Monthly Archives: June 2012

No More Sweets

So when I first made this blog, I wrote about my intentions for it on my other blog:

“I created NGD so I could improve my writing skill, entertain a hypothetical audience, and get my name out. Whether I’ve achieved any of those as of yet is open for debate, but it’s worth noting that NLH does not exist for any of those purposes. It’s there for me to speak my mind, vent my feelings and talk to the Internet when I have nobody else to talk to (which happens often, as a matter of fact). If you do decide to follow it I sincerely hope you gain some sort of entertainment value out of it, but that would be a side-effect of its primary purpose.”

That actually hasn’t been true for the most part. Most of my posts here have been intended to discuss some topic or make a point. Even my two-parter about my attempted suicide was written with the intent of it being read as a narrative, rather than me simply venting my feelings.

But today I really need to get some thoughts out. I haven’t felt this low in awhile, and I need to indulge in some serious self-loathing. This isn’t intended for anybody but myself. If you came here to read something that would be meaningful for you, you probably will be disappointed. I’m sorry. But if nothing else, this will explain why Ninja Game Den has been far less active lately.

Anyway, I will now recount my day today.

I wake up. It’s already a bit past 1:00 pm, which means it’s too late for me to take my morning depression medicine. Whoops. It looks like I have about four hours before I go to work, so I go downstairs, make a sandwich, eat a few pieces of candy, and go back upstairs to play Diablo 3.

Ding! Now it’s 4:30. I get off Diablo 3, take a shower, and go to my usual routine of reading blogs and forums until it’s time for me to leave.

Except this time I wait until a few minutes after it’s time for me to leave. It’s 5:25 and I need to be at work at 5:30. So I go downstairs, get my shoes on, eat a few pieces of candy, and take off.

I show up 5 minutes late. It’s a busy day at the store, and I’m getting tired quickly. It’s probably because I didn’t take my meds, but I feel more frustrated and exhausted than usual, and I’m getting a headache.

It’s worth noting that work is always stressful — if you’ve never worked retail, let me assure you that it’s probably harder than you think it is. Cashiering itself isn’t difficult at all; the hard part is being given a list of tasks, and then having to drop whatever you’re doing every two damn seconds because you have to ring up a customer. And then getting yelled at by your manager because you aren’t keeping up adequately.

After an hour I desperately try to make myself feel better the only way I know how — with sweets. I buy a box of Little Debbie’s fudge brownies and eat three in one sitting.

And as I probably should have predicted, it does not make me feel better. Instead I now feel nauseous, dizzy, and slower than before. It tasted great, but now I feel like I’m falling apart. I’m so scatterbrained that I mix sentences up; I say “Have a good day!” when a customer arrives, I say “Is that it, sir?” before I’ve scanned any items, etc.

It’s a long day, but finally it’s time to leave. Still nauseous, still dizzy, still frustrated and now on the verge of tears, I drive home, walk by the candy bowl without a glance (that’s a first), and stumble onto my computer chair.

Which brings us to the present.

If there’s ever been a time for me to face uncomfortable facts, it’s now, so here we go. I feel like a fucking mess. I work part-time for minimum wage, I live with my mom, and I do basically nothing productive. I’ve felt myself sinking into a depressing hole for the past few months; it’s gotten to the point where I find it difficult to bring myself to write posts on my gaming blog.

Writing on Ninja Game Den is a hobby. I enjoy it, it’s not particularly straining, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment when I get views and feedback. I love doing it, but nowadays I find it hard to get myself to write, and I think I know why now.

My life won’t change until I make the effort to change it. There are many things about my life that I should change, but if I try to change it all at once I’ll probably crash. So here’s Step 1: I’m swearing off sweets.

Studies have shown that consuming high quantities of sugar literally slows down your brain, sabotaging learning and memory. This is probably negligible for most people, but for me, well…

I’m sure you all know That Guy at the restaurant who orders the spiciest meal on the menu, wolfs it down without flinching and mumbles, “Meh, that was nothing.” The reason he can do that is because he’s consumed so much spicy food that he’s become desensitized to it. Food that’s eye-wateringly, mouth-burningly spicy for us regular people tastes normal to him because he’s simply become accustomed to the taste.

This is how I am with sweets. There are cakes and cookies that people have told me are too sweet or too rich, and I’ve eaten them and found them delicious. My taste buds are desensitized to sweetness. I eat far too much of the stuff, and it probably at least partially explains why I’m such a wreck. I’ve been using sugar as my morphine for years, and I need to draw the line.

So I think I’ve had enough for now. Diet has a drastic effect on both mood and productivity; this is a scientific fact. I want to see if taking sweets out of my diet will help me. I’m not swearing it off forever, but I think taking a break from it will help me. Or at least, I hope it will.


Your Problems Are Real

When children complain to their parents about their lives, their parents tell them that other people are living lives of misery and despair. They tell them about children in third world countries, or the homeless who struggle just to find food and shelter each day, or whoever. They tell their kids this to make them feel grateful for what they have. It’s an innocent intent. The problem is that some of us don’t feel grateful for that; some of us feel guilty.

As teenagers and adults we witness a much more competitive, aggressive version of this. There’s a certain unofficial competition I’m sure you’ve seen, which I call Who Has It Worst. If you ever complain about anything or admit that you’re under stress, you instantly become a contestant in a battle of desperation. You say to an acquaintance, “Man, I have so much to do tonight.” Nine times out of ten he’ll respond with “You think you’ve got a lot to do?!” He will then list the massive workload he has for the night, and if you don’t have a bigger list, he wins and you’re no longer allowed to complain. “Man, I’m so tired.” “You think you’re tired?! You would not BELIEVE how awful my work day has been!”

I’ll admit that I haven’t seen this as much since I graduated high school, but I still see it, and it’s more harmful than many seem to realize. See, not all of us try to think we have it worse than everyone else. Some of us will actually believe the notion that we’re not allowed to complain and that we don’t deserve help with our problems. And that train of thought leads straight to self-harm.

This is especially problematic when you’re dealing with things like depression or post-traumatic stress, because those are impossible to quantify to someone who doesn’t understand those concepts. You can tell someone you have to write a 10,000 word essay and study for three tests that you’ll take tomorrow, or that you had to deal with the worst customers today. But so many people can’t comprehend the idea that you lack the energy to get up in the morning, or that you can’t bear to look at yourself in the mirror. You can’t get out of bed? Well I’d love to stay in bed all day but I have to WORK!

I remember accepting these notions, and I despised myself for it. Depression? No, I’m just being lazy and stupid! My brothers and my friends are working their hands to the bone to get the money they need for college, and I can’t even get myself to go to class? I don’t deserve help. I deserve to die.

A friend showed me this recently:

The image is from Boggle The Owl*, a Tumblr account about an adorable cartoon owl named Boggle that gives people advice about problems like suicide, depression, loneliness, abuse, etc. It’s a really wonderful blog. This post in particular struck a chord for me because it plainly and succinctly explains something I really, really wish more people would understand.

* I recently found that the old URL, Boggle Loves You, is now a website for male enhancement. The new url is Boggle The Owl, and so I changed it.

People who try to tell you that your problems aren’t “bad enough” aren’t saying this to make you feel better. They’re saying it to stroke their own ego. They want to feel like they’re the toughest of the tough because they can make it through the worst life ever. Don’t let them convince you that your problems are illegitimate, because they aren’t.

Listen to the owl. He speaks the truth. If you’re suffering, then your problems are absolutely real. You deserve love and support as much as anyone else.