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NEW VIDEO: I Replaced Gaming With Real Life (Nicco Transformation)

Breaking out of brain jail journal


jailbreaker.

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Tried to go 2 days without video games. Felt fine the first day. Played guitar, journaled in my notes, and read a book. But on the second day, I felt physical aches, almost like longing to play videogames. Ended up playing on the third day, once I decided that I'd finish the story in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, but only after...

1) I'd devised a plan on how to do that most efficiently,

2) What hobbies I'd do in the meantime, and

3) What I'd do with my Switch after I finish the game. This will be my last videogame.

For the first one:

I'm about 19 hours into the game, and it's about 45 hours for one playthrough. So, if I play two hours a day, it'll be about 13 days before I finish the story. I know I can just watch a playthrough of the story on YouTube or something, but I'd rather go all out on my last game than stop halfway through. I'm going to limit my play time to two hours a day, only after I eat dinner (still a lot, but a vast improvement from before) until I finish. After that, I'll delete my save data for all of my games and archive them for one of my friends to redownload and play without having to pay for them (more on that later).

In the meantime, when I'm not playing videogames, I'm going to practice guitar, journal, read books, play DnD with friends, and go on walks, among other things. Very much going to appreciate and savor these last few days before I have to get a job and work on getting back to school. Feeling so blessed that my family has housed and fed me for free for so many months since I did my medical withdrawal from college.

Going to try to limit my overall screentime, not just videogames. I don't use social media anymore (been off of it for a while), so I don't have to deal with that, thankfully. Mainly going to use my phone for talking to friends and family, looking up stuff, my tuner app, Duolingo, and getting in touch with the community here on Game Quitters.

Side note 1: Do y'all think DnD counts as a video game? I do it online with my friends, but it's almost all just theater of the mind anyway.

Side note 2: I know Duolingo is sort of like a videogame, but it's the best free resource I have right now for learning Spanish. I'll replace it with Olly Richards's StoryLearning once I've got a job and can pay for it. Then, eventually, I'll go back to college and take a Spanish class there when it fits into my schedule.

Back to the main plan!

For what to do with my Switch afterward:

As I said earlier, I'm gonna delete all of my save data and archive every digital game on it. After that, I'm gonna clean it and then hide it away in a sealed box for 90 days, so that I'll just forget about it and not feel tempted to redownload those games.

During that time, I'll find a job and get working so that I'll have something to do and some money in the bank. I'll also work on figuring out how to get back to college, at least part-time.

After I hit 90 days, when my cravings are definitely gone, I'm gonna try to sell the Switch to one of my friends for cheap. I'll be leaving my profile and the restore data for the digital games on there for them to redownload so they don't have to pay for the games. Gonna change my account password to whatever they want it to be so they'll remember it. (I trust that my friends wouldn't buy new games using my account. They'll be getting a hell of a deal, so they better not lmao) And they can just edit the profile to make it their own if they want.

Once my Switch is gone, I'll have already been starting to rebuild my life. Seems like a pretty solid plan, no?

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Plan's working out fine, so far. Haven't binge-played since I started cutting down game time to two hours. Going to sleep before midnight now, too. That's helping. Not sleeping in until 1 in the afternoon anymore lmao.

Just got back from my friends' place. Played Black Ops III zombies with them for like thirty minutes; had a great time! I let them know that I'll be quitting gaming in about two weeks for my mental health. They were super cool about it; very understanding. Nice to have friends who accept me for who I am.

I'm gonna try a gratefulness journal, even though it feels corny and cringey to me. I've gotten too focused on my future plans, and I gotta appreciate what I've got right now. Not gonna let these beautiful sunny days pass me by.

  • Definitely grateful for the weather today. Lovely breeze.
  • Grateful for my Spotify account, where I can listen to any music I want to instantly. Beautiful!
  • Love that my family is supporting me in my endeavors to get back to life, even after all the shit I've put them through.
  • Love my friends! So great to spend time with them every now and then.
  • Grateful that I can borrow my mom's car and visit my friends relatively easily.
  • Grateful I've got enough food, and a roof over my head.
  • Access to clean water.
  • My phone, the Internet, this forum and the community.
  • Everything, really. Life is improving now that I've cut down on game time.
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Another day, another bout of daydreaming about having a pet tortoise. I don't think it's a financially sound decision at the moment, and won't be for a while, but it's nice to imagine a little tortie scuffling around in it's little habitat. I really only like them because

1) They are adorable, and

2) They live a really long time.

I'm a very practical person, even when it comes to pets. It'd cost me more money to get a cat in the long run, and cost me more emotionally, because eventually I'd have to see the kitty go. A tortoise will live a long, long time, though.

My old cat just passed away recently, as a matter of fact. April 4th. She was living with a friend of mine, since my stepdad won't allow pets.

Luckily I got to visit her a couple of days before she died, even though it was hard to see her like that. I won't go into the details, because it hurts to think about, but the part that struck me the most about her was that she wouldn't look any of us (my mom, my brother, or me) in the eye. It was like she was ashamed for us to see her like that. I'd known this cat for over half of my life; since I was seven years old. (For reference, I'm twenty now.) I knew that's just how she got when she was in pain. But to see her in that state... I'm just glad she's not suffering anymore. 

My cat's passing really hit me hard. I was already feeling depressed and empty, but when she died, I just didn't know what to do with myself. That was when I started really bingeing videogames this month. All that overstimulation of my brain, mixed in with the overwhelming grief... I created a soul-sucking recipe that, when consumed, made me feel even more empty inside than I did before. Numb.

I even started identifying with the numbness, it was so pervasive. About a week ago, I told my mom, interrupting whatever conversation we were having, just dropping it on her out of nowhere, "The cat's dead, mom." I didn't feel a shred of remorse in that moment. I just felt indifferent, which, in my opinion, can be worse than hatred. She started sobbing, "What? Why would you say that?" And then I just walked away, back to my room. One of the cruelest things I've ever done in my life.

Somehow, my conscience stirred right after I closed my door. I opened it back up and went to go apologize and comfort her. She cried on my shoulder, but I still felt empty inside. Said I was just glad she wasn't suffering anymore, just like I wrote earlier.

That was all I could feel in that moment. I didn't feel sorry at all. God, I hope I never feel like that again.

Anyway, long story short, I started wondering why I didn't feel anything at all. A past version of me would never have said that. That was when I started realizing that it was my gaming addiction that had sucked the life out of me; all my empathy. I started doing some research. Looked through Reddit forums, psychology articles; scoured my own memories... My conscience finally woke up.

I apologized to my mom again, but this time I wanted to rebuild our relationship. I said I knew why I did that to her. It was my gaming addiction, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to give it the boot. I made a proposal: Maybe we could work together to help solve each other's bad habits (she has a bit of a drinking problem). She agreed, and we now had a deal. 

The next day, she sent me a text with this Game Quitters article: https://gamequitters.com/how-gaming-affects-your-mental-health/, and that's how I found this forum. I can't express how much finding this community has helped me gain confidence in my future. I thought I was done for; just gonna live the rest of my life working a minimum-wage job with nothing but games to comfort me. But then I found you guys, thanks to my mom!

Love ya, mom. I'll do my best to help you out, too.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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When I started writing this at 11:30 PM, I thought it would only take 20 minutes max... I thought wrong...

 

Getting closer to finishing Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. I've stuck with the 2-hour maximum, and it's just enough time for me to do what I need to advance the story. 25/45 hours so far. Life is good, overall, now that I'm not feeling numb from over-gaming.

I've been investing my newfound time in music. I've been a band kid since I was in fifth grade, so no surprise there. I've been playing more guitar, learning new handshapes for it, but I've also been branching out into writing lyrics now, too. I've had good English teachers in the past (lucky? or was it my privilege? or both? idk), and I've attended a great poetry workshop about liberation and speaking truth to power. I'm very grateful that the workshop leaders and the participants allowed me to attend and share my poetry and perspective as a white ally. It was a privilege to get my privilege checked XD. Anyway, here's a brief explanation of the song before you read the lyrics:

 

"living in a real-life apocalypse rn"

As a former white moderate, I'm telling white moderates that they need to leave their old, colonized ways of doing things behind (i.e. capitalism), and actually help solve the issues they complain about so much in their worn-out echo chambers. Get angry, hold yourself and your community accountable for your actions. Band together to stop capitalism from overwhelming us with its deception (e.g. spreading mis- and dis-information, etc.), keeping us trapped in the cycle of endless consumption that enables modern-day slavery in the midst of the climate crisis.

 

One more thing: Please try not to imagine as you read this that you're hearing a crusty old white man in a blue polo shirt and khakis try his best to karaoke-rap with a 90's hip-hop beat in the background to other crusty old white men sitting in foldable chairs at Richard's 60th birthday party (the big 6-0!). Ha now you can't stop imagining that, can you? Mwahahaha >:) (jk when i make a tune to go with it, find it on spotify to hear what it really sounds like.)

 

"living in a real-life apocalypse rn" (by jailbreaker.) or, alternate title: "richard's 60th birthday party" (don't know which one I'll use yet...)

 

Intuition, a mission, volition,

See past lies, be past lives, leave crass ties,

Desert, does hurt, did hurt, it will hurt,

Got wavery skies, on the horizon,

so bravery rise,

Behavery wise, so slavery dies.

 

(instrumental break - two measures)

 

Every day, this battle, this war, this maze,

Every night, this s***, this breeze, we fight,

 

Smell is wafting up nose,

Hell is lofting gup bose,

Deal is proffin' up those,

souls, souls, souls.

 

Memes, mans, Mayans,

Beams, bans, buyin's,

Schemes, sans, science,

tryin', fryin', cryin',

Seems man's dyin',

Why in,

The hell,

Are you just,

Sitting there?

 

(Chorus) (x2)

Breakin' out of brain jail,

Don't care if I've made bail, or no.

Breakin' out of brain jail,

Please hold on if I fail, oh-oh.

 

(instrumental break - seven measures)

 

Man, see the truth, be the truth, free the truth.

De-mystify, Re-wistify, Be-pissed if I,

Don't follow through, don't wallow dew, don't hallow you.

 

Presence, essence, lessons. (x3)

 

Don't be dumb, don't be numb,

Don't we know, how to love?

Everyone, just hum, this tune, this moon,

Everywhen, everyhow, everywhere, everynow.

 

(Chorus) (x2)

Breakin' out of brain jail,

Don't care if I've made bail, or no.

Breakin' out of brain jail,

Please hold on if I fail, oh-oh.

 

(End)

 

Feel free to read my explanations of stuff below. Or not, it's chillin'. Richard's 60th birthday party is still on, like a silent, joyful scene in a medication commercial on TV in the background. Side effects include... Talk to your doctor if you...

 

 

My extensive (yet still incomplete) list of side notes explaining what the hell that all means:

  • crass = lacking sensitivity, refinement, or intelligence (fancy way of saying ridiculous)
  • wavery = my way of just rhyming "wavering" with bravery and slavery
    • Explanation of the line it's in:
    • trying to say, "the sky is falling, rise up, end slavery," with the imagery of a heat wave (worsened by climate pollution) in mind
      • the prison-industrial complex and agro-industrial complex are just two examples of the U.S.'s systems that perpetuate the equivalent of modern-day slavery (look it up)

 

  • gup (noun) = foolish talk, nonsense (Merriam-Webster)
    • Explanation of line it's in:
      • I'm not religious, I just use biblical reference to spice things up, but basically saying that hell is spewing up (lofting) poisonous nonsense and misinformation (gup) onto the surface, like volcanic ash and fumes
  • bose (verb) = (usually archaeology) to strike the ground with an object to determine, from the resulting sounds, what lies underground. (Wiktionary)
    • Explanation of line it's in:
      • I mean to use this as a command, kind of like, "go and learn for yourself what foul corruption lies beneath the surface of your daily experience"
        • speaking to how racism and classism and all the bad-isms are pervasive in everything we see, like under the shiny surface of a McRib's smooth, delicious buns, for instance.
        • Yes, I said smooth, delicious buns. It's to demonstrate a common distraction from reality that capitalism uses. Ladies and gentlemen and esteemed they/thems, I present to you: thirst traps. But that's for another time. Back to my lyrics lmao

(skip this sort of irrelevant tangent about the word "bose," if you dare >:)

    • This isn't how I'm using it in the song, but I like another metaphor around "bosing," because it can illustrate how a privileged white person can hear an underprivileged person of color's story of institutionalized, hellish trauma/conditions, and try to understand it, but can never really truly see it for themselves first-hand.
    • It's like it's underground to a lot of white moderates (who are usually privileged in some way); out of sight entirely, and all they get is a sound wave that informs them that it's there. A little ping on our phones, for instance: "breaking news."
    • It also speaks to how some white people, when they hear these stories of hellish trauma/conditions, they pretend to dig it up like it's some kind of lost ancient treasure, and present it to the world, like: "I discovered this!"
      • Maybe they're trying to uplift the person's story and spark outrage on the surface, but really it's just for clout so they don't "look racist."
      • I've done this myself in the past, before I realized why I was doing it. Like, "Look at me, I'm outraged at this! You should be too!" but then I didn't actually do anything about it, sooooo....it's a bit of a childish, pith-hemet-colonizer-archaeologist thing to do. Just sayin'.
      • Back when I was using social media, to avoid doing that useless "not looking racist" thing, I made sure I only reposted on my story either 
        • 1) informative resources and/or
        • 2) actionable items like petitions and donation links.

 

(resuming the more relevant information now)

  • beams
    • trying to use multiple-entendre here to communicate the confusion that is so pervasive due to
      • the spread of misinformation and nonsense (gup),
        • which is spurred on by the bans (archaic term for curses)
        • of capitalism's (buyin's) schemes
  • sans (preposition) = without (Oxford Languages)
    • you've probably seen this from the font "comic sans" meaning "funny... not! ha, but it's actually funny see what i did there"
    • describing capitalism's schemes as "sans science," meaning "without knowledge of any kind" (archaic meaning for science), or, in plain terms, just dumb.
    • Another meaning: Capitalist systems are built off of colonization, which traditionally excludes indigenous knowledge in order to promote white supremacy. 
      • Thus, it sorely lacks a vast amount of valuable knowledge built of off centuries of indigenous science, simply because of dumb racist biases--capitalism is dumbbb
  • tryin', fryin', cryin': talking about the resulting burnout and depression that capitalism, materialism, and inequity often causes

 

  • Re-wistify: I know I'm using a lot of archaic terms, but just bear with me here. 
    • wist: past tense of archaic use of "wit" which means
      • "to have knowledge"
        • so basically I'm just saying "Remember," but it rhymes with de-mystify lol
  • wallow: (of a person) indulge in an unrestrained way in (something that creates a pleasurable sensation) e.g. wallow in despair
    • Explanation of line that it's in:
      • I'm saying, "Be angry; hold me accountable if I don't truly and indulgently appreciate the beauty of the way the sun reflects off of the morning dew"
  • hallow: uncommon term meaning "to honor as holy," like "hallowed/sacred ground"
    • I want someone to be angry and hold me accountable I don't truly respect them and honor their presence.

