Anxiety and Gaming Triggers

I suppose it’s time to talk about those hateful things known as depression and anxiety. I want to write about something that’s happened recently, partially because I’m hoping writing about it will help me figure it out and wrap my mind around it and maybe find a solution at some point, but I also want to reinforce my belief that these things shouldn’t be hidden, and that talk about mental illness shouldn’t be avoided because there’s a stigma to it. Seriously, why is there a stigma? More people than not have some form of it. It doesn’t mean they’re broken, it means their chemicals went a little wonky at some point.

I could go on for pages about that whole thing, but I’ll stick to my current situation for now.


My husband and I, being the fabulous nerds we are, decided to try LARPing. Manhattan has a great group of people who I’d gotten to know through TengaiCon, and they sold us on giving it a try. So I drew up a character and tried to figure things out.

At first, I was just really shy. I didn’t know the mechanics of the game, and it’s never been easy for me to be anyone else. I thought it would get better for me and that I would eventually feel comfortable. I even had a couple really good nights where I felt outgoing and comfortable and in character.

Everyone is great and patient, but I realized quickly that LARPing was triggering my anxiety and triggering it hard. Even on nights when I started out feeling good, something would happen, and it wouldn’t even be something major. It would just be a shift for me, and watching everyone else having a good time while I spiraled made it worse.

Normally, I would just say “This isn’t for me” and take a step back. But in this case, quitting brings another bout of anxiety with it. It means not getting to spend time with good people I wouldn’t see otherwise. It means feeling like I’m letting people down. And strangely, it also feels like I’m giving up on a couple characters who had potential. While most people wouldn’t think twice about it, to me, it feels like unfinished business.

I’m currently thinking of coping techniques I can use because I do think it’ll get better. I went through something like this when I started playing tabletop RPGs. A lot of it is hating the feeling of not knowing what I’m doing. Some of it is being intimidated by people who are awesome. There’s also an element of being a little overwhelmed by different people and different characters.

There’s also a need, when LARPing, to separate the reality from the game. No, I’m not going to rage at work and turn into a werewolf. But I have found myself irritated or angry or hurt by something a character did and it’s carried over into my feelings toward a player.

I’m not sure if I’m ready to give up yet, because there are some really fun points. Right now, I’m going to take a short break and then just take it one game at a time. The main thing I’m making myself remember, though, is that just because I’m having these issues, I’m still an awesome person. I don’t say that enough out loud, but having anxiety doesn’t mean I’m broken. It just means I have a thing I need to handle.


The Balance Between Fun and Responsibility

Last week was a busy and exhausting week. My natural tendency to pull away from people showed itself, and yet I pushed through it to be social. Some of that social interaction wore me down. Most of it was fun though.

In gaming, my halfling rogue was turned into a vampire, which made me sad. My werewolf saw combat, which frustrated me (not the story so much as the game mechanics). I’m also kind of a sore loser, even though that really shouldn’t apply to this sort of gaming.


I also played a game called Superfight and found out that it’s tough to beat someone or something that has been turned into a poltergeist.

In knitting, I realized I really need to learn to read a pattern better. I read the length instructions for a hat wrong and ran out of yarn. I figured I’d just use some matching scrap, but it wasn’t working for me, so I completely fudged the end of the hat. I suppose it doesn’t look horrible, but it drives me nuts because the original pattern would have been super cool looking. I’m going to try that one again. Some day.

Thursday was the highlight day of the week.

1. I paid off all my credit cards. Doing this involved going against what many a financial advisor would advise. I cashed out my previous 401k. It wasn’t a decision I made quickly or easily, but when it came down to it, I wanted to free up money to comfortably pay Jon’s student loans each month. I’m glad I did it, even if it means pushing retirement back.

2. We bought new games. What better way to celebrate financial responsibility than to go out and spend more money. I have no regrets. We picked up Smallworld: Underground and Betrayal at House on the Hill from our new game store. They were 2 games we’ve been wanting and we know they’ll see play.

3. I had my 90-day evaluation at work. It doesn’t feel like I’ve been there for 90 days. Most of the time, I feel like I just started. The eval was good. I’m right where I should be. I was fairly stressy about a week ago with regards to my speed and quality, but at the urging of my boss, I stopped stressing and all has been well since.

The weekend has been lazy enough to offset the . Snow and cold kept me inside watching movies, listening to podcasts, and knitting like a maniac. I finished an easy project and then moved on to a not so easy project. Not sure if that was a great idea considering I’ve been knitting more in social situations, but I realize I do have the power to just start a different, easier project.

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My first cowl.

