Archive | April 2016

Celebrate The Small Things: 29 April

I haven’t been feeling well this week, but I’ve used this as an excuse to do a few things that I enjoy and was struggling to find the time for. For example, I’ve just created a new character for Dungeons & Dragons and have been creating art work and writing back stories for them (both are fairly relaxing activities for me.) I’m really into character design so I tend to go a bit overboard and form attachments to my creations. I was inspired by the film 9 for this one, and its resulted in one of my proudest creations yet. I’m so excited to be able to roleplay them and the current Dungeon Master seems to be really keen to help me to do so. I also discovered a new style of music that I’ve become hooked on and wrote to a couple of friends that I’ve been meaning to get in touch with for a while now.

The diagrams that I’ve been working on have been fully approved. There was a bit of backwards and forwards for a while as I made corrections and added new things. I’ve been paid for them and it’s much more than I was expecting, which is obviously awesome. It’s an extra long weekend now, and we have planned some full day gaming sessions for it.
f5f01-vik-smallthings2

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

How Responsible are Players for in-Game Behaviour?

I love games because of how they allow me to explore different ideas in a safe way. In the real world we obviously have to live with the consequences of our actions, and so most of us take care to ensure we don’t step on anybody else’s toes. I love role play in particular as it allows me to escape myself to see what it’d feel like if I had a different mindset. I really enjoy playing imperfect characters because I find them to be the most interesting as they undergo a journey to overcome their shortcomings. My characters don’t act with the best intentions towards others either. Normally I’m a very reserved person. I mask my feelings a lot, and so it can be cathartic being somebody else that can express themselves without fear of the consequences. I like games with a lot of agency too, because of how it allows me to think through the possible choices from different perspectives. Being a creative person also influences how I like to play.

If I’m playing on my own it doesn’t matter what type of role I want to take. In a multiplayer game however, my preference for troubled characters can be a problem for others to deal with. In turn, the mindset of wanting to game the system and go for something overpowered can intrude on my own engagement with the story. I’ll never play a character that I think will be a problem for others in terms of gameplay, but I will make decisions based on who they are in respect to how they deal with NPCs. Ideally the players wouldn’t take that personally and disagreements would be kept between characters, a backwards and forwards that could actually be fun to play. It’s not so easy for some because they create characters similar to themselves, and this makes it difficult to separate the connection. I’ve been in situations where I’ve found myself on the receiving end of a guilt trip for a decision I made as a character. For example, I might have betrayed an NPC but was made to feel like I’d actually hurt a real person. I think it’s a shame because it prevents you from being able to enjoy a full role playing experience. It has certainly left me feeling wary of what I can and cannot do in game.

Read More…

Why Dungeons & Dragons Was Exactly What I Needed?

For a long time I think I’ve been struggling to find quality social time. It feels even harder than it use to because everybody is so busy or trying to save money. We couldn’t think of many cheap options to hang out and would usually end up at the pub. This was made even more challenging for me when I decided that I wanted to cut back on alcohol (see ‘Goodbye to my Drunken Alter Ego.’) A while back my friends and I decided to start Dungeons & Dragons and have been meeting up at the card game shop a few times each week. It was initially very expensive to buy all of the equipment for, but now we have somewhere to go without needing to spend any extra money. What I love about it is that everybody is fully engaged with each other, which can feel like a rare thing in a world that is full of distractions.

Read More…

Let’s Change The Way We Think About Psychological Illness

I like watching mystery diagnosis shows. It’s really interesting to see what unusual conditions others are living with and the conclusions they come to. Unfortunately they don’t always manage to find the answers they seek, either because what they have isn’t curable or just that no doctor seems to be able to give a satisfactory answer despite running test after test. I saw one recently in which the doctors kept ruling out physical explanations in favour of a psychological one. On hearing this suggestion they were instantly dismayed and shut themselves off to anything else the doctor had to say. To them the problems they are dealing with feel very real and so there had to be something physically wrong with them. I’ve seen this type of reaction before, where as soon as a psychological cause is suggested they feel like they’re being told that it’s all in their head and so therefore they are to blame for their condition. In some cases they might even feel like they’re being accused of putting it on for attention. It might be that they’re right in wanting to continue pursuing further explanations. Doctors can get it wrong, or sometimes it feels like they throw the psychological explanation at you as an easy option when they’re not sure what else to consider. It’s therefore important to take your own health into your hands and push for answers if you deem it necessary. Try not to close off any potential options just in case.

Read More…

Celebrate The Small Things: 15 April

I’ve gotten really busy all of a sudden. I’m helping a friend with his dissertation by putting together a few diagrams and maps. It’s satisfying to do, especially knowing that my work could end up part of a book eventually. He’s been telling me that my work is outstanding too. Always helps your confidence a little to feel like your efforts are appreciated. On one of the tasks he seemed unsure that I’d be able to do it, but I like a challenge.

