Thread: D. M. Domini?
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Old Sep 28 2017, 02:21 AM   #11
D. M. Domini
D. M. Domini's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Chicagoland
Gender: F
Fan of: Afra Lyon, and Robinton!
Now Reading: Sabriel by Garth Nix
Default Re: D. M. Domini?

Hey guys. Just saw this now.

I'm around. Kinda?

2017's been a bit rough for me. A lot of personal stuff has been...coming home to roost? Some mental, some financial.

On the mental front, I've been managing/discovering/facing down some issues with anxiety and depression.

There's a variant of PTSD called C-PTSD, or "complex post-traumatic stress disorder". It's the type of PTSD folks end up with when they live in (or grew up in) a crappy home environment. (As opposed to what soldiers might be affected by from being on the ground in a war zone, or what people caught in natural disasters like hurricanes or fires or car accidents might deal with. Basically, chronic exposure to sucky things vs. a horrific one-time event or short-lived but severe disaster.)

In particular, the aspects of it that have been kicking my ass are hyper-vigilance and emotional flashbacks.

::teacher hat on::

Skip to the end if all you want are the fanfic stories or a TL;DR and don't care about my naval-gazing.

I'm mostly laying this out here because out of the spots I've lingered online, AMC fandom has probably encountered me on and off for the "longest". And I've clashed with it (and the other people in it) sometimes. So maybe an explanation is interesting, or useful. Or owed?

I guess I want to talk, too.

Anyway, C-PTSD stuff. (I like to talk about it because lots of people are not aware it exists and it may help someone else to know that it's a "thing".)

Link fairy time:
Hyper-vigilance is a thing when you're always on high alert, fight-or-flight, to a potential threat. Traditionally when people talk of "regular" PTSD they often give an example of a soldier hearing fireworks and freaking out because they sound like gunfire, which was a severe threat to them at one point in their life, and the fireworks bring flashbacks to past horrors and past stress.

With me, it's not gunfire, but people. Threats to me were from people. (Close family.) I was trained by my environment to closely watch other people's emotions at an early age so I could get away if they were about to unload on me. So that's where my hyper-vigilance is focused. Except, unlike fireworks, people are always about. Heh. It's good for writing emotive characters because I'm rather attuned to the full spectrum of things people can feel...not so good for the rest of real life.

I can often struggle with social responses here and elsewhere in the fandom community because it's sort of brain-CPU is often revving up to 95.0% utilization watching for threats. That's the hyper-vigilance. Too much vigilance, even when it isn't needed.

So I have about 5% free to formulate a response. 5% isn't much brainpower, really, so I can flub lots of stuff when trying to respond. Imagine a computer lagging severely become some rogue process is eating up all the resources. I'm basically paying strict attention to all this social detail coming in, but there's so much coming in that I don't always process it properly because my brain is already maxed out. My brain is mostly constantly asking me, "Should we run now? What about now? Oh no, are they angry with you? Have they abaaaannnddoooned you? Listen, they raised their voice! That's dangerous. They used THAT adjective, it shows that they are displeased. That's dangerous. Should we run NOOWWW?"

Until I learned about C-PTSD I theorized I might be on the autism spectrum due to my analytical nature and awkward social responses. C-PTSD (in my particular case) makes much more sense.

So that's one big part of suck that's been intruding.

The second big thing I've been struggling with is emotional flashbacks. Emotional flashbacks are flashbacks that don't contain visual/audio memory bits. Just the emotional bits of a memory. So when they get triggered by something, you end up feeling a bunch of horrible PAST emotions...without always realizing you're not really reacting to the now, you're remembering the past. So some interactions in the present kick off some nasty emotional crapola that masquerades like it's actually caused by the now.

But nope. Not from the now, aside from the trigger that reminded you of the memory. So you struggle with a disproportionate, non-logical emotional response that's really all the past suck flooding back. But from the outside you seem rather...reactive. If you don't manage to cut the response off in time.

And the hyper-vigilance doesn't at all help with the flashback part because that part is paying attention to too much stuff and notices things. They can kind of feed into each other because my brain likes to look too closely at stuff and read too much into it, and then crap emotional flashbacks appear and need to be wrestled with, diminished, cut off at the knees, logic'd away, etc.

I'm basically a Rowan or Lessa or Killashandra without the benefit of being a heroine in a book. Ha. Bit of a Menolly too, with the running-away thing.

Despite this I'm actually pretty high-functioning for someone who had to decide to run away from home years and years ago, but that's also why it's taken a while for this stuff to come to roost/to light. And why it's just beating me up in 2017, years and years later. It's easy to push stuff to the side when you see examples of other people who have it much worse, you know? Who deal with anxiety/depression that's much more severe or crippling or obvious.

(Anyone wonder why I like writing the repressed Afra Lyon? Anyone? I'm sure it's obvious now. :p )

So, anyway.

The next bit of suck is that I've been looking for day-job work since, oh, March. And I usually work in IT, but the Chicago tech industry...

Well, it's the deadest I've seen in 17 years. Worse than the 2008/2009 recession. And I think it's because of Illinois' stupid eXXXXXtreme budget problems. I think it's made tech companies very conservative with hiring, because when I flip over to, oh, Portland's Craigslist and job sites I see PLENTY of jobs I could do. I just can't get to Portland. (Moving there is on my long-term to-do list, but I have to get back on my feet first. It's very distressing to have such a big city like Chicago be so DEAD when it comes to jobs I'm qualified for.) (Why is Illinois so corrupppttt?? And short-sighted?)

