Be Good To Yourself

I’m extremely hard to myself when I don’t get things done or I feel I haven’t done what I do “well”…or when I feel I haven’t done “enough”. Then once that happens…I become withdrawn and go into a “mental”  fetal position.

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My Mental Health Progress

I don’t know…one minute I’m doing great! Then in 5 minutes I feel like crap….30 minutes later, I’m able to build up contentment again. Then a “gray cloud” appears, I take a warm shower. I feel fresh and alive! Then…I feel like crap again and don’t get me started about work! I have to ACTUALLY talk to people! Anything, but that! I’m not in the mood. Few passengers later I feel a little better. I see how much I made…yes! Oh, heck yeah! I’m happy! I come home after long drives, my back aches…my head it spins! Anxiety is about me! I don’t know what to do! Will I be able to make enough money throughout the week to pay my bills? What job is there that will grant me flexibility while I pursue my credential??? Serving won’t do me any good, because I herniated my lower back from bussing now 6 years ago. Sitting all day driving already hurts and exhausts me. Student-teaching will begin soon and hopefully so will my time as a tutor. I’m at a loss on what do, once I’m in my mind trying to figure how deal with the struggles in my life…but that’s when unfortunately I lose the struggle to deal with my mental health. I become more withdrawn from associating with my friends, hopeless comes when looking for jobs only to find I’m not qualified even for the most humble ones. I’m OVERqualified, because of my resume caters more toward education. My experience as a hostess doesn’t seem to interest any employer in the restaurant business. Perhaps because it’s been six since I’ve been one??? I don’t know what employers are looking for nowdays? Is going to school for my credential worthwhile, while I struggle to pay my bills??? I only have four more months till I finish… My back begins to tighten which isn’t good for my herniated back. Chest pain envelops…I look for my inhale to help reduce it. The hunger that once embellished my stomach, no longer are there, because well…I lost my appetite.

This is but a sample of what I go through when trying to regain my mental health. It’s hard but it isn’t worth losing to.

Gaming Disorder??? That’s Laughable

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As a 90s child, I was able to take part in the metamorphosis of the gaming world: from arcade games to Nintendo NES to Game Boy Black and White to PC Games to Sega Genesis to Playstation to Microsoft’s first game console, the X Box to Nintendo Switch…games on phones… However, I feel as the world of video games (in my opinion) have been taken way too seriously! They’re not as fun anymore…there’s not as much as variety of game play and game genres any more. In terms of game play they’re either too “light” or too “dark”. If you haven’t guessed already, I fit more in the middle when playing games.

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Haha…You could probably tell how old I am if I’m able to mention these games. But what I liked about the 90s and even the early 2000s was that there were all sorts of video game genres and game play for all sorts of people. And most importantly, they weren’t as stressful. I mean yeah, you wanted to find your way out of the cavern or defeat the last boss, but it wasn’t stressful

I remember when I was in high school (that was like a decade ago),  anyone who mentioned they were playing games that were in the “middle” of the video game spectrum were not considered “real” games. Games like, for example, “Dragonball Z Budakai 2”, “Kingdom Hearts” or “Dead or Alive 2” weren’t “real” games. Whatever…

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These are some of the games I grew up on: Star Wars Episode I: Podracers, Tarzan and, Spiderman (2002;Tobey Maguire) Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Yeah, I know they are mostly, games based on movies,  and the game artwork is crude compared to nowdays, but they were fun! Sigh…I miss those days…I’d play them over and over again

Games these days are a lot more…what’s the better word  for it…intense these  days. I remember playing “Modern Welfare 2” and holy crap it’s crazy! I can’t keep up! I’ve always liked video games, because they were just fun, but man, video game now are trying to attempt a whole new level of reality game playing! But game shouldn’t be emulating stress,  but the eurphoria of playing a game…to be simply put fun!

Nowdays I feel gaming is so much more focused on “winning”, whether it by hacking or camping….whatever happened to cheats??? You know like the one’s you’d get on the guides based your respective game? Or by buy fake money with real money to fake items and skills. I feel like now, everyone just has to prove how great of gamer you are and/or if you are playing “real” video games. Who cares??? If you truly love playing video games, you wouldn’t need to have to prove yourself to other gamers, you just did it. You accepted you were either just a good game player or you weren’t and either you liked  a video game that everyone else happened to like or you played your own games..regardless, you liked video games.

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Games of today look more sharper and sleeker…more real… Some of games are based on classic games, while some are new, and some with a more physical active approach of game play.  Though I think most game are much more aggressive and/or violent than ever. That’s why I avoid some games of today. Although they are as cool as they look, some of them aggravate my anxiety…

I’m sure you’re wondering what has this got to do with mental health/mental illness. Well, it’s because the World Health Organization (WHO) has decided to make “Gaming Disorder” an official mental health diagnosis by next year. Un.believe.able. For real???? It’s an insult to those of us who actually live with mental health disorders either due genetics and/or the environment we were raised in or lived in. So how the hell did it come to this???

