August 2020 in Retrospect

Hard to believe September’s just around the corner. This past month has had a massive heatwave and water shortages in my province, followed by not exactly a cold snap, but the mornings are chilly enough that some of the vegetables in my little garden are taking exception to it. Yay, Canada.

Anyway, last month was Manga Month here, and my goal was to read and review 2-3 titles a week. How did I do with that?

Eh, not so great. For reasons I will get into later.

But, I did get some things accomplished, so there’s that!

Reviews

The Fox and the Little Tanuki, vol 2, by Tagawa Mi
There Are Things I Can’t Tell You, by Mofumofu Edako
A Gentle Noble’s Vacation Recommendation, by Momochi, Sando, & Misaki
Blue Flag, vol 1, by KAITO
Venus in the Blind Spot, by Junji Ito
Fangs, by Sarah Andersen

I know that last one isn’t a manga, but I read it this past month and wanted to say a little about it, so I threw it in anyway. It’s still a story in graphic form, so I’m declaring that it kinda sorta counts a little.

Upcoming in September

And that brings us to what went wrong with Manga Month. I’ve mentioned before that I’m going through some unpredictable health crap lately, and honestly, it’s not done with me. Life is… day-to-day. Some days my pain levels are manageable, I get a decent amount of sleep even if it’s not at normal times, and I can do things. I think I can keep doing things. Then comes the inevitable day when my pain levels are higher or I hit a fatigue flare and everything goes to hell, and my time becomes all about managing. Just… managing, until things improve.

On those days, which are honestly about 50% of the time now, I’m pretty much useless. It has taken me over a week to read some books, because I just don’t have the energy to concentrate to read more than a few pages at a time. I can’t manage to play video games, even ones I’ve already played before and know well. When things get bad, I might not be unable to get out of bed, but I’m not good for much beyond idly staring at the TV, because anything more complicated than that takes brain power that I just don’t have.

Which made it really difficult to read 2-3 volumes of manga a week. And write reviews. It was just too much for me.

I’ve had to made some very difficult decisions these past few months. You see, every month I think, “Okay, I’ll take it easy this month, put a few things on hold, and with some extra rest, I’m sure I’ll be able to handle things normally again next month.” Only, I’ve been doing that since June. And slowly I’ve dropped more and more projects, more and more of my passions, things I really enjoy doing and sharing with other people, because I just can’t handle them with any degree of regularity or confidence anymore.

I strive for a review a week here. I don’t know if I can manage that at the moment.

So, here’s the tough decision: I’m not going to try.

I’m not dropping writing reviews entirely. I’m just not going to stress if I can’t manage 4-5 reviews a month. Not now, not when I’ve got other stuff going on like this. If I can do that, great. If not, no big deal, I’m not going to stress over it and add to my worries. As it is, it’s already difficult to have to admit to myself that even reading books, something that used to be a huge refuge for me, is on occasion becoming too much to handle. That I can’t handle doing even half as much as I could 5 years ago. Whatever’s going on with me right now, it’s taking a lot from me, and trying to not be upset by that is impossible, so I’ll settle instead for just trying to not feel guilty that I’m not able to provide the amount of content I usually do.

Which, let’s face it, is still only a patch on what most review bloggers do these days anyway.

So this “do what I can” plan is in effect going forward, for an indefinite period of time, until I meet with a doctor and figure out what’s wrong with me and get some sort of treatment or management plan going. I want my life to become more than just, “days when I’m barely managing, days when I’m recovering from bad days, and a few actually good days in between.” I want answers, I want a plan, but in the meantime, life really is just trying to cope as best I can, and trying to not be too hard on myself when I struggle.

So, I appreciate everyone’s patience. Fingers crossed that when I meet with a rheumatologist (who even knows when that will be, but I expect I still have some months to wait before I hear anything), they’ll be all, “Aha, I know exactly what’s wrong!” and it’s something that can be managed relatively simply with a couple of daily pills or something. I want to come out of this debacle similarly to how I did when I found out I was incapable of absorbing vitamin B12. It’s a serious condition that could disable or even kill me if left untreated, but treatment is nothing more than an injection of liquid B12 every week. That’s it. Very serious, but also very treatable. That’s kind of what I’m hoping for with this, too.

In the meantime, I hope you all find so many good books to read and to recommend to me, so I can vicariously live through all of my bibliophile friends!

One comment on “August 2020 in Retrospect

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