Unsurprisingly, as I evaluate my skills to see if I can get a job in a different industry or something, this stuff has made me realize...I actually do want to write for a living. I've put 27 years of my life into it already. That's a big sunk cost! Don't want to stay in IT forever.

But...I can't sell fanfic. However, even so, there's always a huge lure to continue producing it, since I'm riding on Anne McCaffrey's coat-tails with her built-in fanbase...put up a chapter, get reviews who want more Pern or Talent even if it's just an approximation. BAM. Instant ego boost. Pretty addicting, especially for someone with crap self-esteem.

That doesn't bring money in, though. I'm couch-surfing with friends, now, completely broke. Practically, pragmatically, outside of day-job hunting, if I write at all, I need to put time into something I can sell. It's the only rational thing to do. So I really do need to focus on that.

And I am, and it is progressing. I'm about 70,000 words into an original story. (I am willing to share with potential betas if you don't mind dark, weird stuff. Zozobraswife, I owe you a reply. I just keep adding to my fic, plus I moved twice in two months...)

WILL this project sell once I finish it? No clue, that's how the slush pile works, there may always be people better than you, but at least, legally, I won't be infringing on the rights of the McCaffrey estate with it since it'll be entirely mine. I'll be able to TRY to sell it. Even if the big publishers don't want it, I can try the Patreon or self-pub route, yanno. I can't do that if I'm writing with someone else's IP, but I can with mine.

I do like producing fanfic in Anne McCaffrey's worlds. I've learned a ton from it. There's a rich world, rich characters, and interesting concepts to explore. People seem to like most of what I've done, and have been pretty gentle the times I've produced crap. (Which is always met by the sound of resounding silence! Which is better than jeers, so I am grateful, if embarrassed about those occasional turds.) Some bits I'm pretty proud of—I really like how I characterized Domick from On Tempo and Beat, despite the adult content.

I am sometimes very bad at dealing with certain types of fan interactions, though. Some people have run into me on bad days. I know I've run off some people accidentally due to this. Even some people whom I valued the opinions of and miss talking to. When I'm freaking out/dealing with anxiety/emotional flashbacks I can be sharp or harsh. Obviously, childish too.

I'm also sensitive to people who got snippy with me over not finishing a story, or being slow. I know I'm both those things (leaving stuff incomplete, slow to update), I know I need to fix that, so it hits a nerve because I'm already beating myself to death over it.

And when I encounter attitudes that seem entitled to moremoremore, that feeds into the emotional flashback thing I described earlier...this fear that someone wants to come up to me and rip whatever I can give away from me. It feels like someone wants to control me and my animal brain is terrified of that.

That all said, my logical brain says: "You KNOW this is a given for this industry. You have to learn to deal with people demanding more, even in rude and entitled ways. And you even know many of them don't mean anything by it—they like what you write! Logically, if that bothers you, you shouldn't get into an industry where you KNOW this happens!"

But I've not been successful always in avoiding the mental suck. Especially since other parts of my life are hurting. Too many fires to put out, not enough me, not enough spoons or energy.

So the life-hack, or work-around, is taking stuff down. Arrange it so people generally can't contact me. Essentially, it lets me avoid interactions where I end up having to try to get myself out of an emotional flashback or pit of suck. (And sometimes I end up failing, lashing out at someone, and making them feel hurt.)

I am aware most adults would think, "Take stuff down, delete all accounts!" is childish. That's a fair assessment. But when it comes to brain-weasels, sometimes I lose the battle and have to life-hack around it. Pragmatically speaking, reducing sources of input has helped ease my stress, even if it's not the most adult of solutions. (Since it's basically running away.)

Like, today, I have some spoons to talk to ya'll. I didn't really a few months back. Time and distance helps perspective.

So yeah.

TL;DR: Took stuff down because brain weasels, financial issues. Need to be a real writer that can actually sell what she writes. 2017 sucks for me, and not just because of our crazy president.

If anyone wants copies of anything, use the board link to email me. I can send copies. It's okay if you don't remember a title...a vague description will probably let me know what you want.

So long as it was really written by me and not someone else.

(I know how things blur together when you read a lot of fic.)

Where am I hanging out these days online?

I spent a lot of time on Reddit's Raised By Narcissists sub under various names that come and go. Half my time there is working out my own stupid brain-weasels, but half giving advice to people who are in the shoes I used to be in.

It's my way of paying it forward, since I went through a bunch of foster/youth homes in my teens and early 20s. I can't repay those kind people, but I can pass on what I learned to others.

Caution: It's a heart-wrenching sub, since its a support group for abuse survivors (especially of verbal/emotional trauma, which society often doesn't take as seriously as physical abuse.) Some of the stories will just tear you to bits. Fair warning.

Otherwise I'm not too active online from a contributing standpoint, since I pulled my accounts down. Trying to finish my novel and get a dayjob so I can eat 'n stuff. And get health insurance.

(I really wish the US had the health systems lots of Europe has. Or Canada. Or Australia. We're so backwards in this area. Maybe I wouldn't be in my current position if I could afford care, yanno?)
Read my Pern and Talent fanfic on Archive of our Own.

Fanfic WIPs: The Day Benden Went to War (Pern/Talent); Slosh (Pern); Weyrbred Lads (Pern); When You Fall Asleep /Between/... (Pern)

Completed Fics: Flight (Pern), Flight v2 (Pern), Golden Glow (Pern)

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