MadCast: Kitty Stark

Self Care: Let's Talk About Mental Illness

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3 minutes ago, MadCast: majorhoward said:

I don't box, but I have a firing range that i find is a great outlet for myself, especially black powder weapons, there is something so very tactile and relieving i find in black powder weapons. 

Yeah, sighting in and target shooting a muzzle loader is very relaxing. Seems to be more the process of measuring, pouring and wadding/loading than just the trigger pull

Edited by MadCast: Baal

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On 8/22/2018 at 7:53 AM, MadCast: VoShay said:

My wife struggles with bipolar and general anxiety disorder. She works exceptionally hard to get anything done and generally holds herself short of accomplishment no matter what. It’s constant work, and I appreciate what many of you are going through, though I am mostly outside it. I suffered from some environmental depression almost a decade ago, but for now I’ve long been alright.

 

 MadCast has been a wonderful place to be with people and make connections. That said, if anyone wants to chat about their shit or get a second opinion on something, I’d be happy to help. I haven’t gone through those problems internally, but I’ve experienced them externally, and I want, very much, for you to be successful in your endeavors. Don’t ever feel like you can’t talk to someone or no one cares. By virtue of being here, many care about you. Including myself. Hit me up in any space you feel comfortable, whenever.

2

Oh hey, that's me. Thank you.

I just want to say that I am remarkably lucky to have VoShay as a partner, especially considering the volatile nature of my mental illness. He had a choice to leave but stayed, and he's saved my life more times than I can count. I try to always tell myself to thank him, even if I can't see a reason for it at the moment. 

 

On 8/24/2018 at 7:18 PM, MadCast: RedJustice said:

I'm glad to see so many people feel comfortable discussing their experience with mental health issues, either personally or with others they care about. Unfortunately, our society does a bad job having conversations about it, especially considering how ubiquitous it is. 

I won't go into detail about any of my own challenges, but I was interested in talking about that self-care portion of the thread title. Over the years I have developed my own coping techniques. I think a lot of advice I read online or in books wasn't very helpful to me when I first started trying to figure out how to better take care of myself. What I've learned is that broad generalities simultaneously make advice correct and unhelpful (i.e. 'communication is the key to a good relationship'). Here are some things that might be helpful if you are trying to figure out specific things that work for you:

During college I was very physically ill and dealing with chronic pain. One of the things my aunt encouraged me to do was to keep a daily journal rating how I bad my pain was in different parts of my body, my tiredness, my alertness, etc on a 1-10 scale. This had the combined affect of making me more mindful and giving me a way to measure patterns and make associations between my activities and symptoms. I now track other things like my weight, resting heart rate, time asleep, steps, etc. I've been able to see how changes I make to my lifestyle affect me physically and mentally, and I'm a lot better at taking preemptive care of myself. I'd encourage everyone to explore this concept of tracking some aspect of your health on a daily basis. 

Triggers and repetition are powerful. Use them to your advantage. I tend to use particular songs or playlists as a mental trigger for different activities. I will play the same song on repeat for hours! For example, I use the exact same song now for meditating that I used 8 years ago (Sea & Silence - Deuter). It is really easy for me to drop my heart rate as soon as it starts playing. I also noticed that smell can have a big affect on my mood (certain smells make me feel happy or calm or energetic, etc), so I try to choose accordingly with perfume, candles, lotions, shampoo, etc.

Finally, early on I made a mistake of trying to follow general audience advice that I knew would not work for me. For example, I weigh myself twice daily and do not count calories. Most advice suggests I do the opposite, but it does not work for me. Conventional wisdom is worth considering, but if you know it doesn't work for you, it's okay. Nothing is wrong with you; you don't need to try to force yourself to do something just because it's the recommended approach. Everyone is different. 

I resonate with this a lot. My bipolar manifested during college. Since then, I have tried to develop habits that help me function "normally." 

Like Red, I found journaling to be really helpful.  Right now, my main goal with journaling is to get an honest look at how my mood has been and any events or conversations that triggered intense emotions. This lets me see an overview of my moods for the past however many days, weeks, and months.  I use an app on my phone that lets me input my mood at any moment and with relative ease. Then I can use the data to write more reflective journals at the end of the day. 

