Posted in addiction, day-to-day, out of character, recovery

Off the Wagon

It’s been less than 24 hours since my last login.

I don’t know how I feel about it. I’m still sorting it out.  Embarrassed and ashamed,  I guess. And eager to do it again.

The thing that really hurt me about SL was the time sink. Hours and hours and hours would melt away and feel like 15 minutes. And those hours– hours that could have been spent working or dealing with issues IRL– would be gone, never to return.

So. If I’m going to do this. IF!! If I am going to do this, I need a way to keep track of time. To set a timer, and stick with it. To do the things I have to do FIRST, like pay the bills or arrange the interview or do the chores or finish the commission project or whatever it is I need to be an adult and take care of first.

 

Posted in day-to-day, out of character, personal, updates

In this world

I miss the Grid so, so, desperately much right now.

It’s so hard, day after day in this world.

I’m getting by. I’m safe. I’ve got people around me.

But I miss the beautiful Otherworld and its bubble and its magic so much. I miss being Mistletoe so deeply. I want so badly to take a break from this world that words fail me. I’m on the wagon, but fuck, it’s so hard.

Posted in Uncategorized

Living with Type II Bipolar

A Twitter acquaintance who goes by @UnseenPerfidy shares an article on what it’s like to live with Type II Bipolar: https://medium.com/@UnseenPerfidy/dealing-with-bipolar-disorder-5ccbe6374228

Now while I don’t share his use for semantics on “being” vs. “having” Bipolar, I think it’s important to talk about. I’ve written on it here in the past, shortly after an online friend took his own life.

When you’re experiencing hypomania or depression, it’s really hard to put into words what it’s like to be feeling them at the time; and @UnseenPerfidy does, in my opinion, a pretty bang-up job describing it. In particular, I can relate to the feeling of impatience when other people can’t “keep up” with me.

I chatted a bit with him on Twitter and asked if addictive behavior is something that he’s noticed with his own Bipolar, and he says, yes. In his case, it was alcohol. In mine, I have such a fear that alcohol will become addictive that I stay away from it altogether. I was the kid who never went to a party in high school, who never got trashed in college, who never went out drinking with co-workers at the end of the day. My own addictive behavior tends to the much less self-destructive, but rather self-hindering (like the many years I spent not studying or getting decent work experience, pissing away my time on Second Life. I still piss my time away on Facebook. I gotta work on that. I’m only elven.)

Now, I’m working a full-time job and it is a decent one, but there are hours and hours I still piss away online. I’m not writing the book that I say I’m writing, for example. I’m not drawing or crafting or much of anything except drooling in front of social media.

So I need to work out a way to really make time to do something else. Replacing undesirable behavior with desirable behavior.

Anyway, check out Rob’s article, you might find it insightful.

Posted in day-to-day, depression

Dr. Phil, Second Life, and Gaming Addiction

So, as no doubt you’ve heard by now, Dr. Phil made an appearance in SL, and Ebbe made an appearance on Dr. Phil.

Kudos to Dr. Phil for making clear that video games and virutal worlds are not by default bad. As I’ve said myself, they’re neither good nor evil, because they don’t think and don’t have intentions one way or another. For many people they’re therapeutic.

But I could really sympathize (though on a lower level) with Justin saying that it’s much easier to just anesthetize himself than to face the harsh realities of the world, especially when he feels like it’s too late in his life to make anything positive of it. The feeling of having missed my shot is one that resonates with me as well; I’m 40 years old, no degree, diploma by the skin of my teeth, with huge gaps in work history that make it really hard to make look positive on a resume.

But if by some chance you’re reading this, Justin? No. It’s really not too late. It’s easy to feel like you’re lost when you’re 23; lots of people do.

At 23, JK Rowling was broke. Tina Fey was working at the Y.M.C.A. Oprah had just gotten fired from her first job as a TV reporter and Walt Disney had declared bankruptcy. None of these wildly successful individuals could have predicted what was in store for them next but the one thing they all had in common was that they knew that there was more to them than what they were doing at the time. And that’s what you have in common with them, too. You know that there’s a bigger, better version of yourself to bring to life. You just haven’t gotten there yet.

That doesn’t mean that you have to become the next JK Rowling or Walt Disney. It simply means that there’s so much more ahead of you, and within you, that you don’t even know yet. And it’s scary but it’s also exciting.

And, the same goes for me. Did you know that Phyllis Diller was almost 40 when she first gave stand-up comedy a try? Or that Julia Child was 49 when her groundbreaking cookbook got published? Stan Lee was 39 when he published his first comic book. Vera Wang went into fashion design at 40. Darwin wrote “On the Origin of the Species” when he was 50. Laura Ingalls Wilder started writing books in her 60s. Harland Sanders was 62 when he franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken.

