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Oct. 20th, 2010

cyanrose

New Blog, New Leaf, New Life

I have decided to start a Blog with Blogger and discontinue my LJ  account. I feel that my LJ served me well for the period of my life when I needed it -- but it's time to graduate and move away from the extensive online computer gaming and severe depression period in my life. I feel like a new blog represents this change, this new leaf I have turned. So with that in mind, I invite you to keep in touch with me on:

http://twocountries-erin.blogspot.com

I also have an old Nikajah-named Blog there where I plan to store some of the literature and artwork I've crafted over the years, but it is a project that I've yet to really dive into:

http://nikasrose.blogspot.com/

So thank you for the journey, LJ! <3
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Sep. 7th, 2010

cyanrose

A Return to the Land of the Living

It's been a long time, Mr. Bloggypants. Where have I been, you ask? Hiding, recovering, hiding, and then finally recovering some more.

I wanted to recover from my illness and I would make steps. For every two steps forward, I felt as though I was taking one or two backward, so progress felt achingly slow. Recovery is in direct relation to effort, very similar to weight loss and, well, everything else in this world. Medication has had its role, but it is only one tiny facet of a whole picture. There is no magic pill; there is no happy pill. There is only a tool to help even the roller-coaster ride of emotions, so that work can progress. And it needs constant vigilance and fine-tuning in and of itself, because body chemistry is a tricksy thing.

It starts with a desire to change and a self-push, a self-force that is incredibly difficult. The beginning feels like rolling a boulder up a mountain. There is a lot of sweat and tears and even roll-back and definitely pain. But keep pushing and the force required lessens:  you get stronger, the boulder seems smaller and smaller each time. You remind yourself constantly how good it felt to inch the boulder a few feet, the exhilaration of being a few steps closer to the summit. The Bad Voice gets quieter; you stop telling yourself how bad you are and start realizing how good this feels. But it's not exactly a rebirth, because you know that if you let go, you'll be where you started, so it also requires constant vigilance and effort (if less effort than when at the base of the mountain). And still, sometimes the boulder does drop a few feet and gets a bit heavier.

Quitting the MMORPG computer game I was involved in -- World of Warcraft -- was an incredible turning point. It was my toxic security blanket, my poisonous safety net. I had a social crowd and a job I created for myself, but it was so much weight added to my boulder. The betrayal of a few who I thought were my friends was the tiny catalyst that ignited the withdrawal. But still I had good friends and my stories... So I hosted a gathering after I stopped and the chatter made me want so much to be a part of the group again.

So I tried. It did not feel right. And though I keep in touch with them via the internet and I still write some stories about the characters I  developed and I still care about the friendships, the environment was toxic for me. I let myself use it to avoid, to substitute; it was an easy way to have a life without the effort and fear of judgment and failure. But it was all illusory! And still there was judgment and failure, and yet this was based on unreality with an entire lack of consequences for social behavior. This was the cap on my progress, the lid on my recovery. I was heavily involved with trying to make my group so grand that it was exacting a terrible price from me. And what was the reward? Very little that was concrete. Yes, I have friendships, real friendships developed outside of the internet platform, but at what cost? And could I not maintain these independently of the game?

The answer is, I believe, yes. I do not know if I'll ever be able to play this MMORPG or any of its like again -- but I am aware of the type of addiction now and I will never again take upon myself a leadership role. This is, I think, fundamentally what made the addiction so incredibly toxic for me. Because I was leading a group of people (called a "guild" or a "clan"), I took responsibility for them upon myself. I  made it my job to keep them happy. If they were unhappy, I tried to mold or change or compromise something to satisfy them, no matter how unreasonable they were being. I allowed my emotions to be tied up in the group identity; I was too involved. I shed real tears over the social interactions and things-gone-bad. I was frustrated and often felt inadequate.

I am so much happier now. I am involved in social groups and have been making an effort to get together with friends in real life, making more friends in real life. I am not at the peak of the mountain -- not even close, I'd say -- because it's going to be a life-long, eternal struggle for me. There will always be something to strive toward, and I think part of the satisfaction lies in that journey. There are so many things I still want to do for myself, so many things I'm still grasping for, but I like that. I like the wanting, because for so long, I lacked the wanting -- I did not want to go out. I did not want to live real life. It was too hard and too painful. And pain sucks, but healing, that feels good.

It's also amazing what feeling better about yourself can do to the people around you. They see me with new eyes. They ask if I've lost weight (I haven't). They say I look good (nothing physical has changed really). People react more positively to me, seem more interested in what I have to say and in chatting with me. It's not as though I poured out all my troubles when I felt bad, no, but it's like they could sense my pain or maybe my withdrawal.

