Underneath my yellow skin

Category Archives: Mental Health

Knives out is better than knives in

I hated Knives Out as I mentioned in my two-part review. In part because it didn’t have enough bladed weapons, even though admittedly it was a tiny part of the reason. This is just a clever way for me to say that I love weapons. A lot. This is not news to anyone who knows me, but the depth of my passion might be. Except to my taiji teacher. She is well-used to me gushing about some weapon or the other. I appreciate her patience because she is not a weapons person herself. She doesn’t dislike them, I don’t think, but she’s at best neutral about them.

One consequence of my training is that I have become a ‘well, actually’ person when it comes to weaponry that I know. I mean, it’s not unusual. I hate movies with psychologists in them because they break SO MANY LAWS. Similarly, taiji in most movies is just people waving their hands in the air. I watched Truly, Madly, Deeply with Alan Rickman in it, and there’s a scene in which he is playing the cello. I love Alan Rickman immensely, and he did a decent job of mimicking a cellist, but it was obvious he didn’t really play.

So, yeah, it’s not unusual that I wince when I see weapons-play in movies or TV. I remember when Game of Thrones was a thing. There was a scene between Arya Stark and Brienne of Tarth that had everyone online raving about it. Especially ‘girl power’ and that kind of thing. I finally watched the clip, and I was underwhelmed. The two actors did the best with what they were giving, but the whole thing was ludicrous. Let’s start with the constant clashing of swords. Look. If you have a pointy-stabby thing in your hand, you’re not looking to clash it against another pointy-stabby thing. You’re looking to point and stab it into a soft bit. This is not rocket science. In addition, the wild swinging and slashing is both wasted energy expended and leaving yourself open to an attack.


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Mental health and gaming

This has been a shit week. Yesterday, for a brief moment, there was the exhilarating news that the remastered/remake of Demon’s Souls (by FromSoft, but the remake is being done by Bluepoint games) was going to be on PC. That brightened my entire week, and I was so stoked. I mean, look at it.

If you know anything about the game and even if you don’t, you gotta admit it looks amazing. If you look very closely at the end, you’ll see it says it’s coming to the PC. And there was much rejoicing! What a boost on an otherwise shitty day (well, the day itself wasn’t shitty, but that’s not the point).

Then, later in the evening, it all came undone. It turns out that it was NOT coming to the PC, no how, no way. Nuh uh, why would you think so never mind the text that said it would actually come to the PC? Oh, that? That was human error a rep of Sony said. Was never meant to be! Look over there. *flees*

Ok, that wasn’t exactly what happened, but it’s how my brain interpreted it. The human error comment is real but the rest is just head canon. What Sony said in the walkback  was that the text in THE ACTUAL GAMEPLAY TRAILER was human error and that the remake of Demon’s Souls was a PS5 exclusive. Period.

To which I say, bullshit. Why? For several reason. One, the push for Dark Souls on the PC played a significant role in catapulting the series to the lofty heights it enjoys today. Two, it wouldn’t have been in the text if it wasn’t a consideration. Three, because I want it to be bullshit.

Look. I know they were in a hard place when this snafu happened. The hype the PC announcement created could not be put back in the box. PC gamers (and I am one) are rabid about our PCness and our gaming. Souls fans are on another level. So, yeah. I can see how they would be cringing at this point. Let’s face it. There’s no satisfactory response except, “Why, yes, it’s coming to the PC.”

Here’s what I think happened. A Demon’s Souls remake is big. Fans have been clamoring for one for years. Screaming for it. Pleading for it. Offering their first born children for it. I don’t think it’s a leap to say that it’s one of the top two things most requested by FromSoft fans* and with the arrival of the PS5, that seemed like a perfect time for the remake to be released.

Given this as a backdrop, it makes sense that Sony would want it as a PS5 exclusive/launch game. I don’t blame them for selling their consoles however they can. My theory is that they wanted it to be an exclusive for a year or so (which is more or less the timing of exclusives) before announcing the PC launch.

At least, I hope that’s the case. If it’s not, then I guess I will not be playing Demon’s Souls for the rest of my life, which is sad. Or, I’ll do what I did for Bloodborne–buy a PS4 (PS5 in this case) years later at a ridiculously low price in order to play one game.