My point is, it is NEVER too late to be successful.

And it’s frightening because, for me at least, fear of failure and that nagging lie of “IT’S TOO LATE” are always always hanging over me. Or fear of making a wrong choice. It’s so much easier to just not make any choice, and curl up, and let life happen while I’m deluding myself that I’m making amazing things happen too, just in a virtual world. It feels GREAT to be ultra-popular in a virtual world. It feels GREAT to have the ability to make anything, do anything, go anywhere, and be seen and appreciated for it. It hurts like hell to walk away from that. It’s HARD AS HELL, Justin, and it might take lots of tries, but I believe that you CAN do it!

One thing the show only briefly touched on, though, is HOW. I know that On-Line Gamers Anonymous tends to preach the hard line that all video games are bad, all relationships in them toxic, and you’re 100% better off without them. I don’t agree with that, and from the sounds of things, neither does Dr. Phil. I think maybe for some people it’s easier to talk themselves out of an addiction by convincing themselves that the thing to which they’re addicted is absolutely undeniably BAD. I believe personally that the hard (but necessary) first step is to face the IRL dragon. Look what you’re running from in the eye. For me, that was financial troubles. I had to do a lot of paperwork, make a lot of appointments, pay a lot of debts (and as a result, make a lot of sacrifices), and it was draining and overwhelming. It helped to break things into small pieces, and give myself some kind of reward (preferably tangible, not virtual) for accomplishing smaller goals. For example, if I sit down and pay all my bills and get them sent out, I go and treat myself to a favorite junk food snack while I’m out at the post office. Or, I get a new bottle of nail polish. Or something at the fabric store. Or art supplies. Or a matinee at the theater. Things that I have to be AFK to enjoy.

I’ll reiterate to Justin and all the other Justins and Mistletoes out there: it’s FUCKING HARD. But you can do it. It may take years and years, and you may stumble on the way, but you can do it. We can do it!

Now if you will excuse me, because I reached my goal by sitting down and writing this blog instead of playing on FB, I’m going to go and treat myself to some embroidery floss and a nice walk outside to get it.

Posted in day-to-day, personal

Another Phase Out

Deleted a chunk of people from the friends list at SL yesterday. People that I talk to already out of SL (so no need to keep them on my friends list), people I’m likely to never talk to, or else haven’t talked to in like five years, or else have no recollection of who they are.

I am the WORST about letting go of things. I keep people on my friends list when I know for a fact that they are literally not breathing anymore, because I like to hold onto the reminder of them. I kinda horde in that way. And I won’t even START about my inventory.

But, I am trying to let go of this thing, and one of the ways to do that, is to make steps to clear out my friends list. So while I try and say to myself “they won’t mind…” the more likely fact is “they won’t notice”.

In other news, the friend who wrote me and said “I don’t want to be [Avatar Name] anymore” has taken the plunge, sold their land, and cashed out. It’s one person I won’t have to remove from my friends list because I’ve already been removed from theirs. We still keep in touch via email, and it sounds like things are really looking up in this person’s world.

A hard thing for me is that I kind of replace one addictive behavior with another addictive behavior. Lately my addictive behavior is stupid Facebook games. I like to think I’m practicing moderation, and relative to eight hours a day, I am. I’ve still got a way to go. Bit by bit. I’m really being tested lately, because there’s Uncertainty About Life going on, but I’m doing my best to bravely face what I need to before zoning out in front of Monster Busters.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo

We all know the trope: you were about 11 years old, and you had that one friend who claimed he had an uncle who worked at Nintendo and that that’s how he had all this inside information and goodies from the world of gaming.

But what if the uncle really existed? Worse, what if the “uncle” is really a malevolent entity that devours kids– kids like you!

Written by Michael Lutz and illustrated by Kimberly Parker, The Uncle Who Works for Nintendo is a horror-themed interactive fiction game that you can play for free on your browser. It doesn’t take a very long time to play. You’re the 11-year-old protagonist, spending the night at a BFF’s house, when you learn that the BFF’s mysterious uncle who works for Nintendo is coming over at midnight. As hours tick by on the grandfather clock (have your sounds on when you play!) you determine how you interact with your BFF and slowly uncover pieces of the mystery surrounding this uncle. There are five possible endings to the game; once you achieve the fifth ending you learn how you can unlock the epic sixth (“real”) ending.

Once you “beat” the sixth ending, you unlock the author’s notes, in which Lutz talks about what inspired him to make this game, how the game accidentally wound up being topical in the midst of G*merg*te, what the “uncle” might symbolize, some history on Creepypasta, and so on.

I don’t want to spoil too much about the game’s story (if I haven’t already) but I can see how the “uncle” might be interpreted as the darker side of game addiction. Have a look for yourself and see, if you like.