Friday, February 28, 2014

Thank you, social media.

I was just going to tweet my sentiments but found myself needing half a dozen or so tweets to do so, so I'm just going to write my thoughts here. I also just want to make sure I'm really utilizing this blog for its intended purpose, which is for expressing my thoughts without so much worry.

I am so grateful for social media. The connections I've made with people I would otherwise have no way of connecting to just kind of overwhelms me sometimes. I met my ex-girlfriend and a few of my best friends on LiveJournal many years ago. I met my husband on OkCupid. I've met friends through Words With Friends, Draw Something, and MySpace. I've been able to reach out to people who have inspired me by contacting them through Twitter who might otherwise be difficult to reach due to a large fan base or a busy schedule. I've learned and grown as a person and a feminist because of the information so readily accessible and sharable vis-a-vis Facebook.

The life social media has helped breathe into me at times is not something I'm ashamed of, it's something I'm incredibly grateful for. Many people feel they're born in the wrong time period, citing deep connections with the social, musical, or political atmosphere of a certain era passed, but I feel right at home here and now. I'm here exactly when I should be. I'm not a lazy, entitled millennial (truth be told, I feel a few years too old to even claim the title "millennial", which is fine, because it's unfairly developed a bit of a stigma, often being used alongside terms like... well, lazy and entitled). I am using to my advantage the technology and connectivity I've been given. Sure, I enjoy firing up an SNES or putting on a record now and then, but I don't feel that Steam or iTunes is inferior. It's just new, and I embrace it. Why wouldn't I? Everything becomes sentimental and nostalgic with enough time, and one day we'll look back fondly at the iPhone 5 as a relic of a past, better time.

I'm getting off track, though. What I'm getting at is that I am so happy to be a twentysomething in the twenty-teens (post-aughts? Just "teens"? What are we calling 2010-2019? Will 2020 just be "the twenties" again? Oh geeze). The connections I've made and the people I've met and the experiences I've had would not exist if not for the internet. My life would not be what it is in any way, shape, or form if I were born at a different time. I shudder to think what my life would be -if it even would be- if I were born in 1926 instead of 1986. I don't believe in God, but sometimes I think there's a level of spirituality and rightness and balance that help guide souls into bodies at the right time. Then again we'll never know how many octogenarians would have had better (or worse) lives if they'd been born 50 years later.

I'm going to quit while I'm ahead here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Indie Inspiration

Sometimes it's really hard to find joy when everything seems dark and lonely, and sometimes everything seems dark and lonely even when you're not alone. Something I've come to look forward to on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays is a show on from a gentleman who goes by the name Northernlion. For 3 hours an evening, he and two fellow gamers (JSmithOTI and RockLeeSmile) live stream themselves joking and playing video games in the aptly titled Nothernlion Live Super Show (or NLSS). They all utilize YouTube, Twitter, and Twitch, and all three are worth checking out if you're into video games and/or smart humor. Having something to look forward to, I've found, is key in my happiness. Even the littlest of milestones mean that even if things are shitty at the moment, there's something better up ahead.

As time has gone on, I've found myself keeping up with their social media accounts and, in doing so, you learn about a person. RockLeeSmile (real name Nick Reineke) has mentioned his own anxiety disorder in the past, and he recently shared this image on his Twitter which really struck a chord with me, with the caption "This is almost exactly how my 2012 went":

It's easy to say, "I'm not alone in this", but to see it spelled out in such a simple and heartbreaking way was a very bittersweet moment.

I've enjoyed watching the NLSS for a while now. They're funny, quick witted, smart guys who obviously have a lot of fun doing what they do, and to me, that's the definition of success. And to see someone like Nick being so successful and open about their anxiety disorder is so humanizing and comforting to me.

I don't know if you'll ever see this, Nick, but if you do, I want you to know how much I admire you. Your strength and compassion brings me so much hope and joy. I look forward so much to the things you do with the NLSS and Indie Impressions, and my admiration for you is boundless. Despite how common it is, I don't really have anyone close to me who goes through the same struggles I do with my anxiety, and knowing there's someone out there who is as irreparably flawed as I am but is doing something so whole heartedly and passionately makes me feel like my own potential is greater than I can imagine at my best, let alone my worst. I cannot thank you enough for the inspiration and encouragement I've received from you without you even realizing it. If our paths would somehow cross some day, I owe you a coffee/beer/other beverage of your choosing. It's the least I could do for someone who feels more like a friend than a stranger.


I haven't posted on this blog in quite some time. I've taken up a second blog called FemiNamaste where I discuss gender and women's issues. However, I felt the need to revisit this place.

I have reverted all of my past posts to drafts. I may re-open some of them at a later date, perhaps with some editing, but I'd like to start fresh, retell my story, and then talk about some other things.

My name is Susan. I am 27-years-old. I am married to a university philosophy & ethics teacher. We like to play video games together. I have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and manic depressive disorder, also known as bipolarity.

Sometimes I have trouble coping with it. I saw a psychiatrist for a while. Over the course of <6 months he took me from 20mg daily of medication to 105mg of anti-depressants, blood pressure medication, and tranquilizers. He was very impersonal. I stopped seeing him after he told my younger sister -also a patient of his- that she should consider weight loss surgery to help her depression. One of the reasons for her seeing him was anorexia nervosa, and while she was overweight at the time, she was far from obese or unhealthy, and she was at a much healthier weight than she had been at the lowest point of her anorexia. Before seeing a psychiatrist, I battled addiction to a previously prescribed medication for my GAD (Ativan) and possibly alcoholism (I was never "diagnosed" per se, but I'd hit the point where concerned friends -some alcoholics themselves- were expressing their concerns over my excessive alcohol intake, thus making me aware of my issues with alcohol). I drink very rarely now, mostly because my body just can't handle it like it used to, and I no longer force myself to drink until I don't feel feelings.

I also dealt with self injury for many years and still struggle with it, though not as severely. I still have scars from the times I would inflict abrasions and cuts on myself with scissors. Sometimes now I find myself clipping excessively at my fingernails, fingertips, and cuticles with nail clippers when I'm particularly stressed. There is literally never a time when my fingers and nail beds are not red, sore and covered in hangnails. My wedding photographer had to Photoshop my hands smooth in our wedding pictures even, because my hands are absolutely unsightly at all times.

Because I have no quality psychiatric care available, I use supplements. I take magnesium, vitamin D, and vitamin B-12 daily. They take the edge off. I try to keep my creative outlets vast (musically and artistically especially), and I play a lot of video games, because the thought process and problem solving helps my brain stay happy. The most helpful medication I've used for GAD/MDD is marijuana. Unfortunately, it is not considered a medicinal in Indiana, and therefore I'm trying to remain somewhat anonymous for fear of backlash for my usage of it.

My job is a stressful place. Retail is rough. If you're a customer, do your best to be kind and give the benefit of the doubt to the folks at the store. Your happiness affects our happiness.

I'm going to possibly chronicle my feelings more here, as well as share stories about people and things that inspire me and make me happy so that I can look back on them when I need to be reminded of how good my life is.