Those other things being:
1: World of Warcraft. I log in and I can zone out of my head. It effectively shuts off the negative tape that is on constant loop in my brain. If my kids interrupt my gaming, it's no big deal; I get up and help them, and it works for me because I'm not convinced I'm a horrible waste of space while I'm playing. I tend to feel better after being immersed in pixels for a while. Besides, I love collecting all the super cute pets; they make me grin. I generally play the most on my worst days. Is it addictive? Yep. Is it helpful? Yep. Do I feel guilty for wasting my time and money on the game? Hell no.
2: Music. On really bad days, happy music doesn't do anything, even if I make myself sing along. But on mediocre days, it's awesome. The last few days have been especially bad, even with meds. My husband, bless him, brought home Just Dance 2014 for me, so I could have a game to play doing stuff I love to music I love. Music generally gets me up, moving, and if I can feel it inside my skin, it clears my thoughts. Even on bad days, getting up and moving and doing things with the kids is a good thing, even if I'm not feeling it.
3: Essential Oils and Vitamins. I have no scientific data to prove to you that they work but they do help. And when I'm in the midst of low lows, any little bit that helps is a good thing.
4: Friends. I text friends, call friends, talk to people. Or sometimes they just call me at the right time when I'm spiraling down. And the friends I have who also struggle with depression don't tell me I'm imagining things or using excuses. They understand that it's crippling, that the negative voices that make me cry over stupid things are real. And yeah, I might be crazy, but they love me anyway. This is huge. And it helps me smile. Anything that helps me smile is worth the time and energy.
5: Books. Specifically fluffy happy books that make me laugh and have happy endings. So generally romance novels. I don't care if they're paranormal, thriller, contemporary, historical, sci-fi, or whatever. I'm after the happy feels.
This is also where I get ranty, though. I have probably read two or three hundred romance novels in the past six months, and let me tell you, those freebies on Amazon? ugh. I follow several publishers and editors on twitter, so I jump on the freebies when they announce them. But not all of the freebies on Amazon are from publishers, nor are they worth my time. I'm a big girl, so I can skip a page if a story gets too coarse or detailed. I generally don't care, unless the language offends my delicate sensibilities and then I just skim, but whatever. My point being I'm not terribly picky about romance novels.
Except for this one teensy tiny little thing:
HEY YOU ROMANCE AUTHORS ALL PROUD OF YOURSELF FOR FINISHING A BOOK AND HITTING THE PUBLISH BUTTON: I know who you are, and I have a list with your book title and your name so I know never, ever, ever to download one of your books again, ever.
No, I'm not a published author, but I know what I like to read. I will happily read a freebie and then buy more from an author if:
- Dialogue is believable and fun. Not stilted, boring, stupid, or repetitive. You know who does awesome dialogue? Shannon Stacey and Molly Harper. You know why I think this? Because when I read it, I can hear it as if my brothers or friends were saying it. Now, however, I have a long list of books where people sit at a table and have the most mundane boring conversations EVER. "Oh, you like this? I like this too." "Oh how cool, I've liked that since I was a kid." "Oh neat, I liked it when I was twelve, what else do we have in common?"
It's a sad thing, really, but apparently I like making lists.
- Characters feel real. I don't care how silly or off the wall or neurotic a character is as long as they're believable. They can be in space, middle-earth, fairy land, or a zombie, but I need to believe their actions are more than because you the author said so. I want to feel like I know them, that they are different from each other. And seriously, while I'm ranting about characters, if I find one more male hero named Rafe, I am going to insist all of the Romance Writers of America meetings have a character naming class that all y'all must attend before you get to publish another book. Or maybe just have Word and InDesign -- and whatever other diy magical publishing thingies are out there-- delete your manuscript if that name is found anywhere in the text.
- Story is fun. You know what, I KNOW there's going to be a happy ending, that's why I read these books. I know they're gonna hate each other at the beginning, or not understand their attraction, or fall in love and then some misunderstanding is going to happen. Ok, I'm good with that. I want to feel the attraction, the tension, the worry, the joy. However, I'm not good with you telling me over and over and over and over why they have a hangup. Or putting guy and girl together in implausible circumstances. I need logic, people. I might be craving the happies, but you're for real going to try to convince me that Girl A falls madly in love with Guy B who is always mad and grouchy at her? uh... no. What the heck is fun about that?? WHERE IS YOUR LOGIC??? Or maybe you need someone to EDIT YOUR BOOK???? AAARGH
- Magic/Strange/Weird stuff. I don't mind a good billionaire sweeps girl next door off her feet. But I love magic and other stuff even more. Time travel, wizards, fairies, you name it, that stuff is even more fun than just a guy/gal get together. Although to be honest, I'm about done with the vampire thing. I will always, always, always love vampires, but I think I'm done reading about them for a while. Patricia Briggs and Carrie Vaughn are pretty awesome at writing the werewolves, but I kinda hope a new fad comes along soon.
- Proofed. Ok, I will admit I'm not nearly the grammar nazi that some of my friends are. I'm willing to overlook a great many typos, because hey, typos happen. What irritates me is the blatant publishing of something that has poor grammar, period. The sentences make no sense, the people speak like uneducated teenagers when they're supposed to be professional businesspeople, etc. Oh, and then the emails from amazon stating that hey, such n such book has been updated with edits and proofs. You know what those emails do? They make me LOSE respect for the author, because if they'd had any business sense at all, they'd have had someone, or a bunch of someones, read their book first, made the edits, had it read through again by a different set of people, edited and revised some more, and THEN published the thing so that I don't have to be subjected to their first draft.
Amazon isn't a writing group, people. It's a place where I go to find new authors that I might like. As a consumer, if you're trying to feed me a rough draft, I'm gonna get pissy and never, ever, ever buy your books again.
I guess that means that maybe I rant about things as part of my self-medication, too. That's what blogs are for? Ah well.