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 Twitch.tv 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.