Posts Tagged ‘Anxiety’

Gaming Chronicles: The Unconquered Sun

February 4, 2019

When we were starting this campaign, we were actually just going to do one shot to test it out. We were told to pick a profession from the modern world and a flaw. We would be using these ideas as part of some quick character creation in the Fate system. That was all we were told. I had no idea what to expect from our Game Master because the previous two games had been in Science Fantasy settings. We showed up with our ideas and I was almost immediately called out for creating a character inspired by Veronica Mars. Not that I blame the Game Master for pointing it out but I felt a bit judged and embarrassed at the time. I think now that he might have actually been pointing it out in a fun way. Maybe.

The truth was that I actually stumbled onto it honestly. I had come to the table with the concept of being a private investigator. I had met a few private investigators through the lawyers I knew so I used them and Keith Mars as a template. I did not want to be a Sam Spade type of guy, I wanted to be a guy who dug in the dumpsters for a living and be called to adventure from there. It sounded like a useful profession for whatever we were getting into. The flaw I had picked (which I don’t remember) was rejected out of hand so I floundered for another one. I picked hallucinations and that eventually became hallucinations of my character’s dead father. Put it all together and I was like a male version of season one Veronica Mars. When it came time to pick a name I picked Dean Wyatt after Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt, two characters in the WWE who had crazy person gimmicks.

So, the first session began with our characters getting mysteriously summoned to a reading at a bookstore. The first tip that something was wrong was that it was a reading of a sequel to In The Mouth of Madness. Then the world started to be torn apart by old ones and our characters were killed off one by one by some sort of eldritch demon. That was a bit of a shock. Then we had one on one sessions with the Game Master which helped him sort our characters into classes. I got a warrior class and we were then informed that we were now champions of a Sun God in a forgotten past and that we were ‘exalted’. It was quite a rude awakening and we stumbled at first, learning how to be heroes.

In the following adventure, we pursued eldritch villains and tried to bring magic back to the modern world so that it would not be vulnerable to the Old Ones that destroyed it in our future. I tried to go a different direction from the other two fighters in our party. I chose a rapier instead of a huge fantasy-style weapon. I tried to fight with speed and finesse instead of pure brute strength. I got to pick an animal that was to be my emblem, appearing when I used magic. I got a little bit of flack because I picked a raccoon. I thought it was a fantastic choice considering my character dug through trash for a living. Personally, I have always loved the raccoon aesthetic even though my mom absolutely hates raccoons. We found out that we were actually reincarnations of heroes from the past. It was a whole thing. It was some pretty good high concept fantasy stuff that was hard to figure out in the moment.

I felt like I learned some more during this campaign but I was informed by the Game Master that I was pretty much a non-entity during gameplay. My anxiety made me fade into the background a bit but I contributed when I could. I apparently did not have enough impact on the story. There were too many times that I look back on where I should have acted instead and not worried so much about the consequences. It is a game and I should have had more fun with it. Maybe I would have had more impact on the story that way. I also kind of lost the core of my character through the adventure and became just another sword. In the end, I made the easy choice and asked to be sent back to the altered future to see if my character’s family was still alive.

The thing is, my character did have a lot going on but it was all going on in my head and not coming out of my mouth. I should have acted more instead of just reacting and clinging to a sword as my character’s sole identity. It was not all terrible but I feel like I could have done way better. I was a bit crippled by my relative inexperience and my anxiety. The good thing is that I was slowly strengthening my friendship with my friends. I considered these people friends and not just people I played a game with sometimes. This would be important when I got more comfortable and felt better about actually being in the driver’s seat. It was an important experience and I probably did not blow it as bad as I thought I did. It taught me a lot about what not to do and that’s a good thing even if I look back at that time and cringe.

Game Soundtrack:

Hall and Oates – Private Eyes

This one is a bit on the nose but it is actually one of my favorite songs. In his previous life, Dean was a private investigator. He spent a lot of time watching people in order to get to the truth of things so he could put food on his table. He was dogged when it came to finding information and he dug through people’s trash to go that extra mile.

The Birthday Massacre – Pins and Needles

When Dean’s father was killed, it deadened and hardened his heart. Living became more or less an exercise in going through the motions. When he first started to see his father, he thought he might be going crazy. When the existence of magic was confirmed, he felt like that part of his heart was coming back to life.

