Fundraiser Update!

I haven’t promoted  this endeavour much since the launch here on my own blog, so today, I’m going to talk a bit about how things are going for my Warmachine for Mental Health fundraiser.

As of today, I’m at $445 total of my goal of $500, which is really fantastic. I’m really happy with  how well the campaign has gone on that front. I’ve also had some great support from the community, including donations of models to the cause, custom bases, assistance with painting and all sorts of other help, which has been amazing.

With all of that said, I’m not at my goal yet, so it would be really great to hit the $500. So if you have been thinking about donating and haven’t yet, please do so. Also, share this project far and wide, please!

Related to the actual assembly and painting of the army, there has been a little progress there. I’ve been working on a test model and conferring with those who are helping me out to get ideas and finalize the color scheme. With any luck, I’ll have that finalized by month-end.

So once again, thanks for everyone’s support so far on the project. I’ll be keeping the fundraiser open for about another month, in a hope to push things up and over my goal.

Painting Vayl, Disciple of Everblight – Part 1

Not sure how regular this sort of post might be, but I thought it might be cool to document my step-by-step on how progress was made on a particular model, or just to give some of my readers who aren’t in this particular hobby an opportunity to see how things go from start to finish.

From a time standpoint, total elapsed for what I’m showing on this post is about 4 hours.

The model I’m going to be working through is Vayl, Disciple of Everblight. After the accident, I decided to strip the paint from this model and start again, since I had a new idea for how I wanted to paint her up. Once she was cleaned off, I applied a coat of Vallejo Grey Primer. The primer makes sure the rest of the paint has a good surface to bind to and is a very important step in miniature painting. So, I’m starting with the miniature like this.

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The next step, I prepared some P3 Beaten Purple to paint the cloak. This is kind of backwards from most ‘best practices’ for painting, which usually recommends painting from the inside out. I’m not so good at following those rules. You’ll note that it looks thin in some areas and there’s some missed spots here and there. Typically you’ll have to put a few coats down to get things even and the like, which you’ll see later on.
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Next, I prepared Citadel Hawk Turquoise to apply to the lower half of the dress. The color covered a little better than the purple, as you can see, but that’s mostly because I didn’t quite thin it enough, I think. Or it just covers better. Either way, I applied this to the model.

 

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Next, I took P3 Thamar Black and applied it to the top fifth or so of the dress and up the neck of the model. I’m not too concerned about getting the exact transition clean right now.IMG_20160325_213310

I thought about the desired look and decided the ‘armor’ plating should also be turquoise. I applied the color to the areas I hadn’t painted before.IMG_20160325_214846

From the desired look, I needed to do a cyan color on the hands, to simulate gloves. I didn’t have quite the color I wanted in my arsenal, so I mixed 50-50 Citadel Ultramarine Blue and Hawk Turquoise, then applied it to the hands. I also decided I wanted to put this color on the hanging cloth (that was previously purple).
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After the cyan was dry, I wasn’t happy with the color. I took the pure Ultramarines Blue and applied a highlight on the edges to try and see if that would help make the color differentiate from the main body color. It wasn’t quite enough, so I took an even higher highlight with Ice Blue. Then I was starting to feel better about the result, so I left it.

Much like the plates on the inner part of the dress, I decided that the armor plates on the shoulders should be the same color as the cloak. I applied the Beaten Purple to these areas and did another coat on the rest of the cloak.. I then prepared Geanstealer Purple and applied that to the feathers on the edge and back of the dress.

I applied P3 Rhyn Flesh to her face. The top of her head, I applied Citadel Screaming Skull, to get a white-blonde color.
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Next, I applied P3 Rucksack Tan to the crown where I wanted it to be gold, to build up a color slightly. I also applied the screaming skull inside the rear part of the crown, to make it look like a weird medieval hair net thing. I swear I saw that sort of thing somewhere before. IMG_20160325_223939

I applied P3 Solid Gold to the crown area. I then applied a Citadel Reiskland Fleshshade to the entire head.
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I apply Citadel Skull White to the eyes. I paint over the most of the face again with the Ryn Flesh, leaving some areas of shadow formed by the wash. I apply P3 Murderous Magenta to the lips. I want to give the appearance of a lavender eyeshadow, so I apply a thin line of Citadel Slaanesh Grey.

