Before I start, I want you to know that this is going to be good news. But I need to warn you that I’m probably going to end up baring my soul to y’all, so maybe have a tissue ready if you cry easily. Also I am letting you know that there are mentions of suicide ideation.
I’ve started viewing this blog as a way to give back to the audio drama community that has given me so much in such a short amount of time. In my introduction I said that I only started listening to podcasts in January of 2017, but I don’t think I’ve ever said why I know when I started listening to podcasts.
On September 17th, 2016 my grandmother (my mom’s mom) passed away, and it hit me very hard because I essentially lost a parent. I constantly tell people that I was raised by two strong women, and it’s the truth. When I was young, my parents got divorced, but for me it didn’t really change much. I love my dad, but never developed a strong bond with him. I always gravitated towards my mom and my grandmother so I never felt anything except relief when my parents divorced. My grandmother taught me how to cook, bake, garden, knit, crochet, and every other skill a woman born in 1917 learned. My mom was the youngest of seven kids (if you thought catholic, you are correct) and was born when my grandmother was 45 years old. So my mom constantly felt like she needed to spend all the time she could with her parents before they passed, so we were constantly over at their house. This led to my mom and I coming to an agreement to have an addition built onto the house and taking care of my grandma after my grandpa passed. My grandmother moved into the house in 2009 when I started college, I specifically chose one close to home so I could help take care of her. Looking back on it, I realize that my family was taking advantage of me for four years, until I told them that I couldn’t and wouldn’t be her primary caregiver anymore. While my peers were leaving their parent’s houses and spreading their wings. I clipped my wings and became responsible for a 92 year old woman. Honestly looking back, I would do it all again even knowing how miserable I was at times.
The reason I told you all this, is because I had 20 years of my life where my grandmother was taking care of me, and six years where I was taking care of her. So you can understand how I have only recently been learning how to move on. January of 2017 was a month I shut down and watched the world fall around me. With my grandmother dead and the house up for sale, I moved into an apartment with one of my best friends, Maggie. We signed the lease and moved in almost immediately. So quickly that it was just Maggie, our best friend Tim, and me moving everything by ourselves. I not only had to experience the loss of a parent, but also my mom was selling the house so I was also losing my home. To make matters worse, Maggie had to house sit at her parents almost immediately after we moved in. I ended up lying to her and to myself when I told her that I would be fine. I had just experienced this huge loss and now I am left alone in an apartment with nothing but the remnants of happier times stuffed into boxes and trash bags.
The week when I was alone, I started listening to audio dramas. The Black Tapes, Archive 81, The Bright Sessions, and many other audio dramas kept me company during a time where I wanted to die. I wasn’t able to sleep so I would clean and unpack boxes until I passed out from exhaustion. It got so bad that I was only sleeping every other night and even then only for a few hours. When Maggie came back to the apartment, I was starting to think that I needed help. Before, I didn’t think it was to the point where I needed to worry because I couldn’t feel sadness, I only felt anger or nothing. I didn’t want to kill myself either, I wanted to die sure, but I didn’t have any plans. It was during this time that I noticed podcasts and people in the audio drama community openly talking about their struggles, and it inspired me to begin talking about my own struggles.
Maggie and I started talking about our own struggles with mental health, and encouraging each other to seek help. Honestly it helped us turn our home into a truly safe space. We are able to be open about what we need and aren’t afraid that we will be judged. I talked to my psychiatrist and tried an antidepressant that ended up making me manic so I stopped taking them (I talked to my psychiatrist first). I started therapy to work through my grief over the death of my grandmother. In my therapy sessions, my therapist recommended that I talk to my psychiatrist about taking antidepressants again because I have a baseline level of depression that fluctuates. All throughout this journey, I was interacting more and more with people in the community, sharing my struggles, encouraging others, and being encouraged.
So when I say that the audio drama community changed my life, I’m not saying that lightly. Many of you were there for me without even knowing that you were the reason I got out of bed some mornings. Everyday I was struggling to find a reason to continue, but you were there for me with stories and kind words. I have never felt like an outsider, even by those of you that have been here since the beginning. It’s honestly the first time in my life that I have felt at home in a community. You even inspired me to finally come out as non binary to friends and family. The presence of non binary character in your show and how they handled people misgendering them, as well as members of the audio drama community having their pronouns respected gave me the courage to begin use my preferred pronouns if they/them. You all are incredible people, and I’m so happy I found this community when I did.
That is why I support this community, and why I obsessively talk about audio dramas to anyone who will listen. You all helped put my world back together when it was in shambles and I want to pay it forward.
I was only planning on informing y’all about the upcoming changes to the website I am making and I ended up baring my soul. Hopefully you didn’t cry like I did, or you had your tissues on hand. I only started AudioDramaRama in February and am slowly figuring out where I want to go with it. I am trying to set up a schedule for different posts in a way that is consistent, but also manageable for me. I have tried to do that in the past, but I still wasn’t to sure what I was doing. I’m still not completely sure what I am doing, but I think I have finally come up with something that will work.
Beginning Monday, April 30th, 2018:
- Audio Drama Recommendations will be every Monday.
- The posts about new audio dramas will be the fourth Wednesday of the month.
- Audio Drama Community News will be at the end of each month, but I will make additional posts in this section if I am informed of something that needs reported immediately like my Podcamp post.
- I am planning on having a new segment where I interview audio drama creators that I will be posting the third Friday of every month (provided I am able to talk with them in that time).
I am also trying to develop a page that is a resource kit for new podcasters (I am planning on having links to podcasts, blogs, software, and other useful resources available to podcasters). I also plan on changing up the format of the blog to make it look nicer and easier to navigate, so it will start looking different soon.
Let me know if you have any suggestions on these changes, or suggestions for the blog. If you know of any resources that would be useful to a new podcaster be sure to let me know. Also, if you want to talk about audio dramas, want podcast recommendations, have a podcast recommendation, want to say hello, or you are a creator with a new audio drama and want me to listen, then you are welcome to fill out a contact form, reach out to me on twitter, comment here, or just email me at email@example.com*
Don’t forget to subscribe/follow, I know I almost always tweet the new posts, but it gives me the warm fuzzies when you do.
*If you email me, or fill out the contact form just letting me know about your audio drama, I will most likely not respond unless I am asked a question. But I will get it and check it out.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, you are not alone. Please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline 1(800) 273-8255.