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  #541  
Old 03-18-2020, 09:39 PM
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Thank you dirk, I am working on trying to express myself differently and accepting that sometimes things are how they are.

Gath there are a lot of options out there anymore. I honestly never realized how many until all of this happened.

Thankfully we have 3 pups that cover any gaps we may leave with each other and they make for some great listeners.
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  #542  
Old 03-19-2020, 11:16 AM
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I'm feeling a LOT of anxiety at the moment.
- I work in frontline customer service.
- A colleague was tested for COVID-19. The test came back negative, but because where I work is such an infection vector, it preys on my mind.
- I came home sick yesterday with symptoms that I think are just a head cold. But at the time I first started feeling the symptoms, I really panicked.
- Most stressful of all, I'm the primary carer for my mother, who is 82 and has COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) and diabetes. This is almost as bad a collection of risk factors re: COVID-19 as you could possibly imagine. If she contracted COVID-19, she would almost certainly die.
- And colleagues at work don't help. Some joke about COVID-19. Another lady is furious that she isn't going to be able to go on her holiday to Singapore. I felt like slapping her. I really did.
- And my landlord is pressuring me to have an open house for prospective buyers. I mean, what do you say, in the current situation, to someone who thinks its a good idea to have a bunch of complete strangers tramping through your house?

My heart feels like this solid lump of iron in my chest. I have no idea how I'm supposed to get any sleep tonight.
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  #543  
Old 03-20-2020, 10:49 AM
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I'm normally the most mellow and easy going person in the room. But the past few weeks have seen me "catching" anxiety from my wife.

Going to the office gave me a chance to spend some time away. I love my wife, but because of her anxiety, our home is not a restful place for me. I dread every noise and potential trigger of her anxiety to the point where I think I may be getting anxiety by proxy. It's so bad that I dread going to bed, because the bedroom is where she hides out to avoid stress. I'm so tired, but can't bring myself to go to bed before 1am.
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  #544  
Old 04-01-2020, 11:19 PM
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I came here to express my appreciation for this thread during our Thanksgiving in April event.

I've never been brave enough to post here myself, long time listener, first-time caller, but reading about your troubles, and seeing how supportive everyone is, has helped me with some of my own. Thank you everyone for making, and keeping this thread going.

I'm rooting for all of you <3
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  #545  
Old 04-21-2020, 07:30 PM
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I can't really compare to most of what's been said in this thread in the past. I know the following will be minor to most.

In the past year we've gone through two major changes on top of everything else that's happened. We got a puppy last year, a dalmatian which turned out to have so many idle allergies, reactions and the usual 'puppy pica' that we have to keep her indoors a lot. Young dalmatians are whip-smart but often immature and rebellious, so she's been driving me nuts. I wasn't sure if I was a dog person - I struggled with dog-sitting for family in the past. I figured it might be different with a 'blank slate' I could work with on a long-term basis. It hasn't. I've learned some ugly truths about my own tolerances. People have often called me the 'patient' one in social circles and I now know how limited and contextual that descriptor is.

The second is that I'm a dad to a now 3-month old. He's had severe colic and barely sleeps compared to the common averages, so trying to keep up with his needs has been stressful - but he's not all that bad, he's happy and healthy when his own digestive tract isn't causing him discomfort. That's been more of a burden on my wife than me, as she's insistent on regular breast-feeding and keeping off formula unless absolutely necessary.

Before all this, I was happy for the first time since I can properly remember. I'd discovered gaming and RPGs only 2-3 years ago, and it had not only given my wife and me a new dimension of interactivity, it had expanded my social circle in ways I'd never have considered before. I felt enriched.

Even before the quarantines, everything was grinding to a halt. My wife's pregnancy made it that she was always too tired to play anything. Some friends were reluctant to come around because of an overly energetic dog running around we could barely control - not to mention how high-maintenance she is, which disrupted a lot of usual routines. It disrupted work (I work from home) when I couldn't trust myself to be away from the dog for long without an accident, or something being destroyed.

Quarantine hasn't helped though. My wife's family-oriented and not being able to see her relatives - especially with the baby here - has been hard on her. We're barely keeping each other afloat emotionally, and I'm not sure how much I have left. She's always been stronger than me. It's all I can do to help with the baby, fend off the dog and keep the house from falling into squalor. Our old relationship feels like it's gathering dust on the shelf, right next to the board games we once grabbed weekly but now haven't been opened in months.

