I Think There's Maybe, Possibly, Something Wrong with Me...
Matthew Berner is a staff writer with The Ogee Times. He has written some really great articles and comic reviews. Matthew had to handle some person situations in his life and took a bit of a leave. He has outlined his situations is an open letter to you, the readers. I am glad Matthew is back to writing for us and hope to see some of his best work yet! The Ogee Times is committed to a no censor policy, meaning that, writers are free to speak their mind on whatever topic they chose. This is one of those topics. - Ryan Weiss, Editor-in-Chief
So… I've been away for a bit. It began in August of 2017, this feeling of emptiness, this feeling that I couldn't do IT. Whatever IT was. I kept making excuses: work is ramping up, I'm not sleeping enough, I'm having a creative block. I'll get through it. I stopped going to cons. I'll get through it. I stopped reviewing comics. I'll get through it. I stopped writing all together. I'll get through it. I stopped seeing my friends. I'll get through it. I started playing more video games and working out more. I'll get through it. I became angry at my family. I'll get through it.
But I didn't.
I failed. I did what I promised myself I would never do, and stopped caring. So what if I don't go to cons, I'll save money. Who cares if I'm not writing, people didn't read anyway. My friends would have contacted me if they wanted me around. Excuses. Excuses. Ex-FUCKING-cuses!
I pride myself on my effort, I'm not a natural talent at anything, but damn do I work hard to make up for it. It's probably the only thing I would call myself an expert at, I'm a master of effort. And I gave up my one skill. I let go of it and coasted on built up good will and pitty. My life suffered for it. I write for a few sites and I knew a large portion of the people I work with have a high opinion of me, so I abused it. I pretended I had things in the works or almost finished when in reality I had barely started. Tonight, tomorrow, this weekend, I just need more time. It's not me, it's the topic, it's my inexperience, this is your fault for thinking I could do this! It's your fault for trusting me.
The emptiness evolved, it became bitterness. That's when my real job saw the effects. I know! I have a REAL job, writing reviews on comics and cosplay doesn't pay the bills. I was shocked when I found out too! I became more aggressive towards my colleagues and clients. I hid myself from those who would judge my work while in turn judged the company for theirs. I could do more if they gave me more to work with. They didn't spend 50 hours a week here like I did they didn't know what they were talking about. Didn't I deserve a little GODDAMN respect for being self taught? I again blamed everyone but myself.
With the bitterness came a weird hunger, a restless feeling that only went away when I ate. I gained weight, which increased the feeling, which made me gain more weight. I punished myself with hours in the gym, normally a place where I found comfort. The only solitude in a pair of headphones and the cold knowledge that only I saw my belly grow under my once loose fitting clothing. My confidence fell and I took it out on everyone.
That's when the anger and hatred really took over. I hated my family for not giving a shit. I hated the world for existing. But mostly I hated myself for allowing myself to believe that bullshit. I hated myself for being so damn weak that I was blaming others for my failures. There were just two things I didn't hate. Two beings that held on so fucking tight even when I wanted to let go and stopped me from falling into an abyss I'm afraid I would have never escaped from. My amazing girlfriend and her big, silly, German Shepherd. They can never even know just how far back from the brink they pulled me, one because she's a dog and the other because I tried to hide my problems from her. I wasn't putting on a brave face or trying to save her from my pain, I was too cowardly to open myself up to her. Too scared to admit that I couldn't handle what I was going through on my own.
She knew. Of course she did, my poker face is crap on a good day. Hell, I bet the dog knew something was wrong! She knew, but she never forced the issue. She was always there for me, ready to comfort and console me when I was at my lowest. She was patient and kind and when I did lash out she didn't pull away or hold it against me. She made sure I always knew that no matter what, I was loved. That, plus there's nothing like big, wet, puppy licks to cheer you up.
I'm better now. Or, I don't know, maybe not better but at least I'm me again. I just woke up one day and felt lighter. I didn't do anything. I didn't take meds or change my life or diet. I didn't find God, I just woke up happy again. This might have been a one time thing, this might happen again a year from now, I won't know until I know. The only certainty I have is the knowledge that I will get through it again. I will have this experience behind me to help prepare me for the possibility of the next one.
And with that, I come to my promise. I promise to never disappear again. I promise to produce fun, insightful, thoughtful content. I promise to make every article worth the time it took to read it. Whenever I was at my lowest, I would ingest ANY content that would help me escape from my own head. I promise to be that content for anyone who is feeling that down, having a bad day, or just wants to know how good the new Batman comic is (it's great why aren't you reading it!).
Thank you for your time and your patience, I'll make it worth your while,
Matthew A Berner