I apply a wash of Asurman Blue to the lower dress.IMG_20160325_235431

I use my micron pen to dot pupils. I cheat.

I re-apply the Hawk Turquoise to the raised folds of the dress. I give a small highlight of Citadel Lothern Blue on highest edges.IMG_20160326_001156

And that is basically all there is to what I’ve done so far.

Here’s a photo of her in my lightbox.IMG_20160326_001803

I hope this was enlightening about the process I go through when painting a mini.

Look for part two once I finish up the model!!

Captian Kara Solan vs Saeryn and Rhyas, Talons of Everblight

This game features:

Captain Kara Sloan – WJ: +6 (Brian Sinn)
–    Squire
–    Hunter – PC: 6
–    Hunter – PC: 6
–    Hunter – PC: 6
–    Hunter – PC: 6

Anastasia di Bray – PC: 2
Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator – PC: 1

Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Pistoleers – Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
–    Arcane Tempest Gun Mage Officer – Officer 2
Black 13th Gun Mage Strike Team – Lynch, Ryan & Watts: 4
Rangers – Leader & 5 Grunts: 5
Tempest Blazers – Leader & 4 Grunts: 10

Vs:

Saeryn – WB: +1 (me)
–    Rhyas, Talons of Everblight
–    Zuriel – PC: 10
–    Seraph – PC: 8
–    Scythean – PC: 9
–    Naga Nightlurker – PC: 5

Blighted Nyss Hex Hunters – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
Croak Raiders – Leader & 9 Grunts: 8
Spawning Vessel – Vessel & 6 Grunts: 3

My opponent’s alternate list was Haley3 with two Stormwalls, my alternate list was Thagrosh1 with a Blightbringer. I’m an idiot and I wanted to play a game with the Twins, so I picked them. I probably shouldn’t have. But, you gotta play bad matches sometimes, right?

The game started with the board like this.
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Nothing too special about deployment. Anastasia was going to ambush. I was avoiding getting myself jammed up on the obstruction in the left side, and tried to deploy a little to the right.IMG_20160324_225605

His turn one was pretty typical. Runs/advances. He also put return fire on all of his Hunters.

Starting my turn, I thought about what I wanted to do. I wanted to see if I could get some damage out on stuff in the front line.IMG_20160324_230525

Yea, that plan was dumb. I should have just ran forward to engage. Sure, he would have walked away (Parry on the hunters) but yea. It’s alright. I put Banishing Ward on the Twins, Occultation on the Croaks and just moved up.IMG_20160324_232033

So, Sloan’s feat happened. I done screwed up. I should have put Occultation on the Scythean (or Seraph). Well shit.

Alright, what am I gonna do? I’m down over 30 points on attrition. Let’s try to engineer an assassination here. Sloan is basically base to base with the objective, and isn’t camping anything.IMG_20160324_233351

First, my last croak advances. I target the objective with an oil gourd (it’s out of range), deviates to basically on top of the big obstruction. Oh well – oiling Sloan would have been great. Zuriel advanced. I targeted the Objective, and my spray hit Sloan (boost hit and damage). She’s on fire, takes some damage. Good. Second spray: misses Sloan. Damnit. It’s ok. She’s on fire, and has 10 boxes left. What else can I do here? Hrm. I advance the pot. Spawn a Stinger, advance and spray down the objective. The spray is long enough to get Sloan. Miss. Rat 4, not surprising, but was worth a shot.

Saeryn and Rhyas activate. I decline to advance them (maybe should have, but let’s talk about that later). Saeryn arcs a Blood Rain through Zuriel onto the objective. Boost the POW 6 blast on Sloan, do nothing. But, she’s corroded.  Do some (inconsequential) attacks with my last Hex Hunter and remove a Blazer.
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His turn, corrosion stops on Sloan, but fire doesn’t. I do a few points of fire damage, but no nice dice spike for me. He removes everything but the Stinger and my warcasters from the table. Controls two flags for 2 points. He moved Sloan way back and again, on zero camp.