 

If you've read this whole thing, congratulations, you've made it to the end! I'm going to bed now.

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Whew, another day has passed. I'm eating a lot better now. When I would binge-game, my body would just forget that it needs food until I was starving. That was obviously not great for my health.

 

I made a first draft recording of my song, but it sounds too awful to post on anything, so you can't hear it yet! It's a work in progress. Didn't even use an original beat, anyway, so that's gotta change still, along with a million other things.

 

I feel dissatisfied with my progress towards my goals. Maybe that's because I haven't even clearly listed them all yet... yeah, guess I should do that.

 

My main short-term goals right now:

1) Start planning my days and weeks out again

2) Start eating and sleeping more consistently

3) Get a job

4) Put a workout routine into effect

5) Get back to school

6) Find a community with shared hobbies/interests

 

Main long-term goals:

1) Graduate with a bachelor's degree and work/intern experience under my belt

2) Be able to speak, understand, and read Spanish (including slang) at an intermediate level at least

3) Travel to Costa Rica! Maybe Peru, too?

4) Have a healthy romantic relationship (for once)

5) Get a pet (maybe a tortoise, maybe a cat, idk, we'll see)

6) Find a good career that involves teaching.

 

This last goal of mine I'm not entirely sure about. I know I'm good at teaching: I've tutored friends and kids before, and everyone I know says I would make a great teacher. I guess I don't know why I would want to do that as a career, though. I mean, sure, helping a future generation find their way in life and achieve their goals is a pretty noble goal, but I teach only when I feel like it's absolutely necessary. Yes, teachers are always in high demand, because it's such an important job, but is that what I want to do to help people? I just don't know for sure.

 

What puts me off about an education career is that I'd likely need to get a master's degree in order to land a good job. I don't have any good motivation to want to work toward that. Ugh, grading papers all the time sounds grueling, too. I'd rather be risking my life as a firefighter than doing something as dreadful as that.

 

I do know that I want to be a teacher in some way, though. Maybe not in the traditional sense, like a classroom instructor, but a guide to those in need, someone who's supportive and caring, and always has a good bit of knowledge and wisdom to share. Whatever wisdom, stories, and compassion I have, I want others to have them, too, if they ever need them.

 

It sounds a lot like I'm leaning towards being either a musician, a writer, or a therapist there, but I don't wanna be those either. I like doing music and writing as a hobby, but I feel like trying to make a living of it would just get old fast, and wouldn't be very successful, financially. Therapy might be a suitable profession for someone like me, though, I suppose. I'm always willing to see the good in people; willing to try to support them. I do have a bit of anxiety, but I can work on that. My struggle with mental illness has given me plenty of experiential knowledge, which, when paired with book-learning, would make an epic combo of knowledge.

 

I do see how it could be emotionally taxing, though. I'd basically be sharing a bunch of people's burdens and still expected to keep my composure. I could do it if I had more support of my own, I guess...

 

I never really thought that it would be the logical conclusion, but it seems like therapy could be the best idea out of all of those. Not teaching at a school, not music, not writing...

Not even ecology, which I thought I wanted to do for the longest time. Ever since middle school, until a few months ago, I had this dream of studying bizarre and beautiful creatures, before they went extinct. I felt a sense of urgency to experience all of nature's wonders and try to conserve as much biodiversity as possible. I do still believe it's an urgent issue, but I don't know if I'm really cut out to be living in unfamiliar environments and trying to do all that math at the same time.

 

Math is what always gets me. Ugh. I don't know why, it's just never been my strong suit. I mean, I'm not bad at it, but I feel like I have to study it twice as much as my other subjects in order to comprehend and remember all that junk. I'll leave the math to people who are good at it, and who can handle all that monotony.

 

So, therapy, huh? Fascinating... I don't feel any resistance against it in my head or my heart... Why do I want to be a therapist, though? I don't know. Do I really even want to be one? I should look into that more.

 

I should probably say how grateful I am that I have the privilege to even consider all these different career paths as viable options. I can't even imagine how much it must suck to be stuck as a migrant field worker, or as a factory worker, or as a sewer maintenance worker, or a garbage truck driver... I guess I have a thing against bad smells.

But their conditions are usually far worse than just bad smells. Migrant field workers are often subject to slavery-like conditions, factory workers are often forced to keep working even after an injury, sewer maintenance workers face the possibility of getting some gross disease every day and bringing that home to their families, and garbage trucks sometimes explode because flammable materials were tossed into the trash compactor, not to mention all the early-morning shifts.

There are so many jobs I wouldn't ever wanna do. The people who do those jobs are truly the ones that make the world go round, though. I appreciate them, and they definitely deserve as much support as possible towards getting the best working conditions and pay. Hell, I'd be a migrant farm worker if it paid well, came with free health insurance, offered a guaranteed union membership and paid time off, commission, and had basically every workplace protection that migrant farmers don't have right now. Gosh, there's so much work to be done just to get migrant farm workers basic workplace protections. Jeez.

Oof. I should hit the hay. Night.

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Ah damn. Well, I won't lie. No point in that. I stayed up late playing Fire Emblem. I was at a critical point in the story, where I could have caused it to go to either the good ending or the bad ending. Spoiler alert! Lol not like anyone on this forum will be playing it anytime soon, but for those interested in the story, spoiler alert.

 

My first playthrough of the battle, I just blindly went down the bad path; tried to exact revenge on the Ashen Demon (my mortal enemy up till that point). He got away, and instead I had to defeat his father. I did, but while I was busy taking him down, an ally of mine got killed by the Ashen Demon, and there was nothing I could do about it! This just didn't sit well with me. Even if it is a game, and these are all fictional characters, I wasn't about to let my ally die on my watch. So I reset the game and tried to prevent that from happening.

 

It took me a few tries, and that's what kept me up so long. I eventually succeeded, thankfully. I probably wouldn't be able to sleep tonight if I hadn't done that. I just had to help everyone I could; prevent as much death and destruction as possible. I've always taken the games I play seriously like that. The way I see it, they're like a training ground for real life; a way to practice doing the right thing and making those tough decisions, with the ability to start over as many times as I need to in order to get it right. I've always just been trying to learn how to be the best person I can by playing video games in that way, really. Trying to learn as much as I could from every mistake, as well as every success, so that I could take on the real world with the most steadfast morals and ethics I could get. Of course, it's no substitute for real-life experience, but it's been especially helpful in making great friends, among other things. Unfortunately, I did often use it as a substitute for real-life experience in the past. But as soon as I quit, I'll no longer need this crutch.

 

Since I spent so much time playing it, I should say that I mostly played Smash Bros. for different reasons. I wasn't always trying to better my personality and decision-making skills. I played that game and other fighting games because...

 

  1. Well, it was a fun challenge. I could do it over and over again, and always improve. I suppose it was a way for me to put my reflexes, experience, strategic planning, and intuition to the test against skilled people. I really enjoyed the thrill of going against a tough opponent, so much so that I ended up binge-playing until my eyes were sore and red, and I had a headache.
  2. More often than not, nostalgia was what drew me back in. I love the music, for one, but nothing beats the feeling of duking it out as one of your favorite characters from your favorite games. It's designed to suck you in and keep you playing. Not gonna give in any longer to that allure of videogame nostalgia. I may still listen to the music every now and then, but I'll be doing stuff with my life simultaneously; not just staring at a screen, pressing buttons, and making reactionary noises. (Oof! Agh! Yikes! ooooo.... Ha! Yuss.. and so on and so forth.)
  3. It was an escape from everything. Late into my first year of college, my depression and anxiety were ganging up on me, beating me up mentally and emotionally. It got to be physically taxing when I played Smash Bros. to try to escape this pain, only to find myself not eating as much as I should. I was so distraught and afraid, I couldn't even walk to the dining hall anymore. When food was running low in the dorm, I ended up having to live off of dry cereal and graham crackers. I was miserable, to say the least. I was so focused on trying to avoid my pain, but I just made it worse.

 

It didn't help that I'm great surviving on low amounts of food for extended periods of time. I've practically trained myself to do so since high school. Always diligently working away at my studies, or playing videogames to take my mind off things, I just forgot to eat sometimes. Or, I got in just barely enough calories to burn through some homework, and then I ate a small meal afterwards. And, of course I often stayed up very, very late studying. I felt almost nocturnal at one point. Something about everyone else being asleep just really helps me focus... But, anyway, it wasn't healthy.

 

Kind of ironic that when I tried to adopt better eating and sleeping habits in college, I ended up being even worse off than before. I decided not to study so damn much all the time, and rest more; spend more time eating; spend more time eating with my friends, especially. Hoo boy, was that a bad decision. Since I didn't study as much, I started playing video games even more. Got sucked in for so much time that I started neglecting and failing classes. Failing classes was not something I was used to. A's and B's are more my style, if you catch my drift. In addition to this, having less privacy in the dorms than at home caused my to my auditory hallucinations to get worse. So, I now had to contend with my harrowing fear of failure and my paranoia, both at once. Man, hearing angry, ridiculing voices, on top of failing something I've been good at most of my life? Not fun. So, what did I do? I played even more videogames. It all snowballed into a really awful, crushing bout of depression. Wanted to die, or run away, or just stay in bed all day until I fell asleep.

 

But somehow, I didn't die. I survived. I blame my friends and family for that miserable outcome XD.

 

Didn't run away, either. Although I failed all of my spring quarter classes last year, I still tried to fight on in the fall. Didn't work out too well. My paranoia was far from over. It got worse, actually. Had to hospitalize myself because I felt like I was being such a nuisance to everyone with my problems. If I was going to be living in an apartment with 7 of my friends, I didn't want to slow them down on their path to achieving their goals. I wanted to support them as best I could, and spend quality time with them. But it turned out I just couldn't. I had too much on my plate with this mental illness stuff. I even ended up hospitalizing myself after a mental breakdown back in late October, and my friends supported me with that. Thanks, guys.

 

Getting to the ER was pretty terrible. Long story short, I wasn't originally trying to get to the ER. It was around 1 in the morning, and I was trying to get to specific mental health facility. Buuuut, my Uber driver dropped me off at the wrong address. Then a friendly security guard tried to drive me to the right place, twice. I probably looked homeless, with my backpack and cap on, beard all un-trimmed. Very grateful he was kind. Anyway, the first place we tried turned out to be just somebody's house. Once the security guard dropped me off, I had to walk down this dark street, by myself, in the middle of the night, just to get there. I knocked on the door. A dog started barking. I said, "Hello? Is this a place where I can get help for my mental illness? I'm in a bad way right now, and really need help." No response. At that point I started realizing this was not the right address. I apologized profusely and left before they called the cops on me. They did call the cops on me, though, and they were there in a jiffy. As I was walking back up the street, I passed the cop car, looking into their headlights, just waving, like, "I may be crazy, but I'm not dangerous! Sorry to cause a disturbance, pigs -- I mean, officers!" I didn't actually say anything, but you get what I mean.

 

Crisis averted, I walked back to the place where the security guard was posted. He came out again and I explained what happened. He was like "Ahh, yeah, I had a feeling that was the wrong place." "Why did you drop me off there, then, dude?" I wanted to ask, but hey, I know better than to look a gift horse in the mouth. So, I just said, "Yeaahhh, me too... Anyway, would you be able to drive me to the right place this time?" He said sure and dropped me off at the mental health facility. 

 

I was certain they would help me. But what do I read on the front door as soon as the security guard drives away? "No Emergency Mental Health Services," or something like that. On the website, it said it had emergency mental health services, though!! Ugggh. I knocked on the door anyway, though; tried to get someone's attention. A security guard, who was older and not as friendly as the guy who just taxied me around town, just pointed to the sign and just told me to go to the ER. I wasn't done with him yet, though. My phone was at like 2% battery, but I needed it for GPS! I have a terrible sense of direction. Literally, I've gotten lost just going in a straight line before XD. He said there was a gas station up the road from there where I could get a charger. So, I headed off in that direction.

 

Guess what? Closed. Tried the fast food places nearby, but nobody let me borrow their charger. I was some random kid with a scruffy beard, wearing a big backpack. I bet they thought I would just steal their charger. Bluh, whatever. Doesn't matter. Before my phone died, I tried to memorize the route to the ER. I couldn't. As I was walking, my phone died. Just had to go off of pure intuition. 

 

Somehow, even after all that, I made it to the ER, thank god. Took me about 15 minutes of walking in complete uncertainty, but I made it. I checked in, and they asked me some questions. The one question I couldn't answer with certainty was this one: "Do you feel like you may be a danger to yourself or others?" I said definitely not others, but I'm not sure about myself. I'd been having a lot of suicidal thoughts. They responded to my concerning answer by plopping me in a gurney with little cage walls on the sides of it, in the middle of a hallway, and having at least two supervisors on me the whole time I was there. God, that was embarrassing. They didn't even let me go to the bathroom on my own. I guess they were just doing their job, but still. They fed me, talked to me, and gave me water, though, so it was kind of okay.

 

I wasn't expecting to be stuck in that hallway for like 12 hours straight, though, from about 3 AM to 3 PM. Jeez. My only comfort through most of it was this little Pocket Thich Nhat Hanh book that I kept with me, since they had my backpack and stuff. I was surrounded by chaos most of the time, too. I could hear everything going on: one extremely narcissistic mentally ill patient arguing with the ER psychologist, a woman (who I think later befriended at therapy) drunkenly yelling at the front desk staff about her dead son, people wailing in pain from their injuries... But in the midst of all that, I still heard laughter and calm conversation. I felt kinda traumatized from everything that was happening that night, but I could still appreciate how amazing how resilient hospital staff people are.