Anyway. Back to the shitty week part. One way I can tell how depressed I’m getting is what games I play or more importantly, don’t. Oh wait. We have to go back because that’s the way I roll. I am picky about the media I consume in any form. I’ve written about this in the past so I’m not going to rehash the details. Suffice to say it’s difficult to find things I like/click with, and I don’t gel with far more things than I do. When I do, I  play the hell out of them but it takes me forever to get there.

Actually, that’s me in general. It takes me a lot of energy to do anything even something I enjoy and if I’m not enjoying it, I abandon it pretty damn quickly. So in the case of gaming, it takes me forever to actually buy a game. Unless there’s a demo that I immediately like such as Spiritfarer.

Ah, Spiritfarer. Can we take a minute so I can reminisce about how much I adore this game? Ok, minute over.

I try to give each game a fair shake, but I know myself. If something doesn’t grab me within five or ten minutes, it’s never going to do so. You may think Dark Souls is the exception to the rule, but it’s not. While I ended up hating the game by the end of the first playthrough, it had me grabbed the entire time.

On my best days, I can try a new game and see what I think of it. On my worst days, however, I don’t have the energy for that. I know it sounds very twee and precious, but, yes, I need energy to try a new game. Just like I need energy to, say, go to the grocery store (not these days ‘coz I’m not going there no way no how) or make dinner.

On the days when I just can’t, there are games I keep in my back pocket.

Here’s another monkey in the wrench. Is that the phrase? It is now. The Souls series used to be my go-to, specifically Dark Souls III. Ever since my two non-plat runs, however, I’ve been on a break of sorts from the Souls games. Note I say that I have two of the plats. I do not have the plat for Dark Souls II for a few reasons. I started with the original game because that’s what Krupa (of RKG) was doing. Then, I moved to DS III because that’s my favorite of the three. Then, I was completely wiped out and done with it. I put aside all the games indefinitely and have only now started diving back into them again. And by them, I mean the third game.

I’m currently re-watching a few Let’s Play of the original game, and I kinda want to play again. I started up the third game again and it’s feeling good. I’m watching a playthrough of the second game and, well, it’s complicated. I want to play it again, but I know if I do, I’ll try to not-plat it. I don’t want to not-plat it, mind you, but it’s just how I am.

Anyway! The one game I can play no matter what is Binding of Isaac: Rebirth.** I’ve put so many hours into it–no, not gonna tell you how many–that I could play it in my sleep. There are a few new rooms even now which is interesting, but it’s as familiar to me as my skin. I would like to note there is going to be another update soon. I’m reaching the point of new content fatigue, but I know I’ll play it, anyway.

Here’s the time when casual games really stand out. When I can’t handle learning a new ‘hardcore’ game, I can fall back on a solitaire game or a hidden object game and still get a gaming fix without putting too much effort into it. I used think it weird that I would flip back and forth between hardcore and casual games on the regular, but I’m fine with it now. It’s a nice way to unwind on a day when I’m stressed out, anxious, or just plain distressed.

I still can’t wait for Elden Ring, though.

 

 

 

*BB II is number one. Not going to happen, my friends.

**Obligatory yes I know that’s not the current iteration of the game but it’s the one I want it to be.

Mental health: the good, the bad, and the ugly

It’s been a rough week. Nothing big, but just little things over and over. A few nights ago, I dropped a bowl and shattered it in the wee hours of the morning. Totally my fault. I was trying to carry too many things as I normally do because I’d rather make one trip than two.

Back it up a bit. I’ve been feeling sick for nearly a week. Not ‘rona virus sick, but my usual bad cold/allergies/sinus/change of seasons sick. It’s worse than usual, though, because I’ve been getting the chills. That’s when I know I’m really sick. My sleep is for shit which is par the course when I’m sick as well. I mean, it’s normal for me in general to have disordered sleep, but it’s been slightly better since I started taiji. Still. I get six to seven hours of sleep a night, which is better than the four I used to get, but still not enough. I’m constantly exhausted, but I’ve learned to cope with it. Sort of. Basically, I’m resigned to my fate.