In general WHO defines a disorder as:

“Persistent or recurrent behavior  pattern of  “sufficient severity to result  in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning.”

WHO’s saying that “video game playing, either online or offline, must be “normally evident over a period of at least 12 month” for this diagnosis to be made, according to the beta draft guidance. However, if symptoms are severe and all requirements are met, health care professionals may include people who have been playing for shorter periods of time.”

That doesn’t make sense…if a person decides they’re going to play video games for 12 hours a day that’s their decision (or the decision of the parents not putting a time limit on playing video games. My mom did), people like you or I who live mental illness, never put it upon ourselves to live, for example, with “generalized anxiety disorder” or “bipolar disorder”. For WHO to even consider  “gaming disorder” a mental health disorder is a laughing joke as if mental health disorders in general hasn’t been made a laughing joke already.

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Don’t get me wrong though, I understand the concern about video gaming impairing the lives especially of young children and adolescents.  I remember when my little brother  was in high school, he would be so ridiculously be stressed out and angered by the aggressiveness of the game of “Modern Warfare”. I’d be in my room hearing him yelling or screaming at the TV in the living room. I would be thinking what on earth has him fume like that? I was thinking “Did a girl break his heart?”, “Did he fail in some or all his classes?” “Did he accidentally hurt himself?”…”Was he trying to fighting to keep somebody from breaking into our house?” Nope… he was angry because a “camper” shot him from nowhere and he didn’t have any of his teammates to back him up. Ugh.  While I do understand the frustration of  having campers in video games, but it wasn’t worth the yelling.

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Mortal Combat back in the day, was considered  well….very violent. There was a huge upstart, because of its detailed graphics.  It was assumed that it might have kids  to be more violent and more aggressive. Mortal Combat was one of the reason why we now have ratings for video games.

Unfortunately (but annoyingly so), my brother isn’t really good at expressing his feelings. It didn’t help also my parents were separated, my mom was either recovering from an injury or working all day, then my dad was either a poor influence on him or wasn’t in his life. He’s an only boy and I’m nearly a decade older than he is. I’ve tried putting curfews on his game play, but as I’ve been told, I’m “not his mom”. So, I understand his frustration and wanting to play video games all the time. But should it mean my brother should have been diagnosed for a “gaming disorder”??? Uh…no. What should have been done (and was done per my suggestion) was to have seen a therapist.

I can’t believe (well it shouldn’t be surprising especially here in the states) they want to have such a diagnosis as a “game disorder.” I fear the only ones who will really benefit from this “disorder” will be pharmaceutical companies and treatment centers. I mean…millions of people play video games…I included…are they really going to prescribe millions of people pills if “game disorder” because an official diagnosis by next year? Jeez…I thought drug dealers were bad….pharmaceuticals and other medical professions are just as bad.  I mean just take a look at all these drug epidemics such as the Opioid Epidemic… My mother after she had surgery on her knee,  her doctor gave her bags upon bags of pain prescriptions….she hadn’t even used up 1/4 of those bags. Luckily she was wise enough to know her limits and did not get addicted to her prescriptions. I’m sure her doctor makes a profit for each time he pushes prescriptions to patients. Why not there just be PSA commercials reminding people to take a break from video games and engage in the real world, like the way there are commercials  on reminding people to be physically active, eat healthy and to limit junk food?

The DSM 5 or Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders defines a mental disorder as:

  1. A behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an indvidual
  2.  That reflects an underlying psychobiological dysfunction
  3. The consequences of which are clinically significant distress (e.g. painful symptoms) or disability (i.e. impairment in one or more important areas of functioning)
  4.  Must not be merely an expectable response to common stressors and losses (for  example, the loss of a loved one) or a culturally sanctioned response to a particular event (for example, trance states in religious rituals)
  5. That is not primarily a result of social deviance or conflicts with society

Yeah…I don’t think “gaming disorder” fits this….Well maybe with aggression if gets to be too much, but shouldn’t that mean a person is relying on video games to escape reality? Escape from their pain??? Shouldn’t they be encouraged to seek a therapist??? But I guess seeing a therapist is more stigmatizing then asking for pills…

Sigh…well it’s not set in stone yet that “gaming disorder” will be an official diagnosis, but I’m just curious to what makes mental health professions to think that it should be. I think it’s a real insult to those like myself who actually live with a real mental illness and have all of our lives be halted or disrupted physically and emotionally by it. Not to mention those who are recovering drug and/or alcohol addicts. I mean,  I guess like those who are “addicted to playing video” games, those addicted to alcohol and/or drugs chose to do it…the thing is that the latter group undergoes a way more devastating effect.  At the end, we just need to encourage people especially our younger audiences to go out and play, set a curfew on playing video games, and/or to seek therapy if they have underlining issues that could be worked on with a therapist. But under no circumstances assign medication.