The main thing for me this week is the arrival of Dark Souls III. I’ve been waiting for this game for quite some time and it’s amazing. When I pre-ordered they told me that they couldn’t promise that it was going to be a collectors edition, but they had just one in stock and went to great lengths to ensure I got it. We’re also keeping up with the Dungeons & Dragons. I’ve been taking on the feedback from all of my players and I think I’m improving at being the Dungeon Master. It’s challenging when they want to explore something that’s not in my adventure book, but it’s fun trying to improvise. My players also looked sad when one of my NPCs died and were cringing with some of my enemy descriptions. Actually, I’m not sure if that does make me a good dungeon master, but at least I’m bringing the story to life for them.

Planted some wild flowers in the hopes of attracting some butterflies to the garden. Had some pleasantly warm days this week.

f5f01-vik-smallthings2

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

Dark Souls III First Impressions

This has been a week that I’ve very much been looking forward to with the release of Dark Souls III. I started it last night and I’m not disappointed. Before I continue however, I’d just like to mention how awesome the staff are at my favourite game store Playtime. I have all of the other games as collector’s edition and wanted to get a special copy of this one too. I’d looked around, but it wasn’t clear to me what edition was going to be available where and some of them were really expensive. I was preparing to accept that I’d have to get a normal copy when a member of the Playtime staff caught up to us, having chased us through town to inform us that they had the edition I was looking for. They even knocked down the price a little. You guys have never failed me yet on ensuring I get the game I want and have made a From Software fan very happy. 😀

Read More…

Celebrate The Small Things: 8 April

Wisdom Teeth suck, but it explains why I’ve been feeling run down lately. One of them decided to break through and caused me a lot of pain. Was a relief when it all finally settled down. Still, it’s a good sign overall because it’s doing what it’s suppose to be doing. They’ve been bothering me for years so to have it break through should hopefully be a sign that the end is coming.

My spirits have been lifting throughout the week along with the weather. I’m sat in my room dancing to up-beat music, it always puts me in a good mood :P. I discovered some new albums and put them on my MP3 player before heading to the gym. I was too unwell to do it earlier in the week, but I made that push today. Happy it’s Friday too.

f5f01-vik-smallthings2

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.

Why Self-Esteem Alone Isn’t Enough

I mentioned in my last post “You’re Too Sensitive” that while I was at school my teachers had encouraged me to take courses for self-esteem. I went to a really bad school, but I believe that in this case they had the best intentions. It was interesting to look back now with what I know. It was popular for a while to focus on self-esteem, but it never worked for me. I tried courses and read books about it, and even though the advice was sound I never noticed any changes as a result of following it. Last year I learnt about another option called Mindfulness and for the first time my attempts resulted in a noticeable benefit. I felt happier and was finding it easier to motivate myself. I still struggle with bad anxiety, but I’m dealing with it better than I use to.

Read More…

“You’re Too Sensitive”

I was bullied badly at school, but when I approached my teachers about the situation I was told that it was just me being too sensitive. It’s true that I was incredibly shy at that age, but my teachers used that as a reason to treat me like I was made out of delicate china. On one occasion some boys came over for an arm wrestle and the teacher broke it up, asking me if I was ok afterwards as if I couldn’t handle it myself. Another time some kids came up to ask me about horror movies at which point the teacher answered for me that someone like me would never be into something so dark – couldn’t be further from the truth ;). There were admittedly times when I used their perception of me to my advantage, whenever others tried to tell on me – much to their frustration – the teacher would respond with something like, ‘I doubt that, she’s not capable of something like that.’

Read More…

Celebrate The Small Things: 1 April

I think there’s been some bugs going around as a few of us have been feeling unwell this week. I’m also feeling particularly stressed at the moment. There’s no real reason for it, but I get weeks where everything gets on top of me. It’s been a tough year and a few of us have been so focussed on taking care of others that we’ve neglected to make sure we’re well in ourselves. It feels like our lives revolve around hospital visits lately and I worry for some of my loved ones.

When I think about what to write for this each week it helps me to focus on the positives no matter how small they are. We all go through bad patches from time to time, but we still keep moving forward regardless. My friend told me that it was admirable that despite my anxiety I never seem to give up on anything completely. I’ve noticed now that when I’m feeling down I’m much kinder to myself. I remind myself that it’s ok to feel this way and it’ll pass eventually. Things can only improve when you’re at your lowest. This year hasn’t been going as planned, but there are still lots of things ahead to look forward to, such as breaks away and spending quality time with friends. I also had a lovely Easter and have successfully topped up my chocolate supplies. It’s been one of those weeks of chocolate and Disney films, because sometimes it’s just exactly what you need.

f5f01-vik-smallthings2

Celebrate the Small Things is a weekly celebration created by VikLit and now hosted by Lexa Cain to celebrate the happenings of the week, however small or large. You can learn all about it and sign up for it here.