Rage Against the Machine – People of the Sun

We were literally playing champions of the sun, dedicated to keeping that sun shining on an intact Earth. In a way, we were raging against a machine. We were rebelling against a society that wanted to banish magic in favor of technology.

Character Questionnaire

What’s their name? Do they have any nicknames?
Dean Wyatt. His father sometimes called him gumshoe after they watched the Carmen Sandiego game show together.

How old are they chronologically, and how old do they appear?
About age 26 but they appear a little older than that. Probably around 30. He works long and late hours and has never shied away from the bottle so he has put some extra mileage on.

Physical characteristics, standard clothing and equipment

Dean has jet black hair, usually slicked back instead of actually managing it or getting it cut regularly. He does shave every day since it is important to make at least a little attempt to look professional while running a private business. He often wears short-sleeve button-up shirts for mobility and laundered slacks but tennis shoes. He also often wears his father’s brown leather jacket because he thinks it looks cool and it conceals the tools of the trade. This includes binoculars, lock picks, both leather and rubber gloves, camera, and sidearm. When shunted back in time, he wears armor stylized to show his new allegiance to the sun god. He carries a short sword.

Emotional characteristics – are they prone to getting angry/laid back/investigative/ despondent etc, personal prejudices?

He is usually pretty even-tempered and investigative and curious. He is willing to put in hard work to get the job done without complaining. Who would listen anyway? He does tend to get emotional when it comes to his dad. He gets angry if anybody puts him down and he gets frantic and distracted when he thinks he’s seen him. Also, due to a couple of years of picking through people’s garbage and catching cheaters, he does not have much faith that people are telling the truth.

Alignment, motivation and character flaws/needs

Dean is Neutral Good. He understands the law but, as a private detective, sometimes he has to bend the law to get the truth for his client. Still, he has never compromised his morals for money and he wants to do good in the world. His motivation is to do right by his father at first. Then, when the supernatural stuff starts happening, his goal is to either find or resurrect his father. He needs absolution from his guilt over his father’s death. He needs to know that he did everything to make it right. This leads to him being rather single-minded and sometimes pushing saving the world down the priority list.

What were the defining moments/events from their history?

The first defining moment was leaving his father’s detective business to try to be his own man. He needed to see what he was made of. The second defining moment was his father’s death which Dean believes happened because Dean wasn’t there to stop it. This led to him seeing his father’s ghost at times. Then, he himself died and was sent back in time to a strange land and tasked with saving the world.

Do they have any secrets? Who have they told, if anyone?

He sees the ghost of his father everywhere and he has told nobody about it, managing to keep it a secret even though it has consumed him. He also harbors intense guilt about the way his father died alone and would never tell anybody that. He also keeps the secrets of his clients very well.

Where are they from? Do they have relevant cultural associations/quirks? How patriotic & nationalistic are they?

He is from Boston but he has no special attachment with the place other than that is where he grew up. He was a white guy with no single point of heritage so there was no influencing culture there. He was a bit of an entertainment geek and he loved music and movies. He is not very patriotic. He believes in the system and in people helping each other but he has no great love for the government.

What was their childhood like?

Dean hated school, hated being pinned down and being talked at. Funny enough, he loved to learn but could not stand doing that while having to sit still. He played baseball with the neighborhood kids but really only did it so he wasn’t alone. His parents were elsewhere most of the time so he found their little home kind of lonely. He was always at somebody else’s house unless the rare family dinner actually occurred.

Who are their parents & siblings, and husband/wife/significant other?

His mother was Quinn Wyatt, former secretary for his father’s business. His father was Harrison Wyatt and he was a private detective and a tough guy. They were pillars of the community. Dean was an only child and never really dated anyone.

What are their major personal beliefs/ideologies?
1. People lie and do it well
2. People are basically good
3. Evil must be punished

Advertisements

High Anxiety

July 14, 2018

I have started to examine my anxiety more and more. In the past, my anxiety was something that I accepted as gospel and I tried not to think too much about it so I did not trigger anything. Thinking about being in crowds, public speaking, or meeting new people made me almost as scared as actually doing those things. Now that I am on my new medication, I have started to have random thoughts about how I dealt before. More specifically, I have thought about how I did not deal with it. I have been diagnosed with generalized anxiety and also specific social anxiety which was something I kind of knew about growing up but never really got around to dealing with. Like most undiagnosed or unmedicated individuals, I developed coping mechanisms to get me through my life. I got really good at coping mechanisms. The key coping mechanism became my philosophy of “Just Do It” in where I sucked it up and just went into those situations that made me uncomfortable.