Alright, what am I going to do? How can I make something happen here? He made a line of base to base models behind his objective that makes getting LOS to Sloan hard.

But, the twins have some tricks.

Here’s the plan. First, I need to eliminate the model with an X through it that is blocking LOS. I will try to spray it with the Stinger. If that doesn’t work, well…we can see what happens. I’ll charge Rhyas forward behind the ranger and try to take out the Hunter that is furthest away. Saeryn needs a legal target, so she charges the Blazer. Assuming the Hunter dies, I can feat, then try to spell assassinate.Plan

My spray didn’t reach the target model, but the Squire was hit by the spray and I was able to remove it from the board. I looked at the angles and I thought everything would be ok. I went for it. I made my Charges. Rhyas removed all the models she needed to. There was a line, so I feated. Swapped the places of the twins. I measured my control and found that I was a about 9.5 inches away from Sloan. I cast Razor Wind, boosted to hit, boosted damage. Didn’t kill. Did it again. Missed. Tried one more – missed. But, Sloan only had 2 boxes left, and she was still on fire.IMG_20160324_235653

I end my turn, he scores two(? – after the fact we discussed if the Twins contest since they are a unit, but it doesn’t matter for the outcome here). Fire roll – it goes out.

Game over, he wins.

Was the matchup bad? Well, his feat turn did get a lot of work done and he did have some pretty good dice. I put Occultation on the wrong model. So I’m not sure if I’d say this matchup is bad, but with this particular scenario, it probably moves into bad territory. He can just sit back and shoot me as I approach to try and get scenario points, while his models flank to put pressure on my flags. Had I played Thagrosh, I probably would have a better matchup.

But, I wanted to give the Twins a try (my first go with them) and as I said in the opening, you gotta play weird matchups sometimes. I think after his feat, I did everything right. I put as much assassination pressure on him as I felt I could. In hindsight, maybe I should have put Occultation on the Twins and advanced them some after his feat.

Overall, I’m happy with how I played the game. I gave myself an opportunity to win the game. A a different roll here or there would have put me in a win.

What do you think of the matchup? What would you have done differently?

Edit: Brian posted his own battle report on this game on his YouTube channel: Sloan vs Twins

Vayl, Disciple of Everblight vs Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight

This week I had the opportunity to go out to play a couple games of Warmachine. In an effort to analyze my play a little more in-depth, I’m going to try to write battle reports for my games moving forward.

This game features:

Vayl, Disciple of Everblight – WB: +6 (Ryan L)
–    Ravagore – PC: 10
–    Scythean – PC: 9
–    Seraph – PC: 8
–    Typhon – PC: 12
–    Shredder – PC: 2

Blighted Nyss Shepherd – PC: 1
Spell Martyrs – PC: 1
Spell Martyrs – PC: 1
The Forsaken – PC: 2

Strider Rangers – Leader & 5 Grunts: 6
–    Strider Rangers Officer & Musician – Blighted Nyss Strider Officer & Musician 3
Swamp Gobbers Bellows Crew – Leader & 1 Grunt: 1

vs.

Thagrosh, Prophet of Everblight – WB: +5
–    Blightbringer – PC: 18
–    Ravagore – PC: 10
–    Shredder – PC: 2

Warmonger War Chief – PC: 0
The Forsaken – PC: 2

Blighted Ogrun Warspears – Leader & 4 Grunts: 8
–    Warspear Chieftan – PC: 2
Blighted Ogrun Warspears – Leader & 4 Grunts: 8
–    Warspear Chieftan – PC: 2
Spawning Vessel – Vessel & 6 Grunts: 3

THEME: Army of Annihilation – Tier 3

My opponent’s alternate list was Vayl2 and my alternate list was Twins. I wasn’t sure which list he was going to go with, but I was most comfortable playing my Thagrosh list into the mirror match, so I really didn’t have any thoughts about playing the Twins into the matchup.

At the start of Turn 1, here is how the board looked.