One of the symptoms of me getting sick is when I sleep for eight hours or more. It’s one of the few things I actually like about being sick. Ok, the only thing. It doesn’t make me feel more rested when I’m awake, though. The benefit is strictly that it knocks me out for a few hours more.

So, when I get sick, it can last anywhere from weeks to months. I haven’t been really sick since the pandemic started (one of the few benefits of never leaving the house), and I was naively hoping that I would be able to skip the colds this year. Nope.

Anyway, so that’s the background for the rest of what I’m going to write about. I dropped that bowl in the wee hours of the night a few nights ago right before I was going to bed. I was not happy about it, obviously, and I had to lock up Shadow in the guest room so he wouldn’t step on the ceramic pieces. I used treats to lure him there while I took care of the shattered pieces. When I went back to let him out, I fully expected him to yell at me for locking him up. Instead, he was cozied up on the bed and snoozing. When I opened the door, he opened one eye to blearily stare at me, but otherwise stayed put.


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The desultory approach to my life

it's ya boi, straid!
Straid, my mentor in evil and Pyromancy!

I’ve been out of sorts since I’ve finished Spiritfarer. I’ve played a bit of Dark Souls III, and I always forget just how fragile you are at the beginning. It’s because I spend so much time beefing up so that by the time I’m in the end game, I’m pretty solid. Having so little Estus is not fun at all. By the way, that’s one thing DS III has taken from DS II that I do not appreciate–having to find Estus Shards in order to increase the number of sips from the Estus Flask. I much prefer Dark Souls in which you have five Estus unless there’s a Fire Keeper–then you have ten. You can get the Rite of Kindling from the Catacombs to have the ability to increase your Estus to 20 per kindled bonfire.

I will say that DS II had an interesting take on healing. You had to find the Estus Shards to increase your Estus Flask, but there are also Life Gems of varying size. They are consumables, and they take forever to heal you. But, they also break the game because pretty soon in the game, you can buy unlimited amounts of Life Gems. It reached the point where I carried 99 (the max) Life Gems with me and would use them between bonfires. I saved my Estus Flask for the boss fights, and it broke the game. Did I feel shame? No. It’s in the game. did I feel it took away some of the pressing danger? Yes. But, this game is brutally hard in places,  especially the Scholar of the First Sin edition; I took whatever advantage I could get. Did I consider not doing it? No.

My niece is playing Dark Souls II as a pure mage. She showed me a pic, and she has enough intelligence (50) to use the best staff, the Staff of Wisdom. It’s Straid’s weapon, and he’s my best boy. He’s one of my fave NPCs of the game, and it’s really irritating that I have to use a Forbidden Branch of Yore to free him. They’re plentiful later in the game, but at the point when I meet him, it’s a choice between him and the other Pyromancy trainer. I don’t like her as much, but she has the basics that I need.

I’m watching a playthrough of DS II as well, and I kinda want to play it now. I have a game started in which I’m roughly two-thirds done, not including the DLC. The thing is, though, I have no desire to do the plat, but I know that if I play it again, I’ll get sucked into doing the plat. The plat for Spiritfarer was relatively easy because I was so thorough while playing, I only had to do a little bit at the end to clean things up. I was able to do it in one playthrough with a bit of fudging (had to use a prior autosave in order to get both answers to a question I was asked), which is not a possibility for any of the Souls games.

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When mental health issues collide with reality

In the best of times, I have to push myself to do what needs to be done. This is not the best of times, and it’s even worse now. Add to that the fact that my sleep has completely reverted, and I’m a hot(ter) mess right now. I’m discouraged because it’s a vicious cycle. I’m going to bed around four-thirty in the morning, which is not good. More to the point, it’s a rather sudden change which makes it even more difficult to deal with. It took me several months, probably half a year or so, to go from going to bed at five/six in the morning to two. now, in the course of maybe two weeks, I’ve reverted back to almost five.

Logically, there’s no reason I can’t follow that timetable. I t’s not like I have to be anywhere at any specific time (except for my taiji Zoom classes–and most of them are in the afternoon). But, I wanted to be on a more normal schedule. That seems to be but a dream now. And I’m discouraged by it. There is little I can do about sleep that I haven’t done before.