I was reminded of this philosophy when I recently discovered a song by Icon for Hire called Theatre. The lyric that has caught in my head over and over is. “I’m gonna burn this theater down and pray to God for the strength to face the crowd.” Sometimes that was what it felt like to walk into a party or step into a mall. I felt like I had left all of my defenses behind and I was out there on my own. Every bad social situation like this was like a ride on a rollercoaster and I hate rollercoasters. Obviously, the more intense rides were things like speaking in public or being at a party. This was the philosophy behind my ill-fated flirtation with being an actor. I auditioned the one time and I shook so hard that the director thankfully did not pick me. However, at the time I also joined the drama club. In it, I joined several other people in reading plays. This was fine. However, then we started to rehearse them in order to perform them in front of little kids. They were really good plays, kind of fascinating. However, I vividly remember stepping out on stage, blacking out, and then stepping off stage and wondering what happened. While I have talked to other actors who have had the same experience, it was not fun to me. It was not something I remotely enjoyed doing.

However, I realized that one of the big triggers of my anger problem was this social anxiety. When I was out in public, it drained me. It made me more prone to being irritable. About two years ago, my mother agreed to have her house used for a big fundraiser for cancer awareness in West Virginia called Identity Crisis. Every year they have a themed party where people show up in costume. At the time, I was staying there while I was taking summer classes at community college. The thought of the upcoming party rattled me. When I stepped into the party, my fear turned to anger. I snapped at people for being overly familiar and using the house as their own. It was wrong. After a confrontation or two, I retreated to my room and hid for the remainder of the party. I just could not handle it. I have had a similar experience in airports and in malls. As I get tired, I am more susceptible to my more primal emotions. Combine that with getting hungry and my hangriness can get downright terrible. It is an issue that I am working on. The medication has helped immensely with that and so has exercise and my more positive outlook.

There was also a situation that I just remembered in the past week that kind of scared me. On another occasion while I was visiting my mother, she and my stepfather were having guests over. The thought of having to deal with these unknown quantities got me nervous. In addition,we were eating dinner outside which is something I absolutely hate doing in the summer because I hate the heat. I generally do not drink because I am always either working the next day or driving later that night. That night, neither were true so I said yes to wine. I almost never say yes to wine. I am a total lightweight and two glasses later and I was totally drunk which scared me. I can count on one hand the number of times I have been drunk. I slipped away to do dishes so I could get away from the table while people talked. Except, there I was trying to do dishes while dizzy and lightheaded. It turned out fine but looking back I was absolutely self-medicating. I never attempted that method again, thankfully.

So the point of this is what? Basically, I want to tell everybody who is reading this that help is out there. You can only help yourself for so long. Coping mechanisms only get you so far and these coping mechanisms are also really tiring to deal with. You do not have to do this alone. Tell your friends and family what is going on. Talk to a professional and get to the root of what might be wrong. It is very possible that your brain chemistry may be irregular and there may be a medication that can help you feel more normal. I am only on one part of the road to being normal as I start to unlearn the habits of a semi-hermit. I will keep trying to help myself but also I will continue getting help. Hang in there. You can do this.

Your Friend Steve

April 29, 2017

I often feel very awkward in social situations. When it comes to hanging around with friends in a casual atmosphere, I have most of those skills down. It just takes a while to achieve that level of comfort and I am down for joking and razzing each other. Gender is not an issue as from an early age, I have been part of unisex play groups. Probably part of why I ended up being a feminist but who knows? Either way, I was just as embarrassed to have my head split open in front of the girls as in front of the boys.


Awkward.

What is awkward is being the third wheel. I have known quite a few friends before and after they started dating that somebody special. I get along well with nice people so meeting and befriending a new girlfriend or boyfriend is fairly easy. I am always so happy for my friends because all of my friends deserve to be happy and if a relationship is part of that then I am all for it. However, I am socially awkward sometimes or at least socially anxious. I worry that I am missing signals.


The human brain is a frightening place.

That is why the above song struck such a chord with me (like most Garfunkel and Oates songs). I consider myself a good and loyal friend but I know I do not hang around a lot because I worry about being a nuisance. I know that is kind of silly. My best friends are very good about letting me know when it’s time to leave. I read those signals just fine, I guess. I just really, really appreciate my friends and I do not want to overstay my welcome.