Top of One

He deployed his beasts centrally, and I deployed my force to threaten the right zone. For the unit of Warspears on the left, I selected Typhon as their prey, the unit on the right put prey on the Scythean. He won the die roll to go first, so he advanced.

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He didn’t do anything too unexpected here. He ran the Striders forward, then Vayl movement shenanigans with his beasts. When planning my turn, thought a few things. One, I should have put prey on the Striders. Since I didn’t, I needed to make their life difficult. The unit attachment and musician were the center two models, so I made a plan to get rid of them to force my opponent to have a bunch of the unit out of formation.
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Here’s what the table looked like after my turn. I had forgotten about stealth on the Striders, so I had tried to advance the warspears and have them throw some spears. My opponent also had forgotten Stealth, so I had a couple shots in range, but nothing hit, so no net harm. I used my Ravagore to take out the UA for the Striders, then I used the Blightbringer take a shot at the Scythean to soften it up (I rolled around 10 damage), and the blast damage took the Musician out. The Striders on the left were not out of formation, so my goal for the turn was achieved. For my breath effect on the Blightbringer, I selected Spiritual Corruption. I thought this might stop Vayl from hiding out in the trench. Not sure if that was really the right call or not, but the other effects wouldn’t have helped out much here anyway. I ran my Warmonger Solo to engage one of the Rangers and force a terror check. They passed. Damn.

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So on his turn, he got a bit of work done that I didn’t expect. The Striders took out one of my Warspears on the right. Not a huge deal, just unexpected. The Striders that were out of formation just ran to engage my other unit and the Warmonger. I derped and forgot to make my opponent take a Terror test before the attack I mentioned above was resolved, but when he did after the attack, they failed – and were fleeing. This ended up being a pretty good thing for me.

As someone that has played a fair bit of Vayl1, you’d think I would have remembered Rampager. NOPE. He tagged my Ravagore with the spell martyr, and advanced him up, and wagged his butt at the rest of his army (the empty ring is where I ended up). Well crap. However, he didn’t put up the Scythean’s animus up, so I have a potential feat target now.

Alright, what am I going to do on my turn? His Scythean is hanging out there. I should deal with it. Since the Striders are fleeing, can move my warspears to take some shots at it, I think. Warmonger can help. It took a big hit from the Blightbringer before, so, Let’s see what we can do.
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Alright, my warspears couldn’t move as far as I thought, so I couldn’t get around the forest to get a shot on the Scythean. Warmonger did some work, but he was still alive. I needed him dead. I sent in the Blightbringer. Killed some other stuff and spawned a harrier to deal with a Strider, and just setup to hopefully get some work done on Typhon next turn with the left Warspears.

I also made the choice to feat this turn. I’m not sure if it was necessary. I was just nervous about forgetting it I think. In hindsight, I should have waited, I think.
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Vayl’s turn to feat. He advanced his guns to range to soften up my Blightbringer (aside: he rolled 4 shots for the Seraph’s strafe ALL GAME) and clear a line for Typhon to charge in. It’s hard to see in the photo, but the Warmonger solo is just blocking the charge lane. He easily removed the solo and he sent Typhon in to finish off the Blightbringer. I had hoped he would have gone after the Warspears, but obviously, I made a tactical error here and this is why I second guessed my feat. I was worried for a bit, but after his feat moves, he left Typhon in range of the Warspears. I was going to be ok. I’m not sure if moving Typhon towards the right zone would have been better, but it seems like maybe it would have been.

My plan this turn – remove Typhon and his objective.
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So – I did make an error here. I assumed that controlling the left zone was worth a point, so I made sure to get all of the pot unit into the zone. Totally can’t score by controlling. Should have started to move the pot towards the right. Oh well.

Warspears on the right took out the objective and cleaned up the last of the fleeing Striders. Warspears on the left took out the Spell Martyr and Typhon with attacks to spare. My Ravagore tagged his Ravagore, doing a significant amount of damage to column 5, which meant his Spirit was taken out. I was feeling pretty good about my Feat with that.
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I think he was feeling some pressure here. He advanced his Forsaken and blight bombed. It did a good amount of damage to the Harrier (no aspects out though) but only did trivial damage to my Warspears. I think he might have been better served charging and buying/boosting on the Warspears. He charged his Ravagore in on mine, and didn’t get much work done (missing 6s like a boss), but it had me a little concerned.

