I mean, this is not just how I’m feeling, but really how are you feeling?
I was going to talk about my Mage: the Awakening 2nd Edition game like I promised back last year when I highlighted World of Darkness games. I still will a little, but the last few days have made me realize not only that I should speak to the impact COVID-19 is having on me and others, but I need to. I have to. It’s therapeutic to do so, but also I’m hoping this helps others feeling like I am. As I think many say with these kinds of mental health or in the news articles, even one person helped makes the effort worth it.
Asking For Help
So I’ll start by saying that I’m not a mental health expert, not in any way shape or form. Please if you’re in a bad spot, hurting, and especially if you ever are considering hurting yourself then please reach out to someone, anyone. And I don’t just mean that if it’s COVID related, but for any reason and any time. Reach out to a doctor, family, friend, trusted coworkers, heck even me! There’s some resources I’ve found too like the COVID-19 resource on PsychHub or the American Psychiatric Association’s page for Coronavirus Resources. Not only is it okay to feel unhappy or unwell, it is very much good of you to speak up and reach out about it.
Why do I mention that last line? I think like many people I beat myself up and admonish myself for feeling unhappy or being depressed in the current situation. I’ll remind myself I’ve got a great job, and food, and shelter, and of course my health. Who am I to complain or be unhappy? Well I’ll tell you, I’m an extrovert who lives alone and I’m missing my friends and family a lot. The occasional instant message, social media post, or teleconference call ain’t cutting it. We were supposed to be having our football matches and social events. I was supposed to be visiting my new job’s office and bonding with the amazing team there. I was supposed to be helping my mom get the house ready for spring, including taking down Christmas lights. I know, right? It’s April but what to do. We’re trying to do things right here in Rhode Island and that means, stay at home and keep social distancing.
So again, I’m also pushing things down because I feel guilty for not loving the isolated situation I’m in? I can’t do that to myself and I hope no one else is either. I’m ever so thankful for the people putting themselves out there to keep our groceries coming in, healthcare workers at hospitals, officials trying to facilitate running our government the best they can (and I won’t go on a political rant but I certainly am not happy with some of our leadership…), as well as all those in between whether working outside or inside the home. But still, I’m upset and frustrated. And lonely. I mean this sucks; it just sucks. We’ve got friends and family getting sick or afraid they are, let alone dying. I can’t fix that, and it’s hard for any individual to do so unless they’ve got those all important and essential skills like I mentioned. Thank you, thank you, thank you to them. You give us hope and a path forward.
We’re Not Alone
Thankfully, others are voicing this same feeling of frustration, stress, and even sadness. I’m glad they are. And truly, thankfully someone encouraged me over the weekend to address and talk about how I was feeling. One of the best ways to start to feel better is really to start talking about it. A special thank you to Josh for that. It’s good to express this, and important we do so. Part of the way we get through difficult points in our lives is simply voicing them aloud to friends. Sometimes we need to lament, rant, complain, bitch, shout our frustrations. That’s hard to do alone and if you’re feeling unable to bring it up, ask for that help, or just express the actual need of interaction – not just the desire to do so – then now is the time. It’s not that just that I want to have a call, chat over a message app, or do some virtual games. It’s that I need it, especially living alone. Please if ya know someone living alone, reach out to them because maybe they don’t have someone to talk to about how they’re feeling.
In the meantime, I’m still struggling. The energy I get from others, interacting through games and movie nights, seeing a friend over drinks, getting into meeting rooms with my new coworkers, hitting the bar for a relaxing night after a long week… I miss that. We want that back. I want that back for everyone. And for weeks now I’m just sort of going along to get along. I mentioned to a group of friends on Discord how I was feeling, finding it tough to be stuck at home alone again, and not knowing exactly how to deal with it aside from talking about it and playing games rather difficult. “Big mood” was the response from a few of them. I’m not alone in this and you’re not either.
To drive that home just a bit more I’m reminded of a lesson from a leadership class back my first semester of college at the University of Rhode Island. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. On planes they tell you to put your mask on first. Before you can offer support you need to have ground footing. If we want to help one another through this tough time, we need to make it clear what we need, ask for help for that, and then help others get and do the same.
What I’m Doing
I need a new routine. I’m working out twice a day and I need to formalize that new plan. I clearly need some other social interaction set up so maybe a virtual movie night using that Netflix Party approach. That was my Tuesday night and I miss that. Some private gaming is good too. I installed Dragon Age Inquisition on my PC. I played on XBox before but now I’m exploring some mods as I follow along with Food Then Games. They have some extremely helpful tutorial videos on modding like this one for setting up DAI mods and Frosty mods. I also need to be clearer with friends when I’m actively seeking any kind of social activity, rather than simply ask if people can. Thankfully my buddy Rich is going to run a game of Monster of the Week for us. He’s the one that showed me 10 Candles so I’m highly optimistic for a good time. You can be sure I’ll talk about it, perhaps in my next Investing In!
If you’re seeing a theme, then you’re right. As if it wasn’t clear, it’s gaming that has been my saving grace outside of keeping busy with work and some occasional social media chat. Beyond investing in reading or streaming media, gaming online provides a fun activity that many are pointing to especially if you’re doing some tabletop, which is why I spotlit virtual gaming. I’m prepping materials to run my Strange Aeons Pathfinder 1E game through Roll20. In the meantime, the Mage: the Awakening 2.0 game we run once a month normally we’ve been playing every other week. This game is primarily theatre of the mind and run in modern Rhode Island, so while I put effort into researching real locations and legends, it’s also easier for me to pull together whichever of my friends are free for a game. Right now they’re chasing a Slender Man obsession and maybe those obsessed with him…
I don’t know how long the changes we’ve seen put in place will last, especially the need for social distance. We don’t know what changes we might see afterward, though I certainly hope it will make us all more considerate of others’ health, our own wellness, and safety. I think also it’s a lesson in ourselves, the need for connection, and the chance to show how we can do so even in a tough situation. Remember it’s okay to ask for help and okay to express your need for some support. We’re not alone and it’s okay to be frustrated, uspet, and even depressed with what’s happening. I encourage Investing In support of those working hard to help and protect us as well as seeking some gaming to balance that extra time you’ve got at home as well as connect with friends!
And I also want to hear what you’re Investing In! Leave me a comment below about what games, modules, systems, products, people, live streams, etc you enjoy! You can also hit me up on social media as silentinfinity. I want to hear what excites you and what you’re passionate about. There’s so much wonderful content, people, groups (I could go on) in this community of ours that the more we invest in and share, the better it becomes!
About Investing In
I wasn’t quite sure what to name my article series when I first started but the idea of showcasing or discussing things that make me excited, that I find new and interesting, or maybe I’m otherwise passionate about seemed to fit with the idea of Investing In something like the Pathfinder 2E mechanic. To use some magic items you have to give that little bit of yourself, which helps make these things even better. I like the metaphor of the community growing and being strengthened in the same way!
Banner – Overflowing Emotion, creative commons license, Psyca-art
- Young Lovers, creative commons license, GreenIbr
- Path to Remedy, creative commons license, TomTC
- Covid Gaming, Analysts: Gaming Is a Safe Haven from COVID-19, May Emerge Stronger Than Ever