I think I like my boulder. I think I'll name him Fred. Well, I better get back to pushing Fred up my mountain!

Nov. 4th, 2009

cyanrose

Sweet Home... Nebraska!

It's intriguing to me now that the word "home" conjures two separate images for me: one being the place of my origin, the city of my birth, with my immediate family's faces surrounding me in my parents' house; the other being in the arms of my husband and amongst my cat-kids (though I am not sure I can really think of our stark hi-rise as "home" so much as the place where we are staying). I think I am using this time at my home of origin wisely.

My errands are out of the way -- done Monday, no less. My last name is legally altered, now and finally I got my rings in for their fitting and soldering. I've been working my way through what I call my "homework" -- the book my psychologist recommended I work on while I'm away from Toronto. It's called The Feeling Good Handbook by David Burns and it already seems to be helping some. It operates on the principle of cognitive behavior therapy which teaches you to alter your way of thinking in order to help combat anxiety and depression. My mom also bought me some other books, one of which I'm also reading called Calming Your Anxious Mind by Jeffrey Brantley. This book teaches you to use mindful meditation in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy. I saw the neurologist Monday who claimed that there was no physical cause for the tension headaches that he could discern and that the intense, lasting headaches are simply migraines for which he would recommend different prescription medications to manage it from the ones I'm currently taking. Tomorrow I have an appointment with a physical therapist who is going to teach me some techniques for managing tension in the upper back, shoulders, neck and head.

Oct. 26th, 2009

cyanrose

(no subject)

Last week I endured serious pain in my jaw for four days, believing that perhaps it was sinus-related. Turns out I have to have a root canal. So I've been on some heavy-duty pain medication all weekend (everything has been a bit of a haze, but so blessedly pain-free). The good news is that I think I've finished my immigration packet, which I turn in to the consultant today. They're going to try to fit me in for my root canal today as well. Then Wednesday I have an appointment with a psychologist who specializes in adult ADD and anxiety and depression disorders. Then Thursday, it's back to the dentist to fix some cavaties (all work that's been put off for some time due to not having insurance). And finally, on Sunday, I leave for the States to visit home.
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Oct. 6th, 2009

cyanrose

Bittersweet Symphony... That's Life

My brother-in-law and his long-time fiancee got married last weekend, so it's been a pretty busy time for the family. It was an outdoor ceremony at a conservation area in the middle of a rainy autumn day (though the sun managed to peek out for an overcast appearance and the rain ceased for the duration of the ceremony itself) and, thus, required a lot of effort to pull off. But it ended up being quite beautiful (even if the reception was a tad on the cramped side).

I've dived back into my reading list with renewed zeal and have been making to-do lists that I intend to work on in the coming weeks before my hometown five-week visit. I am looking forward to being back in O-town despite how desperately I suspect I will miss my husband. I miss my "family of origin" and the familiarity of my hometown very much; and I hope that the much-needed visit will give me a bit of a kick in the pants when I come back home to TO.

Anxiety is paralyzing. The headaches are back, perhaps not near the agony they have caused in the past, but tension-caused and relieved temporarily with muscle-relaxers (which thankfully, here, are over the counter - God bless Canada)! Social anxiety ratchets up that tension in my neck and upper back muscles and causes those dull headaches that feel like a band tightening around my head and last for days on end. It seems like the more I hole up, the worse the anxiety becomes when I am forced out. Strangely, being forced out will cause a temporary (very much so) burst of motivation once the initial ledge of anxiety is overcome. It's not something I entirely understand, being as how it's never quite been at this level before my move.

Anyway... I'm drowsy and still not sleeping well, so I'm off to take a catnap.

Sep. 19th, 2009

cyanrose

(no subject)

So I started playing on Alliance again on my original server. I've been working on my prot paladin -- levels and professions (she's blacksmithing and engineering because I'm insane). Starting to tank with her and that's definitely an experience. (I always seem to get lost amongst those stupid Nexus platforms!)

Raids start again with Naxx-25 on October 4th. I'm a little tired of that particular instance, but it seems like every time we start Ulduar, people get upset and things implode. It doesn't matter too much though, because I really enjoy the company. I don't really care about hardcore progression because there are always going to be new gear treadmills. For some reason, I have this personal goal of getting every single class to level cap. Maybe that's my progression? All that's left is my 71 paladin, 70 warrior, 60 rogue, 33 shaman, and a death knight. I don't know why I really haven't felt much of an urge to level a death knight... but I just haven't yet.

