Warning: This will be a long post of my life so far in 2018. Explaining how I’ve been feeling, what I’ve been dealing with physically and mentally this year and how it has affected my life, my friends and my family. Why I’ve also been distant from everyone and what is going to happen next. You are not required to read all of this post but hopefully it shall explain why I’ve been behaving in certain ways and what is going on in my life and how it has affected me and the people around me.
2018 was supposed to be my year, the year where I planned to do many a great things. From resuming composing music, perhaps even publishing an album and releasing some commercial tracks for trailers. I also wanted to make great strides towards pushing my Furry YouTube channel out and releasing a lot more content for people to enjoy. Content that I myself enjoyed making and others as well. Including convention footage from 2017 and 2018[mostly from Confuzzled] I still have over 6 hours of footage sitting on my hard drives waiting to be edited into something coherent. Why are they sitting there? Procrastination. It is the single worst trait about me as a creative person. I delay my projects, day after day. Making myself feel worse for not starting or even finishing some of them. Yet they’re not a requirement. I never get paid for my videos. I only do them because they allow me to be creative. So in order to push myself to finish these I decided to start a Patreon in the beginning of 2018. That I realized was a bad idea to begin with. Not only was there a self-deprecating motivation to finish projects now because of delays and procrastination, but there was also a financial push, where people expected content to be released on a monthly basis for Patreons. Now I didn’t have that many Patreons to begin with, actually 80% of those were my close friends, of which I appreciate every single one of them. It allowed me to push “some” content out, not all, some but it still wasn’t enough? The problem wasn’t with the way I approached this, the inherent problem was me. I wasn’t pushing myself enough. Now why was I not pushing myself? This might sound cliché, but depression. Depression has been a worryingly recent occurrence in my life. Not only did it affect my creative aspects, from video editing, fursuit photography and music composition, but my life as a whole, my social life, which came to a crawl. I stopped attending meets, or meeting up with people. I closed myself off from the world. So here on I will attempt to explain why my depression came back so strong and how it affected me in depth.
Ever since the end of 2017 me and my family have had trouble with paying off our rent. I was working maybe 5-6 days a week at most 8-10 hours a day in order to pay my monthly bills as usual. We live in a house of 4. Me, my Mother, My Father and my Brother. Now why were we having trouble paying our bills? Simple. My Mother is in no state to work anymore. She used to be a hairdresser for over 6 years after finishing college. She worked nearly every day. So did my Father, and he still does. Although after being fired from his main job as the company was making cutbacks he had to find a new job quickly, and he did, after a month, which set us back by a month of bills. I myself couldn’t afford to pay everything myself having only working a simple Barista job, at minimum wage in London. He found a different job, in the same job sector, but the hours were much shorter. So I decided to work 7 days a week. With no break. That meant that I was no longer able to work on my hobbies. Video editing footage, music or even photography, let alone attending meets or social events. This took a heavy toll on me, for many months. Coming back from a 10 hour shift, eating, sleeping and then working again from the morning. My sleeping schedule was absolutely ruined. My mind became a battlefield. I wanted to do more in a day. I wanted to be creative, because it is the only thing that kept me sane, that gave me joy and kept me stable these past few years, to be able to create something by yourself, and watch it grow, let it be enjoyed by hundreds of people. I felt self-worth. I decided to sacrifice a few hours of my life every day in order to get content out. That turned out to be a very bad idea. My mood decreased. I became grumpier. I wasn’t as reactive at work and my performance was stagnating. I of course warned my Manager of my situation. Of my depression, of my family debt and everything so she was aware and she tried to help me the best way she could. By giving me a day off or two, of which I declined at first as I needed the money, and fast.
Right now you might be asking yourself, what about my Brother? Isn’t he helping? Hah. Let me tell you. My brother has never worked properly in his entire life. He is what I call a leech in our family. Leeching off our finances. He like many of us at the moment have depression due to the extreme circumstances we have put ourselves into. But his affects others around him more than the rest of us. He does not want to work. When he does, he barely works 2-3 days a week, as a Labourer. A job he himself chose to do. He can find work at any time as long as he calls in Construction Agencies. But does he? No. He’s been dealing with heavy alcoholism for many years now. And we tried to help him, we tried to offer him therapy, alcohol prevention. Even giving him time to recover. Talk to him, let him know the situation. What we’re dealing with as a whole. Giving him time to find a job, not pay any rent or even food. Did it help? No. No matter what we tried he always slumped back to his old state. So I lost all trust for him, all hope. For over 6 years we tried. My Mother most of all, who because of that gained a lot of weight and now has heart problems, including high blood pressure, varicose veins[enlarged veins due to prolonged standing]. She can no longer work due to her condition and has to take medication against it. Of which I mostly pay out of my own pocket. So why not move out then? Live in a shared household? Trust me. I thought about it, and many other ways. I can’t just leave my Mother behind, when she is in such a critical state. And what will happen if I do? My Brother and Father will tear each other apart and my Mother will be in the middle of it, trying to stop them. No. I simply cannot do that, not yet. I want to get her away from this environment, but in a safe way. I want her to live with me if somehow I will be able to afford my own apartment someday. Or let her live with my Father.
Now I will attempt to explain my mental state and how it has been deteriorating over the past few years. I will try to explain the last two years in a short amount of time as best as I can, as explaining from the very beginning, from 2004 when I first moved into the UK would take a very long time.
As far as I am aware, my depression never truly left. I did not take steps to prevent it, or at least control it. All I did was through sheer power of will for many years. I did not go to therapy, nor did I speak to many people about my depression, only the very few. And sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn’t. Because depression is a very wide subject and it comes in many forms. It’s something that can’t be cured, it’s part of humanity. Who you are, it will come and go, even when you’re happy, because that’s how life is. But what you can do is take steps to make it last in shorter bursts and not let it affect you as much.