In spite of everything, I still believe in love.

When I was in high school, I met two homeschool kids who came into our school to supplement their education and participate in after school sports. Homeschool would not have been any good for me. These kids were outgoing and friendly but socially stunted. I generally avoided people on a regular basis. If I had been homeschooled, I would be a social wreck. I am lucky I was forced into social situations where I made equally weird friends. That way I can continue to make weird friends. It is an important part of my life.


This was cheaper than therapy. I guess I still gotta go, though.

I guess I should just relax more about it. I still get invites to stuff and people seem excited to see me at events. I must be doing something right. I am not a social butterfly but I do things with friends at least every other week. I participate in social media and I try not to be too clingy there either. I think I just talked myself down. Thanks, guys.

Thanksgiving 2015

November 26, 2015

Just a quick note since this is being typed on my phone and I am bad at finger typing.  Turkey Day really isn’t my favorite holiday and it doesn’t help that I’m in the middle of a nasty bout of depression.  There are certain things I dread about the holidays but thankfully some of those elements are missing.  I guess I should just try and be thankful for those who love me and accept me as flawed as I am.  Maybe the waves of anxiety and depression will give me a break soon.  I want to find my peace of mind.

Anyway, don’t let me get you down.  Happy Thanksgiving!  Be thankful for what you have and think of others this time of year.

The Babadook

October 31, 2015

Scary stories are a lot of fun but they definitely stick with you. To this day two scary stories are burned into my brain since they were told to me in the dark of the night. When I was little my dad used to tell me and my brothers about Ambrose the One-Armed Indian. We were especially told about this character when we went out west to visit Arizona. As un-politically correct as it may sound now, this man roamed the nation looking for revenge for some slight against him. The other story I remember vividly is a reading of a horrible story that research tells me was probably Leiningen Versus the Ants. We heard the story around the bonfire at Camp Shohola and while it is an optimistic story it does involve a human being nearly killed by a swarm of ants. I shiver just thinking about it but I also cherish those moments.

I wanted the last movie I did this Halloween to be something well known and something big and flashy. The Babadook got a lot of buzz when it came out but I didn’t catch it at the time. This was actually fighting a long-held tradition of not watching what everybody else thinks is cool. Also, to give you a little peek behind the curtain, this is the movie I watched last. I also knew absolutely nothing about the movie and I don’t recognize a single person involved. I’ve never quite seen an Australian horror film either though I’m sure I’ve seen a Canadian one even if I can’t name it.  The thing is, as much hype as there was, I think people really undersold it.  Of course, these things are subjective.

Let’s get this out of the way, children are very, very creepy. At least, they have great potential to be creepy. I’m not talking about the overdone trope of painting them in white and giving them a long, oily wig either. I’m talking about normal, everyday kids. The average little kid has problems because their language system is still evolving and terrible things come out of their mouths. Also, like drunk adults, everything is a good idea even the things we know are the worst ideas. The kid in this movie is like that. He’s an unfiltered, chaotic mess and you have to feel for his poor mother. Still, I’m told there are both pros and cons to parenthood and he must have good days, right?

It becomes clearer as the movie continues it becomes clearer and clearer that we are dealing with an unreliable narrator. The mother is under a lot of pressure with her job, crazy kid and strained family relations. She’s also suffering from insomnia, anxiety and depression even before things get real. You have to ask yourself if she is hallucinating or if there really is a Babadook after her. The story starts slow as if it is a family drama movie instead but slowly we are driven into the spookier parts of the story. I’ll let you make your own assumptions about whether it’s real as you watch it. However, just thinking that it might be in her head is just as frightening to me as a real monster.

Frankly, the movie was hard to watch but in the best way. The movie is uncomfortable and frightening in just the right spots and pushed just the right buttons. This is a great horror movie but for the love of anything good, please don’t let children see it. Also, if you’re a parent (especially a single parent) and you’re sensitive to scary/emotional things you might want to give this one a pass. Everybody else? Have at it. Happy Halloween.


Adventures of a MathBrat

Random Things I Find Energy To Blog About

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

kalpanaawrites

poetry, fiction, essays

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

Art, Poetry, Spirituality & Whimsy

The Bloggess

Bizarre thoughts from author Jenny Lawson - Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Daily (w)rite

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

The Empire of Carane

Where fiction comes to life

DMing With Charisma

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

%d bloggers like this: