Beyond Downward Spiral: The Diary of Syal Antilles - 2011 Dear Diary Challenge - Complete 12/31

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Lane_Winree, Jan 15, 2011.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Yes and don't give up Syal.

    You can write about the experience [face_dancing] BRAVO
  2. alhana_antilles Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 3
    It's good to see Syal starting to heal. Another wonderful addition!
  3. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Nanci -

    I would wager that the answer to this question is "fly."

    Solid wager :D

    I dunno why, but this really got to me. I could only imagine what Syal felt, being ordered around in the military again.

    Probably a bit of a surreal experience. Disconnected from that part of her life for so long, now thrown back into it.

    Briannakin - After a certain point, it was time to expose Syal to the things that got her here in the first place. She says she wants to fly again, now its time to see if she can.

    SWpants666

    As a reader, this is awesome for me.
    For Syal, I can't imagine the panic she's going through.


    I imagine the thoughts are mostly "I AM GOING TO DIE I DO NOT APPROVE OF THIS"

    Jade_eyes - It's been a long time coming, but Syal's putting herself into a position to get back what she wants :)

    Hazel - Thanks! There's light at the end of the tunnel for Syal.

    Luna - Thank you! Another post today, you'll be able to see her latest progress.

    earlybird - Thank you, glad you enjoyed it!

    alhana_antilles - It's been a long path back for her. Hopefully more progress can be made :)


    Thanks for reading, everyone. Another post below. On Saturday, the final (very, very brief) entry will go up!
  4. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Log Entry: 20

    It's remarkable how much a finely tuned skill atrophies after months of disuse.

    There's a reason a combat pilot spends about thirty hours during a standard week in a simulator. So much of what we do revolves around memorized muscle movement and intimate familiarity with the instrumentation in a starfighter cockpit. The briefest hesitation to find and adjust your deflector shield or weapons battery settings is enough to get you killed. Aft shields are falling, you need to instantly and blindly reach for the shield controls on the left-hand control panel just below the throttle lever and shunt power from the forward deflectors. All while you've got an enemy target solidly locked onto your six and spitting laser cannon fire at you.

    It was a rough go for the first week or two. I was still getting over the jitters from that first run and every now and then, I'd feel a bit of panic bubbling to the surface. It took some time to get over that, and I think it was only because I was slowly rebuilding my familiarity with dangerous combat flying again. Part of the shock was reflecting back to that day I punched out of the cockpit of my X-Wing and lost a piece of my skull in the process. Another part was simply being thrown back into a high-speed, high intensity situation for the first time in months. These two elements would feed into each other. The stress from dealing with a simulated dogfight fueled the panic I felt as those traumatic memories resurfaced.

    We kept coming back to the simulator every few days. Eventually it became a daily ritual. A bit of exposure to bring my reflexes back up to speed and to eliminate one part of that feedback loop. It was like being at the Academy again, struggling to keep up with the enemy starfighters and react in time to prevent a virtual death. Heart racing, vision narrowing, breathing accelerated. Just like the Academy, I thought I'd never get past that feeling of overwhelming stress. But I did. Eventually.

    I think after my reflexes were closer to acceptable, I was able to start dealing with that fear of having to punch out again. For every Hobbie Klivian you hear about, there's about two dozen that are never the same after going extravehicular. I'll be completely honest, after getting a durasteel plate in my skull, the idea of repeating that process isn't all that appealing. The Doctor and I kept at it, though. Sometimes she'd stack the odds against me, putting me in situations where there was no chance of success. Ever heard of the Dresdena-Voru run? It's an impossible simulation given to starfighter pilots to gauge their reaction to an unwinnable skirmish. If you were lucky, you achieved the best result: escaping into Hyperspace while failing all of the given mission parameters. If you were unlucky, you were vaped. More often than not, you fall into the unlucky category.

    Let's just say it was a struggle to learn how to pull the eject lever again. More often than not, I'd go down with the simulated ship than risk exposing myself to virtual vacuum. Sure, the virtual vacuum was just a dark simulator heated to a pleasant room temperature, but you'll forgive me for being irrational. Again, durasteel plate in my skull. The rational part of your mind knows that if you want to live, you stand a better chance by ejecting than you do sitting in a flaming ball of shrapnel. However, if there's one thing I've learned over the last few months, it's that irrational fear can very easily overwhelm rational knowledge.