Another thing I do is curate music playlists to try to help me get out of intense emotional episodes. I have one for depression, for anger, for sadness, for mania (although that can be hard to curtail). It's a way to let me be sad and "sit in it" for a few songs but then be gently brought out of it by happier and more positive songs. It doesn't always work, but it's at least a useful tool I can always try. 

My anxiety makes me reclusive/isolative, so I try to make sure I interact with someone outside of my family at least once a week. We run in-person tabletop games with high school friends and that helps, but even then, I have bouts where I can't do more than tell them hi and then go upstairs. Right now, I'm doing pretty well. I've been pushing myself to be more active here, so I'm starting with the forums and then maybe I'll move to discord. I'm still really scared, but maybe soon. 

I thought I had more useful things to say but I can't think of anything more. I really try to do a lot of self-care, and I know it's important, but it's taken me too long to find habits that help. And even now, sometimes I forget or I just don't care. It's a constant fight. I'm sure a lot of you have also been through this and can relate. It feels wrong, but I find that thought to be a little comforting. 

In any case, I really like this thread, and I hope it wasn't too late for me to post.

Thank you, Kitty Stark. And thank you to everyone for making me feel a little less alone tonight. 

 

 

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15 hours ago, MadCast: Vyoletta said:

I thought I had more useful things to say but I can't think of anything more. I really try to do a lot of self-care, and I know it's important, but it's taken me too long to find habits that help. And even now, sometimes I forget or I just don't care. It's a constant fight. I'm sure a lot of you have also been through this and can relate. It feels wrong, but I find that thought to be a little comforting. 

In any case, I really like this thread, and I hope it wasn't too late for me to post.

Thank you, Kitty Stark. And thank you to everyone for making me feel a little less alone tonight. 

I understand that a lot; the sense that you need to self-care but at the same time fighting that voice that says you're not worth it etc. I am happy that you still strive to do things that make you happy despite the difficulty of such things. I made this thread with the hopes of letting people with similar struggles share their experiences and feel less alone, so I am very grateful that it worked for you. It's never too late, and it's always an open discussion for anyone who needs to get something off their chest or just wants to ask for help.

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My family has a history of depression, bi polar and anxiety. Iv been around it my whole life. My father had it and it got to the point where one day he threatened to kill himself in front of my then 15 year old sister. My mother tried to help but was at her wits end with it and made a declension to put him in a psych ward.  My mother had given up on him and at that point in time I was the only family to reach out and try and help him. It was an endless cycle of taking phone calls from him while I was at home, work and out. Any spare time I had was spent with him at the psych ward to try and help him get better. In end the it started to take such an emotional toll on me I couldn't deal with and it started to effect my personal and my professional life. My finance at the time broke up with me because he couldn't deal with me and my constant mood swings. My mood swings got to the point where they would get violent and I would punch holes in walls and cupboards. He left me at a time where I need someone the most and it only  lead to me getting worse.  At this point in my life I was at my lowest, didnt know how to deal with things so I started binge drinking, going out every night and at my very worst doing drugs just so I didn't have to feel anything.  This was the point where I decided I need some serious help, I got on meds and started to feel better. The meds only help to certain extent. I still have days where I cry at nothing, I dont want to leave the house for days on end or even talk to people. But Iv realized that this isn't a bad thing, Im allowed to have bad days.

