Idk, I kinda just want to talk about how I've been feeling and when I tried to broach the subject with a friend the other day, they cut me off and told me they don't see how I could feel bad when my life is as good as it apparently is, so I'm just kind of feeling worse now and want to talk. Soooo you all get the info dump, sorry lol I've been feeling moderately depressed for just over two years now, starting literally on New Years Day 2017 when I got really sick and miscarried my first pregnancy. It was very early in the pregnancy, so my physical health wasn't too bad, and the doctors said it was a lot more common to lose the first pregnancy than people think and not to worry about the future, and to try again in a few months. Since it was so early and since I was physically fine and was told it wasn't going to be a big impact on my life, I tried to convince everyone, myself included, that I was okay mentally as well, but truthfully I was a mess. I isolated myself from nearly everyone I knew and only talked to a handful of people for the next several months, but as time passed I eventually managed to move on and started being more active in the lives of my friends again. About a month or two past that, I decided to apply for KHV staff, firstly because I love KHV and wanted to see it thrive, and secondly because I felt like I might feel better if I were involved in some kind of creative work and didn't spend as much time sitting around doing nothing. Plus, several key staffers had just resigned, and activity was growing at that point in time, so it seemed they could use an extra hand. I applied, and had the interview. After the interview but before I was officially promotedto staff, I found out I was pregnant again. I was really happy about it. Even though I'd always had trouble trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life professionally, I've always known that I wanted to be a mother as well, so I was really glad. But I was also really nervous because of what had happened the last time. I resolved to do everything right, I was super careful about what I ate, I made sure to leave ANY sort of moderately heavy lifting to other people at work, we had several doctor's appointments to make sure everything was going smoothly. I started my work as a KHV mod in the middle of this, and also resolved not to dive too deep too quickly (which is something I've always had the tendency to do) because I wanted to avoid as much stress as possible for the baby. I didn't tell anyone I was pregnant though, aside from one or two people I KNEW I could trust, because I didn't want to tell people I was pregnant again just to take it back a month later like I had the first time. That was my situation when the big blow up and fights and drama happened, and although I consistently tried to distance myself from all of it and remain a third party, it just wasn't in the cards and I ended up getting more and more involved until it felt like I was the center of the problem. The others took as much off my plate as they could but at the end of the day there are just some things you can't push off onto other people and I just had to accept that and get through the situation as conflict-free as I could manage, because I was still trying to avoid as much stress as possible for the baby. It honestly went about as well as it could have, I think, and the pregnancy seemed to be going well. A few weeks after the drama died down, it had reached the point where I felt I could safely tell people, so I went through the same announcements process I had gone through before, and it was officially known then that I was pregnant. But then unexpectedly, right around October iirc, I had another miscarriage and this one was much worse because it was farther along than the last one. I spent most of the day in the hospital and then the next two days laid up in bed, but idk, I think I like, blocked most of the emotional side of things to the point where I could barely feel it. I convinced myself that I was just 'better prepared for it' that time or that it was 'just easier the second time it happened' and so I kept telling people that I was fine and that it wasn't as big a deal that time. I don't blame the stress from the fights for the miscarriage, I really don't, but it certaintly didn't help anything to have to deal with that AND the miscarriage at the same time. I briefly fell back into sitting around and doing nothing, but when I sat still I started realizing it hurt and I didn't want it to hurt so I stopped sitting still. I dove headfirst into the whole "trying too hard too fast" thing to try and distract myself, and started pouring everything I had into KHV. When I wasn't at work or asleep, I was doing SOMETHING related to KHV. I was brainstorming dozens of projects and starting work on the best ones, I was planning ahead for the next five years, I was creating schedules and launch dates and working towards site clean-up and improved moderating, I was updating and rewriting procedures, I was trying to teach myself how to create graphics and new forum skins, I was researching social media practices and brand building, just, anything I could get my hands on, I tried to do, because I didn't want to sit still and let myself think about anything else. And honestly I was having a blast doing it all, and I don't regret any of the work I did, but I just did too much of it and the stress was starting to really get to me. But I was in deep denial at that point and refused to admit to myself that I was stressed out, just like I refused to admit I was depressed, and also I felt like everyone expected me to be the happy, dependable