Go away and never come back!

Sometimes i just want to scream at the top of my lungs. My brain can go from happy to sad in less than 2 secs and next thing i know i am questioning all of my friendships, all of my successes and feeling like I am all alone and a fake shell of a human being.

This is how I woke up today. I want to reach out to my friends I want to talk but i cant bring myself to do it. So I am compelled to write this down and toss it on the internet? It makes no sense. Why cant I just talk to my friends about this, why does tossing it out in public work but i cant go to the ones i trust?  Maybe cause i know no one will see it here. Here it is safe and obscure.  Maybe I dont want to burden my friends. They say they are there for me but a human can only take so much before they realize that its too much trouble and the last thing i want is to make my friends hate me or feel burdened by me.

In reality this is all my fault. This is me forgetting to take my meds, this is me going so long off of them and then getting back on them and now I am a chemical mess. This is me wishing i could have lives like my friends. Feeling like I am missing out on life and experiences that others have that I cant seem to recreate.  This is me wondering why I cant find anyone here in LA to have fun with and by not finding anyone turning it onto myself and convincing myself that its because I am gross and broken and dont deserve that kind of fun.

I am so fucking alone and my friends live so fucking far away

 

I am trapped inside myself and see no escape…..ever…..

Recognizing the Lie

But its a lie that we are taught is real, and it to some of us it can do more damage than good.

Today is almost a week since I had a bit of an emotional tumble, and I wanted to reflect on that a bit.  Tomorrow will be a week since I fell down a small hole of depression, it caught up with me and luckily i was able to pull myself out with the help of some very kind very wonderful people in my life.  What happened?  Why did this happen?  I let that little gremlin in my head win, it’s the easiest way to describe it.

I live alone, all the people I consider friends exist on the internet.  I don’t get to hang with them, I don’t get to hug them, I can’t just invite them over and sit next to them sharing our thoughts, jokes and innuendos.  Even though I am mostly okay with living alone, i think i am really the kind of person who likes just having someone around near me.  I am bad at small talk but I just like to have people close.

To make matters worse Skype reminded me of my mortality with the birthday notice for a friend who died 4 years ago. He was my age and we worked together at PetsMart when i was younger. We developed a very strong friendship but lost touch when i moved to Hawaii for college. however in 2012 we had found each other again through Xbox live and started to talk nightly and made plans to play Mass Effect 3 together and much more.  Then one morning after having talked late the night before I got a call saying that he had been found in his bathroom dead.  I spent the next few weeks having panic attacks and heart attack symptoms as my mortality was questioned and I lost a friend.  Naturally this reminder had me look back on my life and compare it to others.  That devious gremlin then spent the entire time reminding my how i haven’t lived up to any goals i set for myself and told me everyone was better off than I was.  And I had lost the will to fight back.

It was also the anniversary of breaking up with my last girlfriend, nearly 10 years ago.  I have not dated since that time.  And once again i compared myself to those around me. My coworkers, my college friends are all paired off, they live these happy lives and share their days with someone else.  I let my gremlin tell me that I was nothing because I wasn’t like them.  I let myself feel guilty for my insecurities, i told myself that no one would want me because I am not like those people on TV.  I am a chubby balding man in his late 30’s and who wants a George Costanza when the can have a Tom Hiddleston or something like that?

As expected listening to these voices, letting the lies win, its much easier to just give in.  Sometimes constantly fighting them makes you tired, you are not perfect, no one can expect you to hold up against an onslaught forever right?  Well my friends last week I lost for just a little while.  I got to work on Tuesday and felt like a ball of black matter was inside me, slowly draining any energy I had. I couldn’t stand up.  There were times where the waves of hopelessness and despair consumed every once of myself, so much so I had to lean against walls for fear of falling and screaming in the frustration of it all.  Somehow I made it through work, i don’t know how i did, and i dont know how no one noticed that all i wanted to do was cease to exist.

That night I closed all my windows, turned off all the lights got in bed and stayed there for hours, wide awake and bawling my guts out. Trying, in vain, to expel the blackness, to make it go away so I could be myself again.  To be honest guys I hadn’t had an episode like this in a long time and I was scaring myself.  Somewhere in the night I had decided that all of you would be better off without my weak emotional stupid ugly face around and I decided I would delete all the social media apps.  I spent Wednesday in basically the same state and well into Thursday.