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6 minutes ago, MadCast: Kelica said:

My family has a history of depression, bi polar and anxiety. Iv been around it my whole life. My father had it and it got to the point where one day he threatened to kill himself in front of my then 15 year old sister. My mother tried to help but was at her wits end with it and made a declension to put him in a psych ward.  My mother had given up on him and at that point in time I was the only family to reach out and try and help him. It was an endless cycle of taking phone calls from him while I was at home, work and out. Any spare time I had was spent with him at the psych ward to try and help him get better. In end the it started to take such an emotional toll on me I couldn't deal with and it started to effect my personal and my professional life. My finance at the time broke up with me because he couldn't deal with me and my constant mood swings. My mood swings got to the point where they would get violent and I would punch holes in walls and cupboards. He left me at a time where I need someone the most and it only  lead to me getting worse.  At this point in my life I was at my lowest, didnt know how to deal with things so I started binge drinking, going out every night and at my very worst doing drugs just so I didn't have to feel anything.  This was the point where I decided I need some serious help, I got on meds and started to feel better. The meds only help to certain extent. I still have days where I cry at nothing, I dont want to leave the house for days on end or even talk to people. But Iv realized that this isn't a bad thing, Im allowed to have bad days.

Thank you so much for opening up and sharing your experiences. I have been in a psych ward for a brief period and I can attest to the loneliness that hit while I was there. I am very sorry that you did not have other familial support in that situation, and even worse your relationship fell through because your fiance couldn't be strong enough for you. I am extremely lucky to have a husband who has not given up on me yet, and I wouldn't be here without him similarly to Vyoletta. I also agree that meds are not a fix-all like some people tend to think. They are a band-aid at best and when I'm already having a depressive episode my antidepressants aren't just gonna flip a magic switch on my mood. I also respect you for knowing that you are allowed to have bad days. Human beings were never perfect and we never will be. Letting yourself just stay in bed and eat junk food sometimes is just as important for self-care as eating vegetables and working out. I am proud of your progress and hope you continue to stride forward to your healthy lifestyle.

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thank you for sharing your story. As most everyone here has said I think a bunch of us can relate in some way to what you are going through. As for my story I wont go into detail but I have dealt with depression and anxiety most of my life and since I have had Jayce I have been struggling with PPD. This community has been such an incredible help especially with my other half being deployed and me struggling to be a first time mom alone with the added stress from work and school. this community is such a judgement free place and I have met some incredible people including you @MadCast: Kitty Stark I am super thankful for everyone I have met here. <3 

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Would anyone be willing to share how they track their medications and keep track of how each one affected them? Not a "daily" medication tracker to track intake but a "when applicable" journal to track which side effects were experienced and how long you were on the medication for? 

I've gone on and off a lot of medications, and I have a hard time remembering which ones are which and how each generally affected me. I want to create one but I don't know where to start. I'd love any advice from those who have any to give. 

Thank you in advance!

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2 hours ago, MadCast: Vyoletta said:

Would anyone be willing to share how they track their medications and keep track of how each one affected them? Not a "daily" medication tracker to track intake but a "when applicable" journal to track which side effects were experienced and how long you were on the medication for? 

I've gone on and off a lot of medications, and I have a hard time remembering which ones are which and how each generally affected me. I want to create one but I don't know where to start. I'd love any advice from those who have any to give. 

Thank you in advance!

I have not had a medication journal but I do bullet journaling and know many different methods for recording different amounts of information in a neat adaptable manner. Feel free to message me in Discord or just yell at VoShay to find me.

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Figured I'd share my story as well, especially since @MadCast: Kitty Stark is my mentor. We actually just spoke about this a few days ago.

 

So I currently suffer from a slew of problems, some currently undiagnosed as I'm 24 and still going through the mental health battle, and fighting what's showing as it happens. My family has a wonderful mental health record (sarcasm,) and I'm so absolutely terrified that I'm going to end up like them. What's been diagnosed so far has just been anxiety and severe depression. What's new to me is that I'm most likely bipolar type-2 with the symptoms that are currently showing. They started, quite literally, on my 24th birthday, and lost me my favorite job I've ever had. It's affected my life in so many different ways I can't recount.

