Monday, August 26, 2019

#RPGaDAY 2019: Day 26

I was a young man in College when I first started playing Champions, my first RPG. Since I always wanted to write and draw comic books, I had a ton of IDEAs for our games.  Even after I moved on to other systems, IDEAs were very, very plentiful. Probably too plentiful.  This continued for decades. But last year, after losing my Dad, my wife's Grandmother, and two dear friends, the IDEAs slowly stopped flowing. 

Full disclosure: I suffer from General Anxiety Disorder. What was happening to me was a combination of grief and the fact that my medicine, that I'd taken for years, began to stop working because as we age our bio-chemistry changes. Unfortunately, my Doctor prescribed a medicine for Depression, a disease I blessedly do not have. That medicine made me feel weird and after a few months where I became nearly completely detached and ambivalent I told my Doctor that I needed to get off of it. Sadly, my Doctor didn't have me wean far enough down and I began to have sleep problems for the first time in my adult life. I was assured it was just withdrawal and I'd be fine in a few weeks and a new sleep medicine was prescribed. Sadly, this was one of the darkest periods in my life. My son was graduating High School and I could barely function do to unchecked anxiety and sleep deprivation. April, May, and June were a blur. No, that's not right, they crawled at snail's pace and I did my best to hold it all together, but I was just barely hanging on.

For the record, when I stopped sleeping it fueld my anxiety which kept me from sleeping which fueled my anxiety. A night can seem to last forever when you, at best, might sleep for two hours. And that sleep is not truly restful.

Understand, insomnia is something many Americans face, I'm not unique or special and far more understanding about its toll on a person.

Thankfully, my Wife and Mother had been trying to get me to see their Doctor and through help from them, I switched Doctors. My new Doc immediately told me that my old medicine wasn't working and gave me some paths to choose from. The first week was a rough road, but we eventually found a solution. It takes 6-8 weeks for a medicine to really begin to work and it can be a tough road. There are a lot of things I found out about anti-anxiety and anti-depressants that I did not know. Now I do.

A few weeks ago, I saw my new Doc and I admitted to her that I think she saved my life. She then told me that I had saved my own life because I reached out for help (and believe me I did, my new Doc has anxiety and gave me her phone number to text whenever I needed help, she's amazing).

Things are much better now. I feel better than I have in at least a year.

I know this is a bit heavy of a post, but I have always been honest about my mental illness. Maybe someone needs to know they are not alone or that they can reach out for help. It's hard to battle your own mind. To have someone say "Just relax". To not do things because of anxiety attacks. But true friends will understand and be there for you. And there are more good people out there then we are led to believe.

The wonderful thing about all of this is that I have IDEAs again. Which means I'm posting again. And who knows? Maybe I'll start running games again.


Scott Anderson said...

My muse left right around my 24th birthday and I think it had something to do with new psychiatric medicine. That was 19 years ago but I’m still on it because it still helps me and I have lots of people who rely on me being functional. I’ve found different ways to feed my compulsion to create. I published a novel this year! And playing and running D&D feeds the beast.

I have also had terribly bad times re: mental health. It sounds like things are not so bad right now. That’s really good.

You have done a good job with your posts this month. I also like your actual play reports.

Cross Planes said...

Thank you Scott, that means a lot. I was really lucky for many years with a medicine that works for me. But we change and have to evolve. If you reach a point where you need an ear, I'm always here.

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