I'm a freelancer by trade and most of my opportunities have gone up in smoke. My usual channels for drumming up more work aren't going to help - not for a very long time, at least. I've been wanting to try some other private enterprises for a little while - I've spent the past months doing some RPG design, and am organising initial playtests with one of my old irl play groups - but I've got no enthusiasm for it right now. I was going to use the current spare time to practise writing up scenarios and adventures, for the playtesting and as training for my eventual first go at Iron DM here. I can't do it. I have no enthusiasm when it should be there, it's always been there before.

I'm basically just exhausted and helpless.

I don't really expect much sympathy, honestly. I'm fully aware these issues are little different to what many others are going through right now. So please don't feel compelled to respond. I just needed somewhere to put this, somewhere to make it more concrete than if I scrawled it to myself and put it away in a desk drawer somewhere or threw it out.
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  #546  
Old 04-21-2020, 07:54 PM
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You know, writing things down is a good first step. Don't discount that.

Hang in there. If you've read parts of this thread, I think you'll see a lot of similar advice over and over... Talk/communicate (with your partner, with a counselor, with family or friend). Get help (see the talking part).

Take things one step at a time, and keep your goals realistic... You picked a tough dog for a first time owner, and a puppy to boot. Work on something simple... sit. Crate up. That might be helpful, for those times you need the dog to be "down", and you don't want to worry about chewing/destruction.

Work out some video skype chat stuff for the wife and family (my first wife was like that, totally alien concept to me, however, to talk to my family). Again, small goals... a few minutes of alone time for her to chat, while you take the baby or the dog...

Same for the job... your goal isn't to nail a new career, it's to make three phone calls. Or write two pages. Or spend one hour doing X...

I had a goal today towards a new career too... to find a few minutes to outline what my business plan might be, and start a layout of it on paper/graphic form. Took me two days to get time to do it, but I did, and now it's done. Next goal, to flesh it out a bit more, this week.

Small bites, brother.
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  #547  
Old 04-21-2020, 10:51 PM
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I think one of the most impressive permutations of depression is the "I don't deserve to be depressed" variety. It's such an easy conspiracy theory of personal emotion to fall into - Bigfoot killed Kennedy, Area 51 was an inside job, El Chupacabra's Moon landing was faked, and other people's depression is more valid than my own.

It can also help to appreciate that anxiety and depression aren't always three separate feelings. Your situation is a remarkable storm reactive tendencies that have been stretched, broken, reformed, and then forced to adapt to an unprecedented pandemic.

That's a LOT to contend with!

Your feelings are valid. I hope writing about them will help solidify the shape of the challenges you're facing, and make them more comfortable to contend with in the days ahead.

Good luck in all things!
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  #548  
Old 04-22-2020, 12:13 AM
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Well, I’m glad I’ve been paying more attention to the non-game portions of the site lately. This is a perfect time to chime in. Actually, that’s a [censored] lie. This is my fourth time considering whether or not I should respond, largely due to my own depression and issues with self-worth interfering with me.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HotsuSama View Post
 
I was going to go through and reply line-by-line, but ain’t nobody got time for that.

Your experience is valid, even if some of your perceptions are skewed by stressors and changes. Your pet didn’t work out the way you anticipated, and the current situation makes it nigh impossible to rectify that in the near term. It also makes it more difficult to correct for in the long term. You’re also transitioning into the paradigm of “parent”. I’m a father of two. I know this so very well. This is 100% genuine. I won’t try to play amateur pediatrician here. My youngest didn’t do well with solely breastfeeding, and it took a ton of soul-searching before my wife decided to supplement. Weeks of tears ensued, and it broke my composure a great many times. I don’t envy you the stress at all. I hope the two of you can find some solution that restores a semblance of functionality.

As RPGX is my sole social outlet in life, I cannot really empathize with the loss of gaming. Balancing infants and in-person gaming is difficult at best. It’s actually what forced me to transition from virtual tabletop to play-by-post. Sinking dozens of hours per week into game prep and a session was untenable with the needs of a partner and offspring. Perhaps finding other parents in a similar situation might lead to a means of gaming without having to separately find childcare. Shorter/less frequent sessions may be in the cards, as well. After life returns to some degree of normality, that is. For now, focus on your sanity.