friendly one and I couldn't be depressed or stressed because I was Marushi and Marushi was happy and dependable and friendly. I kept taking on more and more projects, and I WANTED to and nobody forced me to, and I kept saying yes to everything every time someone asked me for help, whether it was a fellow staff member who wanted a hand with one of their own tasks or a member with a problem or just a friend who wanted advice on something, I couldn't say no or say that I was too busy, I had to take it on, even when I knew they would understand if I just told them I couldn't. I was starting to be miserable every second I wasn't online because it felt like if I logged off, the site wouldn't be here when I got back. I knew that wasn't the case and I did trust other people when they told me to take a break and they would handle things, but I couldn't separate myself from the site anymore. It was like my whole identity was wrapped up in KHV and if I wasn't Marushi I wasn't anybody at all. I grew to hate my job because I was always miserable because I couldn't stop worrying about what might be happening on KHV while I was gone. I was barely eating or sleeping because I had to look away from the screen to do that. I wasn't talking to my family because I had to look away from the screen so I could pretend to listen to what they were saying while I inwardly freaked out about the deadlines for all the projects I was doing for KHV and how much time was slipping away as they talked. I began to look for a different job than the one I had because that job was honestly getting worse by its own merit, and I couldn't handle all the stress I was under AND work a crappy dead-end job at the same time. I had a really bad day one day and quit my job even though I still didn't have a new one lined up, and then I spent the next six days feverishly glued to my laptop screen trying to launch my special pet project, the frankly HUGELY overambitious massive TWEWY anniversary event I had rushed into with as much gusto and as little foresight as I always do. For those six days, I slept around two hours each day, ate once a day except I think I skipped once or twice, drank endless caffeine, and broke into tears several times because of all the things that were going wrong. I didn't even know I wanted to quit until the day I actually did, and it all just sort of blew up the second I realized "I don't want to do this anymore." I almost just denied it and was so close to convincing myself I hadn't really felt that way and that I should just ignore it and get back to work, but fortunately I had already messaged "I want to quit xD" to someone who had already been worrying about my mental health before that, and she made me actually address what I was feeling and the more I told her, the more she realized what I literally couldn't see at that time; that I was working myself to death, and she helped me quit. So. I quit my job, and then six days later, I quit KHV work. I was at full stop for the first time since the second miscarriage, and although the first couple of days was spent just recovering from what I'd done to myself over the ten months I'd worked here, I was starting to keenly feel all the emotions I'd worked so hard to deny. But at that point, it had been eight or nine months since the actual event had occured, and I was so raw from the emotions of quitting something I had let take over me so wholly, that I couldn't piece together WHY I felt so awful, I just did. And I hate not knowing why something happened, I like knowing exactly what trigger led to every situation, so I was desperately searching for a reason why my life had fallen apart and I blamed someone who didn't deserve quite as much blame as they got, and I hated them quite a bit more than they'd earned, and I acted on my feelings regarding the matter much more than I should have. I didn't realize until a couple of months ago how wrong I was to place all the blame on another individual, no matter how much or how little of it was warranted. I dug my own grave, nobody else dug it for me. But, that's what happened. After the initial shock of the full stop wore off, I found myself completely lost. I didn't know what I was supposed to do with my life, what I wanted, how to GET what I wanted, or even really who I was anymore. On a whim, I changed my username on KHV and Discord for the first time since joining in 2009, without fully realizing why other than it "felt better." I still felt wrong when I wasn't working on the computer, so even though I was taking the time to sleep and eat and go out and take breaks, I also spent a lot of time to lay the groundwork for my own personal brand, as I want to be a professional writer one day and my head was full of social media brand building research. I was low-key looking for normal work, since my paycheck hit a full stop too, but I focused nearly all my efforts on a freelance writing website where I could be matched with potential clients and write for money. It all seemed to be going well at first, and I basically had just traded one unhealthy distraction for a slightly less unhealthy one, but then I hit four successive blows in a row. After spending a full month ghost-writing a novella for a first-time writer who meant well but was very frustrating to work with, his deal fell through, which means so did my pay. He still sends me messages sometimes on his own initiative to check in and let me know where he is as far as trying to earn the money to pay me (which is why I know he at least never intended to cheat me even if that's ultimately what happened) but yeah, my first big 'paid' gig didn't earn me a cent. I pushed through