What is it? It's a psychotic disorder that features the symptoms of Schizophrenia with the symptoms of either bipolar disorder or a major mood disorder. Like people with schizophrenia, people with schizoaffective disorder have delusions, hallucinations, thought disorder, flat, blunted or inappropriate affect, and other symptoms of psychosis. Like people with mood disorders, they suffer from mania, depression, mixed episodes, or all three. People with schizoaffective disorder have psychotic symptoms regardless of whether they are currently in an altered mood, and they likely have normal moods in between their altered ones. This is different from similar disorders like bipolar disorder--where psychosis can appear while manic but not in normal moods--or depressive-psychotic disorder, where the psychosis only manifests while the individual is depressed.
Is it worse than schizophrenia? That's not easy to answer. Not all people with a given mental illness experience the same symptoms, or the same degree of disability. There are people with schizophrenia who function normally without medication (although it is rare), and there are people with schizoaffective disorder who don't react to medication at all. Unfortunately, some people assume that because schizoaffective disorder isn't pure schizophrenia, it can't be as bad--why they assume this I don't know, because there is no basis for it. In fact, many individuals who suffer from this disorder find it more difficult to deal with, as they are effectively dealing with two disorders at the same time. Depending on the severity of each, they may not be able to work even with medication, and if they develop the disorder while young, it can potentially destroy their academic careers. While the same can be said of many other mental illnesses, this is especially problematic with schizoaffective disorder, because both the psychosis and mood disorder aspects interfere with thinking and potentially cause "avolition," or the lack of drive to accomplish anything.
Should I be worried if someone I know has the disorder? Of course not. Schizoaffective disorder is not linked to an increased risk of violence. That said, drug and alcohol abuse can increase the risk, and unfortunately it is not uncommon for people with mental illnesses to have these problems. Other factors can affect this risk as well, like personality disorders, the way an individual was raised, and most importantly past behavior. But schizoaffective disorder alone--and disorders like it--are not risk factors.
I have schizoaffective disorder. I've been diagnosed with it since I was 15. Even though I don't hallucinate while on medication, it is hard to function on a day-to-day basis. I'm not asking for pity--I am merely trying to educate you on this disorder. Some have it worse than me. Others have it better. But don't assume that I'm lazy or purposely obnoxious--chances are, I'm not doing anything because I can't, and I'm acting weird through no fault of my own. My medication helps, but it is not a cure; my symptoms still come through. I didn't ask for this disorder, but I have it, and it will be a part of who I am for the rest of my life.
For those of you who are interested, the website is www.deathscapemythos.com. It is ad-free for the time being, but eventually I will add advertising space for the website to generate some revenue. I hope this isn't inconvenient, and I definitely hope you guys enjoy it!
EDIT: Decided to go with a donation button instead. Why gamble on ads these days when so many people use adblockers?
So, assuming my health continues to improve, I will likely begin working on the next chapter of The Revelation sometime in early March. Before then, I hope to redo the rather half-assed job I did on the last chapter (you can't blame me for coasting through it, that was right before I went downhill), so look for an update on that as well.
Finally, I may end up doing a few new things I've been considering for a while in the coming months. This would include things like commissioning a more professional cover design for The Revelation, and accepting an offer from a long-time friend to move The Revelation to a website with its own domain name. Rest assured, if I do do that I will still keep the short stories and artwork here (although I will probably copy the Cast and Weapons to that site), and I will continue updating my DeviantArt account.
I hope those of you who follow me enjoy my return to work, and I'll see you all in March!
It started early this month when I began having difficulty eating. I didn't think too much of it, thought I only had the flu. Soon I was constantly thirsty, with a dry mouth that would get so bad it impaired my speech. I assumed it was something I was eating and took steps to find out what, but I couldn't figure it out.
About a three weeks ago I noticed a problem with my left foot, a small irritated spot that felt like it had a foreign body in it. There was no corresponding wound, just an uncomfortable spot on the lateral side of the foot just south of the pinky toe. As the weekend went on, it swelled and became abscessed. That Monday I took action and made an emergency appointment with my doctor, who drained the abscess and sent me home. At that point my clinical case manager--who had taken me to my appointment--noticed how ill I looked.