An anecdote: my wife broke down sobbing on Sunday. She, like your wife, is a social creature. I am most decidedly not. As long as I have the option to go out and do things (like go for a drive), I’m content. I’m merely inconvenienced by spending the last five and a half weeks (California was an early lockdown) at home. She needs the interactions and the experiences. She’s like a Pathfinder gnome, except, you know, the size of a tall human woman. It’s impossible to fulfill her needs, and that is probably my biggest stressor right now.

As to feeling like your relationship is gathering dust, I’m going to level with you. That’s not unusual for the first bit after having a kid. There is a lot going on, and the literal survival of a helpless, squawking bundle of fat and skin and bones depends on the two of you, and, at least instinctually, mostly her. It’s a lot to handle. Talk with her when you can. Focus on the moment, see to getting your kid healthy and regular sleep for the both of you. Try to find moments for the little things. Gestures of caring are important. You may not have the same exact dynamic as before, but that’s something that you may rediscover in time.

Lastly, the inspiration thing is something that I identify with strongly. I’ve always been able to write easily, and material appearing on screen has generally just been a matter of time. I am going to recommend you find a co-conspirator. Someone who can help spark your thought processes and urge you on. Again, this is a crazy time, and some stability might help.

I’m no expert in these things. I’m just a guy who’s known he’s been depressed for the last twenty years and who maintains encouraging contact with others in similar situations. I’m just a father. But if you need someone to vent at somewhere that isn’t a public forum, you are more than welcome.

You aren’t alone in any of the things you’ve described. You are a human being experiencing human stimuli and expressing responses within a range that is far from aberrant. You are worthy of improvement with investment.

Good luck with those investments.

Last edited by Ziether; 04-22-2020 at 12:13 AM.
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  #549  
Old 04-30-2020, 06:55 PM
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I'm in a weird place where I'm simultaneously doing better and worse. Severe depression isn't a struggle for me anymore, I can't remember the last time I've even approached the vicinity of dangerous thoughts, but the lethargy is strong. I only seem to be able to work up the motivation to actually do something(drawing, writing, etc) once or twice a month. I had a really good run earlier this month of... three days.

But my brain, it just... so mushy. It's like 90% of what it used to be capable of is just white noise now. Blegh.

I was going to say more, but I guess I'm done, lol.

Hope everyone who is feeling down now has things improve soon.
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Old 05-23-2020, 06:53 AM
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Just so this thread doesn't become a list of everyone's down times, I will say that things are on the upswing a bit for me.

The job is still the same, not what I signed up for, but... I stopped (almost) checking work emails once I leave the office (I slip up once a week or so and peek), which has helped a LOT with the feel of constant dread.

I set up a routine at work, it's a waste of my time and talents, but it makes the bosses happy that I do X, Y and Z and am seen doing it. So, now I just go in, do a little email/catch up, then plant tour/walk, see and be seen, and move about my tasks (none of which are what I should be doing, but it's what they want done, so..)

I have a garden at home now, and we've had two meals of green beans, I had some small peppers picked, my first zucchini this week was delicious, and several yellow squash. I am growing milkweed like an expert, and getting successful at transplanting it when it's bigger. Our bat house is full... there's at least 70 bats living in it, and they come out every dusk and eat tons of insects.

So.. things are better, my stress is manageable again.
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Old 05-23-2020, 07:08 AM
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Glad to hear it Dirk. Take care!
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:01 PM
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Indeed, great to hear, and great to have it shared. Gotta record the highs, as the lows (when they hit) always seem to be the constant, and we forget that it's not always like that.
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  #553  
Old 05-24-2020, 05:26 AM
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I had a pretty rough winter. Last several years Iíve been systematically building myself up into a happy, healthy, strong survivor of bipolar. Even felt fit enough to offer advice here from an empathetic perspective. Last year was an epic test of my strength. A move after ten years in one apartment. House hunting without any possible concept of being able to afford a house or a lifestyle of being a homeowner. Then furnishing a house on my own, all at once because I know that despite everyoneís advice about furnishing piece by piece over time, I needed to have a stable household immediately. Major life events kept coming up. Two big relationships, a totaled car, ridiculous settlement with ungodly amounts of cash. I bought a truck, but it turned out to not be the right truck, so I fixed it up a bit and sold it for a few grand more than I bought it. Then bought a better truck and got to work fixing that up. But all of that stuff got me out of my hiking and exercise routine. So I spent the winter mostly inside with my puppy. Then the real kick in the teeth, my nephrologist put me on a new blood pressure med that spiked my lithium level and thatís bad. I couldnít see my psych for a month so I went four weeks with a lithium level double what it is supposed to be. That, I suppose, was the final straw in my descent into the depths of a depressed state.

