Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: OCD

Grasping for a reason

The countdown to enforced family time is ticking, and as a result, my health is taking a nosedive. Oh, I can’t say for sure it’s related (see what I did there?), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were. Let me amend. I know my mental health takes a hit during family time, but I can’t say for sure my physical decline is a direct correlation. I would not be surprised if it were, given that stress is really bad for health, but I can’t say it’s 100% true. I do know, however, that my brain starts thinking darker thoughts that get worse every day. I know that my sleep issues, which are problematic at the best of times, become even worse. The chattering in my brain that I can usually keep to a bare minimum grows louder, and it’s harder to block it out.

Side note: I’ve been grappling with the idea that I may have ADHD/ADD or at least some of the traits. I’ve never thought about it in the past because the stereotype is the hyperactive young boy who can’t sit still for five minutes, talks a mile a minute, and careening into things at a high velocity. None of that is me except on occasion the middle one, and I tend towards inertia whenever possible. In addition, I already know I have OCD tendencies, and to my mind, these two disorders are on the opposite sides of the spectrum. Also, I’m a woman, and ADD is notoriously overlooked in people of my gender in part because of the aforementioned stereotype. Here are the symptoms as they may present in women, and I match many of them. I also have four of the five comorbidities, which doesn’t make me feel any better. The only reason I hesitate with the label is because I have a good memory and don’t forget things. Other than that, though, everything else fits.

What really opened my eyes to the fact that I may have ADD (no H here) is when someone who has it explained that the ‘look, squirrel’ syndrome was followed by hyper-focus when he was really interested in something. That’s what tripped me up. I can do several things at one time, but if I’m really into something, I lose sight of everything else. I cannot be distracted once I latch onto one thing (or, worse, one person), and once I learned that was part of ADHD, things started clicking. Reading the list above, I’m struck by how I was just thinking this week how I couldn’t work in an office because so much of the social bullshit was such an anathema to me. I felt that way when I was in an office, and even though I can fake it because I’m really good at small talk (even though I hate it), I don’t understand the reasons behind much of it. I feel that way in general with social interactions and especially with the office. There was a letter at Ask A Manager this week in which the letter writer said she didn’t answer every time her coworker said hi in the morning, and he would confront her about it. Sometimes, it was because she had her headphones on, but also because she didn’t feel like it once in a while. She asked how she could push back on the confrontation and why he NEEDED her to say hi every day, and I wished she hadn’t added the part about not feeling like it once in a while because I knew the commentariat would focus on that–and they did.

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Sekiro: therapy session is in

Ed. Note: I’m so close to the end, I can taste it. I want to write more about my frustrations with the game, but also just update how far I am in the game. Spoilers. Some. Maybe? Probably. Be forewarned.

are you proud of me yet, father?
I’m sure he just wants to chat.

We’ve reached #5 on the list, but I want to revisit #4 for a minute. Right now, I’m finishing up all the optional ending timelines so I can make the big decision of which ending I want when the time comes. One of the optional timelines includes me going into the past to the Hirata Estate, the second area I did waaaaaay back in the beginning of this game. It still has my favorite sen run, which, with the help of a Mibu Balloon of Wealth, nets me 1,000 sen in five minutes or so with no sweat at all. The boss at the end of this area was the first to make me contemplate quitting the game–Madame Butterfly. Lady Butterfly is her actual name, but it’s the same, really. After dozens of time dying to her, I read in the sub-reddit a single skill–Nightjar Slash–done over and over and over again will kill her. I was highly skeptical, but I tried it–and it worked the first time.

Did I feel guilty about it? No. The alternate would have been me not finishing the game. Well, or just leaving her (she’s optional) and feeling guilty about it. Either way, if it’s in the game, it’s a viable strat. And since there’s no way to summon, I used every trick that was available to me. There are other bosses that I learned tricks/cheese for, and I didn’t give a shit. Great Shinobi Owl was one of them, which ties in neatly with the Hirata Estate. Why? Because he’s the boss at the end of the area. After fighting two duplicate mini-bosses (one of the lone ninjas and the drunkard). So all of the bosses are replicated. You probably know how I feel about that at this point.

Fighting Owl (Father) is currently on my plate, and it’s a pain in the ass. I don’t want to do it, and a part of me is saying skip it because it’s not part of the ending I want. Another part of me is indignant at the thought of skipping him–the OCD/pride part of me. The problem is, I’ve gotten him down to half his first health bar, and I have no idea what the second phase brings. I’ve watched videos of the first part of the fight, and there is a *cheese* so to speak, but like most of the other cheese, it’s predicated on knowing the moveset of the boss. With the Great Shinobi Owl, the cheese (by the same YouTuber) was running around in a circle around him and baiting out one of two moves. Then, using Whirlwind Slash to hit him before backing away, resetting, and starting again. There was one move he did that I had to recognize quickly enough so I could throw firecrackers at him (one of the prosthetic tools) to stop his devastating combo.

