Dear Saladin Ahmed,
I'm sorry that you have mental health issues. I'm sorry that you suffer from "anxiety…and depression…and chronic fatigue…and vicious insomnia".
I'm sorry that your songwriter/research psychologist wife is having trouble supporting your family, with seemingly
very little no help from you, because of your mental health issues.
I'm sorry that your books are so popular that you have been invited to be on a convention panel, and that someone there will be cosplaying one of your characters; it sucks that you cant afford to go. I suppose we could say that you are a victim of your own success.
Or perhaps we should wise up and realise that, you simply have a victim mentality.
I'm not usually in the habit of playing "mine's bigger than yours" but the following is fact.
1) I have never suffered chronic fatigue, but I have suffered with, depression and continue to suffer with anxiety and insomnia. I have also tried to commit suicide in the past. Not my finest moment, I'll admit.
2) I was (and still am) an alcoholic, albeit a sober one for the past 7 years.
3) I'm dyslexic. Yeah, I know, a dyslexic writer. Writing is so not a career I was ever encouraged to enter into in any way shape or form, so maybe there's a little bit of a masochist in me too.
4) I suffer from PTSD after being stalked, (which as you can imagine, does wonders for my anxiety).
5) I walked out of my life, left everything I owned behind except 2 suitcases and a car when was 30. I had less then £100 in my pocket. Sometimes over the last 5 years I have literally had £20 a week to buy all groceries, feed myself and my dogs with. Credit cards and loans weren't an option, because I had no credit history, because I couldn't give my old address in case my ex found me.
I admit, sometimes I have borrowed money from my family, but only when I have had no alternative, and never more than a few hundred, because I know that anything more than that, I probably wouldn't be able to pay back. I finally got out of my sisters debt just a few weeks ago. (thanks Sis, you are the best!)
But if the help of a few supportive readers/friends can make a trip possible, it seems silly to let pride keep me from asking."
That's not pride, dear boy, that's your self respect, screaming at you to be a grown up and sort your life out! Taking charity doesn't help.
You have been a finalist for the John W. Campbell Awards and the Nebula Award. Your stories have been published in places such as Strange Horizons, Orson Scott Card's InterGalactic Medicine Show, Clockwork Phoenix 2, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Your novel trilogy is being published DAW Books.
YOU have the life and the success that thousands of struggling authors dream of, and yet all you can do is sit there with your begging bowl out and proclaim "woe is me". You have no idea how lucky you are because you are so short sighted that you can't see everything that you have been blessed with.
But, yes, woe is you... for being such a spineless sack of dog poo!
There's nothing wrong with you that a little backbone wouldn't sort. Or hell, here's an original idea, GET A FRIGGING DAY JOB!!! Believe me, most authors don't live of their spouses, nor do they go begging to the public to make up the shortfall. Most actually have 2 jobs, the one that pays the bills, and the writing they do out of hours (which is more of a compulsion than a job)!
You might be surprised by the amount of self respect paying your own way gives you, not to mention the total exhaustion is either very helpful in overcoming the insomnia, or if not, you just have more of lovely time to write!
Those who did donate to you probably think that they were being kind, but the reality is that the loving thing to do is not always the nice or the kind thing to do. They are simply enabling you to remain a victim and refuse to take responsibility for your life and your choices. The first step on your road to recovery is to put the begging bowl away (this isn't the first time you have done this) and take some responsibility for yourself, your life and your problems.
Who despite the many problems she has, or has had in life, actually considers herself blessed and is proud of the life that she is still rebuilding.
If after reading what a horrid life I have had and how I have suffered for my art, my choice in boyfriends, my addiction, and my generally being a bit of a sap for the first 28 years of my life, kindly send a donation to one of my preferred charities.
Canine Partners, who help people with disabilities to enjoy greater independence and a better quality of life, by providing specially trained assistance dogs.
Edinburgh Cat & Dog Home who rescue stray and abandoned animals. They are solely dependent on public donations to survive.