I will not lie when I said part of me reveled in the pain, the part of me that wanted to win, and it was trying to take hold.  Then something happened that could have gone a lot worse.  At work someone responded not very nicely to something I did and in my state I took it very, very personally.  When i got back to my office I found myself wanting to hurt myself, the pain, the shame and the dark thoughts were so much that i had to make them quiet, and the only logical reaction was to make all this emotional pain physical.  That was the first step to reminding myself of how far I have actually come.

There was a time in my life where I would self harm, its long ago and I haven’t done it since my teens, but to have those feelings again were not as welcome as they once used to be. I immediately went across the hall and told my coworker. She helped me call my doctor and set up an appointment, one that I will be going to this week.  You guys i cant tell you how happy i was that i recognized something even in the pit of despair i was in and made a decision to stop it.

It was that little victory that slowly turned me around, later that night naturally I tried to ignore CR and everyone, but part of me couldn’t and by the end of the night I had started to engage with people again.

Now I know people deal with all of this stuff differently, some don’t get just a couple of days, but I just wanted to share my little hiccup to remind the gremlin that it doesn’t have power over me, that I will continue to fight, because even as I write this I can feel that I am still not entirely better, and I probably wont ever be better because this is just how my brain is wired, but i can recognize that I am not perfect, and no one else is either.  But if i stay engaged and keep pressing on I can feel better with you guys beside me.

How Role Play Saved My Character

If you haven’t seen #OffTheRailsCrew I suggest you watch it here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLlq_AULlkvENVZVtKp6SP7wooz915N_4v.

It is pretty solid storytelling and a group of great players to boot. This game was a rocky start for me, but I have found redemption in solid Role Play. With that being said I would like to share with you why I am excited to play Augthar now.

A few months ago I joined a one shot in order to give @Tempuslibris her first chance to be in a D&D game.  Since I knew it was a one-shot and I was naïve about it becoming anything else I decided to make a character I wouldn’t normally play.  This was right around the time that Matt had created the Witch Hunter class so I said what that heck and rolled up a Goliath Witch Hunter, because why not?

Our first game was fun.  I however absolutely hated my character.  I couldn’t find his voice, I didn’t like melee, and I literally almost died, Charles had to drop in a deus ex Machina to save us.  The entire time we played in the back of my mind I was thinking, it’s just a one shot, it will be over soon. Fast forward to today and we have 13 episodes under our belt and 3 more players added and it is totally a full blown campaign.

I will not lie to you that the episodes leading up to our last one were tough for me.  I admit that over time, I grew to find Augthars voice. What joy and entertainment I could not find in his class, I found in role playing him and engaging with the other players.  It was the only saving grace of this Tuesday game in the beginning.

In all RPG’s I have played casters, or a form of caster.  Melee just has never done it for me, and as we continued into our never ending one-shot I felt the frustration and hatred grow.  You probably can’t tell if you watch the episodes, but the only time I was having fun was when I got to role play.  I remember it was around the mages tower episode that I had just decided to RP Auggie to death in order to keep the game going for my friends. From that point I had fun.  He wasn’t my favorite character but he would do.

Things started to change a little after the Broken Isles.  Charles introduced my nemesis into the story line and I fed off of the feels that that produced, giving me an outlet to enjoy our campaign.  As we progressed in the story I knew that we would eventually face this demon, and I devised a plan. It seemed only natural that Augthar would sacrifice his life for his friends and to end the demon that destroyed his clan.  So with Auggie on the top of a mountain I made a decision, Augthar would die for good at the first chance for a heroic death.

I was confident in my decision as we progressed further, and came closer to meeting our Demon Boss. However something started to happen that I didn’t expect.  I do not know why I never saw it coming but Auggie was growing on me.  With level 5 and my new hammer I found the combat to be a little more interesting, I found Augthar had another side to his personality and I also found that maybe with the right combination of RP and items, even I could be coaxed into liking a melee character.  The time also happened to coincide with Mercer renaming the class and updating it even more.  I was feeling stronger and had more options.

Then came the day I knew was coming. Two weeks ago we fought the thing that had possessed my character for 3 years, the beast that made me kill my entire clan.  The RP was strong with me.  I landed blow after blow, I saved team mates and I felt that I was doing Auggie justice.  All the while I was waiting for that moment when I could give him his heroic death.  Auggie was at 1 HP when he charged in to attack the demon.  I had a superior health potion but was so determined to kill him I didn’t use it.  I took a hit and went unconscious, and then Rhia fell and died.  During this time something woke in me, after all this time of disliking a character I had tricked myself into caring about him.  I know to most reading this it probably seems silly that I didn’t already care about him, but it honestly took me by surprise.  With Rhia down and myself newly healed I went in for what I would hope would be the final kill.  I had no idea what the Boss’ HPs were but I hoped.  I succeeded. I killed my demon and Charles gave me an honest heroic out, at least I think he did, and I didn’t want to take it knowing Rhia was dead.