 

My mom visited me at around 12 PM. I had already been stuck in that hallway for 9 hours at that point! Most of the time, I had just trying to avoid eye contact and pretend to be a good little boy, reading my little Buddhist book happily. I was tired, but couldn't sleep. I was scared, but couldn't run. Being in that gurney for so long, smack-dab in the middle of the chaos was definitely not helping with that traumatized feeling, either. Try being stuck in a gurney, in a busy ER hallway, for 9 hours, after a mental breakdown and another already crazy experience, and you'll see what I mean XD. Anyway, she brought me a little notebook. It had a purple, flowery, holographic design on the cover. Blue butterflies flitted around the beginning of the Serenity Prayer, which was written in flowy script:

 

"God grant me:

the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

courage to change the things I can,

and the wisdom to know the difference."

 

(Having read Slaughterhouse-Five, which uses it as the dopey, yet somehow Christ-like main character's way of saying, "I guess I know I can't change anything, so I might as well just not try to do anything..." I just kinda laughed at it. The guy is "unstuck" in time, and feels like he has no control whatsoever of his life. So, he basically just becomes a nihilist and drifts through life with no ambitions or goals whatsoever. Eventually, he does try to prove the existence of 4th-dimensional space aliens, but that's the only thing he ever really tries to do, and he fails. I guess I could relate to that sense of heavy, yet sort of freeing nihilism he feels during my depressive episodes. Anyway, it gave me a laugh.)

 

With this notebook, and the pen that the supervisors acquiescingly allowed me to use, I tried to write down a bunch of thoughts to calm myself down amidst all the chaos of the hospital: What are some negative thoughts I'm having? What positive thoughts am I having? I listed them and tallied every thought that repeated itself.

 

I could feel the supervisors' gazes bearing down on me as I scribbled out my thoughts. But didn't wanna lose my mind and let my paranoia get the best of me, so I wrote down my various answers to: What do I value? What am I afraid of? What's really happening around me? etc. I talked to my mom for a bit, but it was a weekday, and she had to get back to work. She stayed for as long as she could, but eventually she had to leave. So, I talked to a supervisor when my mom left. Very nice, but obviously very cautious about not saying too much about herself. I get it. I mean, I could've been some crazy serial killer for all she knows. It was awkward, but it helped to pass the time.

 

That wasn't the end of all the craziness, though. I'll cover the rest of the story in the next entry. Right now, I've gotta go to sleep. Jeez, 5 AM, huh? Alright, good night. Or, good morning, I guess.

 

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Hmm, I wanna say today was productive, but it really wasn't. Unless you count curating playlists all day as productive. Meh, it's the weekend, and it's a hobby of mine. I bet I would be making mixtapes if I were born a couple of decades earlier. There's just something so satisfying about hearing all my favorite songs in a precisely arranged order, a certain flow that I've designed.

 

Alright, back to the crazy story:

 

After a full 12 hours of being held under close surveillance in that chaotic ER hallway, finally, a nurse came by and said it was almos time to go. Sure enough, a couple of minutes later, some dudes came along and said, "Alright! You ready to go, bud? Sorry it took so long." I just replied with a "Yeah, no problem, I'm ready." I didn't feel like telling them how traumatized or tired I was, or show how wobbly my legs were from lying in that gurney for so long. They were just gonna drive me to that mental health facility that apparently offered "No Emergency Mental Health Services" and be out of my life.

It was a short ride. They walked me into the facility's patient entrance. I was greeted by some nice folks, and they checked my pulse and blood pressure. I was in. Ha, sounds like a heist. Nothing of value to steal there, unfortunately, though. No heist for me. Sigh.

 

I was in a better mood now that I was finally at the place I wanted to be. But as soon as I walked into the floor where they keep the short-term patients, I knew I had made a big mistake. As I entered, I noticed a few things. It was small. Most of it was just a hallway, save for the doors leading into one common room, the "quiet room," the snack bar, the "interrogation room," as I like to call it, and the main office. There were no windows looking outside, only little lights on the ceiling with images of cloudy skies on them. There were no clocks, either.

I could hear a movie playing on a TV down the hall as they took me into the "interrogation room." It's really called the "interview room" or something, but the way it looked said otherwise. It was a light grey, mostly empty room, save for the two chairs facing opposite of each other. I felt like I had just entered a renovated mausoleum. Ha, the best part was the big red button on the wall across from the door. I was so curious to see what would happen if I pressed it, but I resisted the temptation. After all, I was trying to prove that I wasn't a danger to anyone around me. There was a window looking out into the hallway, in case I tried anything funny I guess.

 

A nice Black lady interviewed me first; asked me all those questions about my symptoms and why I'm there. Even after all that ER stuff, and the fact that I had basically just entered a lifeless purgatory chamber, I was still able to joke around with her a bit about the red button. I always try to make someone smile if they've got a tough job, or if they're worried about me. In this case, this lady was both. It was a relief to hear someone laughing after all that craziness, too. Helped me maintain my composure when I was describing my symptoms and answering her questions. When I had answered all of her questions, she left, and then a blonde white lady interviewed me. Asked me some different questions that I don't  remember. She and the cold, colorless room made quite the pair. She had this blue-eyed stare that looked into my soul. It was kind of unnerving. That stare... I think she may have been severely traumatized by something in her life. There was pain hiding behind that calculating coldness. Interview two was done quickly. An assistant brought me some papers, I skimmed through them, and I signed 'em. So far, so good, I guess.

 

I think I was there for a day, but with no way of telling time, or even seeing the sun, I can't be sure. Time felt sluggish. Like it was dragging on indefinitely. The hum of the fake sky's ceiling lights was what time sounded like. Nothing about this place was comforting, except for the nice staff, sort of. That blue-eyed lady gave me the creeps, and one of the staff kind of treated me like a child, even though I was almost the same age as her. She brought me 1st-grade level word searches and a marker when I was in the "quiet room," always kinda talked down to me. There was this one really pretty staff member, though, also close to my age. I tried introducing myself when she had a free moment, but it was hella awkward. I could tell she was uncomfortable. I don't know if it was me making her uncomfortable, but it felt like it. I could understand why though. No doubt a bunch of male patients had hit on her before, or creeped her out, or harassed her in some way. Bet it got old interacting with them. 

 

After that conversation was when I started kind of losing my mind. I have a thing where I catastrophize about making other people uncomfortable, and it was a lot worse back when I was just starting to get help for it. After feeling like I had made her uncomfortable, I started going down the rabbit hole. "What if I was looking at her too much? Did I stare at her? What if I creeped her out? What if I'm just like all the other dudes who have probably harassed her?" and so on and so forth. It got to be so stressful that I had to hide myself in the "quiet room" and try to calm myself down.I don't ever want anyone to feel like people think I'm a weirdo, and I was afraid that I'd just made someone uncomfortable. This fear was magnified because it felt like everyone at the facility thought I was scary and crazy; unpredictable. They treated me okay, but I could see some fear in their eyes; this wariness, like I was some kind of wild animal.

 

My paranoia started nagging at me after a while of being in the "quiet room." I felt like I was being watched. My suspicions were soon confirmed when I saw, a few times, a male staff member looking in on me from afar, and then hiding back where I couldn't see him. I thought I was under special surveillance for some reason. "Keep an eye on that kid; he worries me," type thing. But I mean, now that I think of it, it makes sense that they would have a staff member monitor any patient that tries to be alone. If a mentally ill patient isn't being monitored, they may hurt themselves, and nobody would know about it until it was too late. Anyway, I confronted the guy and asked him about it, but he just dodged my question. That wasn't helpful at all. My paranoia only got worse after that.

 

In my unstable state of mind, I thought I was being perceived as a creep by all the female staff. I thought that when I waved to a lady, (trying to be friendly and cheerful in this drab, sunless tomb) it looked like I was reaching out to grope her. Or, if I even looked in the direction of a lady, I made them uncomfortable. So, I just hid in the quiet room to try to avoid making anyone uncomfortable. For about ten or twenty minutes, I could hear the female staff complaining about something. I couldn't help but overhear bits and pieces of what they said. Unfortunately, I assumed that they were complaining about me, and my brain filled in the rest.

 

If you don't already know, auditory hallucinations aren't always just disembodied voices. In my case, it's usually when I hear real people talking, but just out of earshot, and my brain sort of auto-fills what I don't fully hear. If the tone of voice is positive, I hear good stuff (compliments, funny jokes, etc.). If the tone of voice seems negative, I hear bad stuff (insults, complaints, annoyance, etc.). What makes it so mind-bending, though, is that my brain "personalizes" it towards me; makes whatever they're saying about me. So, I thought I heard them calling me a creep, and basically that all of my worst fears were being realized. Once they were done talking and left, I waited for a bit before I came out of the "quiet room." I brought it up to the assistant girl who treated me like a child, because she didn't seem too visibly uncomfortable or wary around me. Just like the dude I talked to before, she wasn't very helpful, either. She tried to reassure me that nobody called me a creep, or thinks I'm a creep; asked me, why would I think that? And I tried to explain it to her as best I could. When I mentioned that I thought I overheard some of the female staff calling me creepy, her demeanor shifted slightly. I noticed this and asked her, "Wait, did they actually say that?" Again she tried to reassure me, but it felt like she was lying. That was the worst feeling ever. I hate creeps with a passion, and now that I thought I was accused of being one, I felt awful. To try to make me feel better, the assistant gave me a Rick Steves book to read. At least she wasn't giving me baby puzzles anymore.

 

The only really good part of that whole purgatory-like experience was when I had a conversation with another patient there. He was a middle-aged Mexican guy, who said he'd been homeless for a few months now. When he couldn't afford to buy food anymore, and was hearing some really bad "demons," he went to the ER, and they eventually dropped him at the mental health facility we were at. He got diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar. I asked him if he had a family, and he said they're all back in Mexico, and he misses them. He had been trying to send them money from his job so they could immigrate, but he got laid off before enough money was raised. That's why he became homeless. I tried to assure him that he'd see his family again someday soon. He appreciated it, and said he hoped so. He was my only friend at that place. Haven't seen him since. I hope he's well, and that he sees his family soon.

 

In my next entry, I'll talk about my time at the hospital's psych ward, which is where I got transferred to after the mental health facility. Thanks for taking the time to read my stories, if ya did. Night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Today was a good day. Drove back to my hometown to see my brother. We went to the movies and saw the Dungeons & Dragons movie. Pretty great film! I can see why it got 90% on Rotten Tomatoes. Great character development, cinematography, humor, action, delicate moments... basically had it all. As someone who plays D&D pretty regularly, I can say it definitely did the game justice. I hope they make a sequel!

 

Returning to the hospitalization story:

 

After that mostly horrible day (I think it was about a day that I stayed there? There was no way of telling time in that place), the mental health facility released me back into the outside world, where an ambulance was waiting for me. God, it was so great to see the sun again; breathe in the fresh air. Can't even imagine what solitary confinement must be like if I was having such a rough time in that place. Wheww, okay moving on before I start complaining about the prison-industrial complex for an hour.

 

The ambulance ride was nice. I was strapped down to a gurney the whole time, (ha, like they thought I was dangerous! I'm the kind of guy who always tries to save a spider from being smushed and release it outside), but the chick who was in the back of the car with me was nice. (Sorry if anyone finds the term "chick" offensive. For me, it's just the equivalent of the word "dude" for young women. It's casual, and I only use it to describe females around my age - late teens or early twenties. English really needs a better word, though. If anyone's got one that's better than "chick," please let me know. But for the moment, I'll say "chick" like I would "dude.") She was white, a few years older than me, and had black hair. We were able to relate about anxiety, which helped ease the tension a little bit. There's always a little bit of fear from medical staff that a mentally ill person will act out of character unexpectedly. They can't let their guards down, I guess. But we were still chillin'. She told me about how she was taking anxiety meds, and I think she said she had to hospitalize herself, too, at one point. She made it through just fine, though, and said I would too. Talking with her made me feel a lot better about having gone through all that stuff before. She gave me some hope that it might all end up being worth it in the end. It was worth it, actually. I'm just telling you now so you're not held in suspense for the rest of the story.

 

By the time we got to the psych ward, I was pretty much raring to go see what it was like. I know the movies almost never accurately represent psych wards, so I was curious to see it for myself. Once I got to the patient intake room, I changed into some very comfy blue scrubs and purple socks that had rubber grips on the bottom. The tighty-whiteys weren't the most comfortable, but I got used to it soon enough. They made me sign some papers and gave me some food, since I had barely eaten anything at the mental health facility (had a horribly bland microwaved bean burrito, a tiny orange, and a few tortilla chips). They let me keep my Thich Nhat Hanh book and my Dalai Lama book this time. The Dalai Lama's Little Book of Inner Peace is what it's called. It had been in my backpack, and they had all my belongings still. I wasn't missing my phone too much. It was actually kind of nice to be somewhere where I didn't really need one. They let me have a notebook, a folder, and a marker, aside from my books. Apparently a pen could be used as a weapon. How that could happen is beyond me, but still, they gave me a marker.

 

They walked me to my room. There were two twin-sized beds, each with a nightstand. The sun was shining in on the room through the tinted window. Had a great view of the parking lot up on the third floor, hooey. So picturesque, that parking lot, a true masterpiece. Kidding of course, but I could see the outside world at least, which was an improvement from my recent situation. There was a clock in the hallway outside, too. All in all, this was looking to be a nice place, even if my standards were pretty low at the moment. It wasn't cramped, it had its own bathroom, with a toilet, sink, and shower, and, best of all, it felt safe. The whole psych ward felt safe, contrary to what some may assume about being around a bunch of mentally ill people. Everyone was so friendly, I was kind of astonished.

 

Soon enough, I met my roommate: a bald, middle-aged white guy with glasses; he was wearing the same scrubs-and-socks combo as me. From the moment I met him, I knew he obviously was on the autism spectrum. He wouldn't look me in the eye, and he always spoke in a kind of cryptic, slightly annoyed, playful way? Idk, that's the best I can describe it. He was intelligent, though, very perceptive and clever whenever I spoke with him. Probably was functional enough until he got hospitalized. When I asked for his name, he dodged the question, saying something like, "What point do names have? They're just labels, and I choose not to have one." So, from then on, I called him "Man with No Name." His real name, which I found out later from the staff, I shall not reveal to you, dear reader, mwahaha. Everyone in these stories will remain anonymous, and that's that. I was feeling pretty good after seeing the room and meeting my new roommate. Honestly, I was just glad I wasn't at that mental health facility anymore.