I did my best to hide my depression from people, because I did not want to let other people be brought down when I was out socializing with people, mostly at the LondonFur Meets. Where people come to forget about the world and enjoy themselves for a whole day of frolicking, talking to new and old people, having fun, drinking, socializing, hugging fursuiters and much more. So I put on a mask, a façade, as many people do I believe in order to push myself forward and enjoy myself even just a little, and it helped for a time. It truly did. Especially all the fursuit hugs that I got. That gave me hope. That there is kindness and compassion in this world and true people exist where the stark reality of the harshness of life and problems that I face could be forgotten for a day. That is what I lived for. It helped me. Even if it was once every three weeks. It was the hook that helped me stay afloat the edge of the mountain.
Yet forgetting or ignoring the problem would never make it go away. You have to face it head on. Solve it, together with the people that surround you every day. The people that made this situation happen in the first place. But not everything would go as planned.
In the beginning of 2018, somewhere around March I lost my main job. Due to my own depression affecting me severely to the point of not wanting to wake up for work, or do anything. I either overslept on my days off or slept very little on days I had to work. I was late, many times, and I apologized profusely. Explained my situation, and my mental state and for a time they understood. Sometimes I came in early, sometimes late, but being in a business where time keeping is everything no one will keep you for long, so I was let go. I had to find a different job and change my attitude towards work as a whole. Focus, and let it affect what mattered, getting enough money in order to pay for the rising rent debt that was rising every month.
So I was jobless for about a month and a half. I job searched everyday. Even applied for Jobseekers allowance, of which I was rejected due to insufficient evidence of my family’s job and earnings history. Eventually I found a job. The same job sector, Barista in a new family owned Coffee shop. The manager was kind, the people were passionate and everything seemed fine. It was a job. I had hours. I had a positive outlook on life for a split moment. I continued to work, but seeing as it was a local new family owned coffee shop. I only worked 6, sometimes 5 days a week, 6-8 hours. It was much less than my previous job so the money coming in every month was much less.
So with that I decided to launch my Patreon and somehow acquire extra money via any other means that I could, with my creative skills. I also began learning Adobe Premier and Adobe After Effects in order to start creating animated logos as commissions. Any extra money would be helpful at this point. And for a time it did. I posted a tweet on Twitter asking people for help. Over 340 retweets allowed me to make over 100 animated logo commissions. It kept me afloat. For a time there was a hope that we could repay everything.
But nothing lasts forever. The commissions died down and I had to come up with new ways to earn extra money on the side. I designed new logo templates and posted those, but they never gathered as much attention as the first. So I decided to ask my manager for more hours at work. And for the first time in many months the business started picking up. More customers began attending. Soon I was working 6-7 days a week again with 8-sometimes 14 hours a day. I was exhausted everyday but I had to do it, I had to push myself. But that also meant that I had to put my Patreon and commission content on hold for now. And I felt bad. Either I had to pause Patreon temporarily or keep it open while releasing a reduced amount of content for it and YouTube. In the end I decided to keep it open while trying to work on content after work every day. I was putting too much responsibility on my shoulders. It was too much. It affected me mentally and physically. I did not get enough sleep again, and my mood was affected. I was having mood swings. Sometimes I wouldn’t even want to wake up. The feeling of procrastination came back, coupled with exhaustion and depression I was barely releasing any new content on the side.
And yet with all that extra work on my regular job I was still not earning enough money to pay off the rent debt with my family regularly. After a few months we were given a declaration to evict the premises with a court order by the Landlord. We filled the forms out and sent them off. It’s been over 4 weeks and we have yet to hear from the court on whether we will be evicted or allowed to stay in the premises and pay off the £5000 rent debt we accrued. But with advice from other people I know that they will not allow us to stay for long even if the court goes in our favor, 14 days or a month at best. Unless we manage to pay off the whole debt quickly enough. So what I decided to do was register our whole family for Council Housing [in the UK it’s like sheltered housing, where the Government provides you with temporary shelter where you have to pay the bare minimum, like Council Tax]
But I’ve heard that people who have registered for this service sometimes waited for over a year to get housing, and we simply didn’t have that kind of time. Where would we go if the Landlord and Court decided to evict us? Probably on the street. I have a possibility of staying with one of my friends in a shared flat, paying my share of the rent of course and everything else but at the moment I have no solution for a place for my Mother.
At the moment I am living life day by day, not knowing what will happen. If my job becomes redundant. If the court decided to evict us. Where we will be. Who I will be with? Will I be able to take care of my Mother whose health has been deteriorating quickly I have no idea. I have no answers. All I can do is push forward. Try my best. Work my job. And try to bear it all, I am not sure for how long but I will try my best. There is a lot more I want to say but most of it is far too personal and I have learned from previous posts that I shouldn’t share as much as I did in the past, being an honest and open person can be a double edged sword. With that I hope people understand what it is I am dealing with and I apologize to those who I have wronged, or reacted in a manner that did not represent me, over the last two years. It was not me. It was a version of someone who I despised, of which when surfaced gave me great regret. I hated myself. I still do. I am trying to get better. I am trying to deal with my problems, and not let it affect the people around me. So the best solution I found was not interact with anyone at all, for fear of affecting the people the wrong way, or letting off the wrong impression. Maybe it is not the best approach, as it plays on my mental state but it is the best I can do at the moment. I will try to get help, perhaps through the NHS, Citizen Advice Bureau, and Debt Citizenship Advice. Anything that will help me deal with the situation at hand and slowly but surely get out of it with as few scars as possible. So I please ask my friends, all of you to bear with me as I go through this difficult stage of my life. Thank you.