Onward to finish off the weekend and prepare for the inevitability of Monday.


Gen Con Wrap Up

I wasn’t as ambitious this year as I was last year and didn’t do a daily post for Gen Con. A lot of that was because things were a bit different for Jon and I this year. Not bad, but different, and we wanted to try to minimize things, which meant not taking a computer with us.

Other differences: minimal bag carrying, working part time for AEG, no digi-cam or cosplay photos, different hotel room and travel routes, and no food truck experiments. While generally these could be seen as minor differences, they did give us a slightly different Gen Con experience than in the past.

I’ve decided to break this post down into our Gen Con highlights and lowlights, complete with a few random pictures I was able to take with my phone.



1. Working for AEG – Fellow gamers might be familiar with AEG or Alderac Entertainment Group. They have a bunch of fun games, including Legend of the Five Rings, Trains, and Doomtown: Reloaded. This year, we had the opportunity to work part time for them. They are a great bunch of people, and it’s hard to go wrong when “work” means “teaching people to play new games.”

2. Playtesting – We made it a point to get in three playtests in the First Exposure Playtest Hall, one of our annual favorites. Basically, you pick a game that’s not yet out on the market, play it, and give the creators feedback. We did a board game, an RPG, and a miniatures game and had a blast trying out all of them. Jon and I could probably take one full day to do nothing more than playtest. Seriously.

Dream Heist was a blast...hope to buy this one when it comes on the market!
Dream Heist was a blast…hope to buy this one when it comes on the market!

3. Swag – Volunteering has its perks, and we ended up bringing home a ton of games. On our last day there, we splurged a bit and bought a few things as well. It’s safe to say we have enough games to last us the rest of the year and beyond, including a new horror RPG for me to scare people with. Mwahahaha.

Game on!
Game on!

4. Culinary finds – For various reasons, we didn’t end up trying any food trucks this year. After our initial annual splurge at The Ram, it was mostly Steak ‘N’ Shake for us, with two tasty exceptions. For breakfast one morning, we discovered a great restaurant called First Watch that served amazing food. We also found the part of the mall that houses Haagen-Dazs. So that was a thing that happened one evening.



5. Walking – We walked everywhere! We even took walks when we didn’t need to, and breaks were minimal. Instead of making Jon go back to the car if we needed something, I went with him. I’ve come a long way in five conventions, and considering how much better it makes the whole experience, it’s a good reminder to keep up the “training.”


1. Hotel – Our regular hotel doubled their prices last year, so we booked another one that was more within what we were used to paying. Normally we get lucky with the cheap hotels, but the one we got this year was awful. It smelled funny, had a sad breakfast,  no soundproofing, and even though the staff was friendly, they weren’t super efficient or knowledgeable.

2. Traffic – Gen Con wasn’t the only thing going on last week and weekend. The Indiana State Fair was happening and Saturday brought a Colts pre-season game. Even though we got to the ICC early on Thursday, we stayed gridlocked for about a half hour and then had trouble finding parking, something we’ve never had an issue with before. Leaving the convention center on Saturday brought more gridlocked traffic among the sea of gamers and Colts fans.

3. Con crud – For the first time ever, I got sick after Gen Con. I started feeling it on the drive home on Sunday, and on Monday it was full blown grossness. It’s about four days later and I’m still feeling the effects of it, but I’m recuperating. Washing your hands religiously is a good thing, but sometimes the crud will find a way.

4. The drive – I normally love road trips and I love to drive, but this year the drive felt super long and uncomfortable. Our trip started with a few annoyances, like the gas station not being opened early enough for us to get a drink and Dunkin’ Donuts not having the mix needed for the drink I wanted. Later it got worse with stalled vehicles on the highway and rush hour traffic. I realize none of these are huge and most of them are to be expected, but they seemed more dramatic this year than they should have been.

However, we did stop and see the world’s largest wind chime again, and that was pretty awesome!IMG_20140812_132326[1]

All in all, our fifth year at Gen Con was a success and we’re already looking forward to 2015.


Blue Skies Sunday

The weather was awesome today, and I managed to get up early enough to get out and enjoy it. There were a few minutes before we left the house that I thought it might be easier just to sit at home and read, but I pushed myself to get outside and I’m glad I did. Jon and I had a pretty awesome day, complete with some walking to help ease the soreness from yesterday.

After grabbing a quick breakfast at Subway, we took advantage of the dry roads and warm temp to go geocaching. In our back roads travels, we came across an area we hadn’t been before.