 

I made friends with a few folks right off the bat. I had nothing better to do, so I just walked around and met people. I was surprised at how many people there were around my age. I would say at least half of the folks there were, at most, a few years older than me. It was so great to share our stories about how we got there. I jokingly asked them, "So what're you in for?" like that classic cliché in movies when the jail inmates meet each other. This one Filipino guy, with long hair, a beard, and big glasses, was a firefighter-turned-librarian. I think he said he was just done with risking his life so often. One day, he saw another, less dangerous opportunity to help his community at the library, so he became a librarian. Don't remember how he ended up there, but he had some wild stories about his firefighting job. It would take too long to tell them, though, so I'll just say he was a brave dude. Another person I met was this half-Latina, half-Arab chick. Curly black hair, brown skin, hooked nose. She was studying to be a teacher, if I remember correctly. She appreciated my feminist, progressive attitude, so she appointed me as her male confidant/bodyguard to ward off whatever weird dudes she felt uncomfortable around. Don't remember why she was there either, though. Honestly, both of these new friends of mine seemed mentally healthy for the most part. But, we all had a medical diagnosis, I know that for sure. That's an interesting thing about mental illness and neurodivergence: it's not always apparent when you first meet a person, or only know a person for a week, like I did. You may even have an acquaintance or a friend who's mentally ill or neurodivergent in some way, but they're "passing" "normal." Ha, what even is "normal." What an arbitrary word.

 

By the way, I'm not just guessing people's ethnicities. I ask people politely how they identify, letting them know it's so that I can try to help them feel more comfortable and respected. I'm also trying to constantly question my own biases. I started doing this from a young age, because my own biological brother has darker skin than me, and more almond-shaped eyes, and people have mistaken for being Asian. He laughs it off most of the time, but he's told me it bothers him sometimes. My family isn't Asian on either side, he just inherited different genes than myself and my other brothers. My most recent ancestors on both sides of the family come from backgrounds where "white" people sometimes have brown skin: Sicilian, Romani, Jewish, etc.. Anyway, most people of color I've met (for lack of a better phrase; honestly, come on English!) appreciate a white guy like me being interested in their identity for the sake of trying to make them feel more comfortable and respected. You may already know this, but a lot of white people either completely avoid talking about race (mostly moderates), or they get way too into talking about race, and usually just end up just making fools of themselves (some liberals and plenty of progressives). (If you haven't experienced this firsthand like I have, just watch the Eddie Murphy movie called You People, and you'll get what I mean.) So that's why I just politely ask, instead of either avoiding it or making it the main topic of discussion. Anyway, I met plenty of nice folks there, and it was really nice to share stories and be able to relate with them about mental illness. We were all in the same boat, stuck at the psych ward, and we were making the most of it.

 

Coincidentally, the two friends I mentioned were both really into Smash Bros. like I was. We were all like, "Okay, so who's your main? Have you gone to any competitions? What's your GSP? (Global Smash Power - basically a worldwide online ranking. The higher it is, the more players you're better than at Smash Bros. Mine's well above 11 million, and has been above 12 million before. At that point, you get into the "Elite Smash" league, where you can only play with the best in the world. Yeah, that's how into Smash Bros. I was.) The Filipino dude said he started a Smash Club at the library, and the half-Latina, half-Arab chick said she played online a lot. I doubt either of them have played as much as I have, though. I mean, I started playing when I was... five? Yeah, 2008. I was basically born with a controller in my hand. Back then it was on the Wii. Then I upgraded to the 3DS version at home and the Wii U version at my after-school program in middle school, and then the Switch version a couple of years ago. I'm a true lifelong Smash Bros. player. Ha, not gonna play it anymore, though. I'm done with that life. Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes is The. Last. Videogame. I. Will. Ever. Play. Period.

 

I've gotta go to sleep, but I'll try to finish the story in my next entry. Night!

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Visited a park near my house today. The sun was out and it was comfortably warm. I settled down at a picnic bench and wrote down some thoughts and observations about the world around me.

 

Got a picture of a little blister beetle that I spotted near the bench. Taking up-close pictures of bugs is a weirdly enjoyable hobby of mine. There's so much to love about bugs that people just choose to ignore, simply because they look strange or they're afraid they'll crawl on them or fly at them or bite them or sting them. I mean, I'm afraid that a bug will crawl on me or fly at me or bite me or sting me when I'm trying to get a picture of it, but that doesn't hinder my curiosity about it, for some reason. I like to edit the photos after I take them, to make it an artistic hobby, too. And I don't just put a filter on it; I really go all out with adjustments. I've attached just a small sample of my favorites. I would send more, but there are just so many ones that I like, I'd end up sending all of them. I also do the same thing for flower pictures and some scenery if the lighting is right. I've attached a few of those as well. I really love seeing how I can bring a photo to a whole new planet of aesthetic ideas when I edit it.

 

By the way, these are all done just using my regular phone camera and the editing tools that are already built into the Images and Photos apps. Totally free if you wanna try it yourself! Word of advice, though: most of the time, I have to make the most adjustments I can , make a copy, then make more adjustments on that copy, then make another copy, etc. to get the dramatic effects you see in the end results.

 

I'll finish my story tomorrow, so that you can just appreciate these pictures in their own post 🙂

 

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Edited by jailbreaker.
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Nothing of significance happened today, other than finally completing this sci-fi D&D playlist that I've been working on for like 2 years. Okay, I guess that's pretty significant. I guess it just seemed insignificant because I've been picking away at the project little by little for so long. For an apt analogy, it's like when you're downloading a game and it's progressing by 1% every few minutes. You come back to it an hour later, and it's at like 40-something percent. That was after the first year of working on it. Another hour, it's at 80%. That was the second year. Then, it downloads the last 20%, super fast! That was the past few days. Feels strange to compare years to hours and days to seconds, but for some reason, it fits. It's almost like in videogames, where years can pass in a matter of hours of gameplay. Or, on the flipside, one can spend years playing a videogame, and it only feels like hours. Funny how that works.

 

Alright, time to quickly finish the story so I don't end up staying up until ungodly hours in the morning again:

 

I got along great with everyone at the psych ward, including my roommate. I normally have trouble sleeping whenever I have to share a room with someone, due to my anxiety, but I didn't really experience that there. Wonder if it was more a result of the meds they were giving me, or if it was more just how happy and comfortable I was there. When I say "happy" and "comfortable," I mean,

 

  1. They fed me twice as much food as I was normally eating in college, (including Gatorade and protein shakes to supplement my meals). When I asked the staff why they were feeding me so much, they were like, "That's just the normal amount of food someone eats. We give you protein shakes and Gatorade so you don't die of malnourishment." "Oh! Well, thanks, I guess." 
  2. We had MUSIC THERAPY group, which I absolutely loved, being a lifelong band kid myself. Basically a guy with a guitar came and played some tunes for us, and we all played little percussion instruments along with him. Such a blast. Oh, we even got to pick songs to share with everyone! He had a boombox and had it hooked up to Spotify, so the options were pretty much limitless. Probably my favorite part of the whole experience.
  3.  We even got to hang out outside a few times, on the little lawn they had near the street. Of course, there was a 10-foot-tall bar fence to keep us from running away, but it didn't feel like a cage or a prison. In fact, when we were kicking a soccer ball around, it reminded me of my elementary school days, when everyone played soccer together.
  4. How do I put this... there was an acceptance of diversity there. I've been in plenty of places where you can almost see a line of space separating white people and people of color, but this was not one of them. We all ate at the same tables, regardless of race, class, gender, age... It was how it should be. 

 

I think, aside from music therapy, my favorite and most memorable experience was this:

There was this Black chick, who was skinny, tall, had short curly hair. She was only a few years older than me, but she looked older. She didn't want anything to do with me, at first. I tried to introduce myself a few times; ask her if she'd seen the movie playing on the TV before, etc., but she would just ignore me as if I wasn't even there. I understood. She was going through a major depressive episode; that was clear enough. In addition, I'm well aware that some Black people just try to avoid white people in general, too. (If you're a white person reading this, read The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and you'll understand the basics around why.) After a few times of doing music therapy together, though, she saw that I wasn't a bad guy, and eased up a little bit. She went from not acknowledging my presence to playing instruments with me, having a blast. She didn't seem happy, per se, but she got really into it. On the last night that I was there, finally she introduced herself to me. She told me her story, about how she wound up at the psych ward. I wish I could remember more of it, but I just can't for some reason. Maybe it's because of the meds I was on? Not sure. But, what I do remember is that she encouraged me to travel. She had been a wanderer, traveling across the States for some years. Said she had so many beautiful experiences, and that I should go see what the world has to offer. When she was telling me about one of her adventures, I finally saw her smile! It was great.

 

That last night was the seventh I spent at the hospital. It was only a week, and it had gone by so fast. When the staff told me I was getting discharged, I felt a pang of sadness. I knew I'd probably never see any of my new friends again. The two friends I mentioned in a previous entry, (the firefighter-turned-librarian and the chick who wanted to be a teacher) we exchanged contact info, but I had a feeling it was just a nice gesture. If we had met under different circumstances, or stayed at the psych ward longer, maybe it would have felt like the relationships would last. Alas, we had only a week to get to know each other, and we all had to go our separate ways once we left the hospital. Still, if either of them messaged me, I'd definitely message back. They haven't yet, sadly, and neither have I. Maybe I should text them sometime.

 

My mom picked me up from the hospital, and I was back home. That's pretty much the whole hospitalization story. Hope you enjoyed it!

 

I think the next story I'll share will be about my time at group therapy. Definitely worth chronicling for my own memory's sake, and maybe you, dear reader, will have fun reading it? Stay tuned...

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Another day. Don't have anything interesting to share, except that I'm almost done with the Fire Emblem game. After that, it's zero video games for me, as I've said before.

 

So, group therapy... I started back in November of last year, a few weeks after I was discharged from the hospital. I did what they call a PHP, or a "partial hospitalization program" for most of my time there. Every day of the week, I had to get there at 9 AM and do therapy until 3 PM. Felt like I was going to therapy school. Thankfully, the staff and all the patients there were super cool; made it a lot less of a drag to get up in the morning. Ha, I say that as if I had to get up early. I guess I kind of got sick of getting up early after so many years of having to get to school at 7 AM. "Zero period" was worth it for band, though.

 

Anyway, every morning at around 8:30, a late-twenties, skinny white dude, who always wore a beanie and a turtleneck, would cart me over to the group therapy office in his silver minivan. Technically it belonged to the company, but I still call it "his" because that's the only car I ever saw him drive. And man did I see that minivan a lot. Made for a lot of time for those awkward driver-passenger conversations most people try to avoid whenever they're getting an Uber or other personal transportation. He was nice enough; chill to the max, really. He was a quiet guy, but the daily drives got less awkward as time went on. He had great taste in music, was really good at Spanish, and had a lot of intriguing stories to tell. He told me about his big cross-country road trip, his DJ'ing for a local radio station, this one time he almost got sucked into a cult, this one time he was face-to-face with a mountain lion, his time in college... for a guy who wasn't really that talkative, I'm kind of surprised how many stories he shared with me. I coaxed them out of him, of course, to try to make the drive less awkward, but still.

 

Beanie-and-turtleneck guy went to the same college I'm fortunate enough to be a part of. My main goal with therapy was to get better so that I could get back to school. Kind of like an athlete who had a major injury, and wanted to get back on the field as soon as possible. When I first started going, I had no idea that it would take me 6 whole months to even get close to recovering fully, which is where I'm at now. But hey, everyone told me to take my time, and so I did. Thank god my mom's insurance covered the therapy for as long as it did. I didn't go for the whole 6 months, but I did go for about a solid 3 and a half. Wasn't every day of the week the whole time, either. Switched over to an IOP (intensive outpatient program) which was only three days a week, but it was still a pretty solid chunk of my week.

 

As fascinating as my former schedule is, you're probably more interested in what group therapy was like, right? (If not, why do you like scheduling so much?) Alright, so I had already talked on the phone with the head of staff before I got there, to schedule my program. Five days a week. Ha, alright I'll stop talking about scheduling. When I met her in person, I was kind of amazed how pretty she was. She was one of those people who, when you see them for the first time, you can't help but blush, like, "Whoa, who's she?" She was a late-twenties, French Black lady with medium-length curly hair, a little nose, and super cute freckles. She had a sunny personality, and, to top it all off, a French accent. She would later tell me that she was a hardcore skater girl for much of her life, and she used to work at a homeless shelter with beanie-and-turtleneck guy. Basically, she was rad, and I was lucky to know her, let alone have her as a part of my group therapy team. She and I got along right away, since she had a great sense of humor.

 

Rad French lady interviewed me, and asked me about my symptoms, all that sort of stuff. It was tough to have to go through all that again, and I was experiencing some pretty awful side effects from my new meds at the time (I couldn't stop blinking - some kind of muscle spasm side effect), but she helped me through it. She was one of the sweetest people I've ever met, and I've met a lot of sweet people (fortunately). In a perfect world, everyone would be like Rad French lady. Ha, kidding. I appreciate everyone's individuality equally. Some people just stand out to me a little more, that's all :). Alright, enough of my rambling about how great Rad French lady was.

 

Soon enough, I joined an ongoing session of group therapy. There were four of us altogether, plus the therapist, all sitting in big blue velvety armchairs in a semicircle. This place had a very fresh, new feeling to it, like a new apartment or something. The group therapy room had a big touchscreen mounted on the wall, along with some framed abstract paintings. Very modern-looking. OH, and there were snacks on the counter behind where I was sitting. Ha, don't know why I got so excited about the snacks. I guess I was excited when I first saw them.

 

I won't go through the trouble of describing everyone in detail right off the bat. I'll talk about each of them as I go along. There was an older, graying white lady, a tall white dude, a middle-aged blonde lady, and the short, white, blond therapist lady. Whenever I walk into a room with all white people in it, I kind of mentally prepare myself for those moments where I have to educate/correct them about topics like race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, etc.. If I don't, then the moments where they say something untrue and biased pass by, and nobody's the wiser for it. Sure, sometimes it turns into a debate, but most of the time, other white people appreciate being told the truth in a calm and respectful manner. I wish I didn't have to, because it takes time, patience, and energy, but it's worth it if it means it makes the world a slightly more peaceful and accepting place in the end. Also, that person's life improves, since a veil (imposed by biased systems and the resulting privilege) gets lifted from their eyes, and they start to see the world in a new light. Thankfully, I never really had to educate/correct any of them, and we all just got to relate to each other's stories in a chill environment. Talking to people with similar issues is really a medicine like no other. Laughter included, of course.

