It’s not something magical, it takes hard work

The 2nd of February 2018 we will celebrate 16 years as a couple and 10 of these years as husband and wife. We got married on the same day we became a couple to tie the two events together. The anniversary days have always been very important to me. I can’t exactly say why that is, but I always want to celebrate that very special day all those years ago that have led to so much happiness and positivity in my life through the years. Now, I don’t mean to say that we haven’t had our fair share of fights and disagreements, it’s been a long time after all, but once you pass a certain amount of time you start to understand how the other one thinks. This hopefully leads to better arguments and less feelings being trampled upon. But sometimes a friend says something down these lines to me:

“You and T seem to have such good communication with each other, you never seem to disagree. You also seem so know each other so well that it feels like you’re reading the other one’s thoughts. I wish I had the same with <insert partners name>”

Well, again.. 16 years, you are bound to learn something about the other in that amount of time. But the level of communication and understanding we got for each other haven’t come for free. We have worked hard on it and even if we have smoothed out the biggest and most common bumps, we still run into occasions where we disagree with each other. But knowing when’s a good time for your partner to bring stuff up is key. It’s also important to set a base ground so you respect each other’s feelings and emotional integrity. The biggest things I’ve learned in our marriage are:

  1. If I’m unhappy with something he have done, I don’t bring it up in public or even among friends. I make sure we’re in a calm and quiet place, preferably at home and well fed, so we can talk it through without being disturbed by people or have our feelings distorted by hunger. If we are out in public and something happens I signal T that I wish to talk to him afterwards. But I do so discreetly via eye contact or facial expression if that’s possible, neither of us have anything to gain from the other making a public spectacle.
  2. Something I’ve really worked with to change in myself is a thing he told me a long time ago. I would guess it’s 14-15 years ago so it was just in the beginning of our relationship. He simply said to me: “Say what you mean and mean what you say, I’m not a mind reader”. That really stuck with me. It took quite a while for me to incorporate it in my way of thinking (because I’ve been brought up expecting the guy to know everything without me saying anything), but it have helped us a lot since he does the same for me.
  3. Just because you had to tell your partner that you wish something from them (a hug, a fancy dinner, a game, a necklace) doesn’t make it less thoughtful. If you know for sure they don’t really care for that stuff themselves, isn’t the act of them doing it to make you happy something that you can cherish? For example: T never cared for marriage, but it meant a lot to me. So we agreed to get married and he went through the whole process just because it meant so much to me. In the end he said “It was a lengthy and troublesome process, but it was worth every step of it to see you so happy.”

Now, it might sound like I’m doing most of the work and maybe I am. But he have changed and added things to his behaviour that makes it easier for me to understand what he needs. And in the end, isn’t that what most of us are after? Feeling loved and respected by your partner, knowing you can trust them whatever the situation? That have always been my relationship goals.

Busy days

It’s been a hectic few days lately. Nothing big have happened really, it’s just been jam-packed with a bunch of smaller things. Yesterday though was a long and tiring day. I was supposed to help one of my students with her schoolwork but that was cancelled so I decided to clean the apartment instead. That took roughly three hours and once I was done I had just enough time to shower and eat before it was time for me to leave for my biannual lecture at the local hospital.

Twice per year I’m invited to the local psychiatry institution to talk about how it is to live with my diagnose in front of 30 or so people. It’s usually a very intimate occasion, I speak very openly about what problems I run into on a daily basis, how my mood violently swings without notice and how I work with it both on my own but also through psychotherapy.

So in total I do four appearances though a year, twice at the local University and twice at the local hospital, talking about my diagnose and how it affect me and my daily life. I usually focus on when things go wrong as that’s what most of both groups will benefit from learning about. At the University I speak in front of student nurses and at the hospital I talk to patients and their relatives such as partners, siblings, parents and even grandparents. It’s usually a very appreciated lecture and I like doing it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t tire me out..

