Author Archives: Sock Gnome

I believe I can see the future, Cause I repeat the same routine

It’s incredibly troubling to come to the conclusion that you’re a self-destructive person who is slowly killing themselves with shitty lifestyle choices.  I’m both emotionally and physically drained and need to remind myself to push forward no mater how much I find myself right back at the starting line.

I’m a single, overweight 31-year-old male with self-esteem issues deeply rooted in my personal identity and a lack of any athletic ability that made it easy for me to atrophy into my current state.  So I started a ‘Couch to 5K’ program, even if it’s just a computer, maybe having some prompts keep me honest allow me to see changes in my abilities so I don’t lose motivation.

Or maybe I’m just going to die in my 40’s, unfulfilled and empty with ultimately only myself to blame.

First world angst is so fucking absurd.

Weigh In: 242.2 LBS

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My Own National Lampoon’s Vacation

A multigenerational vacation where you’re the youngest member of the family with everyone living with in close quarters for a week can be incredibly stress inducing. The anxiety of making a misstep, saying or doing anything to trigger a response from the humans who share some genetic code with you is enough to keep you up at night.  I should explain that I haven’t been in this situation since middle school, when I was in the throws of what I now understand to be the start of my ongoing existential crisis. I went through some trauma with those I was raised to believe were my parents were actually my grandparents, my mother played the role of a significantly older sister and everyone else in the family was fully aware and never showed their cards. This hit me hard, an emotional betrayal regarding my very existence. While an answer to “how the fuck did my parents have me at such advanced ages” was given, it gave way to the unsolved mystery of my biological father.

“Our fathers were our models for God. If our fathers bailed, what does that tell you about God?” Tyler in “Fight Club”

All of this occurred right as I bloomed into my adolescence, told that I wasn’t to share this fact with others introduced a great amount of shame in me.  All of those questions of “Who am I?” were amplified and I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone in my family about it.  I started to drift away from them and threw myself into part time work and school, kept my family at bay and only attended obligatory holidays  where I knew my absence would be akin to treason.

We now return to present day. This house has largely remained the same, it did not remain entirely static, but all the memories of youth came flooding back to me.  My meekness of being the child in a house with an aunt and uncle I only knew from our yearly trips down south remained in the forefront of my mind.  Now while I also remained fairly the same person I had more understanding of the world around me, motivations of others and have had enough years removed from the angst ridden years to see everyone as a person with their own struggles, anxieties and fears. I see photographs of a time before I was born, which reminded me that there was a life that these people all shared before I entered into a stream of consciousness.  All of their experiences snapped who they were, just as the person I am now is the sum result of my experiences.

I see my grandmother, the woman who raised me as her last child in her last years and know that regardless of whatever may have occurred in the past has to be left there.  Mortality is humbling, it does put things in perspective. I know that right now, I need to be present in the now for the greater wellness of the family.  We’re all broken people and while the first few days I’ve spent on this trip have forced me to relive memories (both good and bad) the dysfunction will go on unabated, but in that dysfunction there is a bond that as much as I’d like to pretend I could ignore, has hit me in the face and opened my eyes to the tragic reality of the situation we’re all in, collectively. A finite life that no one gets to try-over again, we’re being pushed forward and if we keep looking back we’re never going to be able to prepare for whats coming next.

Gov. Baker Declares State Of Emergency

BOSTON (XVS) – Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency Monday night so the areas hardest hit by the snow can have time to burry their dead.  The unprecedented amount of snow has caused the normal hustle and bustle of down town Boston and the outer suburbs to first crawl to a halt, then when another two feet of snow fell from the sky toppled over due to peoples hearts just giving out.

Charlie Baker, only accepting phone calls and not actually seen in the city since Groundhog Day was quoted as saying “Most of our winter fatalities occur from people just stressing their hearts shoveling snow but this year it seems many of our citizens are simply losing the will to live.” When asked for an ETA on when snow removal crews will have the city back to a semi-functional state of being the Governor abruptly ended the call saying that he had to attend a meeting with the MBTA chief regarding budget cuts for an already over burdened mass transit system, while in the background this reporter heard something about ‘another round of rum runners!’ and the sounds of splashing as if someone was diving into a pool in a tropical paradise.

– A bunker somewhere in Hoth,

SG

Depression Quest: A Review

It’s rare for a video game to invoke a reaction from me, “The Last of Us” takes a player through a journey of moral ambiguity in a broken world of loss, redemption and living with the consequences of your choices. It takes talented voice actors and animators to create a bond with the characters, an amazing feat for a video game, which makes what “Depression Quest” has accomplished that much more impressive.

If you’re over 30 you likely remember having choose your own adventure! books. For anyone who isn’t familiar with them, the basic premise is that you play the role of the protagonist faced which choices that lead you to specific pages that change the story. It’s not something you read from start to finish but jump around based on what path you wind up on. Depression quest takes this concept to the internet where your choices are hyperlinks which take your character down various paths, some good some awful.

As someone who suffers from depression brought on by various insecurities and existential strife I live in my head a lot which causes me to be withdrawn from society, friends, family and all the things that I enjoy doing.

The narrative in “Depression Quest” gives you an insight into the mind of someone suffering from depression, from people who are intimately familiar with it. It does it just with text, well written and powerful imagery with the right mixture of background music to set the mood.

The most important takeaway anyone who plays the game is to realize there is no logic to depression, the biggest obstacle one has to overcome is the negative feedback loop downward spiral. Someone who is depressed is acutely aware of illogical their emotions are, they can objectively understand it but live in a subjective world were even the most mundane activities (personal hygiene, keeping a tidy house) seem overwhelming. Social engagements are terrifying, you feel lonely but powerless to do anything to help yourself because you feel any attempts you make will fail or they are phony.

On my play trough of “Depression Quest” I picked the path of recovery, the choices presented reflect the anxiety of trying to face your demons head on, the fear in the back of your head of being rejected for opening up to loved ones, the understanding of needing to do something, no mater how hard if you want to feel better. It also helps to show friends and family of someone going through this how they can help, how to balance the line of understanding and pity with positive reinforcement.

There is so much stigma in the western world about mental illness. The claims of being being lazy, that they should just deal with it, whatever it may be as if a switch can be flipped. It doesn’t mater if it’s a chemical imbalance in someone’s brain or if it’s years of conditioning that places someone into those negative feedback loops.

My journey through the game reminded me to focus on the small wins, the little battles everyday in order to retrain myself how to keep myself functional and engaged. Not to get complacent and think you “won” the battle forever after you get on a roll of success where you’re tempted to stop taking medication or stop being aware of the techniques learned in cognitive behavioral therapy.

For me, it reminded me that I’m not alone, that the intrusive thoughts of self loathing are a self fulfilling prophecy. So if you’re dealing with way too much or know someone who is, put on some headphones and take your time with this game. Crying has never felt so cathartic.

http://www.depressionquest.com/

Thanks Christian Mingle!

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 8.29.49 PM

So I came across this ad and two things came to mind:

1) They couldn’t have picked a worst month in the alleged marriage date this alleged couple in the ad to be displayed to people in North America.  The first thing that came to mind when I saw this was “Ten years ago, god was powerless to prevent the hijacking of four planes that were used as weapons against the citizens of the United State of America; but today god’s true power is revealed at Nikki & Jim’s wedding! The lord sure does work in mysterious and seemingly arbitrary ways, unable to prevent a death shower that scared the conscious of a nation but more than willing to make sure Christians hook up on a for profit website.

2) I should really download Ad-Block.