though, and kept trying, and I was approached with a huge opportunity to get permanent work at a packaging firm. I had a glowing recommendation and a phone interview that went very well and ended with a 'you've got the job' speech, only to later have them contact me and tell me they didn't have work for me after all but they would put me on their contact list - which led to nothing. I got two more promised jobs like that, neither of them as big as the first two, but still steady, ongoing work, only to have the client cancel the job before any work could begin. By now, it had been a few months since I quit my job, and the small tasks I WAS getting weren't paying for anything at all, not to mention the medical bills from the two miscarriages. I was starting to get really stressed out again, this time from not having ENOUGH work, and I was also really discouraged from all the roadblocks I was hitting as far as writing goes. I still tried to land new clients sometimes, but more often than not I didn't even try because I would look at a job listing that I might have been able to get, would remember my earlier failures, and not even apply for it. I started instead applying for any minimum wage dead-end job in town, and also working on art commissions and selling most of my video games just to be able to keep food on the table while I looked for work. For awhile I was only eating once a day again mainly because I would have run out of food otherwise, but I honestly wasn't feeling all that hungry anyway because I just felt discouraged and depressed. It was at that point that I finally started to piece together what had actually happened, starting because all the job applications I was filling out required me to list why I left my previous job and I found I had no answer. Little by little I worked through it all in my head, coming to the conclusion I laid out in this tl;dr post. Once I finally realized all this stuff, I felt like a weight had been lifted. I finally managed to land a new job, and it's actually MUCH better than my last one and pays substantially more, and now that I'm working and exercising more, I'm starting to eat better now as well. It also is a major help that my sister moved in with us and is helping to pay for rent and groceries and stuff, and also she's been helping me feel better just by being around and goofing off with me and making sure I actually eat and leave the house when I'm NOT working, so yeah. I'm doing much, much better than I was even just a month ago, let alone several months or a year or two. But better doesn't mean I'm all good yet. I still feel depressed if I'm not doing something or at least if I'm not watching something on YouTube or something. And sometimes even then I just feel kind of dead and heavy and listless. When I can distract myself, I'm mostly happy but it goes away when I sit still. I don't really know what I want to do now, either. I mean, I know where I want to be in five years and I know how to get there, but in the everyday moments when I should work towards that goal, I just... Don't. Because if I try to become a professional writer and I fail, it'll hurt worse than if I just didn't try, and I don't want to live like that so I keep saying I'll try as hard as I can, but then I don't anyway. XD On top of that, I also still feel strangely void of an identity. I didn't realize that until I was helping a member with something recently and they called me 'Law' short for Lauriam, and it made me feel incredibly happy and when I asked myself why, I realized it was because, to that member, I wasn't Marushi, I was Lauriam. That was also the moment I pieced together why I had changed my name in the first place. I actually think I might hate Marushi, and speaking honestly I feel almost insane to be putting this much stock in an online username, but I'm done denying how I feel so I might as well admit it. I feel like 'Marushi' became a persona, an ideal me that I wanted to be and TRIED to be, and everything about 'her' is no longer anything I can find within myself. I'm trying to deal with whatever that says about me carefully and with much thought so that it doesn't turn into a real problem, and, cute as it was to be called Law, I'm trying not to let myself grow to view Lauriam as anything other than a username to prevent this whole identity thing from becoming a cycle. I guess, I'm just trying to figure out who I am now because I've changed so much over the past two years I doubt I could ever go back to the way I used to be - lol if I even wanted to in the first place. XD I think I like who I'm turning into, though, so that's something. Not everything I do, I like, in fact there are some things I've already done that I feel very guilty about, but balanced out I like enough of me to be better off than I was, if that makes sense. I still feel lost right now but I think I'm gonna be okay in time. So I guess, I can see why someone who doesn't know about all that crap would be confused when I say I've been feeling depressed lately. I don't think it was right for them to invalidate my feelings the way they did, but they're as human as I am so I can forgive it. It helps that I know they care about me a lot and they might not understand me, but heck I barely understand me lol, so caring is enough. Sorry to dump all this on you guys. I've just been keeping this all to myself for so long and kinda just felt like I needed to say it all somewhere, soooo you guys get the rant. XD Not exactly looking for validation or advice, though of course any is welcome and appreciated. Just having a place to vent is enough. Thanks for being here for me, KHV. I love you guys.