In writing this post, I realize I forgot Death Shroud. Next time…I hope.

Plan for my turn: get rid of his remaining beasts, Dominate the right zone. I needed to deal with that Forsaken to free up the warspears. Harrier can do that. I moved the Harrier, used it’s animus and took the Forsaken out easily. Warspears assaulted the Seraph, removing it. My Ravagore was able to take his out (thankfully, I could roll 6s). Shredder took out the Shepard. I advanced the Forsaken to see if I had range on a Blightbomb. I didn’t think I had it, so I chose to wait. I dominated, taking a 3-0 lead, leaving him with only Vayl left on the table.

I forgot to take a photo of the end of my turn. His turn, he knew things were basically over, but he did throw a last-ditch effort out. Since Thagrosh was fully camping, he threw Malice at me twice, boosting damage, then a final time, not boosting damage. His damage rolls weren’t enough to put any warbeasts down, but it was a good idea, given the situation. He ended his turn, I dominated on his turn, ending the game 5-0.
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I really enjoyed this game. It was my first one with Thagrosh1 and he’s got some interesting things going on. Warspears are just gross with him and prey, add the Blightbringer to that and they just get disgusting.

My opponent did make an error in not RFPing my Ravagore, just as a matter of denial of that option to me. I’m still not sure if I made the right call on Feating when I did, but I think given the gamestate and the like, it didn’t really matter in the end for this matchup.

Overall, I felt that I made mostly good choices through the game. The forcing the Strider unit to be out of command early was good, and I had the plan to force terror/abomb checks on them while they were only CMD8, which took them out of the game and made them entirely ineffective. With that said, they could have been a problem if they didn’t fail the check. So, in the future, I will be sure to consider putting prey on a unit like them in the future to prevent getting jammed up.

Thanks for reading. If you have any comments about the game, the matchup, please leave a comment!

Charity and Warmachine

Yesterday, I wrote a post about how life threw me a bit of a curveball that really challenged my mental state, and alluded to a new project that I am working on organizing.

The project isn’t ready to be unveiled yet, but I did need to recognize another member of the Warmachine community, known as Paul E Wog on Facebook.

Paul heard about the accident with my army and he reached out to Roy at Thunderground and organized to leave me a gift to assist in repairing the damage.

Paul’s generosity was the catalyst that lead me to want to do something greater for the community.

Disaster turns positive

A few weeks back, I was all set to attend a local Warmachine Tournament (better known as a Steamroller at Thunderground, to the Warmachine community). I was very excited to get the opportunity to play several games in a day, against opponents I don’t regularly see. I was also very excited because I had a pair of lists that I was reasonably comfortable with how they *SHOULD* operate and how they fit into my personal style of playing.

Round one was a rough match. It was the first time I had played against Bradigus the Stonecarver, which is a pretty rough game all around to begin with…add on top of that, it was being piloted by Josh Richter, one of Canada’s representatives to the World Team Championships for Warmachine, I was frankly, nervous and intimidated. I made some huge mistakes during the game and in the end, I did learn some valuable lessons and Josh was great at telling me what I COULD have done to help my situation. I lost the game by running out of time on my deathclock (though, I only had my warlock left on the table and he had pretty much everything left).

Not a big deal, I lost a game I wasn’t favored in against a world class player. Round 2 was coming up and I’d have the opportunity to redeem myself.

Except the day took a turn for the worst.

While moving my stuff to the table that I’d be playing round 2 in…my army tray fell out of my hand. Or was misbalanced on the table and fell. I don’t really know what happened other than I watched all of my painted models fall from a height of 3 feet or so and crash onto the hard floor of the store.

Panic.

Embarrassment.

Sadness.

Resolve.

These are roughly the emotions I felt in the span of 2 seconds.

