It’s been no secret to anyone who has listened to the show in the past that I have been fighting depression and anxiety for years now.  I was originally diagnosed while I was in the Army back around 2008. I don’t know if I can put my finger on any one thing as the cause of it, or if it was just a combination of things that I saw and experienced. A few things stand out in my head that likely contribute to this, mainly stemming from my deployments overseas. Seven years ago I made a mistake, deciding that I could do this by myself and I no longer needed to take my medication, so I stopped. This was the worst mistake in my life; it cost me a lot. There where a few things that in my head that made this decision seem like it was a good idea, they were all stupid and misguided, a result of being hardheaded. This has been a tough battle for me at times, and there have been points when I feel like throwing in the towel and giving it all up.

Shortly before this I also started Models Workshop, which has had many ups and downs throughout its life. A lot of great ideas dropped because they would come during a manic episode and I would hit the ground running at 110 mph when suddenly a depression would hit because of my anxiety spiking because I was going 110 mph. I know it sounds crazy but this has been what its been like in my life the last 7 years. It’s like living a life on a yo-yo. I am lucky that during this time I had and made some amazing friends, the ones who have been by me during my best and worst time. Sadly during this time I have also ruined some friendships or drove away associates. I was Models Workshop’s worst enemy as I worked against this awesome thing that my friends and I had created.

About 6 months ago, shortly before Adepticon 2018, I made the decision to go back on my anxiety medication. I noticed a difference immediately, I was able to go into the dealer hall with only a few minor episodes of anxiety. Soon I had to up the dosage but this is normal. Things had started getting better with each day, then in May 2018 my world came crashing down around me, my wife of 17 years told me she was filing for divorce, like I said above, the damage had been done. Three days later I ended up breaking my leg which required surgery. At first things seemed OK, but as time went on, and my wife moved out everything came crashing down. I ended up doubling my medicine dosage twice in that period.

This was the time I almost gave up all I worked for. I about ended Models Workshop, the podcast, and thought about just selling all of my miniature and gear and walking away from the hobby that I have loved for 22 years. While suicide never entered my mind, nothing seemed fun, nothing was enjoyable, I felt like I was nothing. I can not put to words what this felt like other than an absolute emptiness, a void in my chest. For the first time in my life I knew what the saying “having your heart ripped out” truly felt like. I knew that things needed to change or I was going to continue to spiral down and I would possibly never get back up.

The first step is always the most difficult, like with anything you do. I started off small, leaving the house, then started dealing with the issues that had to be done. I sat down and figured out the household bills, then I called a friend of mine to see if he wanted to move in to help take care of my pets (he said yes, thanks Remy). Slowly things started getting better. The shattered pieces of my life began to put themselves back together and the glue was my renewing drive. My friends at Models Workshop were the greatest support; they never gave up on me or let me give up on myself. My friends around me encouraged me to live a little at a time, baby steps, until it came more naturally.

So here we are in September, four months after my life fell down around my ears and I have a new respect for the things around me. My ex wife and I are now getting along better than we have in years, the marriage is over but our friendship is strong. The divorce is going along as well as it can, we all agreed on everything which has made the process easy for both of us and the kids. My friend, a fellow modeler and cosplayer, Remy has moved in with me with some big, but attainable goals. I have a friend who has said she wants to learn about what I do in more detail so I now have an actual apprentice at the workshop.

Why am I sharing this? First for the people who always wondered what the hell was going on with me. I have always been a blunt, honest person but at times in the past few years I was more than just an asshole and took things way more personal than I should have and was overly critical of things. Second is for the people who might be going through this too, there is hope, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, you just have to find and take that first step and then don’t stop. Find the people in your life that make you want to live your life to the fullest. Third for the people who maybe fighting their personal demons and don’t know what’s going on. Go talk to a professional and get help. Taking medicine does not make you a weak person, it means you are strong and know you need help. Some of the strongest men and women I know are one medication to help with their problems.

What are the plans for the future? Obtainable goals for the site is key.

  • Get the podcast up and running again.
  • Work on rewriting the articles that are already on the website and get them updated and ready to be put back on the site.
  • Find a better site format or pay someone to do one.
  • Start writing articles and blogs again.
  • Rework the studio and move it upstairs.
  • Work on some secret projects!

In the past month we have actually been moving towards these goals already, I have bought a new laptop to make working on the road easier, and it’s powerful enough to edit audio and video. I drew up the plans for a new workshop that is going to be installed in my sitting room as well as plans for a videos “news” area. I ordered a new soundboard that will allow for easier live broadcasting as well as enabling for users to call in to us while we are on-air. We will also be able to do multiparty Twitch Streams too. Lastly I have purchased a 3d printer do begin doing work on it. Everyday is a step in the right direction, actively seeking out things that are fun and slowly getting back to work on all the projects that I am sadly behind on.

To wrap this up I just want to thank those who have helped me. First off Kara, my soon to be ex-wife, for talking me into going back on my medication and keeping up with it and making sure I was OK after I broke my leg, she is my best friend. My kids for putting up with me and still being loving. The entire Models Workshop crew for putting up with me, especially Yeji who was typically my buffer when I would get upset. Lyn and Tim who were other people I would often vent to about things and bounce things off of to see if I was overreacting. Joe for listening and putting up with me. Remy for moving in when I needed him the most. My sis Jessica for being there for me since I was 12. Everett and Tara for giving me a place to crash and an ear to talk at.

Three people I need to apologize to. First off there is Mark the Shark. I was mean to you when I didn’t need to be. I agree sometimes Larry Honesty is too much for the situation at hand. Second of all Mocha, you were a part of us and I treated you badly. You’re an amazing person and painter, I was lucky for our times together. Lastly, Shoshie, yes you upset me, but I took it way too far and let it dwell way too long. I should have come to you with my problem and talked it out with you like the adult I am, but instead I let my anxiety run me and ruined what should have been an amazing friendship. To the three of you I am sorry from the bottom of my heart. To those who I pissed off and you blocked me or I blocked you and I didn’t mention in this post, you deserved what you got and my anxiety had nothing to do with me going off on you.

In our community many of us suffer from anxiety or depression in one form or another. The one thing I hope for anyone who reads this is that there is always hope, even when it does not look like it. The hardest part is realizing what you need to do to take that first step to getting better. Some of you can cope and deal with only your personal support system of friends and that is amazing. If you can’t though, do not be afraid of seeking professional help, there is nothing wrong with this and in no way does it make you a weak or broken person. You simply need a bit more help. The big thing is opening up and letting them know there is a problem and you need help. The biggest thing is, you’re not alone.