It would only get worse. By that same Wednesday I was having trouble keeping water down and was barely eating at all. I had already lost 10 pounds when I'd seen the doctor, and now we were worried. My foot hurt bad. By Thursday I was wheezing badly just walking a few feet, and by late Thursday night I had no balance and was falling constantly, as well as having difficulty with my bladder. At midnight that night, my mom called an ambulance, and I was carted off to Saint Joseph Medical Center where I was diagnosed with diabetic ketoacidocis. Apparently I had been diabetic and didn't realize it for at least a month--my blood sugar was over 800, my kidneys weren't functioning properly, and I was almost comatose.
I don't really remember much until about noon Friday, when I began to regain consciousness. Yes, there were some bits and pieces that I could recall, but not really anything significant. I spent the next few days in the ICU, and spent the rest of the following week in the hospital. There they discovered that my foot had necrotic tissue in it and had "tunneling," and they drained it again and did a culture. It came back positive for gram-negative bodies.
The good news is after two days of aggressive IV antibiotics my foot had already healed enough that they could no longer pack it. I came home that Friday--having been hospitalized for just a little over a week--on insulin and antibiotics. I have some neuropathy in my left hand that I need to get used to, and diabetic diets are a pain, but as of now I'm doing much better. My foot no longer hurts, and I can walk without much issue.
I'm not out of the woods yet. At last count, I had lost 20 pounds, 10 of during that last week before I was hospitalized. That sounds good when you're a 320 pound blob, but losing that much weight that fast means that my body wasn't just attacking the fat, but the muscle. It's not a good thing. I still have some residual kidney disease, and while my foot is much better it still is far from being fully healed. I may never regain the full feeling in my pinky and ring finger, and I'm still very tired and sluggish. I'm taking steps though to insure this doesn't happen again, and that includes a new diet, strict adherance to my insulin regimen and keeping an eye on that wound. I probably won't be writing much of anything until I get used to typing with the neuropathy, but I do plan to draw some while I'm recovering.
So I guess this means my hiatus has been extended. I hope what few readers I have maintain the patience to wait for the next chapter, but honestly I don't have many active followers anymore anyway. Until then, take care.
In other news, I will finally be getting a desk this week. I spent 106 dollars on the Atlantic Gaming Desk, which is certainly smaller than my previous desk but should keep me more organized. It's also not solely supported by a single crappy particle board modesty panel, so it should be fairly sturdy in comparison. There's no keyboard tray, but I didn't have one before, and I definitely won't be using the monitor shelf (they just don't work well with TN panels). But the other features are all very nice, and it's still a 40 inch wide desk, which was the minimum I was looking for. Not sure though if the speaker holders will work for my Gigaworks T40's, they may be a tad too small to hold them. We'll see when it gets here later this week.
Edit: I still don't have a desk, but I'm back! We managed to find a spot to temporarily put my rig. I'm glad too, because not being able to write was driving me nuts. I still won't be able to draw on my Intuos (not enough room) and the printer isn't hooked up so I can't scan any new drawings (same reason), but at least I'll be able to put up chapters.
In the meantime, we did get Smokey a friend to play with. He's a spunky little seven month old moggie named Avery. Avery's a bit shy around people, but has fallen head over heels for my mom. He's learning tricks by imitating Smokey (who meanwhile is rather hesitant of this new 5-pound bundle of chaos) and has learned to come when my mom calls him. He does have a nervous hiss, but isn't aggressive--he definitely runs when startled though. My big lumbering body scares the hell out of him when I'm moving around, but when I'm asleep at night he's been climbing up in bed with me.
I would take some pictures of him, but the day we put Sabbath to sleep our camera disappeared. We suspect that I put it somewhere that day to keep it safe (maintenance was installing new toilets that day, and came by right as we were leaving), but exactly where that "somewhere" is we have no friggin' clue. It's a shame, as it's a 160 dollar camera that I had gotten on sale for a MUCH lower price, and is now discontinued by Canon. It's still available on Newegg though, but I can't really afford the current price.
Those who have watched Shark Week since the 90's may realize that this is not the first time The Submarine has been given the spotlight. It appeared once before in Great White: In Search of Giants, where it was simply a large white shark that was implied to have been "unceremoniously caught in a fishing net." Said documentary did a great job exploring the dangers of overfishing sharks--it was one of shark week's last high points--but it also failed with a major bit of research. Yes, sightings of the Submarine have happened frequently in False Bay. Yes, people have claimed to have hooked it and had it get away. But this is all mass hysteria. The Submarine is not likely real.