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We found six caches before heading into town to do laundry and grab lunch at Olive Garden with a gift card we had. We debated doing some more geocaching before gaming, but instead, we ended up going to the zoo to walk around for a little bit.

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We only had a partial group for gaming, but we still managed to get to the second chapter of our adventure…after almost getting eaten by the Kraken. We cut the game short by an hour because the wind picked up. By the time we got home, the warm and sunny day had been overtaken by wind and snow. Oh well…at least we got to enjoy several hours of sun.

I was going to watch American Horror Story tonight, but I’m tired and need to shower and get ready for tomorrow. I’ve been having trouble sleeping, so I’m going to take a melatonin, but I have to do it early or else I’ll be groggy tomorrow. I’m hoping that the weather isn’t horrible tonight and that I don’t have to deal with ice in the morning.

Bring it on, Monday!



Computer Break, Now Over

I’m back to the  blog after a few days off. Jon and I house/dog-sat this week, and I opted to leave my laptop at home, giving myself a few days to just unplug and focus on reading, catching up on American Horror Story, and spending time with friends. It was kind of a nice break, though I came back to a ton of email and now that I’m ready to blog, I don’t remember everything that happened over the past few days.

On Sunday, we gamed. My character, Mavis, is currently In a Relationship with a gnome…and It’s Complicated.

On Monday, we took a muddy walk around one of the local parks and watched the Stevie Nicks episode of American Horror Story: Coven.

On Tuesday, I hung out with one of my good friends who’s in town for a few days for work. We ate Pizza Shuttle, visited, and watched scandalous YouTube videos. It was awesome!

Today, I finished a book that made me cry and caught up on emails since I was reunited with my computer.

It hasn’t been a bad week, to be honest. It’s been much better than last week, that’s for sure, even though there’s still alot going on at work. I attribute part of that to the warmer temps and the sunshine. I’ve been able to get out and walk, including extra long walks to and from my car due to having to park in the back while intersession is going on at our work building. I haven’t minded.

I’m hoping to get back into my blogging groove while still finishing up my goals for January. However, this is a late one, and I need to get ready for bed.

Until tomorrow…




New Year’s Gaming and First Day Weather

Happy New Year!

Our New Year’s Eve kicked off yesterday afternoon. I got out of work early, so Jon and I decided to use the extra daylight hours to do some geocaching. The winter weather (and my low tolerance for it) has put a limit on our caching adventures, so it felt good to get out and make some finds. Other than some mud and having to navigate around icy patches, we didn’t have too much trouble.

We made a pit stop at Dillon’s for snacks, then grabbed dinner at McAllister’s before heading over to Terry and Erica’s for some NYE gaming. We played a game called Elder Sign, drank some Redd’s Strawberry Ale, and just had a nice, relaxing evening. Nice and relaxing is my current speed. Once in awhile I like to get a little wild, but I think the way we spent our evening was perfect.

Elder Sign
Elder Sign

Our original plans for today were derailed by snow. I’d wanted to go to the First Day Hike at Tuttle Creek State Park, but since we were under a winter weather advisory, I thought it best to stay in. We might have gone if we’d lived in Manhattan, but I didn’t want to risk the drive. However, since we knew we were going to opt out, we decided to brave the cold and take a walk around the neighborhood. It was a short walk, but it did the trick of getting us out to stretch our legs.

The rest of the day was spent knitting, watching a movie, reading, playing on the internet, and taking a nap. Jon made crockpot chili for dinner, and it was delicious. This was the first time we’ve made chili this season, and it was well worth the wait. Though I have a list of things to get done, I decided to take today as a relax day. I think I’ll be ready to get back into my groove tomorrow.  For January, I want to finish my work course (I keep forgetting I have it), re-read Cinder and Scarlett before Cress releases in February, and finish the first revision on my novel.

Overall, it was a good holiday and a good kickoff to the new year. It’s not coming without some personal issues. I have some challenging people in my life who are making me a stew a little bit, but it’s not the first time and it won’t be the last time. As a side note, please remember that if you have mental health issues, get help. Not only will you feel better, but you’re likely to avoid hurting the people around you.

I’m not taking this as a foreshadowing of 2014. I still believe I’m going to have a fabulous and fun year. Bring it on!


Weekend in Review

Nothing crazy happened this weekend, other than that I wasn’t feeling well. Somehow, though, I still managed to accomplish what felt like a lot. I did not, however, accomplish any blog posts, so here’s the update on the weekend.