I hit the floor and began to gather my broken army. Not really looking too closely at the damage, for, I didn’t REALLY want to know. But my day was DONE. Thankfully, there was an odd number of players at the event, so the player with the bye was able to step into my pairing and the event continued with a (relatively) short disruption. (At this point, I’d be completely rude to not mention Roy’s compassion and desire to help out during my cleanup – he definitely did his best to try and salvage my day!)

Now, after all of this preamble, I’m finally getting to the point, which, may not be clear to anyone but me at this stage, but…well, here it goes.

Painting my Warmachine models has become part of my self-care for helping me to decompress and manage my depression. It’s something that I talk about frequently with my therapist and she agrees that it’s been a very positive thing that I’ve focused energy into.

So. I’m looking at my army, which I’ve painted, an almost…physical representation of my mental health…in shambles on the floor. What do I do? Well, I already said I cleaned up, because I was in the way. I had to get stuff out of the way. Then, I told Roy that my day was done. There was no way, even if I could reassemble everything, that I’d have fun playing the rest of the day. So, without so much as an effort to safely pack my stuff away, I just piled it onto my tray and shoved it in my car.

Then I told myself not to cry. At least…not yet.

Then I did what any normal person would do (ok, no it isn’t). I posted a photo of the carnage to the Legion of Everblight facebook page and to twitter.

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It made me feel better. A bit.

I finished up a few things at the store, namely the important acts of thanking Roy for hosting and making a purchase at the store (because I can’t attend a tournament at a store without making a purchase), and telling some friends good luck.

Then I sat in my car for a while and cried over my dolls, and made some self-deprecating posts on social media. I then went about the rest of my day and found some other activities to partake in and leave the incident behind me. I also thank all the folk that took the time to message me after the fact to check up on me, those messages were really appreciated!

Now, a week and a half later, while writing this, I can see how while, yes, the destruction of my army was a rather significant event and could have easily been a trigger for some incredibly negative thought processes – I was able to use some of the other tools in my mental health toolkit to prevent that from being the case. I’m proud to say that.

Thinking about all of this has me wanting to embark on a new project. I have a bit of legwork to do before I can give all the details, but the end goal is to organize a charity fundraiser to take place during the Blood and Gears Masters event in October, supporting an Edmonton Mental Health organization.

I hope to share more details of this as I am able to sort out details.

Your choices aren’t mental illness

ATTENTION GAMERS: We all love to collect things related to different games or whatnot because it’s something we like to do.

Maybe, if you’re a miniature builder, you like to pin your joints.

For the love of all things.

STOP SAYING YOU HAVE OCD.

You don’t. Having OCD is pretty fucking awful. Let’s not trivialize those that actually have severe problems by calling our desires a mental illness.

Making it official

My first tagged post about depression was from February 27, 2012 – so roughly two and a half years ago. During that time, I didn’t blog about it much here, but I did post regularly on RPGGeek. That blog, entitled The Journey, was a place I carved out for myself to talk about my mental illness. It was a safe place – and as time went on, I expanded where I discussed my struggles and my beliefs to encompass my social media presence.

As I mentioned in my last post, I (want to) see myself as an advocate for those that suffer from mental illness. Part of what I’m doing to make this a reality is to volunteer with Partners for Mental Health. I became aware of Partners earlier this year during the Bell Let’s Talk campaign. I looked into the organization, and I felt it was one that I could get behind. When I became aware of the Not Myself Today campaign, I KNEW they were.

As a Community Correspondent, I will primarily continue what I’ve been doing – promoting mental health in my online communities, but I will also be promoting the campaigns put on by Partners, identify other mental health news items for both Partners and my community to be aware of, and other items of that nature.

I’m very excited to be a part of this organization. I’m looking forward to engaging with some new people to talk about mental health. For those of you that haven’t already, I encourage you to take the pledge to support mental health – sign your name to the pledge sheet at Partners for Mental Health. Take that step with me!

Letting it go: Why Frozen continues to resonate

When I first saw Frozen, I really enjoyed it. It immediately became one of my favorite Disney features after a single viewing.