Twitch subs and my loved one’s lost voice

Yesterday was a strange kind of day. T was out with his colleagues on bowling and beer to take farewell of a co-worker that did his last day yesterday. This meant I was on my own the majority of the day. But I had promised to be on stand by for pickup service wherever T happened to find himself once the night was coming to an end. T works in the city we’re moving to in February, which is about 36 km (22 miles) away so it’s a bit too far for him to walk..  In any case, I hadn’t intended to stream for as long as I did but I’m really happy that I did. I clocked in at 8 hours and had both 2 new subscribers (IIH SUBSCRIBERS!!) and 500 new shiny bits to show for it. It was a very good day and even if I was quite exhausted once I took the stream down I was so happy. I even gave away the most rare thing I could come to think of to one of my new subs: a picture of me with a huge smile.

But I’m worried about T. During the past week he had his first lectures for the term and since then he has had problems with his throat. Initially we thought it was only because he had been talking so much more then he was used to for two days straight. But as the days have passed he haven’t gotten better at all, it’s only gotten worse. Today it was so bad he both lost sleep and threw up from the discomfort and once I got out of bed we realized he almost couldn’t talk at all. I’ve told him to rest his voice as much as possible these coming days so he has the best chance to recover from whatever he have gotten. I give him clear yes or no questions when I have to communicate with him so he can minimize the usage of his vocal cords by just nodding one way or the other. I also serve him cup after cup with hot beverages like tea and chocolate with a huge spoon of honey in it as that seems to soothe the soreness.

My poor love.. my heart always hurts whenever he’s sick or doesn’t feel well. And him throwing up was something that was really alarming. I remember the times he have felt that bad during all our years together and him getting to that point has always been because he drank to much, never because of sickness. I guess I can’t do more then I’m already doing, but I wish I could take the sickness and discomfort away from him and suffer through them myself on his account. He deserves his weekends and days off, he work so hard already 😔

Music!

Music is weird. It means so much to me that I draw some of my strength from it and I feel anxious if I can’t listen to it for an extended period of time. Some days I suffer if I can’t listen to it for a couple of hours but mostly I suffer if I can’t listen to it across a couple of days. I always carry a set of earbuds when I leave the house, regardless of what I set out to do and most of the time there’s music in them. Music have always made it easier for me to cope with whatever I had on my hands at the moment. Looking back I realize I liked to listen to music in headphones because it drowned out everything else around me. Screaming little brother? Someone yelling some drunken gibberish in the living room? Mother fighting with someone in the other room? It all went away.

Even from a young age I listened to a broad spectrum of music, I loved both hair metal bands and disco-queens. I would very much say it was because of my mother liking 80’s disco/pop and dad preferring hard rock/heavy metal. I don’t really care for labeling the music, a good song is a good song  regardless of who wrote it and who sang it. I believe every artist has at least one song I will like and most of the time I do find something I like with each and every artist I listens to. Which also is why I have a little bit of everything in my big fat archive list. But it’s true, in my starred list on Spotify the selection is a bit more limited, but at late as yesterday I actually found a song made by David Guetta and Justin Bieber that I enjoyed. Guetta I knew I liked but it’s a first for Bieber (I was in the generation that grew up with Backstreet Boys and NSYNC). But I did eventually find genre that I fell into for a very long time and that was hard rock and heavy metal, just like my dad. I still mostly listen to this genre but I don’t mind switching in something completely different be it Aqua, Mozart or Stiftelsen (Swe).

This is also weird. I set out to write about my new profile picture that I got from the digital artist yesterday. I got FFVI – Terra’s Theme in my headphones and was carried away with the memories. One song led to another and here I’m sitting listening to music I listened to around 1999-2001. I don’t know if it’s unusual to feel so strongly about music as I do, I guess most have their moments but I relive strong emotional moments like they happened yesterday if I let myself be carried away. Listening to “our” song and the song we got married to still brings me to tears, even if it was 16 respectively 10 years ago.