 

Here's an idea, building off of that last thought, before I sign off for the night:

If everyone in the world went to group therapy at least a few times, the world would be an infinitely better place. Sure, it's a little awkward at first, but sharing your stories with complete strangers, in an accepting environment, with a trained therapist there to guide everyone... it truly is a life-changing experience. I was lucky enough to have been in a therapy program, where they provided food and fun activities, but even just the talking would have been good enough for me. Welllll, okay, the food did make a difference. We always went to a little grocery store down the street and got sandwiches or hot meals. The activities provided a welcome reprieve from the rough topics we were talking about during therapy, too, so I wouldn't count those out, either. Just saying, if everyone had this quality of therapy, even for a few days, there would be a lot less war and a whole lot more peace in the world.

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Whewww, gonna have to put the story on pause for today. Gotta vent a little.

 

Man, y'know, I love my mom. Unfortunately, though, I got into a heated argument with her today, about race. My mom was saying that derogatory terms against white people were racist. Sigh. I really tried my best to explain why reverse racism isn't a thing, but she just kept taking everything personally. She even said the n-word (with a hard r, and without one) to try to make some point about reverse racism being a thing. That was when I lost my temper. Eventually it got to the point where I said that it's always okay for people of color to make fun of white people because of our "goofy whiteness." Keyword there is "always." I disagree with this, and so does my mom, but the argument was so heated, I just lost my composure and went along with it. Bluh. Why do so many white moderates get so defensive and worked up when I just say we all have inherent bias ingrained in us from a racist society? Why did my mom even say the n-word at all? Ughh. White fragility really disappoints me. I'll explain that later.

 

My perspective as a white guy is that it's okay for everyone to joke using somewhat pejorative terms about white people's "whiteness," like "cracker" because reverse racism isn't a thing. Colorist phrases like "pasty," or "gringo," aren't usually okay, though, since they perpetuate more biases about how a person's skin color "should be." I'd make an exception if it were clearly just a harmless joke with no ill-intent behind it. I have actually been called "pasty" and "gringo" jokingly myself, by some friends of mine who have more melanin than I do. I used to be a little offended about it, but since I've gotten more mature and seen that they didn't mean any harm by it, I always end up laughing along whenever I think about it. I knew they were just trying to mess with the "white boy" of the group in a (mostly) harmless way. I brought it up at one point when it got out of hand, and they respectfully stepped off. Ha, making fun of white people, just like a lot of things, is only okay in moderation. Otherwise it just turns into prejudice and/or bullying, which helps nobody, nowhere, no-how.

 

Making fun of a white person's skin tone, calling them "pasty" or "gringo" pejoratively, while it is colorism, it's not overt racist oppression like a white person calling a person of color a derogatory name. Yet, for some reason, a bunch of white people feel attacked. A lot of white people get defensive whenever there's a sudden perceived threat to their sanctuary of white privilege, their identity of being "above racism." Goofy how these white people often react harshly to this supposed "persecution," but don't think it's okay for a person of color to react harshly if they get offended. "Calm down!" they'll say. The term for this phenomenon is "white fragility." I wrote and gave a whole speech on this in collaboration with some members of the Black Student Union at my high school (2021). Lemme just copy and paste this to save myself some time and energy of explaining white fragility:

 

"Hi everyone, I am here, because I have to say something, and because I have
something to say. My name is [jailbreaker], as [the MC of the event] said, and I’m a senior at CHS. I’m
also a proud ally working closely with the Black Student Union. I joined out of a sense of duty to
support our Black community in the face of racism, and to prove here in Gilroy that we can in
fact overcome the “greatest stumbling block” to the movement for equity, equality, and justice:
the stifling indifference of the White moderate. As the great Angela Davis once said, (quote)“In a
racist society, it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” (endquote)

 

A lot of White people in our community are paralyzed at the thought of taking real action
to support our Black community (i.e. doing more than posting a black square on Instagram).
And, speaking to you now, I’ll be honest and say I’m still not exempt from that, and never
completely will be. Why do we feel afraid to take meaningful action?


Well for one, and I mean no disrespect, but, our families and many of our friends are
either directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously pressuring us all the time to keep the
racial status quo intact. The result of this pressure is called “White solidarity,” and is fueled,
ultimately, by the fear of straying from our comfort zone of indifference. At first when we’re no
longer indifferent, we feel “White guilt,” and then many White people become defensive. The
term for this defensiveness and other unproductive reactions is called “White fragility.” For the
sake of example, my own family, especially my parents, pressured me not to march in the Black
Lives Matter protest downtown last summer. They were afraid that I would catch COVID, or that
the protest would turn violent, and I was afraid, too. A lot of media at the time were only
covering stories of riots that had broken out in other places, and police brutality against innocent
protestors. However, I decided to trust in my community and march anyway. So, I snuck out of
the house, left a note, and walked to the protest. I got there early, so nobody was there for a bit.
I felt uncertain for time, thinking, maybe I’m not at the right spot, maybe nobody’s going to show
up, maybe this, maybe that, but eventually other people showed up. At the height of the protest,
about 100 or more people were marching; everybody I could see wore masks, and lines of
people cheered us on from the sidewalk. I marched until late into the afternoon, taking what
were my first steps toward being anti-racist. When I came home, I was worried that my family
would be upset with me, but they were proud of me. Moral of the story: we have to take action and get into "good trouble" if
we want to change people’s minds, but the first mind we have to change is our own.

 

Another obstacle in the way of White people taking action is the fact that we don’t have
many White role models doing this already. Too many White people, all too often, including me,
still get stuck in our comfort zone of inaction. In order to escape this inaction, we have to
recognize that we live in a world with more access to knowledge than our parents ever had
when they were our age, and that as such, we have a responsibility to use this knowledge to set
the example. As someone who tries to do this, I have to have tough conversations with my
parents and use an anti-racist perspective in everyday life. Working with the Black Student Union, I have
to be an assistant to my Black peers in their leadership. I ask myself, how can I best be of
support, and be respectful? It often sets everyone back in a discussion when a White person
interrupts or attempts to dominate the conversation. Therefore, I always have to ask my Black
peers and myself the question of whether or not I should share my thoughts at that particular
moment. Am I building off of what someone else is saying, or am I just repeating what’s already
been said? Am I providing new insights from my personal perspective? As an ally, it’s really important to always be asking questions like these, so that you can consciously make positive contributions instead of negative ones.

 

It is possible to break away from White solidarity and indifference. We can take on the
racial status quo. Hopefully I’ve helped show you that this is true. Thank you very much."

(I made a few minor grammar edits when I read over it again, but it's ultimately the same.)

 

You might have noticed that I decided to capitalize "white" in that speech, whereas in my posts on this forum I never do. I stopped capitalizing the term when I started seeing how if I capitalize the names of other races and ethnicities, it feels like I'm helping somehow. It's an idea related to equity, wherein white people need to step back from their entitled feelings about their "whiteness," and take a good, honest look at what the term really means, along with its origin story.

I'll try to write about therapy next time. Thanks for reading my somewhat entitled white male tirade.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Just gonna do a quick gratefulness journal, so I don't have to stay up super late.

 

3 things I'm grateful for...

 

- all the beautiful music that I've heard in my life

 

- all the great people I've met and had some laughs with

 

- the opportunities that I'll have going forward, past my gaming days.

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Hi jailbreaker, 

This is one of three journals I'm going to follow. I'm committing one hour a day to Game Quitters, first comes posting in my daily journal, then I will come here and read and reply to your journal posts, then I will be preparing to sell my gaming PC, and then it's back to Respawn Elite to finish off Module 2. 

George

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Hey, thanks! I appreciate that. I'll try to keep up with you and reply to your stuff too, my friend!

 

Oh, and don't worry if you don't have time to read through and/or reply to my (usually) extremely long posts XD. For me, it's enough support just to know that we're both out here working towards our life goals!

 

Will still fully appreciate replies, though! That's very thoughtful of you, thank you.

 

Quick gratefulness journal so I can keep my streak going and recognize the wonderful people in my life:

 

3 people I'm grateful for...

 

- My mom. She may have her issues, and says offensive and questionable things sometimes, but she raised me well, is always an optimist, and has a truly good heart.

 

- My best friend and older brother. He's always been there for me, and he's got a real noble way of doing things. Always has an open mind and sees the good in everyone. Not to mention he's hilarious.

 

- One of my good friends from college. She has helped and still helps me get through a lot. Just talking with her always brightens my day. She may be a little crazy sometimes, but so am I. I think that contributes to a better understanding of each other... interesting. I guess that just makes us two crazy peas in a crazy pod. We love to trade stupid puns and play-on-words jokes with each other, too. Y'know, life sure is a whole lot easier with some punny friends to joke around with. Jest makes things more fun 😉

 

K, night!

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Hi jailbreaker,

I've started reading your journal from the beginning so I'll be trying to answer some of your questions that you asked a few weeks ago. I will read the entirety of your journal eventually (I commit 1 hour a day to doing Game Quitter's related stuff) but will only list the days that warrant a response from me (stuff I think I might be able to help with / make a valuable contribution about) but don't think I haven't read the other days because I have! Also, instead of posting a new post every day I will update this post. For example, see below, I have noted the date in which I've reviewed your journal. Further down, I've written the date for the next day (today) for reviewing your journal and so forth. 

April 30th (30/04/2023)

April 16th

Side note 1: Do y'all think DnD counts as a video game? I do it online with my friends, but it's almost all just theater of the mind anyway. - There are things that don't count as games but are triggering for me. I've been watching Vinland Saga which is an anime about the viking conquest of Britain in the 11th century and in some ways, the animation is similar to Fortnite and the feeling I get from watching it is a lot less strong than the feelings I get from playing Fortnite but the same type? If that makes sense. 

I know Duolingo is sort of like a videogame, but it's the best free resource I have right now for learning Spanish. I'll replace it with Olly Richards's StoryLearning once I've got a job and can pay for it. Then, eventually, I'll go back to college and take a Spanish class there when it fits into my schedule. - I'm learning Russian and French using Babbel although I mostly focus on French. This is something new I've picked up recently. I would say the difference between Babbel and Duolingo for me is that Duolingo leaves me with that feeling I'd get after I've gamed which is a feeling that although I enjoyed doing it in the moment, I feel like I haven't done anything productive/have nothing to show for the time I put in? A bit like when you spend a few hours on TikTok and it's great but then you stop and you're hit with these negative feelings like you've just wasted loads of time. Duolingo kind've gives me this feeling because although it measures your progress, I feel like you miss a lot unless you get out your notebook and start treating it like a school lesson (which is what I do with Babbel). If you wanted to try that, I'd suggest doing that using Babbel. Also, Duolingo's user experience is very video game like whereas Babbel's is not. It's satisfying and colourful like Fortnite (for me) and so that's just another similarity between that and what we think of as computer games. 

As I said earlier, I'm gonna delete all of my save data and archive every digital game on it. After that, I'm gonna clean it and then hide it away in a sealed box for 90 days, so that I'll just forget about it and not feel tempted to redownload those games.

During that time, I'll find a job and get working so that I'll have something to do and some money in the bank. I'll also work on figuring out how to get back to college, at least part-time.

After I hit 90 days, when my cravings are definitely gone, I'm gonna try to sell the Switch to one of my friends for cheap. I'll be leaving my profile and the restore data for the digital games on there for them to redownload so they don't have to pay for the games. Gonna change my account password to whatever they want it to be so they'll remember it. (I trust that my friends wouldn't buy new games using my account. They'll be getting a hell of a deal, so they better not lmao) And they can just edit the profile to make it their own if they want. - this sounds great but why not selling your switch now when you have cravings instead of not selling it whilst you have cravings? It seems more logical to sell it ASAP - or did you want to not touch it for 90 days and then do stuff to it to prepare it to be sold? 

19th April

Another day, another bout of daydreaming about having a pet tortoise. - Haha, love this! You're making me want to get one. 

Wow. This was a really impactful journal post. I'm so sorry to hear about your cat's death and how it affected you. I have two very old cats that I'm going to miss very much when they die. It sounded like a really hard experience to go through.  Furthermore, I've said really cutting and mean things to my mum as well. I will read that article your mum sent to you when I can because I think you're right, gaming excessively reduces our empathy. In addition, what stood out to me was that you said you and your mum are going to help each other to cut out each other's bad habits. My mum also has a drinking problem. Maybe your post has inspired me to talk to her about  my addiction more openly so that she feels inspired to reduce her drinking. 

20th April

One more thing: Please try not to imagine as you read this that you're hearing a crusty old white man in a blue polo shirt and khakis try his best to karaoke-rap with a 90's hip-hop beat in the background to other crusty old white men sitting in foldable chairs at Richard's 60th birthday party (the big 6-0!). Ha now you can't stop imagining that, can you? Mwahahaha >:) (jk when i make a tune to go with it, find it on spotify to hear what it really sounds like.) - this made me laugh so much. 

Also loving the brand of politics! I think it's a rare brand of politics to find among gamer's and I appreciate it. I too am of the leftist persuasion! 

Okay, I've reached the end of my daily hour I commit to doing Game Quitter's. I got up to the analysis of your rap song. I'll read it tomorrow and tell you what I think. The song itself was hella rhymy haha! I'll listen to it on spotify. 

01/05/2023:

20th April (CONTINUED) 

I mean to use this as a command, kind of like, "go and learn for yourself what foul corruption lies beneath the surface of your daily experience" --> this is great. 

Ladies and gentlemen and esteemed they/thems, I present to you: thirst traps. But that's for another time. Back to my lyrics lmao --> This made me laugh haha

A little ping on our phones, for instance: "breaking news." -> Love this.

Note: I kept getting distracted today. I was listening to Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire and it's really taken control over me. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by LordFederickRamsay
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Spending a lot of time considering my future time investments today. Since I already have a penchant for making music, thinking about how I can start taking guitar lessons, use music-making software, and maybe learning other cheaper instruments, like melodica, or a mini-synthesizer, for instance. And, now that I'm slowly regaining my hope for the future and researching how to make tunes, the possibilities seem almost endless with that hobby.