I have most of the achievements/titles I want on my main. I like the ones where I get special things I guess... but sometimes I have to wonder if the effort is worth it just for a tally to say that I did it. And I certainly do not relish the idea of trying to do them on multiple characters...

I guess I'm just wondering what the heck to do with myself now.

Sep. 14th, 2009

cyanrose

(no subject)

The headaches are back and I hate them. Aragh!

::ahem::

I'm okay.

So it looks like I'm headed back to my hometown for the month of November. Hopefully, I'll be able to see a neurologist in that time. The downside is that they will, in all likelihood, want to do an MRI. For the uninsured, that's a nice little chunk of change. So Jon and I will have to chat about that.

I've been trying to relax in order not to exacerbate the intense throbbing of my brain behind my eyes. Guildless on Moon Guard until yesterday, my little Ret-adin is 57 now (to the shock of my RP friends). I was asked how could that be -- RAF? Prot AoE? BoA gear? Nope! Just Carbonite, an epic mount at level 40, and no job/school. But actually, I'm really enjoying playing the other faction (go Horde!) for a change of pace. Not that I intend to desert my Alliance characters at all -- I love them dearly -- but the solitude has been cathartic.

I find myself ever-identifying with the Alliance though, no matter the situation. I hated having to desecrate Uther's shrine. I've always been a "carebear" for the Horde anyway. I just wish both sides got along. It would be wicked awesome if they could talk and group together.

The one PuG I've done so far was less than stellar. I have freakishly high standards these days, though. I don't know if my patience has just run out or what. When the tank stopped to dance because she leveled (for several minutes), I wanted to throttle her. She paused after every pull and the group had to wait for her to catch up. Then she DC'd halfway through and never came back. I tanked the rest of Sunken Temple as a Ret paladin (4-man, no less)!

So I joined a guild the other day (after being asked on two separate occasions)... but the RP thus far falls short of my expectations. Again, I feel like I'm becoming this cynical, curmudgeonly creature, but run-on... and on... and on sentences, dialogue I can barely follow, and slight god-moding has me ignoring the majority of guild chat. Let's see if Day Two is any better. At least their grammar isn't terrible. There are no U's. They use capitals and punctuation.

I have some artwork that needs posting to my Deviant account... but there's a bunch of stuff sitting on my scanner and I'm too lazy to clean it off right now. That's bad, huh! Meh. I don't care. I haven't finished my first cup of coffee yet.

Sep. 4th, 2009

cyanrose

To-Do List

The strongest indicator of feeling better is evidently restlessness. Tomorrow we plan to go up to the cottage for the holiday weekend (probably staying until Sunday afternoon). The weather has been great this week -- I only hope it continues through the weekend.

Next week I need to get the pictures developed for my Immigration packet and submit the final paperwork and my have my fingerprints taken. I also would like to head to Sears and get a few things for the apartment since we have a bunch of gift certificates collecting dust. I also want to look into volunteering in the school system here.

Sep. 3rd, 2009

cyanrose

Brain Explody

Since Monday I've had the worst headache of my life. Did some research and what I most likely am dealing with is cluster headaches. Experts are not sure what triggers them, but they're often treated with migraine meds (which hasn't worked for me) or anti-seizure medications. I've been talking with my family and we decided I should go back to my hometown to get treated. Besides that, I'm almost due for a trip back to the States anyways, since I'm technically on a Visitor's Visa.
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Aug. 26th, 2009

cyanrose

A Little Brighter

So I had three ideas for my WoW game-play experience the other day while visiting the Dramatis Personae forums. Two of these are probably a last-ditch effort at something to get my Alliance side guild on AD involved in some RP. The other is to support my new and exciting forays into the Horde-side of things (which, currently, there seems to be no interest in other than my husband and girlfriend). But hey, I'm sure we three will enjoy it and perhaps others on Moonguard will, too.

Dramatis Personae's alternate view on playing WoW was refreshing. They have characters spread over all the RP servers and do plot-lines on different servers at different times. It's so interesting to see RPers take characters seriously regardless of physical level, and to see a community truly enjoy themselves completely independently of the end-game treadmill. I'm not certain I could be such a wanderer... but it's nice to know that the option is out there.

Had dinner at the in-laws last night. It was great to see them -- haven't seen them since last June. Mom lent me a ton of books from her vast library... I have so much to read now I think I'll be good until next year. I'm hoping to get up to the cottage for a couple days during the holiday weekend and maybe husband's brothers and soon-to-be-sister-in-law will be up, too. Missed the pup! She's a darling black lab and border collie mix. Just a ball of fun-loving energy!

Got myself some yoga tapes and a mat. Should help my back some... I'm hoping.

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