Laughter is almost magical

It’s been a weird couple of days and my mind have been wandering off to strange places. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to keep the last blog post or not, seeing as it is kind of jumbled and all over the place. I’m sorry if it’s strange but since I was in a certain mood when I wrote it, I’m gonna keep it. It’s a part of who I am and those who know me behind the screen have seen this side of me too.

It all started with the episode the 19th of August and it sent me down a strange roller coaster of emotions which all came tumbling down on me a few days ago. I have been worrying (ever since I started) that I don’t measure up as an entertainer and are constantly worrying over the smallest (and probably dumbest) things. The childish tone of my voice, my inability to constantly talk and my looks have been a few elements among the many things I’ve been considering and obsessing about.

But my worrisome state of mind was kind of released yesterday when I picked T up from work. I was anxious as always and decided to pick him up from work and not from the commuter train as I usually do. We went to a local hamburger chain and afterwards we went to a large tool store since T wanted an assortment box to store all his dices in. While looking for the boxes we passed some really huge tools, some as tall as me (I’m 163 cm/5’3 foot, he’s 189 cm/6’2 foot) and some so heavy I could hardly even pick it up.

And T.. T did what he does best. Make me laugh. Not that forced, polite laugh but the real deal, the one that makes your stomach hurt and leave you gasping for air in the end. It was really just a bunch of nonsense like him lifting the biggest bolt cutter while giving me the smallest one saying it was the same thing regarding size and proportion. He then started stomping down the isle all while making chomping sounds as he walked in sync with his bolt cutter, searching for the assortment boxes. In the middle of the isle he turned around and waved for me to do the same thing, but with my tiny bolt cutter and I just lost it. So there we were, silly walking, roaring with laughter over a pair of bolt cutters.

It didn’t magically fix everything, but it sure made it easier to get out of bed today. My sweet love ❤ 😀

Long ass post – the streaming incident 19th August 2017

This is mainly for me to remember, sort out and try to learn something from what happened in my stream two days ago. If you don’t want to read this wall of text – skip it. I don’t blame you.

What happened before the stream

On Saturday the 19th I was having a hard time with my anxiety. It was riding high from the moment I woke up so I was on extra anxiolytic this day. To be clear, I have three different kind of anxiolytic: one that I take daily throughout the day (hydroxyzine), one that I take when needed but should avoid taking too often as it’s highly addictive (benzodiazepines) and one that I take before I go to bed each night (quetiapin). But if my anxiety is really, really bad I can take a small dose of quetiapin during the day as well. Usually though, I get really woozy/drowsy on quetiapin so I try not to take it if I need to be attentive, like when driving a car or playing a game on hardcore. But it felt so bad I took quetiapin anyway to get some relief from my anxiety so I could stream. The quetiapin didn’t really take though which means I still had kinda high anxiety in addition to also being woozy/drowsy.

In addition to understanding what my mood was like this particular day, it’s also important to understand that I grew up with an emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother who often exploited her surroundings to get her way. From before I can remember I have been taught to please people and smooth things over so no one has a reason to be angry, especially not with me. Standing up for myself and meeting conflicts is something that I still work on as an adult.

What happened on the stream

I was invited into player 1’s game. From the get go I was uncomfortable with the situation, I didn’t really feel like playing with someone who was still kind of unknown to me but with my anxiety riding me I had an especially hard time saying no, so I went with it anyway. By this point I was very woozy from the anxiolytic and had a hard time forming solid thoughts. We ran a few games and then P1’s friend joined, P2. They started talking about doing other things and I really didn’t want to do that as mushy as I was feeling. In a hurry I wrote “i’m off” in the party chat before they got going and left the game. My thought was that I would go and play something else but I really felt like playing that particular game, just not that mode. My two words was perceived as “I’m going to log off” when it meant “I’m out of this particular game”.

