The Thing About Saving A Life
I just sent out a massive (belated) thank you email to everyone who donated for Sophie's fundraiser (dear GOD I hope I didn't miss anyone). There's a thing I was thinking about that I didn't mention in the letter because a good half of those people have no idea who I am and I didn't want to get too personal. My blog, though? My blog's good for that.
Here is the thing I want people to know. When readers purchasing my books is a promise that my bunny can have surgery without us starving that month, when people drop $3 or $10 or $50+ in the pot to help with Sophie's medical needs, that isn't just saving the life of one of my pets.
It's saving mine.
I don't hide that I'm unmedicated for bipolar disorder. I also don't hide that sometimes things go really, really badly for me. Feeling like you're in a black hole half of the time, sinking deeper and deeper, unable to get out, is not easy to explain to people when you look "fine". It's not easy for people without mood disorders to understand that a large percentage of people with this disorder commit suicide, meaning there are types of cancers with a higher survival rate. It can be like trying to swim with weight pushing on your shoulders so hard, it would be easier not to bother keeping your head above water.
When all the tips and tricks and resources I've stacked up--cognitive behavior therapy, regular exercise, etc--aren't working, there is exactly one thing that gets me out of bed and keeps me going.
Well, not one. Eight.
I get out of bed and get dressed because Sophie needs me to take her out; I cling to that routine because it's all stopping me from spiraling out of control. I make myself presentable and go to the store because the bunny needs food (literally, if she has an empty stomach, it will cause her serious harm). I feed the cats because if I don't, they WILL eat me and even when depressed, that seems like a particularly horrible way to go.
(Six pairs of feline eyes on you in the morning. Go ahead, picture it. It's akin to Children of the Damned.)
If you have pets, you know this. People are great--there are many people I love--but I don't know if it's possible to have the same constant love and devotion as a human that an animal does. They don't judge, they love unconditionally. They're pure, constant devotion, and if I believed in a deity, I'd say the love of a pet is a glimpse of the love of God.
Every day, they save me. Keeping pets is a promise to myself that I will always be there to look after them--I will put in a bazillion hours of work so that they're up to date on their shots, healthy and happy, fed, walked, watered, loved. I don't have time to wallow and I can't let my life spiral because they need me. And if you've ever cared for something or someone whose been abandoned, neglected, or has suffered, you know how that seems to help fix something in you too.
So those of you who buy my books, those of you who contributed for Sophie, those of you who spread the word: you not only save the furbabies, but save me.