Ugh. I am so not feeling it today.

The sickness in my mind

I’m a weird amalgamation of, well, everything.  I’ve talked endlessly before about how weird I am in so many ways. Another is that I am always about the underdog and try to find a reason for why people do what they do. But, I also have a voice inside my head that is constantly criticizing everything and everyone. Mostly me, but other people, too.

I try to take the high road. I really do. At least outwardly. I know it’s the right thing to do, but there’s a small part of my brain that, well, is a right nasty bitch. The same part that produces the voice above, quite frankly. Nasty voice. Really nasty. Like, “Fuck you, asshole! Step the fuck back before I rip your nuts off and cram them down your throat” nasty. And, “No one would care if you die” nasty. I’ve learned to keep it to myself, but it’s there.

Side note: I have a psychology background–probably partly spurred by my mother. I also inherited a fair amount of charisma from my father. In addition, my intuition about people is off the chains. I know things about people they don’t know about themselves and things that they wouldn’t want others to know. In addition to this, I can feel other people’s emotions and I know their weak points. The latter is because I’m really good at reading people. I’m not infallible, of course, and when I fail, I fail spectacularly.

Most of the time, however, I’m pretty accurate. I don’t normally bring up my observations unless I’m asked, but they’re in my mind. I hate feeling like Cassandra (the oracle), but I do more often than not. There is so much I keep to myself, and it’s one reason I’m practically a hermit.


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ASMRRRRRRRGH

I hate ASMR. I just want to get that out of the way. I am not neutral to it. I do not merely dislike it or have no use for it. I HATE it.

With that barn burner of an intro, let’s delve into this newfangled* phenomenon that has swept the country if not the world. ASMR. I hope you can read the loud sigh that accompanies the acronym because it’s there every time I see the word, type it, or say it.

You’ve heard about it, I’m sure, because it’s all over the place. It’s suggested as a sleep aid, which is something I’m always interested i n.

Before I dive into that, however, let’s talk about misophonia. The dictionary definition of it is, I believe, being annoyed as fuck by certain sounds. In my current research of ASMR, there are some theories being floated around that people who suffer from misophonia either love or hate ASMR as well. Now, it makes sense that if certain sounds annoy you the fuck, then others may delight you. I liked that one of the dudes defending it (probably a doctor, I was too amused to even really clock it) basically said that there was no true Scotsman of people who reacted negatively to it.

What do I mean? Hold that thought and we’ll get back to it in a minute.

After reading all these people raving about ASMR, I decided to check it out for myself. I pulled up a video and pressed play. The second it started, my shoulders went up around my ears, and I was immediately filled with rage. Not irritation. Not annoyance. RAGE. Like, wanting to punch someone rage. I stopped the video and thought maybe it was just me or that particular video. I tried another, and I had the same reaction.

Are we surprised that something so popular is so loathed by me? No. But, Idiot that I am, I allowed myself to hope that maybe this was something that would bring me relief. Did I have my doubts? Yes. Was I skeptical? Yes. Did I hope it would work? Also yes.


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Slipping away

I’m done. My sleep has been a hot mess, and how the hell did I ever deal with this in the past? I can’t believe I used to get by on four hours of sleep and that I used to go to bed at eight in the morning. One thing I was working on before the pandemic started was getting my sleep on track. I wanted to be more like normal people because…I don’t even know why. I think because while I like being awake when other people are sleeping, I do feel like even more of a freak for being on the opposite side of sleep for most people. In addition, normal life was hard to navigate when I was on the late night tip. If I had any appointments, I tried to make them as late in the afternoon as possible, but it was still hard to make it to them. And it would throw me off my game for the rest of the day.

It’s not a matter of restfulness, either, because I’m always tired. It’s just a fact of life. Much like I used to always have headaches. They were lowkey and I was able to ignore them most of the time, but they were there. It’s the same with sleep. I’m always tired. It doesn’t matter how much or how little I get. There are days when it’s worse than others, obviously, but it’s always there.