 

Planning on taking a "one-off" summer course or two to develop some useful skills. They're supported by a local community college. When I discovered them, I was kind of amazed at the variety, and the number of relatively inexpensive ones that I'd like to do.  Since the classes are only a day each, they're cheap, and I can plan around them easily, too. One in particular is navigation. I tend to get lost easily, as I've said in a previous journal. So, that one's a must if I ever get lost, on a hike or otherwise. The other one I would like to do is a cooking class focused on improving one's mental health via the culinary arts. I definitely need some better cooking skills if I wanna stay mentally and physically healthy in the future. I could also make good meals for other people, which I'd love to do more. I always really appreciate it whenever someone cooks for me, and I'd like to pay that gratitude forward. Aside from that, I may take a phone camera photography class to learn even more skills for that hobby.

 

Other hobby I'm getting pretty into, and hoping to work on more: D&D. Ever since I had my first session with my two older brothers and eldest sibling (they go by they/them) I've wanted to make a great campaign of my own. The eldest was the Dungeon Master (DM), of course. I have DM'd in high school, and it was a blast. The entire world was home-brewed, and was entirely online, but we all still had fun. It was good, but I want it to be great, like my oldest sibling's campaign was when I first started playing. It's a great way to get together with friends and goof around without having to play videogames. It does take a lot of time and preparation to make a truly solid campaign, as well as a lot of practice with improvisation, but I still think it's worth it if it means I get to hang out with my friends and do something other than videogames. Plus, DM skills are applicable to literally everything! Researching, improvising, interacting with and mediating between players, understanding and empathizing with different characters... It's all very useful, and I'm all for learning practical skills.

 

Gratefulness journal for today to top the entry off:

3 experiences I'm grateful for that I haven't already mentioned in a past entry:

 

- My marching band performances at competitions and parades in high school. Before COVID hit in early 2020, I got my last parade in at the Chinese New Year's Parade in San Francisco in February. It was the Year of the Rat, so on all the buildings' screens, I could see a cute little cartoon rat smiling down at us. It was a long, long, parade, and I was drenched in sweat by the end of it, even though I only play clarinet, a very light instrument compared to tuba. I feel bad for the poor brass players and flutes who had to hold up their instruments parallel to the ground. Jeez, the professionals are probably as ripped as any other athlete. Anyway, before the parade, we got to explore San Francisco, and that was super awesome. Very grateful for my other marching band experiences too, but that one's definitely at the top of the list.

 

- The summer I spent in Seattle last year. My oldest sibling let me stay with them there for a month as I interned at their company. That was the main reason I was there, actually: to help out while they were understaffed. I did basic filing stuff in the office a few days of the week, and that was all they needed me to do. The rest of the week, I was free to go explore the city! Got many of my best photos from Seattle (such as most of the ones I posted earlier), including those ones of the sci-fi-looking sunset. I was on the "Harbor Cruise," and the weather was absolutely perfect. On land, there was an abundance of beautiful flowers in people's front yards for me to snap photos of. Bugs aplenty, as well! One of my favorite things about my vacation there was that I basically had this whole mountain biking park to myself as a hangout spot. It was under the I-5, and smelled a little funny in some places, but it was a great spot to read and practice clarinet. (I brought my clarinet so I could practice for an upcoming college wind ensemble audition in the fall.) And, even though I went to the Chihuly Glass Museum, the Space Needle, randomly happened upon a Pokemon Go conference, and visited the Woodland Park Zoo, my very favorite part was just walking around the city. It's extremely walkable, and public transportation there is really reliable for getting around, too. I was able to intentionally get lost, and that was so much fun. I had my phone charged up and GPS ready to go for my trips back, of course. Last thing: the food! I went to this place that served Georgian food, and it was sooo good. This gyro spot was so great too. Ooh, making my mouth water just thinking about it. They were really well-priced, too! Okay, on to the next one:

 

- This is actually a combination of two separate experiences, but they're both very special to me and not very long stories, so I'll include both.

One clear, brisk, starry night at my college, I was waiting at a bus stop with my friend. I'll call him Chris (to keep him anonymous and to make it easier to tell the story.) We make small talk for a bit, and then all we can hear is the wind and the crickets. Very peaceful. Then, out of nowhere, when I'm not looking, Chris bumps into some random girl by accident. I hear him go, "Whoa!" He's a bit of a clumsy tall guy, so when he tried to move out of her way, he just accidentally bumped into her like 2 more times. It was hilarious after the fact, but in the moment, I was really concerned for the girl. Once Chris finally got out of her way, he apologized profusely, and I asked, "Oh my gosh, are you okay?" She said yeah she was fine, sorry, she wasn't watching where she was going. I made Chris the butt of my jokes for the next few minutes as I tried to lighten everyone up. In the next few moments, we made a new friend, almost entirely by accident. I'll call her Rose. She was light-skinned, Latina, about my height, had medium-long black wavy/curly hair with subtle purple ends, and stunning brown eyes. After joking around with Violet and Chris for a bit, I felt drawn to look up at the night sky. And man, was it stunning. I tried to identify some constellations, but all I could really see was Orion and the Big Dipper. So, I asked Chris if he had an app on his phone that could allow us to see constellations. He did! We scanned the night sky and saw all sorts of constellations. Rose just sat at the bench, smirking as she watched us gawk at our small glimpse of the infinite cosmos. When I looked back for a moment, that was when I saw her looking at us. I caught her eye by accident, and blushed so much you could see it in the dim light of the streetlamp. She generously returned my bashful momentary gaze, and she smiled the most beautiful, genuine smile I have ever seen in my entire life. Moments like that just stay in your memory, y'know?

The bus was taking forever, so Chris ended up just walking to where he had to go. Lucky for me, that meant I got to take the bus with Rose, just the two of us! We sat down next to each other on the bus, and I started cracking stupid jokes, just like I always do whenever there's any tension anytime. It helped us both relax. I guess some guy sitting across from us thought we were an interesting bunch, so he introduced himself and started asking about us. I guess he thought we were a couple or something. I introduced myself and said my major, and introduced Rose and teased her for her real name, which is the same as our school's goofy mascot. She laughed and smiled that brilliant smile again, and elbowed me decently hard in the ribs. That was when I really fell in love with her. Eventually I had to get off at my stop, sadly. We exchanged a little, "Well it was great meeting you!" "Great meeting you too! Hope to see you around sometime," "Yeah, me too! Alright, catcha later, bye." When I got back to my dorm, I finally realized I forgot to get her number. Still kicking myself for that, smh.

 

That was chance encounter #1 with Rose.

 

I was somehow fortunate enough to run into her by accident another time, a few months later. This time, it was a bright, cool, sunny morning out in front of the main library. Birds-a-chirpin', morning dew-a-gleamin'. Later that afternoon, I had a date with another girl I had met, who I'll call Larissa, so I was studying as much as I could before then. It was chemistry cram time! The library wasn't open yet, since it opens later on weekends. So, I sat at a wooden bench, and busily calculated away the stoichiometry problems. At around eleven, the weather warmed up a bit, and I took a brief breather. As I'm looking around at the lawn and trees in front of the grand entrance to the library, listening for bird calls I might recognize, who do I see walking up the steps in front of me? Rose!

She had a black face mask on, though, so I wasn't entirely sure for a moment. I was just as shocked as I was elated to see her in that moment. I warily call out, "No way! Rose? Is that you?" "[jailbreaker]? No way! What are you doing here?" I smiled and joked, "Well, I could ask you the same thing! I'll tell you if you tell me." So, I explained that I was studying chemistry. Tactfully withheld the part about cramming before the date with another girl, though, of course. She had just left a friend's place where she had stayed the night, and was on the way back to her place. By the way she vaguely described it, it gave me the feeling like they were a romantic interest of sorts. But I didn't wanna pry too much, given that we had only just met once before. Maybe I'm just making an assumption, but guess she and I had both tried to move on and see other people after we met, thinking we might not ever see each other again. Life goes on, I suppose. 😕

But, we still hit it off again, as if we were old friends. We had one of those rare, lucky instant connections where you feel like you've known someone a lot longer than you really have. Personalities just really matched up, I guess? Anyway, It was still morning, and she seemed hungry, so I asked her if she had eaten breakfast already. I guess I got a sense for these things, since she said she hadn't eaten yet. And what did I just so happen to have in my backpack? Two small packages of trail mix, about a handful each. I let her know I had them, and asked if she'd like to share one with me? She gladly accepted! We munched and talked for a bit, until about halfway into the little bag of trail mix, I had a brilliant idea. "Hey, have you ever shark-baited before? Y'know, like when you try to toss food into the air and another person tries to catch it like a shark?" She laughed hysterically, I guess since it was so unexpected, and said she hadn't. Her laugh was contagious, so after a bit I finally asked the natural follow-up, "Well, you wanna try it?" She said yeah! So, we did! From an outside perspective it must have looked pretty ridiculous. We were just out there sitting at a bench laughing and trying to toss almonds and raisins into each other's mouths like a couple of goofs. At one point, she accidentally got me in the eye with an almond! While she was laughingly apologizing, I said, "Bullseye! Ha, now I gotta get you back!" I was kidding, of course, but I accidentally got her in the eye too! I laughingly apologized, too. We were practically dying of laughter. Man, whew. I'm smiling so much right now thinking back on it, my face is hurting a little.

After the giggle storm had passed, I finally said, "Ah, well, you know what they say, 'An eye for and eye...'" and Rose finished the sentence, "...makes the whole world go blind!" I said, "Ha, I guess we can finish each other's...." and then we both said "Sandwiches!" at the same time. Ah, man, honestly, it was like something out of a movie.

Once we finished the trail mix, well most of it was on the ground, really, since the little nuts and raisins generally just bounced right off our faces. Once we ran out of ammunition, I should say, we asked each other about ourselves. I would say what I remember, but I'd like to maintain her anonymity as best as I can. I told her how my last name means something in German, and the story about how my ancestors immigrated in the early 1900s, among other things about myself that you've probably already read in my entries. It was a really engaging conversation; she was about as fascinated in me as I was in her. When the conversation died down a little, we both got up and stretched our legs. We had been sitting for a few hours, now.

For some reason, she started dancing a little? I asked her if she was, and she said, something like, "Yeah, I just do that sometimes. Don't you?" "I do, actually, but not usually in front of other people. I do sing randomly sometimes, though. Anyway, if we're dancing, we need some music right?" She laughed and said, "Well, I don't need music to dance, but if you want to, go right ahead." I guess she expected me to pull out Spotify on my phone or something, because when I started singing some impromptu dance music, she practically fell over laughing. I sounded terrible, and I was showing off my very limited salsa dancing, since that's all I knew how to do, really. When she saw it and was mildly impressed, I proudly blurted out, "Yeah, my mom taught me. We'd dance in the kitchen sometimes." Rose was dying at that point, and I was blushing bright red. "Why did I say that? I have no idea." And then I burst out laughing, too. We danced on our own together for a little bit, smiling, like you'd see people do at a dance party. Not with my horrible makeshift music though, just in happy relative silence out in front of the library. Ah, I was lightheaded from laughing so much. I'll never forget that.

 

But, as my afternoon date with Larissa got closer, my guilt started to creep up on me. I know it wouldn't have been cheating, since we were still just dating, but Larissa and I had already spent so much time together, that I felt like I was forgetting about her the more time I spent with Rose.

After some time, I reluctantly told Rose about the date with the other girl. I said jokingly, but honestly, I kinda felt like just skipping out on it and going on a date with Rose instead, but I felt bad, since we had already planned everything out and spent so much time together. She jokingly said she was down; it was the weekend and she had time, but she would kinda feel bad too if I felt bad about it. I was glad she understood, but I still felt torn. I jokingly and affectionately said, "Jeez, you're like the temptress in the stories I've read," and she took it as the compliment it was meant to be, thankfully. She replied coyly, "Well, you know, I guess I'm just like that." She said other people had actually said the same thing about her, so she's just taken it and run with it. I was just in awe of how cool she was, so I said so. She appreciated that compliment, as well.

 

We both agreed I could have definitely just postponed my date with Larissa and gone out with Rose. Something told me I just shouldn't, though. Maybe I was afraid of what could've happened between me and Larissa? I don't know. Maybe my anxiety got in the way of my true happiness again? I say that because Larissa's and my personality just didn't link like Rose's and mine. It was always a struggle to make conversation with Larissa, and our sense of humor wasn't quite the same, either. But, I guess I went with what I was familiar with. Classic anxiety decision. Ughh. Sigh. I said, "Well, I feel I could sit here with you for hours, but I should probably go get ready for my date..." She agreed it was probably time to go... "It was great seeing you again, though!" she said, kind of sadly. I smiled and tried to make another joke to try to cheer us both up, "Yeah, thanks for humoring me with the trail mix thing." She smiled back. Those eyes... I continued, more earnestly, "And of course, for hangin' out. This has been the most fun I've had in a while, so thank you, Rose. Really." "Yeah, thank you, too. Well, have fun on your date! Seeya around, I hope!" "Ha, k, I'll try. Hope to see you, too!"

And then we both went our separate ways. Didn't get her number, again! Smh. Haven't seen her since. By the time I had my mental breakdown and left school, it had already been quite some time since we'd seen each other. By now, it'd be almost a year. Maybe I'll have some luck and run into her again once I'm back on campus? All I can do is hope, really.

My relationship with Larissa was over just a month after that date, btw. Turned out she wasn't "the one." I'll always regret not getting Rose's number when I had the chance, but at least I've got those great memories with her. And now you have 'em, too! Look at that! We're both Rose fans now. Let's make a fan club! Juuuust kidddding. Or am I? 😉

 

Alright, good night.

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Hmph. Another day. Highlight was probably the linguini alfredo I made. Simple to make, but pretty good.

 

Not done with FE W: Three Hopes yet, and I've already passed the 45-hour mark. I messed up a couple of days and forgot to set a 2-hour timer for myself. I'm concerned about spending more time on this game than I planned, but there's no way around it at this point, if I wanna finish the story. The strategy aspect of the game means I have to spend time being pretty deliberate about most every choice I make. And, I'm a perfectionist, so it takes even longer. Gonna keep up the two-hour routine until I'm done. After that, I'm rethinking the whole part about the 90 days just hiding it in a box. @LordFederickRamsay made a great point about it just being more logical to sell it right away. Really helped me see through the deception of my own subconscious cravings. It's almost like my addiction was trying to trick me back into playing by giving me a faulty plan. Thanks for helping me see more clearly, my friend.