Let's set some things straight. Yes, a shark the size of the Sub is possible. There certainly were big great whites in False Bay at the time. But the sheer aggressiveness associated with the Submarine is atypical of a shark of any kind; this part is made suspect by the high popularity of shark hunting at the time the Sub "reigned." The Sub is most likely a hoax; in fact, there is a story that's been floating around about a group of journalists meeting at a local tavern. This group invented a monster shark story as a prank, publishing fake eyewitness accounts to add to its credibility. When the papers hit the stand, phone lines went crazy with sightings. It was during this hysteria that the Submarine was first spotted. This makes it highly likely that this shark's size and aggressiveness was over-exaggerated, and equally likely, if not moreso, that such a shark was entirely the product of public imagination.
And what about megalodon? Yes many people say it exists. It sells stories. But there are a few problems with it being alive. For starters, all fossils (save one that cannot be dated) are about 2 million years old or older. Second, the isn't a consensus that the megalodon is a great white relative. In fact, most paleontologists think it's unrelated, following a separate evolution from the shark Otodus obliquus, going so far as to classify it as Carcharocles megalodon and stated that the great white evolved from the broad toothed "makos." Again, the documentary shown Sunday contradicts an earlier Shark Week documentary--Sharks 3D I believe it was called--where it was flat out stated that megalodon would slimmer and more sand tiger-like than the great white.
So lets recap: there are no giant sharks eating people in South Africa. The documentary was a fraud in a similar vein to Amish Mafia. Megalodon is most certainly extinct. The Submarine is very likely the result of a hoax and the level of aggression it supposedly displayed is not typical of the species. Discovery now seems to be contradicting its genuine documentaries for the sake of shock footage--this doesn't surprise me from a company that calls its product "Shark Porn." Perhaps it is time that Discovery drops all pretenses of being an educational channel. They really don't fit the bill anymore.
There will be a rerelease tomorrow: chapter XXVIII. The only reason it's not tonight is because I don't trust my work when I'm writing this late. It's been entirely rewritten, and no longer follows the same sequence of events as it did before. See you then!
- For each of the first 10 people to comment on this journal, I will put their avatar and the
4deviations I like most from their gallery on the list!
- If you answer, you have to do the same in your journal, putting the tagger on the first place. The idea of this is not to get a free feature, it is to spread art around for everyone!
According to the International Shark Attack file, they're not. Out of the billions of people who entered the ocean in 2012, only eighty were involved in an unprovoked attack. That's not even one-percent! Of course, most of them must have died from their injuries, right?
No, only seven.
Out of billions of ocean bathers and surfers in 2012, only eighty were attacked, and of that number only seven died. The average person would be shocked to learn this, but it has been that way for decades. The fact is that shark attacks are actually impossibly rare, so rare that even being worried about an attack is an act of irrationality in itself. Furthermore, the small fluctuations that slightly increase and decrease the number with each year are tied solely to the number of bathers in the water, not the amount of sharks.
So why does the killer shark myth hold its ground?
Greed. Hollywood and many others know that the killer shark myth means money. The public loves seeing graphic images of giant sharks devouring hapless bathers in bikinis. But just like the myth that schizophrenics are violent (or perhaps, even more undeserved than even that), Hollywood has taken advantage of a very minor amount of notable incidents to boost ticket sales.
This article by Ila France-Porcher is a stunning analyses of the myth itself and how first hand experience is the best way to dispel the hype. People who have dived with sharks are often stunned by how placid the animals are. And why wouldn't they be? Humans are not a common sight in their world, and we just don't fit the dietary needs of these magnificent animals. They are not madly driven to attack anything they see--all sharks have specialized diets, and humans just aren't a part of them.
Instead of showing these animals as intelligent, graceful creatures, Hollywood instead portrays them as ruthless killers. Again, it's fear and ignorance that drives them, leading them to exploit these faults to earn another dollar. Sadly, there are real world consequences for this tragedy, namely the futile attempts by many to protect against these attacks. Shark nets in South Africa have long been used to protect the public against a practically nonexistent threat, and they have destroyed the local shark populations. Furthermore, innocent wildlife--animals that are not even seen as malevolent--continue to be killed as collateral damage, all in a futile effort to satisfy public demand. Public demand that cries for a solution, for a problem that doesn't exist.