    But I kept at it. I feel like that's important to note. I ran those simulations until my reflexes came back. I ran them until I re-embraced Onasi's Axiom: Don't think; just fly. I even managed to pull the eject lever a few times. Now there's something I never thought I'd be proud to say. There's the usual caveats. A simulation is one thing, real flying is another. I might lock up once I'm out there for real, but I'll never know unless I get behind the flightstick again. I'm going to find out. Once I get the go-ahead to go back to work, I'm going to show everyo
  5. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    WOW that she is able to write that all down. She really is recovering.

    A great and moving update=D=
  6. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    Wow! All this is so SO realistic, I can actually hear Syal's voice talking about it.

    Very well done!
  7. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO Lane!

    @};- @};- @};- @};-

    Syal's inner strength and wisdom to deal with her future and her past and to help others with empathy comes through very clearly.

    =D= =D=

  8. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    I imagine the thoughts are mostly "I AM GOING TO DIE I DO NOT APPROVE OF THIS"

    LOL yeah I'm sure that's a good guess.


    So much of what we do revolves around memorized muscle movement and intimate familiarity with the instrumentation in a starfighter cockpit.

    Mmph, that makes sense. And what better way to hone those skills than in sims?


    Part of the shock was reflecting back to that day I punched out of the cockpit of my X-Wing and lost a piece of my skull in the process.

    Yeah, well...that'll do it.


    Let's just say it was a struggle to learn how to pull the eject lever again.

    Can't blame her at all.


    I was sick. I still am, I always will be. But now I can cope with it. I can manage it. I can beat it.

    It's great to see that she recognizes it, accepts it, and is working on fixing it.


    That was a powerful entry. =D=
  9. jcgoble3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
    OK, so where do I start? This was the story that drew me into fanfic about a month ago and got me interested in writing a diary of my own next year. I was bored and idly clicked onto the fanfic boards, spotted this at the top, said "huh, interesting", and next thing you know it's 1:30 am and I've read all the way through the thing. Perhaps it was the fact that I was, at the time, trying to bring the Wedge Antilles article on Wookieepedia to "featured" status at the time that drew me in; I don't know.

    I think my three favorite scenes up to this point were Syal recalling her simulator run at the career fair, her breaking into the records office to learn that her friend had committed suicide, and her first confrontation with the simulator after recognizing she needed help. After all that denial, it's great to see her finally accept the situation and begin to recover.

    This whole thing has been beautifully written, and I look forward to Saturday's finale!
  10. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    Wow! I am speechless right now! Bravo. Amazing entry!
  11. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    So glad that it looks like she's figuring things out and learning from them. It is such a big change for her and I really hope that she can rebuild her life into a way that she wants it to be. Beautiful entry!
  12. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    earlybird - Thank you! She's come an awful long ways.

    Hazel - Again, thank you. I'm really happy with how this one turned out :)

    Jade_eyes - That's a hard thing for people to realize, that you can use these things to grow and become a stronger person.

    SWpants666 -

    It's great to see that she recognizes it, accepts it, and is working on fixing it.

    That's the hardest part in recovery, acknowleding that you're always going to have this but it's not something that has to be crippling.

    Thanks for reading :)

    jcgoble3

    Wow! Point by point.

    OK, so where do I start? This was the story that drew me into fanfic about a month ago and got me interested in writing a diary of my own next year.

    My stars, thank you. I can honestly say I never expected anyone to say that about this fic!

    Perhaps it was the fact that I was, at the time, trying to bring the Wedge Antilles article on Wookieepedia to "featured" status at the time that drew me in; I don't know.

    Well I sympathize with you there. Wedge is my favorite character in the entire franchise, so much of what I write revolves around him or other pilots.

    I think my three favorite scenes up to this point were Syal recalling her simulator run at the career fair, her breaking into the records office to learn that her friend had committed suicide, and her first confrontation with the simulator after recognizing she needed help.

    I loved writing that simulator run at the career fair. One of my favorite things about this fic was diving in to do a bit of character building for her. Those little glimpses into her past were always fun for me.

    This whole thing has been beautifully written, and I look forward to Saturday's finale

    Thank you so much! I'm glad you've enjoyed this fic :)

    Briannakin - Thank you. I'm really happy this entry seems to be resonating so much.

    Luna - We all get to acceptance at different paces. For Syal, it took months, but she finally got there.


