You guys.

I cannot. Even. Begin. To tell you all. How deeply sorry I am.

Those of you who were PM'ing me regularly, I think you last heard I had strep throat. I got sick with a stomach virus not long after, at least, that's what I thought it was.

It wasn't. I was sick for almost a month, and after lots of blood work and shots and an ultrasound, my doctor discovered I had literally no Vitamin D and no Vitamin B- namely B12. This equals no energy, very poor health, brittle nails, not being able to keep food down, lots of fun stuff. This was back in September of 2011, and I still have to take 4000 units of Vitamin D a day and get B12 shots monthly. ...Speaking of which, I'm exhausted as I'm typing this and in need of my latest shot. But my levels are slowly going back to normal. They're almost halfway to the minimum range a normal person's level should be now.

However, I got sick with some of the same symptoms later on in the year, around November or something, I think. Couldn't keep food down, couldn't do much of anything, and when I did eat, my stomach would swell. THAT was new. And I'm not talking Food Baby Swelling, I mean "Oh my dear Aizen, it looks like I've swallowed a tire" swelling. Not to mention I had gained weight. ...Like...twenty pounds easy kind of weight over the course of a few months. Which made no sense because, like I said, I wasn't eating much of anything. So, after yet MORE blood drawn, shots given, and a gallbladder test with IVs galore - did I mention I used to have a fear of needles until this April after, what, the twenty-eighth fuckin' blood test? - it took two other doctors to discover I had a motility issue. Which basically means something was causing a backup in my intestines and nothing was exiting my system as quick as it should have been.

So I was put on these little pink pills to take before meals three times a day, which I'm still on. My pill list has gone down exponentially as of recently, but it's still a pretty fucking huge list.

On a more personal note, I went through a death of a really close family member, a new relationship that damn near sucked the life out of me as he slowly turned out to be...for lack of a more flattering term...manipulative bastard from whom I tolerated things I would never have tolerated before and never will again, AND most importantly, I was trying desperately to keep my grades up.

Ya'all, I am genuinely amazed I passed Sophomore year with the grades I did. After missing over 30 days of school, my lowest semester average was an 81. It was even more pressure because my school's grade system is a bit more challenging compared to others nearby, not to mention my absences made me have to take every exam (which counts for a fourth of our final grade), and I had an extremely difficult college-level exam for AP World History that even a close college friend of mine thought was sent from hell.

Those of you who watch my deviantART account - for whatever reason - also know I've been posting stuff on there and managing Ask Accounts with almost no problem. ...That takes a lot less effort than it does continuing stories. Answering people's questions and drawings were methods of keeping me sane and from being overwhelmed with everything, and I'm not trying to excuse not talking to anyone on here or even giving you guys an update for so long, but it's the only thing I can provide as an explanation for why I was keeping things up there and not here.

That and I was wanting to write an Author's Note when I had some updated chapters and possibly the first chapter to a Bleach sequel ready to post for you guys. Or at least under the works. But I felt worse and worse the longer I put this note off, and I have to admit to you all, I have nothing written so far.

I wouldn't call it Writer's Block, just Exhausted Writing Mind. So many essays, projects, studying - it all made answering questions and drawing a welcome change. And now I have a shitload of Summer Work to do, but I have plenty of time to do it. After I get at least a third of that out of the way - which I'm close to doing, actually - I hope to get back into writing again.

I miss writing. I miss talking to you all. I really do.

I must warn you though, my writing has likely changed some. I've grown more, mentally and emotionally, and I honestly don't know whether or not that's a good thing. And I'm not sure I'll be updating regularly, I'm scared I'll get sick again, I'm scared to not stay on top of my schoolwork.

I'm one of the best slackers around, but I can't pull off that good of a balancing act. And if I want to become a psychologist one day - which I do, I really truly do, and that "one day" is getting even closer now that I'm a Junior - I need to put my academics first.

Also, I didn't have a laptop until Spring break. So I didn't have THAT many options, see? And once I had it, I used it almost exclusively for school; there were the occasional deviantART chat antics and Skype conversations to clear my mind.

Because if I sat here and typed down that I did nothing but schoolwork on this thing, my laptop would likely get so pissed at that bold-faced lie that it would fry itself.

Now that I think about it after rambling on this Author's Note, I think the main reason I haven't written anything is because I've been almost scared to. I didn't want to write a new chapter here and there, get everyone excited, and then disappear off the face of the earth again.

But I promise you all right now, I'm gonna do my best to get back in the swing of things. This was my most difficult year health-wise, and you honestly have no idea how much it's affected me. Physically and mentally. And how stressed I've been. And am. But I can't wait to get back to my stories again, and break out of my old habits writing-wise: firstly with fixing my habit of making redhead OCs. I honestly don't even know how that came about, yes I have red hair, and I do have a couple close friends with even MORE red hair. And the OCs were all of the same make-up, but to be honest, it wasn't even wish fulfillment. I didn't imagine these characters as myself, I didn't pair them with people I'd want to be paired with. They just appeared that way in my brain, I wrote down the first chapter, and from there my fingers took care of the rest. Every twist and turn surprised me as much as it surprised you to read it, and I've laughed and raged just like some of you might have. I think it was more of a familiar territory kind of thing. But you can only do so much of that before accepting your mistakes and fixing them, right?

And I'm going to work on my character development, too. You can't make your OCs well-rounded and then just kind of go halfway with everyone else. Like I said, I've grown a bit. And dammit, after the long wait I've put ya'all through, you deserve some originality. ...Well, more originality.

On that note, I'll end this rambling note and just hope you guys can forgive me. Feel free to leave a review or PM me saying whatever you'd like, I wouldn't be surprised if some of you are angry. Or if you just wanna say hi and tell me how things have been for YOU since I've been gone. I really do care about people who read the random stuff I put on here, and I remember most if not all of my reviewers, I swear on my Chips A'Hoy. ...Which I hold very dear to my heart, just saying.

And please, take care of yourselves. Exercise at least a little regularly, go out and enjoy the sun, enjoy your friends, enjoy life! I've been cooped up all year, and lemme tell ya, that'll get you to long for the outdoors like nothing else. I've also discovered that even I, the great Mandy, can perceive people through rose-colored glasses. Be aware of exactly who it is you're dealing with, and if your girlfriend or boyfriend - or anyone- gives off red flags, no matter how small they are, no matter how badly you want to just overlook them, ponder them. Think carefully about them. And don't be afraid to break things off. I wasn't, and though it was hard afterward, I can't imagine how much worse it would have been if I'd let it keep going. careful, you guys. I care about you all.

Glad to be back,