So here I was knowing that I was going to die but instead of going out with the boss I knew I needed to save my sister, so I RP’d and hoped that Charles would be okay with it.  I then felt that since Rhia was saved with my death that it wouldn’t be fair if they could just bring me back to life so I gave myself rules to return.  I would roll 4 times 0-40 I would return to the living 40-75 I would stay in limbo and 76-100 I would die never to return.  Granted that doesn’t seem even, but it was the heat of the moment and I wasn’t thinking.  In the end the story played out as it did and I lived.  I was happy that Auggie was alive and I felt a renewed interest in him.

I am not sure exactly what the lesson is in this.  Sometimes the things we think we will not like still have something redeemable in them, that perhaps is a solid lesson.  We put up barriers and surround ourselves with what is comfortable.  I took a chance on something I normally wouldn’t play and I grew to love it just as much as my other characters.  That is why I love D&D, and that is why I will never stop playing.

Half-Assed Crew: Thordren Lost in Love and Longing for home

i’ve never been normal in my musical likings and preferences, and i remember in high school during the 90’s being the only kid listening to 50’s and 60’s and Jimmy Buffett music.  My father also had a huge influence on what i listened to and he used to craft these epic CD tales on our road trips in the summers.

Thordren is a dwarf away from his home, he feels lost and some of that is his own fault.  He is also heartbroken, and that may be mostly his fault. Without getting too spoilery here are the songs i think reflect Thordren’s past, his present, and where he hopes to be.  I use a lot of myself in Thordrens character and in his journey so far i think these best represent his and my journey.

spotify:user:1295216629:playlist:0sqJYGXl1XZ2aVWG3ujsPt

“The Samurai Set” – Gaelic Storm

We start and end this list with my favorite music.  From a young kid the sound of bagpipes has always spurred my imagination and left me inspired, this is one of my favorite sets from an awesome band.

“Girls Chase Boys” – Ingrid Michaelson

Thordren is a bard, by divine right of classes he is meant to be a ladies man.  I wish it were the same for me, but I love Ingrid and this song feels very Thordren.

“You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth” – Meat Loaf

The first time my dad played me this album I fell in love with this song in particular. For Thordren its the first time he lays eyes on Maewin in Bardic College. Taking the words out of Throdrens mouth is definitely a feat in itself.

“Magic” – The Cars

Another band I adored in High School thanks to my dad.  This one hit me as something very Bard magic related and as Thordren continued through school the magic hold was something he would come to regret.

“A Girl, a Boy, and a Graveyard” – Jeremy Messersmith

Dani introduced me to this song and it struck a deep chord.  For Thordren it begins a darker lonelier time in his life.  Mistakes were made, relationships torn asunder and consequences delivered.

“Gone” – The Show Ponies

Saw the show ponies my first week in LA.  If you play a fiddle, violin or bagpipe im yours for life.  Seeing them live was an experience that touched my soul and for Thordren the loss of his love hit hard in his.

“Last Kiss” – Pearl Jam

I used to call into the Portland Radio station to hear the original song when i was a kid. The pearl jam remake hit me where it counts in longing for love and the same pretty much goes for my dwarf bard.  He is lost.

“Wish You Were Here” – Pink Floyd

Wandering, lost, swimming in a fish bowl year after year.  His actions brought him to this point and even though he was in the wrong he cant help but feel alone.  Besides its Floyd people.

“Don’t Run” – Bad Veins

This song caught my attention on Spotify.  It hits home for Thordren because now his actions have caught up with his family, and he runs.

“Exile Vilify (From the Game Portal 2)” – The National

Literally cried the first time i found the wall from Ratman painted with Chele’s image. It hits Thordren that he may never see home or family again, and this song gives me those feelings.  I love feeling bad 😉

“Hide and Seek” – Imogean Heap

On the run, no real goals. Thordren goes from town to town filling the hole in his heart with song, false merryment and beer. Another song that just feels right to me.

“I’m Movin’ On” – Rascal Flats

A song I play on every move I make in life.  Something about picking up and starting again…im just in love with feeling emotions, Thordren knows he cant go back now, and perhaps its time to move on.

“Comfortably Numb” – Pink Floyd

Because its Floyd. Hes done worrying, he is numb to his pain time to just live.

“Midnight City” – M83

more feels, the opening of this song i just like, always have always will. Thordren moves along with life, waiting for that next thing that might fill his lonliness.