Now, several months later, countless times through the soundtrack, a few rewatches, and other reading on the movie, I’m finally starting to understand what might be sticking with me.

Elsa’s life (sort of) mirrors my own struggles with mental illness.

In her early life, Elsa is told to conceal, don’t feel – pretend something she’s not. When I finally came out with my issues, I did not have those close to me telling me these sorts of things, thankfully, but society certainly made it difficult to take the steps to get myself better.

The part that resonates with me the most right now is the “Let it Go” sequence. The song is about Elsa realizing that she doesn’t need to hide her talents and effectively, screw everyone else for not accepting her as she is. I think up until a few months ago, this is exactly how I felt about my battle with depression. I was gonna talk about it and if you didn’t like that, well, screw you. I let it go.

At the stage I’m personally at now, I’m more following Anna’s footsteps. I’m trying to use my experience to create safe places for others suffering from mental illness. We can fix this hand in hand.

Society has a long way to go towards accepting mental illness – but we can get there. Those of us that are advocating – we must work together to create places where those that are suffering in silence can feel comfortable in speaking out about their own problems.

Admittedly, it’s probably a highly simplified look at things – but for me, Frozen has provided me with some context in how I fit in my advocacy efforts and it’s goddamn magical.

Mental Health Week 2014: My Story

I don’t make it a secret that I suffer from depression. Since discovering, understanding, and learning how to manage my depression, I’ve done my best to create a dialog in my personal social circles regarding mental health.

My first bout of depression started some time during my time as an Engineering student. I wasn’t having the same success in University as I had enjoyed in High School. I feel this contributed to my my initial downfall. As I repeatedly fell short of my expectations, negative self-talk took over. Once I realized something was wrong, I brought up my feelings with my girlfriend (who is now my wife). She was very supportive and encouraged me to seek professional assistance.

I visited the University of Alberta’s Counselling & Clinical Services. I began seeing a psychologist and began taking antidepressants. It took time, but I eventually realized that ultimately, my chosen career path was NOT the one really wanted. Withdrawing from University was an incredibly difficult decision. First off, I was worried about being a disappointment to my parents. Secondly, I wasn’t sure what the hell I was going to do with my life, since for as long as I could remember, I was going to be an Engineer. That was how I had self-identified.

My parents were very supportive of my decision. I am very thankful for that. I took time away from school, spent some time in the workforce and found a new path.

Nearly two years ago was my second major depressive episode. It was also when I realized that depression was something I’d always have to be aware of. This bout was brought on by feelings that festered as I grew more and more dissatisfied with the work and environment I was in. I recognized the signs of what was going on early enough so things never got out of hand – but I was in deep enough to need to start medication again. Through the medication and counseling, I was able to identify what was causing me the stress, anxiety and other negative feelings that resulted in my depression. I worked on methods to help me cope with what I was feeling. I shared my diagnosis with my manager, in hopes that it could perhaps create a positive dialog in the office. Unfortunately, that plan backfired. Yes, I was given tools to further help me – but, the office culture did not really change, nor did a useful dialog form. It was at this point that I realized that if *I* wanted to be treated differently and if *I* wanted to be able to discuss my struggles in an open and accepting environment at work, *I* would have to take up that torch and carry it.

Today, I’ve been in a new job for half a year. I enjoy what I’m doing now – the decision to join the company I’m currently with continues to prove to be an excellent choice. In fact, when I caught wind of the Not Myself Today campaign, I took the opportunity to share the campaign with my supervisor, resource manager and the VP of HR. The VP encouraged me to write about the importance of mental health in the workplace on the company intranet and also added her voice to the importance of mental health issues in the workforce. I will be a volunteer with Partners for Mental Health, and will continue to speak about what I have experienced, what I hope people would do for others in my situation, and to encourage those who think they need help to find it.

Talking about my struggles is often hard. Especially in a more professional setting. But it is worth it if just one person seeks help, no matter the cost to me.

I suffer from depression. I always will. My mental illness is really no different than having diabetes. I have to make the right choices to prevent complications from consuming my life.

This has been my story (so far).