 

The rest of my original plan is still intact, though. I've been working on getting back to school, like I planned, at least. Just getting the FAFSA out of the way for now. Tomorrow I plan on following through on the part about looking and applying for a job. Don't know where I wanna work yet, but I do have experience in food service, so that might be the easiest option. Not sure if it's the best option, though. I remember how exhausted I was after even just half-shifts part-time at my college's dining hall. The people who work there full time are heroes. Other options that I have experience in would be working at the pet shelter, tutoring, and maybe even photography. I'd need a legit non-phone camera, for that, though, and I don't have experience with them at all. Not to mention I only do it to make art; not just regular, slightly edited pictures of stuff. Giving clarinet lessons to kids would be a solid option, too. Plenty of experience playing clarinet, and that'd kinda force me to spend more time practicing. Practicing clarinet is better than sitting around on my phone, I guess. I may not have a degree in music performance, but I know how to teach technique, rhythms, tone, all that stuff. When you've been doing something since the 5th grade, it kinda sticks.

 

Alright, gratitude journal time! Some valuable lessons I've learned recently (within the past few years):

- Dealing with depression is easier when I take equal pride in what I've accomplished and what I've learned from my mistakes.

I tend to beat myself up over mistakes almost instinctually. Probably comes from a fear of failure and perfectionism, which has been ingrained in me mostly by my family and experience at school. Video games have played a part in this, too, I think, somehow, but not as much. Maybe. Not sure.

Video games are also what taught me this lesson, though. Persona 5 Royal, in particular. I loved the music, and wanted to learn all the lyrics, since they were so meaningful and honest. Take a listen on Spotify and you'll see what I mean. I have the lyrics to the song that taught me this lesson right here:

"No More What Ifs"

people come and they go
some people may stay with you though
I am all alone tonight and I kept on
asking myself questions

Conceited I was at time
I never really doubted myself
But tonight got me thinking about it all
if I am the fool or what not

I do not
regret with my choices I'm rather proud
ooh I know I won't change
anything
because I can only be me so

How can I be so sure?
at a crossroads I'm afraid too
But I can't let fear get the best of me
Someone once said burn my dread babe

Who knows what tomorrow holds?
just wanna live my life the way I want
what fills up my soul is passionate
music that makes me want to sing

my story will be starring me just like yours ooh ooh
who knows when will it end
what matters most is how you bring joy to life so"

(found the lyrics on the Megami Tensei Wiki)

 

Here's my interpretation:

1. There's a message about loving myself without being narcissistic or conceited. As someone who deals with bipolar, I've had narcissistic thoughts during my "highs," and extremely self-depricating thoughts during my "lows." I've found that during my "highs," I can do better about being more humble, and during my "lows," I can do better to appreciate the good things I've done, and what I've learned from those mistakes that I constantly beat myself up over.

 

2. Building on that, it's saying that one needs to have confidence in themselves, in the past, present, and future, even if they made bad choices in the past.

This is useful for me during my "lows," because if I can even pretend for a minute that I'm proud of a mistake, I instantly feel better. Then, when I'm back to "normal," I can actually take a closer look at what I used to be so ashamed about. It's almost like tricking my brain to go back to "normal" so I can think clearly again. I don't actually feel proud of my mistakes, but in my normal state of mind, I can evaluate them and be proud of what I've learned from them. The fact that I even had the experience at all is something to be proud of. And, I can be even more proud of myself if I teach someone else what I've learned from my experiences, good or bad.

 

3. Every moment is precious.

Who knows when I'll die? It could be tomorrow, for all I know, just like the song says. It's more worth it to appreciate my negative experiences and learn from them than to hate myself or someone else for them. A quote from one of the characters, Yusuke, that speaks to this aspect of the song:

 

"Even should I scar my [art]work with doubt, hesitation, chaos... certainly, that's a beauty all its own.

Your life is no worse for its own scars. Your truest beauty lies in them, and I hope you tell me their stories someday." - Yusuke

 

I can be proud of my scars, because they are beautiful in their own true, real way. If I spend my whole life in shame, fear, or anger, I'll never live up to my true potential.

 

4. Gotta be my own person; have my own style. Whether I try to live by everyone else's standards or my own, I'll never be able to make everyone satisfied with who I am. It's more fulfilling to just try to live my life to the fullest, on my own terms. Not saying I should just be a jerk and completely disregard other people's opinions, just that I should put my own goals and standards first, while keeping an open mind to other people's expectations.

My anxiety, causes me sometimes to live in fear of what I think others expect of me, rather than what I know others expect of me. It drives me to be obsessed with perfection, when really nobody expects anybody to be perfect. I know I certainly don't.

I do have my own set of standards, but I also have an open mind when it comes to others. So, instead of expecting that other people will have harsh, exacting standards for me, I should expect them to have an open mind like I do. It's just not worth the time to cater to every single person's standards. All I can do is be the best I can be and try to follow my dreams.

 

5. On a similar note: I shouldn't let fear and regrets control my life. In fact, I should be proud of the choices I've made, since there was something valuable to be learned with every decision, good or bad.

 

 

Here are a few lessons I've learned that are unrelated to the song:

 

1. Every emotion has an important, practical use, in moderation. 

 

A good analogy I like to think of is an airplane and its instrument panel. (I read this in How to Be Miserable, by Randy J. Paterson. It's a self-help book with a satirical tone. And you know I just loooove comedy! It got me through a lot of tough times.) Alright, the analogy, paraphrased:

 

Every emotion is like an instrument in an airplane. I've got my altimeter to see how high up I am, a speedometer, a thing to tell me the tilt of the plane, my fuel gauge, GPS, all sorts of stuff. They're all there to make sure I have a safe flight. Well, if I just taped some pieces of paper over the instruments I "didn't like," I'd probably end up crashing the plane. Like, "Y'know, I really only wanna see the speedometer, since I'd like to go really fast. Who cares how low I am to the ground?" Definitely gonna be a burning wreckage in no time.

 

That's what happens when I focus too much on trying to be happy. When I only want that speedometer, I hate all of my other flight instruments and ignore them, instead of appreciating them for what they're telling me.

The "plane crash" is completely explainable, too. When I get depressed and end up stuck in bed, starving myself for hours on end, it's because my brain is punishing me. Why? Because I hurt my own feelings by ignoring them and hating them. Then I'm even more sad and depressed, because sadness tells me I lost something I wanted, which in this case was self-respect. Then I feel like dying, for a more subtle reason: because, in my confusion and self-hate and despair, I don't understand why I have value.

 

 

Side note:

For those who are curious about different ways of seeing the world, this is related to a Buddhist belief that "greed" produces "hatred" and vice versa. (I put quotation marks around the words "greed" and "hatred" because English doesn't really translate the Sanskrit words very clearly. There are other interpretations of the pair, such as "attachment" and "aversion," just to name one other common one.) Basically, the belief is, if I really want something, it also means that I really don't want what I view as the "opposite" of that thing, or whatever would get in the way of that thing. For example, if I really, really want to game, I end up really, really not wanting to do anything else. "Delusion," or unclear thinking, is the ultimate result, along with more "greed" and "hatred." It describes the thought processes of addiction perfectly, in my opinion. This teaching is called the "Second Noble Truth," one of the four commonly accepted core teachings among Buddhists.

 

 

Back to the original thing about emotions being like an airplane's instruments:

 

Depression comes first in this plane-crash scenario, so I'll start there.

I like to think of depression as the state of worrying too much or thinking illogically or unclearly about the past, and then being hopeless about the future, since I can't really remember anything to work with going forward. It can become numbness when I truly forget who I am. Hardcore dissociation. I've lived it. Anxiety, on the other hand, for me, is the state of worrying too much about everything, including the past, present, and future, and then wanting to run and hide from it all. In combination, depression causes me to lose hope and forget why there's hope, and anxiety just gives me a bunch of illogical reasons to be even more hopeless. This is loosely based on what little I know about the current neuroscientific evidence, and more based on personal experience. (Please fact-check me so I don't misinform anyone.)

 

I do know that neuroscience has shown that the part of the brain that deals with memory is severely impacted by depression, and it shrinks. Basically, a person's memory gets progressively worse over time, and they're more likely to develop Alzheimer's and/or dementia. It makes sense, because when I'm in a depressed state, my memory just won't activate. For instance, if I'm depressed and try to remember one thing that happened last week, I'll probably just have to point to a habit of mine, which I know I did last week. That's actually what's happening right now. I'm feeling depressed, so I can't remember anything that happened last week at all, other than I ate and took care of myself. Talked to my family and friends, and posted on here, etc.. Everything that wasn't a habit is a blur.

 

Oh! here we go. Finally, after thinking for 10 minutes, it came to me. I rode my e-scooter around town! It was impromptu and something I don't normally do, so I couldn't remember it right away. Still, that's just one thing, and it takes me a while for me to remember simple stuff like that when I'm depressed. Normally, I have to look outside of my brain, at an object nearby, a note, a text, or at a recent photo. Then it all starts coming together. 

 

In my personal experience, whenever my memory about something is unclear, or my logic around something in the past is off, it's usually because I'm depressed. And I'm usually depressed because my anxiety is causing so many issues for me.

 

Anxiety puts a brain's worry-center into overdrive, and in this state, the brain can do a lot of thinking in a short amount of time. Very helpful in some stressful situations, but if someone starts thinking despairing, suicidal, or otherwise harmful thoughts, it can get real bad, real fast. I think it's one of the main reasons I can work well under pressure, but I can get so deeply depressed if I slip into despairing thoughts. With a close deadline to worry about, for instance, my brain kicks into overdrive and snaps me out of my depression temporarily, if I'm feeling depressed at the time. I'm still careful and deliberate about how I do the assignment, but can I do more thinking in less time than I would have if I did it further away from the deadline. In other words, whenever I'm depressed, I procrastinate until my anxiety decides it wants to rev me up for action. Right now I'm typing this at 3:30 AM because 1) my sleep schedule is way out of whack, and 2) I procrastinated on making this post until my anxiety gave me a boost, and 3) I always spend a lot of time editing my posts to make sure they're good quality. In other words, I'm anxious about breaking the daily streak I have going, about forgetting any useful thoughts I have if I don't write them down, and about making a poorly-written post. Really, I'm just anxious about potential regrets, which I can later potentially beat myself up over.

 

Well, I guess that means it's time to talk about self-hate next. Woohoo. Not a very helpful emotion, but I have learned a lot from it.

When it comes to self-hate, usually I'm just overreacting to something I did, getting way too angry at myself over it. The catastrophizing becomes a catastrophe.

But, upon realizing that I've never done anything nearly as horrible as I think it may seem, I feel a little better. I may have said and done unhelpful things in the past, but I've never done anything unforgivable. Then, I start hating myself less, if not completely, in that moment.

Luckily, there is a way to mediate the hate I feel for myself sometimes.

First of all, forgiveness, although it helps when appropriate and justified, is not necessary in order for me to feel less self-hate. In other words, I don't always have to be completely fine with what I've done. I just have to make sure I understand why I did that thing, and hold myself accountable to a reasonable degree. Even if forgiveness is not necessary to lessening self-hate though, understanding and accountability are. If I can understand the why, I can feel less animosity towards myself, and then I can start to think more clearly.

 

 

The last part is feeling numb because I don't remember why I have value in that depressed and mentally injured state of mind.

 

Here's a short story I just wrote about it, because I can't express it in any other way right now for some reason:

 

"Here I am, at the abyss of human consciousness.

 

Imagine a clown in a full, vibrant costume, floating in nothingness, suspended by nothingness, hearing nothing but his heartbeat and the sound of his breath steadily repeating in this timeless void. Maybe his nose honks if he honks it. He may laugh, and a temporary joy accompanies that laugh. Yet moments later, somehow, sadness and loneliness are his only companions, for a seemingly infinite amount of time. And he's hungry. He's got some kettle corn just outside of the void, but how is he supposed to get to it? There's no exit flap like there is at the big top. So he just floats there aimlessly, waiting for something, anything at all, to happen. His belly grumbles. He's got nothing he can do, so he falls asleep. Maybe he'll be wake up back at the circus if he just sleeps until the void goes away.

He wakes up, in pain all over. His head hurts, his belly hurts, his eyes are crusty... But there's nothing he can do.

He wakes up again, after realizing he had passed out from the hunger and dehydration.

 

Finally I decide to get out of bed and eat something, since I'd prefer to be a living clown.

 

I eat some trail mix, my go-to snack for avoiding starvation.

Chug down some water, my go-to liquid for avoiding dehydration.

Maybe I heat up some freezer food if I'm feeling particularly adventurous.

 

I go back to bed and play on my Switch, because what else is there to do?

I have no job, no school, no commitments, nothing.

As long as I'm alive..."

 

Unfortunately, this fictional story based on my depressive episodes didn't have a happy ending, but that's because that's how it used to end for me most of the time, up until recently. Up until I decided I wanted to kick my gaming addiction, that is. To tie the story back into my main point about every emotion being useful in some way, numbness tells me I need a radical change in my life.

Alright, going to sleep now. Night.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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Another day! Overall, not bad, but not great, either.

 

I spent some time job-searching online, like I said I would in yesterday's entry. I didn't look for remote jobs, only ones that are in-person. For the sake of improving my mental health, I need a job that'll get me out of the house and off of my screens. I might be good at a remote job, but it wouldn't benefit me in any other way than making money. At an in-person job, I get to practice my social skills more, and make better connections with my colleagues, I feel.

 

My mom has been working remotely since the early 2010's, and I've seen how much of a strain it can be for her to be stuck inside working all the time. Her "office" is just her laptop and a desk, and the only way she can ever technically "leave the office" is by ignoring work-related notifications on her phone. She's practically a hero for having worked like that for so long, in addition to helping to raise four kids as a divorced single mom. But being a hero also usually means sacrificing a lot.

For her, it was her dream of wanting to work in travel and hospitality and run her own health and wellness business. She did get to travel for work occasionally, but most of the time, she was just stuck in her room at her desk. How tragic is that!

There are ways to do remote work outside of the house, and my mom's tried that when she could, but still, I'd personally rather be in-person, if I had the choice. It was tough working in-person at the dining hall of my college, but the experience was worth it, after having just been doing Zoom school for a year. When I worked there, I got to practice social skills and make good connections and friendships with my colleagues. I met some of my current best friends by working there, in fact. I even ended up living with them in an apartment during my second year, before I had to leave to take care of my mental health. We're still in touch and hang out, though, even though I'm not on campus anymore.

But anyway, in the dish room, which is where I was usually at, I even got to practice speaking Spanish with some native speakers. Learned that "fork" is "tenedor;" "knife" is "cuchillo;" "spoon" is "cuchara," among other helpful cook-ware vocab. I didn't learn that much, but it was still pretty cool to break the language barrier.