I did manage to put out a new chapter the other day. It will probably be rewritten, because I'm uncomfortable with how it turned out.
I also released a new creature--Vespis. I'm considering adding it to the creatures in the cave when I get to that particular page, so check it out.
In other news, after months of my computer working properly, Doom 3 has decided it wants to freeze at the loading screen. I'm having a rather drawn out troubleshooting conversation with Bethesda, and by this point we've tried reinstalling the drivers, disabling background apps, reinstalling Direct-X, Reinstalling the program itself, and disabling UAC (which I had disabled already). I've tried adding the program to my firewall's safe list, running it in administrator, reactivating UAC, running in Compatibility Mode (thanks it it apparently neutering the ability to run in administrative mode), deleting possible corrupted save files, and most of that previous stuff on my own (which made doing them again at Bethesda's suggestion annoying). Still not working. Yeah, I'm beyond annoyed at this point.
Speaking of which, there are prints of my new Dheania pic on sale. Check them out if you'd like.
I don't really remember much about it, except that I was trying to shoot something only for it to dodge to its right and lunge at me. It did so with such speed that I literally thought "oh F***." In my dream, I tried to jump back, and apparently my brain actually told my body to do so, as I "jumped back" right as I was waking up. I don't remember much else about this dream except that whatever this "something" was about to do to me involved slashing, and would lead immediately to a fate worse than death.
Yet in the few minutes I was awake, I mere looked around, trying to process my sudden change in surroundings. I wasn't afraid--confused, but not afraid--and as soon as I realized that I had been dreaming and woke up, I shrugged it off and went back to sleep. It was as if my thoughts and my actions in my dreams were detached, like a gamer who is about to get curb-stomped might react. It was pretty odd.
I've spent most of the morning going over an action scene I'd had in my head for a long time, only now this dream is influencing it. I'm not alone. Lovecraft himself was well known to write stories based on dreams.
And on Thursday, we got ten inches of snow. Everything was closed. Due to a great number of idiots who insisted on driving in this knee-high frozen hell, there was an epidemic of abandoned cars and wrecks. Snow plows had a ton of fun, and in the end most businesses stayed closed that Friday. This was the perfect time for things to get worse, which they did; Ash became very weak. We fed him leftover turkey, but he had to be coaxed into eating it. He was no longer using the litter box, and he kept meowing this very upsetting meow. He managed to sneak out into the snow twice that day, unusual as he doesn't like snow, and getting him back inside was a bit of a chore. We suddenly realized that he may be dying.
On Saturday, his eyesight gave out. He became very quiet and attached to my mom. He was no longer strong enough to walk more than a few feet. When Sunday came, he was even weaker, barely having enough energy to even breathe, and Sunday night I made a panicked call to that same SPCA, who realized how bad the situation was. She gave me the number of a mobile vet, whom I called. The vet suggested he be euthanized, so we reluctantly set an appointment for Monday afternoon. Then I took my night time pills, wrapped Ash in a blanket, and snuggled with him on my bed before falling asleep.
At about thirty minutes to midnight, I woke to a bizarre noise. I must've rolled over on Ash when I heard it, because I could feel his body twitching beneath my side. I watched and noticed that Ash was having a violent seizure; he had emptied his bladder on my bed. Then, the seizure stopped, as did his heart and breathing. He was dead. I spent the next day making preparations with Great Plains to have his body cremated. My old caseworker, who had actually been promoted the week before, dropped everything and took Ash's body there. Until then, we'd been forced to store his body in the freezer, which for my mom is now the source of a new set of nightmares. Great Plains was great--they knew who I was the second I came in, and they decided not to charge me right away for the cremation (30 dollars, which they planned on charging me Friday when we get our disability). I unfortunately don't get to keep any ashes, as it's a communal cremation, but at least he's being laid to rest.
I would expect this update to be the last for a very long time. There are several stories about Ash that I want to write down, so look for those over the next few weeks. I may even do a few stories about my grandfather, who passed away July 16 after suffering a massive stroke ten days earlier. I'm hoping this will help with the grieving process.