I endured, mostly. Poured myself back into pbp and even some live Fantasy Grounds/Discord gaming, but six or more hours of game time is a lot for my little puppy. I got very introspective and existential thinking about how Iíd felt as though Iíd conquered bipolar, how I had developed an attitude and mindset that I would never go back to the darkness again. And then, one by one, all these environmental elements began to erode at the core of my stability. And I recognized my hubris. I have a dragon tattoo on my forearm that represents my relationship with bipolar. Its face is on my hand so that I am constantly confronting it. I had gotten to such a point of health and wellness and confidence that I would never face that darkness again that I was considering a flaming phoenix tattoo on my back representing rebirth, but also giving a nod to the cyclical nature of manic depression. But then I fell, hard. My entire process collapsed. I even got an infraction here for inappropriate behavior in a difficult situation. I recognize now that the tattoo idea is still valid, but instead of just a phoenix, it will be a flaming phoenix being eaten by a dragon.

I spent the winter nestled in a nice warm blanket of head meds and catharsis. Now I am back to square one trying to rebuild my routines from scratch. I am aware that for many people all they need to do is a cleanse to get themselves back on track. But I need systematic, methodical approaches to behavioral modification so that I can strive for long term, sustainable gain, with health and wellness being the ultimate goal.

It is a long, hard road. One that Iíve spent the past decade almost exclusively working toward. It is a true testament to my success that I stood up to last years trials as well as I did. But when you upset my meds and destroy my routine, thatís pretty much game over.

But I have a house now. It is furnished. My puppy is almost a year old now. She is very well trained, but social distancing couldnít have come at a worse time for her. She has very little experience working with anyone else but me, even being isolated from other dogs has been detrimental. I do have a new truck that is really effing awesome. Iím heavier now than I was - Iíd gotten to be quite fit by last year, though my puppy really put a dent in that, to be honest. Well, I am poised and ready to move into a positive summer and accomplish some big tasks and get into a solid routine. I am dragging my feet though, not quite certain if I am up for the task. And Miley (my puppy) has been rather insistent on snuggling with me on the bed in the mornings, which is wonderful, but it adds a few hours each day to my ordinarily languid lifestyle.

Feeling a bit listless at the moment, I suppose. But I am alive and have an amazing sidekick who is quite literally completely stoked to do any kind of adventure with me at any time no matter what. And that is pretty spectacular. I'm working on getting back into adventuring. Changing my diet, introducing exercise, contemplating big solutions to big problems. Pondering the events that transpired over the winter months and trying to grow as a person knowing that there isn't always a way to go back and reconcile with those involved.

I had been dating a delightful girl much younger than myself, with the whole world ahead of her. She is smart, educated, working on a career, with real life goals. She is going to two weddings this year alone and had already been engaged once. So clearly she is moving in a direction. I would love to go with her, but I've got a massive dragon on my back and even though I made it through bachelors degree in art school and masters in fine art, even had a show in New York, and lived abroad. I've spent the last twelve years surviving bipolar, and I cannot find a way to justify dragging her through that life with me. I spend most of my time alone and I am contemplative and existential. Morality and ethics comes up quite often, to varying degrees. After two months of distance in our relationship and the last month of hardly even seeing each other or talking, really, I concluded that it is amoral for me to continue a relationship knowing what my life consists of and witnessing the unfathomable potential she has before her. I dunno, I have valued her friendship most of all, but nobody likes to hear that.

To new beginnings.
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Last edited by Gath; 05-24-2020 at 05:27 AM.
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  #554  
Old 05-24-2020, 06:46 AM
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New beginnings, brother.

New beginnings.

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Old 06-17-2020, 05:02 PM
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I thought this was a wonderful post! Thank you!
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