 

Okay, I kinda got off-topic. The only job that I saw that I would have enough qualifications for is a "Subway Sandwich Artist" job. Yes, that's the real title. I joked with my brothers about it in our group chat, like, "Aww yeaaah, THAT'S what I wanna do for a living. Ha, nah I'm just kidding, but if it's the only job I kind find rn, I might as well get hella into 'sandwich art.'" One of my brothers replied, "Enigmatic beauty in all things," so I sent him a gif of an "enigmatically beautiful" sandwich floating in space.

All kidding aside, though, I really need the money if I wanna be more independent and pursue my goals. The StoryLearning thing I mentioned in my original plan, for instance, is pretty pricey. About $200 for one 10-week course. I'm basically broke, and I don't wanna ask my mom to pay for it, as a step towards being more independent. No question about wanting to do it, though, despite the price. I know I was only able to learn and retain as much Spanish as I have because my teachers used a similar method. Voy a comprar el curso para mejorar mis habilidades para hablar y comprender. Eventualmente, quiero viajar a unos países hispanohablantes, como Costa Rica y quizás Peru, o unos otros países.

See? I can sorta speak Spanish. But it's pretty limited.

Had to use Google translate to look up one or two words, which I try to avoid in general, but it's useful every now and then. Google Translate doesn't always give the best results, and relying on it too much isn't good for actual comprehension, so I try to use it as little as possible whenever I'm speaking or writing. If I'm reading something and the context clues aren't enough, though, I tend to look it up on Google Translate and other sites to compare which translation sounds more accurate. Just like in English, words often have multiple meanings, and it can get confusing sometimes.

 

Alright, gonna close out the entry here. Hereby setting my journal time to start from around 8 PM and end around 9 PM. No more staying up until ungodly hours of the night.

K, good night.

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I decided to just reply to your most recent posts instead of trying to catch up because you (we) do write quite a lot 😅 - I got a feel for what you've been through though and after replying to your most recent journal entry, I aim to catch up on your other posts. Going to that mental healthy facility (the one before the psych ward - trying to remember) sounded so terrifying! And I really related to you worrying if you were a creep or not although I probably wouldn't have actually asked haha. Or maybe I would've. Maybe not anymore. 

In relation to getting a job: I've worked in a pub for three months. It hasn't been easy because it's intensely social but it gets me out of the house and forces me to socialise with people so! Maybe it'll be good for ya to do just that. You sound more socially apt than me. I too think getting out the house is essential for us ex-gamers. Yesterday, I was so depressed all day even though I was doing some chores / activities that I know I enjoy. Then my friend (thanks to them) forced me to come out and I did and I felt so much better for it. I got on an electric bike and whizzed through my local town and it honestly washed the depressive feelings away (okay...not totally but still!) 

You're doing well. Apologies for asking a question that might've been answered in one of your earlier journal posts but: have you finished Fire Emblem now? And if you have, have you started your 90 day detox? Have you sold your switch? I just listed my gaming PC on eBay and Facebook Marketplace. It hurts I can't lie! Doubt and uncertainty are close friends of mine. But yeah, excited for you to start your 90 day detox and sell your console so we can do it together! 

George

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Ha, yeah I (we) do tend to write entire novels.

Just got so much on my mind all the time; gotta synthesize it into something I can read and understand, and something that other people can understand.

When another person can understand what I'm going through, it makes me feel a little less bonkers.

Another reason I try to make it so that a third party can read and understand it is because, depending on my state of mind, whether it's at a bipolar "high" or "low," or feeling anxious or whatever, I tend to think like a different person.

In other words, different distorted thinking patterns can get in the way of my memory and logic.

So, it's nice to have a baseline for how I can think in a clear, (mostly) logical manner. I can see that in my writing most of the time, and it's reassuring.

 

 

Getting outside helps, too. I feel that. And yeah, I think the rush from biking or riding a scooter is almost like a replacement for videogames.

The exercise, the constant need to stay aware, the fresh air... Everything feels a little more new and exciting.

Also a little spooky when I almost get hit by a car, but that's kind of part of the thrill, too, honestly.

I don't take risks when I'm biking or scooting, but it still feels like a risk.

Sometimes just stepping outside my front door can feel like a risk, even.

My friends and family tell me to take it one step at a time.

Trying my best XD. We both are!

 

 

About your questions:

 

Turns out I'll have to take more time than I thought I'd need for finishing Fire Emblem.

Already reached the 45-hour mark on the play-time clock. Maybe I just left the screen on a few times? It's probably that.

Plus, I guess I didn't know how much thought I put into every strategic decision.

This is another sign of my perfectionism and potential "Pure O."

Anyway, I'm almost done, and I think I'll be able to get to the end by this weekend.

 

 

Once I finish the game on Friday or Saturday (hopefully), I'm gonna clean up my Switch and sell it to a friend of mine.

We texted a few days ago, and he was thrilled to get it for such a good price! Not to mention, he'll be getting all the games I have on there basically for free.

$100 total. I could charge him more, but he's a little low on money at the moment. Letting it slide, since I need to get rid of it asap.

 

 

Speaking of selling our gaming systems, good on you for putting your gaming PC on eBay and FB Marketplace! That's a huge step forward.

Yeah, I feel ya, too, though. I almost feel like I'm breaking up with videogames, since I have an unhealthy relationship with them.

Takes me back to a breakup I had in high school, and those thoughts aren't fun.

 

It was a similar situation. I just focused on my ex all the time, instead of anyone (and anything) else, just like I focused too much on gaming.

Thought we'd live the rest of our lives together, have a cat (for me) and a dog (for her), all that sort of stuff.

But, since I was so focused on some intangible future point of "happy," I lost sight of who I was in the present.

Too much "emotion mind;" not enough "logic mind." (I'll explain where I learned that in a bit)

 

Just like with gaming:

I got so caught up in the idea of some intangible future point of "happy" in my games, that I lost all sense of who I was in the present.

All the problems that I had from gaming coagulated into a goopy blob of madness when it combined with my mental illness.

 

For deciding on what to do about both unhealthy relationships, with my ex and with gaming, I talked to my friends and family about it in depth.

(I'll try to talk about that relationship story in another journal, since I learned a lot from it.)

 

A second perspective is always helpful for me. Especially when that other person just wants to support me in making the wisest decision I can.

Basically, my friends and family helped me by asking me to weigh the pros and cons of the situation, and really take some time to listening to my emotions.

 

It's something really similar to what I learned in therapy: "Wise mind."

"Wise mind" is the result of both "Logic mind" and "Emotion mind" working together to come to a "wise" conclusion.

 

Too much "Logic mind" means I'm ignoring my emotions. That leads to me not feeling any empathy for other people or myself.

I get like that when my brain is fried by too much gaming. I'm stuck in an emotionless perspective, and it makes me do mean things, to myself and others.

Too much "Emotion mind," on the other hand, means my emotions cloud my judgement. I get overwhelmed by my emotions, and can't do what's just logical.

 

(Side note: "Wise mind is similar to the concepts of "compassion" and "wisdom" in Buddhism. The basic idea is, both are necessary to balance each other out and "alleviate suffering/follow the Eightfold Path." In another sense, Buddhism says "wisdom" and "compassion" can be cultivated in order to alleviate suffering in general by following the "Eightfold Path." Since middle school, I've drawn on it as a decent set of ethics. I like how it's open to interpretation and experimentation, kinda like some general guidelines for me follow. I don't have to do anything it says if I don't want to, but it's got some good pointers, I think. I don't have to agree on everything in the religion either, in order to learn something from its teachings. I've researched more about Buddhism than any other religion, so that base of knowledge is just easier for me to relate stuff to. I do try to research other religions, though, since an eclectic perspective is almost always helpful. I'll try to refrain from any bias towards any specific religion's teachings, but I can't guarantee that. Buddhism's helped me out a lot. That's for another time, though.)

 

We always have options, but some options are wiser than others.

If you want my opinion, replacing the gaming PC with a less powerful PC is a good plan.

 

That being said, while making plans is helping me to move on from gaming, I tend to get too caught up in my excitement for the future sometimes.

I tend to forget about the realistic time-scale of the endeavor, in all that excitement.

Then, I burn myself out by not taking it step-by-step at a comfortable pace.

I have a feeling you might be able to relate to that, since you've mentioned in your journals about getting so excited that it's hard to focus.

 

 

Hope this is helpful!

Edited by jailbreaker.
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I like the comparison between your unhealthy relationship in high school and your unhealthy relationship with gaming. It IS like a break up! And it IS unhealthy which makes it harder? Or you probably wouldn't need to break up with something if it was healthy...

Haha - at the end there it felt like you were giving a second contribution to my journal instead of writing a diary entry of your own! And yes, I do relate. I do get overexcited (a mixture of anxiety, excitement, anticipation, guilt, risk-taking) and sometimes...this is hard to explain...feel like I've...I explain it in the paragraph below. Maybe you can relate.

I can't tell you how many times I've thought myself into different perspectives. It's like I have different selves and they're always contrived and unconstructive. In other words, I've remained in the same place regardless of the thinking I've done over the last ten years. I don't feel mental progression, just contrived states of mind that superficially indicate there's been a change. This is why I want to remain steadfast in my commitment to quit games, move out, go on some dates, commit to a course, meet new people and make new friends...! 

I will strive to invoke my 'wise' mind and not become unbalanced. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Edited by LordFederickRamsay
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Biggest thing that happened today was the huge nap I took. Since I'm trying to wean myself off of a medication, it's messed with how well I sleep at night. Ended up just sleeping through most of today as a result. My family's recommending me melatonin gummies/supplements, but I should probably ask my psychiatrist first.

 

Returning to the story about my therapy experience:

 

So, most of the time, when I was at therapy, the other patients and I were participating in group therapy. It was a fancy, new-lookin' place, with comfortable blue armchairs.

I can't quite remember my first session, but I do remember being excited and curious about meeting everyone. Meeting Rad Lady (my nickname for the program manager) got me all excited to meet more potentially cool people. Nobody else was nearly as cheery as I was, except maybe this older lady, who I'll call M. M was a stout white lady in her 60's; had scraggly grey hair, and looked kinda time-worn. She was a professional athlete for much of her life, but she contracted a rare disease after a surgery went awry. And she also had a lot of procedures to try to fix this, but it only helped a little. She could barely even get up a flight of stairs, or stand up out of her chair without assistance. She felt so tormented by the fact that she couldn't just go outside and be active as much as she wanted anymore. Another thing tormenting her was the loss of her youngest son. Died in a collision. I have a feeling she was the one who was yelling about her son at the ER staff when I was stuck in that gurney that night. Couldn't help but feel sorry for her. She was clearly drunk and in a lot of pain. When I actually met her, though, I was surprised at how sweet of a person she was.

 

Even though she was struggling with all of these hardships, she still had a great sense of humor. Most of the time, she was either recounting stories from her glory days, venting about a court case she was involved in about her son, or cracking jokes to try to lighten the mood. She would also spend a lot of time espousing her wisdom onto me, since, she told me, I reminded her of her son who passed away. (She showed me a picture of him, and we had very similar features.) I appreciated her giving me all that advice, even if I didn't necessarily ask for it. It showed me that she cared; wanted me to do my best. My favorite bit of advice from her was that I have my whole life ahead of me, and so much time to do whatever I wanna do. I should also get active as much as possible, before I get "old and worn-down" like her.

My most memorable experiences with her were these:

1) There was a poignant moment when she was crying and grieving over her son. She felt like beating up her ex-husband, since he promised to look after their son in the hospital after the accident, but he never showed. It was too late by the time M got to the hospital... Now she'll never know what her son's last words were. It's one of the reasons she just can't stop grieving over him, and being furious at her ex-husband. To try to make light of a very depressing situation, I pointed out that grief is another form of love. And if she's grieving that much, it means she has a lot of love in her. She really loves her son, and he'll always be with her in her heart. She appreciated my consolation.

 

2) We'd often eat lunch together in the common room, and do activities together. We were good buds. One day, the therapists brought out a roll-up keyboard. It's like a normal keyboard, but it's flexible and easy to roll up and store somewhere. She loooved that keyboard. She accessed the drum set sounds on it, since she used to be play percussion for a jug band. She was obviously a bit rusty, but she could tap out some cool rhythms! We were jammin' in no time; made some tunes.

3) We played charades together one time with most of the staff and patients. It was just great seeing everyone goof around after talking about really heavy stuff.

 

Alright, good night.

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Thanks for the compliment, @LordFederickRamsay! It's nice to know someone appreciates my attention to detail.

 

Gonna do a brief gratitude journal today, since I got D&D tonight. And an ACTUALLY brief one; not a million words long like they tend to go sometimes XD.

 

3 foods I'm grateful for trying/eating in my lifetime:

- Had this meat-lover's burger at some place in LA called "The Vault." The restaurant's dim lighting and avant-garde decorations really made it feel like an exclusive club. Ha, I remember they had a portrait of Napoleon, but with a sheep's head. It was on the wall across from where I was sitting. Strange, but charming, somehow? Anyway, best burger I've ever had in my entire life.

- The huge sushi rolls from my favorite restaurant in my hometown. Honestly, I can barely fit them in my mouth, but when I do, wheewwwww... Guy Fieri was right. Flavortown is a place on Earth. I'm a little biased, though, since my family and I would go to that little place for birthdays and other celebrations, making the sushi extra-special.

- Ha, alright what else... Aha! Got it. There was this little aquarium I went to as a kid. I was maybe 8 or 9 years old? Despite loving the experience of seein' all the cool ocean life in the place, my favorite part was actually this hot dog I had outside the entrance. The guy cookin' up the hot dogs reminded me of an old, grizzled sailor. Had the beanie, big, grey scraggly beard, and a wrinkly, old, weather-worn face. Textbook sailor-lookin' guy. It was a little foggy and chilly that day, too, so he seemed a bit like an old ghost. The hot dog he sold to me was AMAZING. Maybe he imbued it with some ghostly magic or something XD, but it was freakin' phenomenal. pHeNoMeNaL. Best hot dog ever. Didn't even need any condiments. That's how good it was.

 

Ah, alright, guess I gotta cease my driveling about a spookily delicious hot dog now. Huh, makes me wonder what other people's favorite food experiences were. K, 'til next time.

Edited by jailbreaker.
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