 

In my gaming my mental disorders have caused me to approach things differently. Before I joined Madcast I was very much a casual ARAM/Rift player with the intention of getting gold for my season reward, and then back to having fun again. I didn't like taking things too seriously as it really sparked my issues of not thinking I was good enough, and just general severe self deprecation. When I started my candidacy it seemed to spark my interest in getting better at the game, but not in a good way. It felt more like a social pressure, the cutoff for League of Learning higher ELO being Gold 3, and being deemed "lesser" (my mind's words, not anyone else's please don't misconstrue that,) made me want to get better in a much more competitive way. I hadn't been very successful in my life's endeavors lately, (unemployment, relationship issues, just in general feeling worthless.) I was so set that this was a goal I could easily achieve, especially with the help of the other members. Unfortunately it became on obsession for me, to the point to where I was no longer having fun. I was getting very negative in matches, and that's not normal for me. I had to take a step back and go back to playing games for the sake of having fun. So while I love Madcast for it's community, I had to realize that I can't participate in being competitive. I'd still happily attend League of Learning for the sake of knowledge and growing. My sights just have to be set on the fact that I'm a perfectly normal player. I turn my all chat off in matches, and sometimes just mute my chat in general and respond to pings, because I've learned with these new symptoms and trying to "work" with them that I get very agitated easily. It's not something I'm proud of, but it's something I thought I'd share in case anyone else has any issues that they're trying to understand. You're not alone.

 

I suffer on a daily basis, and not just in gaming. I suffer through work, love, and everything life can possibly throw at you. I didn't think I was going to make it to the age of 16, then again at 18, and again at 21. Now I'm 24 years old, and doing a lot better, I no longer look at birthdays as another milestone to work past, but an achievement in my days, that I haven't given up.

Don't really know where to go from that shit hole, but hey, that's me! If you need anyone to talk to about anything I'm happy to be a comfort for someone. I don't always have advice, but I can be a good ear for your problems. Sometimes all it takes is someone to talk to. Please don't be afraid to reach out on Discord if you're ever having a bad time, or just need to reach out. I know I don't seem like the nicest person, but I promise once you get past my voice, and the fact that I sigh with almost every breath, I'm a wonderful guy who just wants to make sure others are okay.

 

- Caleb

 

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On 10/11/2018 at 12:02 AM, doublestufforeo said:

My family has a wonderful mental health record (sarcasm,) and I'm so absolutely terrified that I'm going to end up like them. What's been diagnosed so far has just been anxiety and severe depression. 

I was so set that this was a goal I could easily achieve, especially with the help of the other members. Unfortunately it became on obsession for me, to the point to where I was no longer having fun. I was getting very negative in matches, and that's not normal for me. I had to take a step back and go back to playing games for the sake of having fun. So while I love Madcast for it's community, I had to realize that I can't participate in being competitive. I'd still happily attend League of Learning for the sake of knowledge and growing. My sights just have to be set on the fact that I'm a perfectly normal player.

 I didn't think I was going to make it to the age of 16, then again at 18, and again at 21. Now I'm 24 years old, and doing a lot better, I no longer look at birthdays as another milestone to work past, but an achievement in my days, that I haven't given up.

FIrst I commend your bravery about opening up here, because I know it probably wasn't an easy thing to do for you especially. Growing up and seeing family members with any kind of mental or physical disease that can be hereditary (because yes a lot of mental illnesses can; your brain is half of each parent) can be quite terrifying. I have a wonderful future of heart disease, which has taken at least 70% of my known family, and fibromyalgia which is already showing minor symptoms occasionally. Don't feel like you never had a chance just because you were genetically destined to have depression and anxiety, and know that I already have seen positive behavioural growth in the few weeks I've known you.

Secondly I'm proud that you're self-aware enough to remove yourself from negative situations or "triggers" (the internet makes me hate that word) that can not only hurt you but those in voice chat and game with you. I am also a #perfectlynormalplayer and am a professional ARAM-mer, however I have yet to break out of Bronze... hmm.

In any case, thank you very much for sharing and making strides towards a healthier lifestyle. I remember also not thinking I'd live to 18, but knowing that I made it to and beyond that date has also helped to motivate me despite still struggling years later. Hopefully we can continue to grow together 💜

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So I'd just like to update that I'm pretty proud of myself for making it through some mental struggles this week with work, and just being generally overwhelmed. I catered an event tonight for 50 people all by myself, and it took a lot out of me, not only physically, but mentally as well. I'm going to crash for a good bit, I planned on it afterwards, not just rest, but just allow myself to re-coop. Hope everyone is doing well. If you see me online, hit me up for a game or some chat. Lord knows I need a distraction.