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Depression and escapism

the thinnest ray of sunlight.
Shrouded in darkness.

When I am depressed, I strip out all the extraneous things that I don’t *have* to do on any given day. There are a few things that I force myself to do every day, including my work and writing. I brush my teeth (and floss!) three times a day, and that’s the extent of what I force myself to do every day. I go grocery shopping every few days, and I go to taiji twice a week. Oh, and I do the dishes after I eat instead of letting them pile up for weeks. It’s a little change, but it made me feel much better. If I have energy and am not sick, I might go out to do something else, but that doesn’t happen very often.

I do the laundry when I would be running around outside in underwear otherwise (which would be today), and everything else is done on an absolutely needs to be done basis. I take a shower every few days when I remember it, and even that is a big production. I think it’s difficult for people who have not been depressed to understand how enervating it can be. I’ve heard people talking about someone, describing that person in a way that made it immediately clear to me that the person probably suffered from depression. Then, they would talk about how lazy the person was, and it would make me really uncomfortable.

Let me give you a small example. For taiji, I have to keep my nails short. That’s my preference, anyway, but it’s a good idea, especially when there’s hand-to-hand contact. Cutting one’s nails isn’t a big deal. It takes maybe five minutes, and a few swipes of an emery board after is all you need to do. When I first notice my nails need cutting, I simply think, “Huh. I should cut my nails.” Then I ignore it for a week or two as my nails continue to grow. The next time I pay attention to them, I think, “I really need to cut my nails.” I feel embarrassed and ashamed, but I still don’t do anything about them. Then, because I have shitty nails, they begin cracking and breaking. I also get hangnails which I chew and pick at, and I’ll chew on my nails to rip off the jagged edges. That doesn’t help, of course, but it doesn’t stop my brain from thinking it’s a good solution to the nail-cutting problem.

When it’s all said and done, it takes me about a month before I actually summon up the energy to cut my nails. I know rationally that it’ll only take me five minutes and then I can free up my mental energy for something else. Instead, I delay  it and stew about it until I absolutely have no other choice than to cut my nails. Looking from the outside, you could fairly call me lazy for not cutting my nails for a month. It’s not laziness, however, and it’s doesn’t help anything to have someone tell me I’m lazy. Believe me, I tell myself that often enough. I know if I wasn’t depressed, I would get so much more done. It’s not helpful, either, because it just makes me less motivated to do anything.

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Monster Hunter: World griiiiiiiiiind

here's my (guild) card.
Does this pose look cool?

There is a weird tension inside of me when I play Monster Hunter: World these days. I still get caught up in the hunt-kill-loot loop, but I’m becoming resentful that there is so much content. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but I get that way when I start feeling overwhelmed. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon, and it’s marring my enjoyment of the game. Whenever I think of playing, I think of all the quests I have yet to do and all the things I need to craft, and, and, and, my brain starts to rebel.

Let me be clear: much of this is my own fault. You can zip through the main missions and hit the credits in 30 – 50 hours, or so I’m told. I spent nearly a hundred hours in Low Rank, and I could have easily spent a hundred more. I only got into High Rank because I forced myself to make progress, which is how these things work in general for me. I remember playing The Witcher 3 and having to make the conscious decision to not finish everything in the game. It’s difficult for someone with OCD traits like me to not go after everything in the game. It’s why I ended up hating Skyrim–I tried to do all the covenant quests (or whatever they’re called in that game) and I lost all interest in the game by the 50th hour.

The frustrating thing is that I know this about myself, and I still feel almost unable to stop myself. In MHW, I made myself cross the threshold into High Rank, and then so much shit unlocked. So. Much. Shit. Also, things came at me at a rapid clip, and in another ten hours or so, I had unlocked the last area of the game (and the last third of the game). I have a ton of quests still in High Rank, and I’m not ready to go to the last third of the game yet because I know what’s coming. Fucking Elder Dragons. I don’t like killing dragons because I’m Taiwanese* and because I know these are super-hard. But, all the best weapons and armor comes from the Elder Dragons, so…..Oh! Also, I’ve played solo the entire game, and I know that’s going to add unnecessary stress to the fights.

I’m not playing solo only because of my ego–I don’t like multi, and I especially don’t like multi with randos. I know the MH community is supposed to be more helpful than most, but I still don’t trust that I’m not going to get an asshole in my group. In addition, I don’t want to be the albatross around my team’s neck, and even though I’ve soloed the game and have only failed two missions by being carted three times (Diablos once and Kirin once, but one of the carts on Kirin was because of a glitch/lag), I still feel like I’m crap at it.

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