“You’ve Got A Friend” – James Taylor

harried by goblins and a Bugbear, found hanging upside down from a tree Aldric and Thordren meet for the first time.  The Bromance is real.  Also I love James Taylor.

“Be OK” – Ingrid Michaelson

Things might be okay.  With a companion in tow Thordren has found someone who needs more help than him.  Putting up with the giant pain in the ass makes the dwarf feel good, plus maybe he can help Aldric find his own way even if Thordren cant find his.

“Back in the High Life Again” – Steve Winwood

This is my families penultimate road trip song, my sister and I always have to hear it and it brings back memories of traveling all across the US.  For Thor its basically what plays in his head every time him and Aldric enter a new town and he sets up shop on a stage. Even now that Thor and Aldric have found others to travel with

“Tubthumping” – Chumbawamba

In this list for reasons.  Half Assed Crew Reasons.

“One Particular Harbor” – Jimmy Buffett

Heard this song on a jukebox in High School, it was one of those test ones filled with random music to be later placed in our senior lounge.  The music was all replaced but this song stuck with me, i would play it after school when everyone had left.  It reminds me that one day i will find my home, that one place destined for me, its just out there waiting for me.  To Thordren its the hope of one day returning to his.

“Floating The Flambeau” – Gaelic Storm

More bagpipes, because bagpipes.

Taking out the Trash

I have always felt things strongly.  It has been consistent throughout my entire life and it has been a blessing and a curse.  It has been uplifting more times than I can count, but the times I remember in vivid detail are the ones where it has literally left me a heaping pile of discarded human emotions.  It fights my happiness, it eats away at the things I take joy from. I hate it so much and I want it to go away.  There are month’s weeks and even years I teach myself to let it go, to beat it back, to send it reeling back into whatever dark depths it spawns from.  It always comes back.  Is it something I do?  Is it my fault for letting it back in my life?  I have no clue. Should I even blame myself?  I have felt its presence coming back for months now, as if it sensed my growing joy, as if it saw the relationships I was building and the togetherness I was once again feeling.  This weekend it struck hard and fast and left me wounded from the attack.  I spent the majority of this weekend locked in my house unable to get up, unable to do anything but lie on a couch and stare at the ceiling.  I wanted to claw my brain out with anger, I felt like a prisoner in my own body, unable to enact any meaningful change of state or will myself back into existence.  I sobbed uncontrollably I wanted to call out to my friends to my family for help, I tired but then I was afraid no one would understand, or that I would lose them forever when they saw who I really was.

It’s infuriating.  I know this isn’t me, I know who I really am, I know that my friends and family would support me, but it whispers lies into my ear and I swallow it up as truth like it was candy coated pills of pure wisdom.  So I either give into it, let the thoughts course through me and hold on for dear life or I fight it and drive myself mad from the anger and exhaustion I feel from beating on what seems like a stone wall.

I thought I had this beat I thought I was winning, but I let myself fall into a false sense of security, I let the loneliness get to me again, and it’s in the loneliness that this stupid thing thrives.  So now I do the only thing I can.  I throw the words it speaks onto a page and let my logic take over.  I let my mind see the weightless words, the vacuous thoughts, the nonexistent fears.  It is a process.  The feelings that I experience leave their scars, the recovery is long, but the will to resist returns, the happiness grows and the people in my life shine once again.

I am better than I was.  15 years ago I would make the threats and the damage real.  I let it control more than my emotions, I hurt myself and those around me.  Even remembering those times makes me feel sick that I let if have all that control.  Today its control is small, and its duration short.  I must remember that I have gotten better.  I can see it right now, what I couldn’t see 10 hours ago, I am strong, I am good, and I feel silly for the torment I let myself endure these past few days.

Creating takes power, it take emotion, and it takes soul.  That is what I forgot again.  Why do I always forget that?  I have always had the need to create and maybe those two voices are related.  The whisper to create and the whisper to hate.  It tells you the things you create are bad and worthless. In fact they aren’t, they are unique and beautiful and that is what it hates because those things show the darkness what it really is.  Intangible, unimportant, meaningless and inconsequential. I let that fear stop me and in doing so I gave the wheel over and became a passenger. The need was still there but i let the whispers drive, i let them tell me it wouldn’t make a difference, that my talent isnt  great that everyone else is better.  It built up like a river against a dam and i was surprised when it eventually gave under the force.  Once again it is a process, i will remember, and next time will be better.  I will be better.

I remember what I told myself that day so long ago when I decided to fight back.

I Love You