This is a hard post to write, but a necessary one. It’s kind of a rambling apology and explanation for why I’ve been missing all these months. It comes from the heart, and I hope that you will understand.
You see, I gave up on Second Life, and real-life to a certain extent, a few months ago. But I’m starting to find my way back slowly..and I hope that means I can get back into the virtual world that I so adore.
2019 has been a hard year for so many, least of all me and my partner. I’ve been dealing with a chronic back issue for which I’ve had two surgeries so far, and I’m likely to be having another one. My back issue has meant sitting at a keyboard has been agony; sitting upright, in general, a constant problem. I work in IT so I have to do that for 8 hours a day, and after battling through a workday the last thing I wanted to do was log-in to my beloved virtual world. To compound the serious back issue, both myself and my partner were selected to be in a mass pool of redundancies which was unbearably stressful. For months we had the thought of imminent redundancy hanging over our heads, making us both so worried. I started having panic attacks, something that hasn’t happened since I was a child. Fortunately, we’re OK (for now) at least, but months of worry and uncertainty took their toll and seeing so many wonderful colleagues leaving really broke my heart. Empathy is both a blessing and a curse and I’ve got it in bucketloads, so struggling through a working day in constant pain, managing only because I was stuffed up to the eyeballs with prescribed opiates, whilst worrying about myself, my partner and my colleagues was yet another test of my endurance skills. I have no idea how I did it. I still don’t. It feels like I completely disassociated myself from everything, just to get by.
Then as if we didn’t have enough to contend with the worst thing of all happened, Indy, our beloved Staffie girl became very ill and in the space of a few hours, our world totally collapsed. Indy died, and part of us went with her, and it is impossible to get back. As I write this she’s been gone four months, yet it still feels like we’re pretending to be normal because we just cannot get used to her not being here. Indy was intrinsic to our everyday life, she was a constant companion, and to not have her here still breaks me every single day. She was only 11 years old and we anticipated that even though she was getting older we’d have a few more years left with her. That was cruelly taken from us and honestly, it’s the worst bereavement I’ve ever had to deal with. Her personality was so large and she was so loved, and our home just isn’t the same. To compound our grief, our cats were grieving too. Mylo and Alan both adored Indiana, and her suddenly not being here freaked them out for weeks. Alan was constantly looking for her, Mylo flat out refused to come in the house for six weeks.
Managing all this stress whilst trying to retain my sanity left no room for Second Life, and as is often the case with functional depression both my worlds, real and virtual, had lost their colour. I lost complete enthusiasm for the things that I once loved. The things that made my heart beat faster and smile had no effect on me anymore; I just managed the physical pain from my back, the mental pain from stress and tried as best I could to keep going. It has been utterly exhausting.
I feel a lot of guilt for upping and leaving SL so suddenly, mainly because in a way I was actually living my virtual dream at the time. I’d mentioned on these pages a few times in the past that I loved a place called The Grove, and I finally was in a position to be able to live there. I had a beautiful house and it was everything I’d ever imagined; I was on a corner plot and I decorated my home beautifully. It was wonderful, I would often log in and just sit out on my virtual terrace, watching the virtual sunset…it was virtual bliss. I was content, and I was happy. But when the depression hit, that was it. I left SL behind which meant I never logged in to pay my rent, and obviously, by now I’ll have been evicted from my plot, and rightly so. I was never late on paying rent, and I always paid weeks in advance as a model tenant should do, but just upping and leaving without a word is completely wrong and I’ll obviously never be able to show my face there again. I’m pretty gutted about that. But in all honesty after the threats of redundancy we’re being careful with our pennies so I would have had to leave anyway, which I would have been sad about, but just upping and leaving and not giving notice isn’t acceptable, and I’m ashamed that I did, and will be sending an apology when I eventually log-in again.
So, what does the future hold? Well, I’m currently awaiting a scan on my back to see why I’m still in pain after my second op. I fully expect to be having another surgery before Christmas, after which I’ll be back at work. I’m hoping that this depression that I’m in will lift when I’m finally pain-free and living my best life, and then I’ll log-in and try and get myself set up with one of those new-fangled Linden Houses (are people still waiting to get them?) and take it from there.
I will be back, I know it.
Second Life is just too important to me for me to abandon it completely, and in my soul, I miss it terribly. I can’t sit at my PC long enough to enjoy it at the moment though, and I’m a nervous wreck anticipating all the missed messages that will greet me when I log in. I know I shouldn’t have just upped and left and disappeared, but I closed myself down and had to do it. I’m not exaggerating when I say that if I hadn’t, I don’t think I’d still be here.
I don’t expect anyone to understand this unless they’re similarly afflicted, but Bipolar Depression is a real battle that I have to fight every single day and unfortunately, this has been my worst year ever. Suicidal thoughts, thoughts of self-harm..yup, it’s ticked all the boxes for me. Still does some days. The stress and heartbreak of 2019 have done their damage. I’ve managed the very best that I can, kept so much shit to myself and tried to deal with it but I could have done better, and I’m sorry I didn’t. I don’t have the vocabulary to express just how bad it’s been, which sounds so fucking self-indulgent. But everyone has their troubles, and this year I’ve had a shit-ton of them. The reality for me currently is both physical and mental pain that I’m waiting, and willing to be fixed so that I can get my life back on track. I want 2020 to be the start of the best decade ever in my life. I don’t want to feel stressed, and in pain anymore. I just want to be fixed and happy and whole again, which I don’t think is too much to ask for.
So this post is my first step on the road to getting back to my virtual life. It’s a baby step. A tentative toe in the water. I so want to log in and go shopping, Halloween in SL is my favourite time of the year, after all, so I really hope that I can get back in-world and get a place sorted in time to enjoy it, and above all else I hope you’ll be there too, dear readers, to help me along the way. See you soon x