Anyway, I was making strides in my sleep pattern before the pandemic hit. I started pushing my sleep time…back? Forward? Earlier. Since I was consistently going to bed around five-ish, I pushed it back to four. After a week or so, I pushed it back again to three. In this fashion, I managed to get it to one/one-thirty. My goal was midnight, but I was ok with where I was at. Then, during the pandemic, it began to become a bit more elastic. It was one-thirty to two, which, while not great, was fine. Then, the phone call. My meltdown. The immediate panic.

Side note: Briefly, my mom called, and I knew immediately that she wanted to say something she knew I wasn’t going to like. I could tell because when I asked how she was, her voice got that tone that it gets when she has something unpleasant to say and she added a little laugh, which is also a tell. Of course, that put me on guard, and I was predisposed to dismiss whatever she had to say. I tried to be patient, but let’s face it. Things were tense between us whenever we talked, and I was not in the mood for difficult.


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Slip, slip, slipping away

So as the pandemic drags on and we all begin to eat each other, I’m slowly sliding into apathy. There’s still the fury, but it’s buried deep. It’s not sustainable to be continually angry; it just isn’t. I’m also finally over my migraine, knock wood, but I still feel the ramifications. Like total exhaustion. I’m also having a bit of a (wet) cough, so there’s that. I know I’m getting sick because I slept for nine hours the other night. That’s unheard of if I’m healthy. Ish. Healthy-ish. I’m never healthy.

I’m just blah. Everything is meh. What does any of it matter when America is doing her level best to drag everyone down? The one chance we had to avert a large-scale tragedy was to take drastic measures back in February/March. Because we didn’t do that, we’re playing catch-up with no hopes of actually doing it. Not only that, we’re actively working against eradicating the coronavirus. I’m talking about the collective we, by the way.

I’m also reading more people saying we have to ‘get back to normal’ and try to achieve herd immunity. That for most people who aren’t at risk who get it, it will be like getting a ‘bad cold’. First of all, herd immunity seems to be far-fetched as we don’t yet know that you can’t get the coronavirus again. In addition, in order to reach herd immunity, if, indeed it’s possible, that’s millions of death. The person writing about it was talking about schools (on the board of a school I think? Very distressing) and how reopening was the best because bullshit, lies, and bullshit. They said those at risk should stay home, of course, but kids were not carriers.

Which, I mean….Sigh. First of all, kids can get it. Kids can be asymptomatic carriers. That’s not even mentioning that we’re shoving all the teachers on the frontlines now, too (not that they already weren’t in the line of danger, what with school shootings being what they are), and this person was distressingly cavalier about it. Not even acknowledging that the road to herd immunity (if possible) was littered with at least a million deaths. As I said before, I know my life is expendable, but it’s sobering to hear it out loud and read it over and over again.


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Taming the fury inside

It’s been a rough week. As I’ve chronicled, I’ve been dealing with a migraine and something else, not sure what, exactly, but it’s not the ‘Rona, thankfully. It might be a cold; it might be allergies; it might be something else. All I know is that I”m exhausted all the time, and it’s hard to do much of anything. My motivation is gone, and I have to push myself to get anything done. Is it depression? Partly. But it’s also something different. I know depression intimately, and while some of what I feel is that, some of it is not. I have a random cough, and it’s very wet. Is it a summer cold? Probably. Or allergies. My allergies are terrible, and even though they’re better because I’m mostly inside, they’re not gone completely.

I’m enraged by the idiocy in my country. I tweeted about it yesterday just to get it off my chest.

I read a tweet or FB post about how exhausting it is to try to do your best for the better good while realizing that there are people who aren’t doing that. More to the point, there are people who are actively doing what they can to flout the recommendations. It’s especially difficult because the people who need to be the most diligent about the recs are the same people with the most to lose.

It’s really difficult to know that I’m expendable to the assholes in charge. I mean, I knew that in general because I’m old, Asian, bi, and a woman, but it makes it even worse that because  of my shitty immune system, it doesn’t matter if I live or die. To see it repeatedly and not just by the president’s cronies really hits hard. I already struggle with feelings of self-worth, and this message certainly doesn’t help. To see it casually repeated, “Oh, it’s just the old and those with autoimmune issues who are at risk” as if we don’t matter…yeah, it’s not a good feeling.

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