    Thank you for reading, everyone. As I mentioned earlier, the final update is below. The final, very VERY brief update. I hope you'll agree that the last entry is just the right length.
  13. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Log Entry: 21

    I?m going home.

    JOURNAL DATACARD LOCKED BY USER
    NO FURTHER ENTRIES ON FILE


    The End
    Syal Antilles will return February in X-Wing: Rakehell Squadron


    ***

    A Note From the Author

    While Downward Spiral revolves around fictional characters and stories, the central premise is very real. Depression and anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions that affect countless individuals.

    Myself included.

    Much of what I've written in this fic comes from personal experience, which is why I feel it's important to make this appeal to anyone who has read this: If any of Syal's trials resonates with you, if at any point you said to yourself "I've felt these things too," please consider seeking professional therapeutic and medical counsel.

    It's hard to take that first step and take a critical look at yourself, to admit that perhaps you do need help, that things aren't quite right. You may want to fight it, to rationalize how you're feeling. I certainly did. Please know that having depression doesn't make you a flawed person. It's not a strike against you. It doesn't mean you're weak. It merely means that you currently don't have the tools you need to manage your situation.

    If you think you might suffer from depression, seek help. I suffer from depression and social anxiety disorder. I needed help. I resisted. But I finally got it.

    Let me tell you, I had no idea I could be so content with myself and the world.
  14. Briannakin Grand Moff Darth Fanfic Manager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Feb 25, 2010
    star 5
    [:D] Amazing final entry.

    Just a note from me. I too am someone who suffered from depression. I suffer from Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). People think it is a joke, but it's not. My hormones would get so out of whack, I would have suicidal thoughts. Thankfully, I eventually got help and I am now on a hormone treatment. I am doing much better than I was two years ago. It does get better, but sometimes you need help getting there.
  15. Nyota's Heart Combos & Paragraphs Host

    Game Host
    Member Since:
    Aug 31, 2004
    star 6
    Great final entry =D=

    Thanks to Lane and Briann for sharing these personal struggles and triumphs/lessons learned & not least their great fics with us all.

    @};- @};-

  16. SWpants Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2004
    star 4
    1. PERFECT final entry :D

    2. PLEASE keep me on the PM list for "Rakehell Squadron" [face_batting]

    3. [:D]
  17. jcgoble3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 7, 2010
    star 4
    YAHOO! SHE'S GOING HOME!

    OK, I'll stop yelling.

    It really is great to see that she's going home. Great points about mental illnesses, too. Those are serious issues that need professional help. I'm glad Syal recognized that she needed help, and more importantly, I'm glad YOU recognized that you needed help. Congrats on both that and an excellent diary!
  18. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Yes she is going home[face_dancing]

    [:D]Lane
    And thank you for sharing this great diary[face_dancing]=D==D=
  19. Hazel Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Nov 9, 2010
    star 4
    =D= =D= =D=

    Thank you for sharing your diary and your personal experience with us, Lane, it has been a really amazing and insightful read. [:D]
  20. Luna_Nightshade Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jan 25, 2006
    star 5
    Yay! She's going home, and will have another fic! Wahoo!

    I'm glad you got the help you needed. [:D] Even for people who reach out for help, it is not always easy to get the help you actually need in the medical world, and I'm glad that you got it. Please pm me when her Rakehell shows up! Wonderful, enjoyable read all year long.
  21. alhana_antilles Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 3
    Wonderful ending! Looking forward to reading more in X-Wing: Rakehell Squadron!
  22. Lane_Winree Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2006
    star 4
    Briannakin - I'm so happy to hear that you're doing better. Anyone who has been in your shoes knows how helpless things can feel. I know for me, that sort of became the baseline for a longtime. At least until I got help.

    Jade_eyes - Thank you so much for reading!

    SWpants666 - Thank you!

    jcgoble3 - Thank you so much. This was a hard piece to write, but I'm very glad I did.

    earlybird - You're most welcome. And thank you for reading!

    Hazel - Thank you. I'm really glad I've had the chance to share this one.

    Luna - I'll be sure to send out a PM! Thank you for reading :)

    alhana - Thank you! Good news for you, Rakehell's posting will be imminent.


    Again, thank you for reading everyone. I'm incredibly honored that this fic won last year's Dear Diary challenge! But, a more important announcement.

    X-Wing: Rakehell Squadron starts today! I've got a three-month buffer built up and I'm ready to start posting.
Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade