To My Friends and Family (And Fans)

Somehow along the way I’ve become that guy who says he’ll call, yet you don’t hear from him for weeks. Or the friend who offers to get together then never shows up.

Only in this case, I say I’ll post more often before I fade away from existence.

I’m not exactly sure why I do this. True, last month was a bit of a cluster as I juggled NaNoWriMo (bombed it), NaBloPoMo (not even close) and releasing The Blood Contract (hey, I did something right!) but that doesn’t give me an excuse for dropping the ball.

For instance, did you know I ran a $.99 sale on Ascension a few weeks back? You might if you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, but why didn’t I make it known here? I honestly have no idea.

The best I can tell, I’ve been in a bit of a rut. Down. Troubled. I hesitate to use the word depressed because I know people who suffer from depression and I don’t want to make light of what they go through by equating my feelings with theirs. But when I read up on what depression is, I have to say, it sounds pretty similar.

At odd random moments, my mind will wander and not come back for a time. Someone will say something perfectly innocent and it’ll completely crush me and I find myself trapped under that weight for the remainder of the day. At times I feel a pressure building in my chest, like a lead weight that makes it impossible for me to function. Worst, in my opinion, is a dulling of my senses. The humor I typically find in pretty much everything is conspicuously absent, and both music and writing have felt like a chore.

Now having said that, I should point out, I’m not like this at all times. In fact, I’ve been feeling especially good these past few days, a sort of appreciation for all the calm after the storm. But I have no reassurances the darker days won’t come back.

I’ve tried thinking my way through them, approaching the issues logically. I was determined that if I could only puzzle out this discordance, I could somehow fix it. As my therapist pointed out (yes, I opted for a second opinion) this need to solve the issue is a big part of my problem. I tend to fixate on an issue until I can solve it. And this particular problem has no easy solution. No logical outcome.

Without going into great and boring detail, I miss my daughter. It’s been over a year since she moved away, yet she remains in my heart and on my mind at all times. And there is no easy way for me to see her. I need to accept I’ll play a greatly reduced role in her life from now on but I’ve been unable to get myself to that point.

Still, knowing the solution isn’t something I can come up with on my own has somehow helped. As I said, I’ve actually been in better spirits these past few days. I’ve been told I’m more like myself. I started working on a new song (that wasn’t completely depressing) and I’m feeling pretty good.

So for those of you who know me in person, I apologize in advance if I seem distant or withdrawn. If I’m there yet not present or seem on the verge of tears, I assure you, it’s not something I can help. Though it is something I’m working on.

It has nothing to do with you, or really anyone. We all have our issues we’re contending with. I’m just letting mine get the better of me lately.

Thank you for your understanding.

S.L. Madden

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Day Four: Temptation

173.2 lbs

Hopefully no one thought my lack of a day three meant I was passed out from food deprivation. In truth, I’ve been able to maintain the feeling of being full more easily than I typically do. Perhaps it’s because I’m not counting calories and carefully rationing out my meals. Instead, I eat my fill whenever hunger strikes.

What I have found strange is how quickly hunger pangs set in. I’ll go from feeling sated to ravenous in a relatively quick period of time. That being said, I don’t have a hard time becoming full again.

I’ve also been surprised at what’s been my greatest temptation so far. It’s not the bacon and ham enhanced hamburger my co-worker heated up, filling our small work environment with its tantalizing smells. It’s also not the pineapple upside down cake a different co-worker brought in.

No, my biggest temptation so far has been a bag of Spicy Nacho Doritos.

I swear I could smell them from across the room, begging me to eat just one (and knowing I wouldn’t be able to stop there). It didn’t help that my co-workers crunched on them throughout the day, assaulting my aural senses even when I was able to disengage my olfactory ones.

The crazy thing is, I rarely eat Doritos. I mean, I have nothing against them flavor-wise (and in that regard, Spicy Nacho was one of my favorites), but it wasn’t a snack I reached for all that often.

