle (Verse)
- Blanche by Andrew Hook
- The Body Static by Tom Johnstone
- You Give Me Fever by Paul Edwards
- The Other Side by Lynda E. Rucker
- Of Loss and of Life: Joel Lane’s Essays on the Fantastic by Mark Valentine (Essay)
- Shadows by Joe X Young
- I Need Somewhere to Hide by Steven Savile
- Coming to Life by John Howard
- The Enemy Within by Steve Rasnic Tem
- Afterword: The Whole of Joel by Ramsey Campbell (Essay)
I'm very proud to be in this one. Hope you'll all buy a copy.