Friday: After work, I dropped Jon off at gaming, went to the gym for another treadmill session, then went to Forsh’s for some dinner, wine, and The Sound of Music. I love the original movie, so I was interested in seeing the remake with Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer. Before I saw it, I read mixed reviews. After I saw it, everything I read talked about how horrible it was. It wasn’t better than the original, for sure, but I actually liked it. Underwood is cute and Moyer was…well, it was fun comparing Captain Von Trapp to Bill Compton.  It was also fun to just goof on it with Forsh. I picked up Jon when it got late. He took second in the FNM draft, so it turned out to be a good night all around.

Saturday: I slept in on Saturday, which I thought would be good for some extra rest, but I was feeling rough when I woke up, both physically and emotionally. It wasn’t my normal depression. I wanted to go do something but I didn’t want to deal with the cold, so I stayed in and figured that was best to try to make myself feel physically better…that and a few cold pills. I started feeling restless a little later on, so I channeled my energy into finishing a few knitting projects I’d been working on and watching American Horror Story: Asylum, which finally came on Netflix. Later in the evening, I did venture out for a short walk with Jon to the corner store. It was chilly, but I found my headband and gloves, so it was bearable. The walk itself felt good. I hate  being cooped up all day. Before the day ended at around two in the morning, I watched all of Asylum.

Sunday: I woke up feeling better, so I thought I was out of the woods. Even though I got to bed late on Saturday, I set an early alarm so I could get up and finish an editing project. We ordered lunch, and I watched some Christmas shows to get the answers I needed for the mystery geocache series. Even though it was cold and snowy, I didn’t want to be cooped up again, and since we had to go out for gaming anyway, I suggested we brave the cold and snow and go pick up some geocaches. The roads weren’t horrible, though there were a few snags in our plan. First, some of our coordinates were wrong due to sticky keyboard fingers and typos, so our first two caches took us to private land and someone’s driveway…hence, we knew we’d done something wrong. We also ended up on a really horrible back road and almost dumped ourselves into a creek. My mad driving skills got us through it, but that was a pretty intense trip. We managed to grab four of the mystery caches before heading over for our Pathfinder game. It was around that time that I started feeling sick again, worse than Saturday. I couldn’t focus on anything, I had a weird headache, and I kept running hot and cold. I also thought I was going to fall asleep a few times because I felt so exhausted.

Once the game was over, I managed to perk up enough to do some grocery shopping, but I was sore and tired and really glad to get home. Jon made me some chicken noodle soup and I picked up some OJ at the store. I’ll be heading to bed shortly after this post to try to get some sleep, and hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow. I go through this every other month or so, so I’m going to rely on my immune system to kick into high gear and not let me get super sick before Christmas.

Here’s to some cold meds and rest and a good upcoming work week.


Puzzle Caches and Time Management

I was mentally prepared for the day, which was good, since I had a ton of stuff to tackle and didn’t want to fight against brain fuzz. However, my time management skills were and will be put to the test over the next couple weeks, both due to work commitments and self imposed goals. In relation to those goals, I’m currently enjoying an app/site that one of the webcomic artists I follow on Twitter and Tumblr clued me in on: HabitRPG. As someone who enjoys rpgs, I love the idea of being able to gain experience and level up by cultivating good habits and losing hit points when I give in to the not-so-good ones. It also has a fun rewards system and a to-do list, which makes checking things off even better than checking them off a normal to do list. This might not be for everyone, but so far, I’m having fun with it. 

December is the month when I start wanting to organize and purge and finish projects so I can start the new year off with a clean slate. Right now, though, things are crazy. I have a few different projects I have to work on and a few more I want to work on. I also want to enjoy social time, get my daily exercise, and do some geocaching before the weather gets snowy. So tonight was my first test in time management, and I was fairly successful. I didn’t do everything I set out to do, but I accomplished quite a bit.  I suppose I could have done something else if I’d avoided Candy Crush Saga, but I need my relax time too.  I’m hoping I can time manage my way through the next few weeks. 

After work, Jon and I went to grab a couple geocaches. One of the local cachers is doing a Countdown to Christmas puzzle cache series, and we’re trying to solve the puzzles and follow along with it as best we can. We picked up the first two today, which marks our first official puzzle cache finds. There’s a series nearby that we’ve been working on solving, but we have yet to go out to the field and find the physical caches. 

Since yesterday was a rest day, we wanted to make sure we got some exercise tonight, and with the weather giving us a couple more days of warmer winter weather, we went to the rec center for a walk and some zombie missions. I realized once we got there that I hadn’t downloaded the next story mission, so I did a supply mission instead. I only did two chases. Halfway around the track, both ankles cramped up, so I had to finish out slow. If I had to guess, I’d say it was because I didn’t pace myself well for this one. I find that the ankles cramp when I start going faster than I have previously. My legs and ankles eventually acclimate, but those first couple times out are rough. From the start, I walked faster than usual and I jogged faster during the chases as well. Breathing was fine, back was fine, legs were fine…but my stupid ankles decided to give me grief. 