The mind is a curious thing. Especially when we deny it something we’ve been taught to crave.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

Day Two: The Raw Diet

174.8 lbs.

Yes, I lost a total of .2 pounds yesterday.

Now that might not seem like much (or none at all), but I’m excited. After depriving my body of carbs for so long (then slowly slipping the last few weeks), I thought my first week or so of savaging vegetation and fruits alike would wreak havoc with my body. I fully expected to pack on a few before I lost any. The fact I went down even such a miniscule amount fills me with hope.

I noticed I finished the day yesterday with a lot of snacks left over. Typically, I tear through whatever I bring with me, and end up ravenous by the time I get home. Not so yesterday. It remains to be seen whether this is all mental (as in, I was afraid of being hungry, so I was more conservative with my snacking) or if I truly do feel more full on this diet.

I’ve also discovered I’m afraid of blenders. I’m not sure why. Thinking back, I suppose I’ve never really used one (if I have, I can’t recall). It’s not that I’m afraid I’ll lose a finger or anything. I happen to have a knack for destroying all things I come into contact with. See: the failure of my PS3 drive, the untimely death of my TV (just a few nights ago *sob*), every gas-powered lawn mower I’ve used….

In any event, my wife has a fancy blender I’m afraid my rusty thumb will systematically destroy. Hopefully a few turns at the helm (with supervision, of course) will give me the confidence to try a solo mission. Otherwise, I’m going to be missing out on a lot of delicious smoothies.

After that, it’s onto the juicer….

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden

A Fresh Start

Today marks the opening of a new chapter in the book of my life (gotta tie this into writing somehow, right?). Over the past several months, I’ve put an emphasis on losing weight and generally trying to better my health. Since hitting my record high weight last November, I’ve managed to lose 30 lbs. I achieved this through following a fairly strict low carb diet, and supplementing it with exercise (though not as much as I should have).

While I was happy with the overall results (I forgot what it was like to have clothes that fit!), I have to say the low carb lifestyle didn’t make me feel good. As much as I loved eating fats and losing weight (I was on the ketogenic diet), I never felt all that healthy.

Well, starting today, I’m doing a complete and total 180.

I’m going on a raw vegan diet. That means no meats. Nothing cooked. Salads, juices, smoothies, some nuts… this will be my life for the foreseeable future. I chose to do this first to support my wife in her efforts, as she’s had resounding success in the past following this diet. But as I looked into it more, I realized this was something I also wanted to do for myself. I have long stated I could eat a salad every day and not grow tired of it. Now I will put that to the test.

So goodbye burgers! I’ll miss you. Adios dairy. Let’s face it, we never really got along. Farewell bacon… hold on. I need a moment….

I know this particular diet may seem extreme (and perhaps even dangerous) to some people, but I’m committed to it. Hopefully the scorn and pity of others will help to sustain me during this time. And for those of you who have undergone this journey, I’m open to suggestions on how to make the transition easier.

I’ll continue to use this space to talk about my writing endeavors, but I’ll also use it to update my progress with this diet.

Starting now:

Day One:

175 lbs

Had a bloody nose this morning. Coincidence? Yeah, totally. A co-worker commended me for attempting to do this. Completely not the reaction I thought I would get, especially considering his love of animals (or at least the way they taste). I’ve noticed that despite the fact I have more snacks packed today than I typically do, there’s a little voice in my head telling me I won’t make it through the day, that I’ll be too hungry. Honestly, I don’t think I’d be able to eat it all even if I wanted to. Strange how our minds have a way of sabotaging us sometimes. Now that I think about it, I’m actually less hungry than I typically am around this time. Usually I can’t make it to lunch (1300) and end up eating around 1230. Now I’m halfway through this salad and I think I could’ve waited another hour before eating it.

Hopefully this will last into the afternoon, the period of time I usually get the munchies.

Thanks for reading,

S.L. Madden