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Slice of life update! After seeing the same therapist for about 5 years now she referred me to an actual psychologist (someone who can give prescriptions and not just help you talk about stuff) and I am now on a mood stabilizer. I kind of messed up with my antidepressant for a few days but now I've gotten it all fixed and with both of them working together I'm feeling really productive and motivated lately. I also have my nerve surgery in a couple weeks and I'm impatiently eager to recover and return back to my "normal" life which includes working part-time and being able to do my artwork whenever I want and not be limited by pain. I'm also aiming for Silver 1 this coming LoL Ranked season 😊

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Not to be a downer, Kitty, but be careful with different types of meds at the same time, after I got out of the laughing academy, they had me on a few different meds, and it felt like they were working for a while, then they took me over a metaphorical cliff. If they are working for you, and continue to work for you, that is fantastic, all I am saying, is be aware sometime some meds don't play well together. 

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Thanks very much for the advice @MadCast: majorhoward, I'll definitely be careful and monitor any weird emotion changes. I went through withdrawal on my antidepressant once and that was miserable so I try to be prepared and ask a lot of questions about my meds.

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Growing up for me was not a good experience. From the age of 9 I had suicidal thoughts, I felt pain for reasons I never really understood. For a long time I had a long scar on my left arm from when I thought I was trying to commit suicide. I was bullied extremely often in school for being short, which led to me not having many friends if at all. I was 3 feet tall at the age of 12 (I'm now 5'7", one hell of a growth spurt). Between being a social outcast and my dad being fairly abusive emotionally, I really didn't learn how to start socializing until after high school. The one positive thing I gained from my experience is that if I encounter a problem I just run at it until it's fixed, and if one way doesn't work, I evaluate what's going on. In 2010 I started dating someone who would tell me occasionally that she didn't know if she loved me, so that messed with my mind, she dumped me in late 2011, and I really had a hard time getting over that, my issues with depression and suicidal thoughts and feelings really ramped up because I didn't have the social skillset to reach out to anyone. 2016 I tried doing summer sales one summer and my depression got incredibly severe that I got sent home so the company I was selling for wouldn't be liable. I took a few weeks to recuperate with my family and I really just put myself to work until I bought my first house, and the emotional high I got from that kept me going for a few months until I started dipping back into unhealthy habits (not eating, not sleeping, not doing laundry often enough, not socializing in church activities). At the end of 2017 I started taking meds for depression, and while it helped, I just felt mute and everything was in gray. I didn't feel anything different, it's just that my emotions were quieter. Going into 2018 I stopped to self reflect about what my problems were. I thought about what was happening to me and I considered if I actually had depression or not, because there are some mental illnesses have depression as a symptom. After some research, the one thing that resonated with me was hypersexuality. The traits and characteristics of that illness seems to fit me. Now, after knowing this and accepting this idea, I've become much better mental health wise. It's an uncomfortable topic to talk about, but I don't feel any shame in saying I'm a hypersexual, because it's true, and now I can take better care of myself because of it. 

I guess the thing I really want to say is that once you accurately come to terms with whatever your struggle is, and recognizing that it's truly a part of your life, you can begin to treat it or move on from it. I'm not trying to invalidate anyone's struggle, but make sure that you're treating the source of your mental illness and not simply the symptoms. 

If anyone would ever like to talk about what they are going through, I'm more than happy to listen. That's another thing I've found that helps me. Helping others helps me as well.

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4 minutes ago, MadCast: The Öutcast said:

If anyone would ever like to talk about what they are going through, I'm more than happy to listen. That's another thing I've found that helps me. Helping others helps me as well.

Than you very much for willingly sharing your experiences. Hearing how you only recently started taking medication and narrowing down your problem areas was surprising to me! You've made very quick progress and are now self-aware and admit what your problem is, which is not even close to easy.

I appreciate your contribution and agree that helping others is a huge feel-good situation.

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