I’m going to keep pushing through, because we talked about upping our walks to one hour and our gym sessions to forty-five minutes, so that’s a thing that’s probably going to happen soon. 

After grabbing some quick dinner, we came home. I helped Jon write some content for his website, then I worked on my own projects. Though I’ve done a good bit of rambling on this post, the day wasn’t anything exciting, but overall, it was good. 

I’m sleepy tonight, so it’s off to shower and sleep so we can do it all again tomorrow. 



Writing, Gaming, and Packing

It was another cold Sunday, and even though the temperature said it was ten degrees higher than it was yesterday, it was still uncomfortable. It did, however, give us a good excuse to stay in almost all day, and sometimes that’s a good thing to do. That’s not to say we didn’t venture out at all. I was hungry enough this morning to make a quick breakfast run to pick up donuts for breakfast. They sounded really good, but I need to remember that all I ever need is about a half donut to stop the craving. Donuts aren’t actually my favorite thing in the world.

I used most of the morning to up my Nanowrimo word count and play around on the internet. I’ve started playing Candy Crush Saga on FB. Such a time waster, but I like the fact that you have to stop when you run out of lives. I’m currently stuck on a level, but I’ll just keep playing until I get it. For me, it’s just kind of a nice zone-out activity.

We had gaming later in the evening, then we made it to the gym where I did another ten minutes on the elliptical. We did a short workout due to knee issues for both Jon and I, but twenty minutes is better than none at all (my first ten was spent warming up on the sit-stepper).  After grabbing Subway for dinner, we came home and packed for St. Louis. It’s freezing in the apartment even though the heat has been going, so I’m ready for a hot shower and some sleepy time under about four blankets.

The goal for tomorrow is to get as many Nanowrimo words written as I can, make it to the gym, and finish getting stuff ready for the trip. I’m hoping that the trip isn’t this cold, especially since we want to visit the zoo. Yeah, I know…I’m taking a chance by going on a vacation in November. Still going to do it though. And that reminds me…another thing on the to-do list: find some gloves.

Don’t let Monday get you down!



Recovery and Restlessness

As expected, last night was a late one. After work, Jon and I went over to Terry and Erica’s for gaming. Once everyone was there, we walked over to McAllister’s Deli for dinner, then over to Hy-Vee for some snacks. The walk made for some good exercise, but it probably wasn’t great for my hip (more on that later).  We opted for some new types of snacks from the Hy-Vee Health Market.

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I’ve been wanting to try the Zevia soda for awhile now. It’s made with Stevia sweetener, and I wanted to see how I liked that. It was okay. I doubt if I’ll buy anymore of it though. It’s got a funny aftertaste, and I think if I’m going to have soda once in awhile, I’ll just stick to the regular stuff. The pomegranate licorice was delicious though. I’m definitely picking that up again.

We were all a little fried from the week, so instead of playing DnD, we ended up breaking out Cards Against Humanity. That game is so fun if you have a twisted sense of humor and aren’t easily offended. It’s also addicting, and though we were tired, we just kept playing until really late. It was fun. There was a ton of laughing, sometimes so hard it was painful.

When we got home though, I realized that the walk hadn’t done my hip much good, and that even though the alignment had relieved the pain, it had gone back to hurting badly again. I managed to get some sleep, but when I woke up this morning, I decided the best thing I could for my hip was to not use it this weekend. So I slept in and have stayed either planted in the chair or stretched out on the bed all day long. I’ve been applying heat to it on and off and taking ibuprofen to help with the swelling. It’s definitely feeling looser and less painful since I haven’t strained it today, but I think it still needs a few days of  rest. We’ll be laying low tomorrow and then hopefully this coming week I’ll be able to do some no impact work at the gym for exercise without hurting it too much.

I’m so restless, it’s not funny. I’ve been watching Netflix and reading blogs to pass the time. I’ve also been knitting and working on my stories of Nanowrimo, but the day outside was so nice, and I’m sad I didn’t get to out and enjoy it. However, my motivation to take actual and genuine rest is that I don’t want to be in pain for our trip to St. Louis in just over a week. We have a lot of things planned, all of which involve walking, and I want to enjoy the trip and not be nursing a bum hip the whole time.

I’ll call it a night there since nothing else exciting happened today, and I want to do another heat treatment before falling asleep.