The following passage is what I’ve partly been told, partly experienced myself. So P2 learned from P1 that I’m a streamer and went out on my channel to follow me. He saw that I still played that game, had some emotional reaction and unfollowed me immediately. P2 tells P1 this. P1 writes in my Twitch chat “no hate pls” and then refuses to answer me when I ask what he means. I was given no other indication that someone was upset with me or any chance to explain my behaviour. A few hours later my wooziness had lifted so I whispered P1 that I was fit for fight again should he want to team up. In a row of messages I got told what I’ve just written where P1 turns it as this is all my fault since I wasn’t honest with them. He also made a very clear point of P2 insta-unfollowing me because my behaviour was so douchy. I get the feeling P1 also shares P2’s opinion.

I apologized and said it wasn’t my intent to make them angry or upset. I explained in much shorter terms that I take strong anti-anxiety meds that make me woozy/drowsy and that I didn’t want to play a hardcore char when being so inattentive. I was invited to the group again and explain it to P2 as well. I got short “np” answers but got the feeling that there was no real N in the NP, just P. I noticed that P1 also had unfollowed me on Twitch which only made it harder to stay in the group with them. This is when I involve T, like I wrote about here. I excused myself from the group, honestly said that my anxiety is acting up again and left the game, shutting the computer off completely. After I talked it through with T I removed P1 from my friends list in the game.

What T helped me see

So I’ve written about T’s help a bit but not really put words on it. T knows about my past and knows how I have a hard time to stand up for myself, particularly when it comes to saying no. He knows that when I set out to help or do something for someone, I go in 110% and damn the consequences. Some might say this is admirable, and sure it might be, but when it comes to people who exploit this? It’s just not a healthy relationship. Now, I’m not saying that P1 or P2 did this with malice in mind, they might be just as unaware of their behaviour as I was a couple of years ago, but their behaviour did trigger an unhealthy emotional response from me.

Someone who doesn’t communicate with me, doesn’t tell me when I’ve wronged them or gives me a fair chance to explain myself, is not someone I want to surround myself with. As unfortunately as it might be, I must choose my own well being before anything else and if it means cutting people out, be they IRL or online, then so be it.

What happened yesterday

P1 came into my Twitch channel late last night and seemed upset that I had removed him from my friends list in the game. He kept saying that everything was alright and that he didn’t understand why I had removed him, him from my friends list, it was P2 that had been upset with me. He wasn’t upset or angry with me, why had I removed him? I gave as long of an explanation that I felt like giving, lightly touching on how they had made me feel and summing it up in that this is how I would like it do be, this is what I felt comfortable with. I had to repeat that last bit several times before he stopped messaging me all together.

Thoughts today

What leaves me a bit perplexed with all this is that P1 kept telling me that he wasn’t upset with me and used that as a fact to try and coax an answer from me as to why I had removed him from my friends list. Long before I removed him from my friends list though he unfollowed me on Twitch, together with his friend P2, which I took as him saying “F*ck you” and leaving. Why did he come into my chat yesterday? What was the reaction he wanted to get from me? He even involved other persons from my chat, in some attempt of making me look bad? I have no idea..

I’ve come to the conclusion that sure, I could have sent a clearer message before leaving, but it’s not something that justifies anything that ensued after the incident either. What I’m trying to learn from this episode is to be in more control of my emotions when it comes to the streams and my followers. I want to be more secure in my role and be able to solve issues without having a breakdown. I’m sure that this could have gone better and I hope that I can handle it better should it ever happen again (as it probably will).

I’m in for the marathon, not just the sprint

Today’s stream came crashing down around my ears. The whole ordeal was triggered by something that happened while streaming. The details doesn’t really matter but I will try and learn something from this and hopefully I can handle similar situations better then I did today. What made it so hard was that I was so convinced that I was the one who had wronged. With tears in my eyes I called out for T, who sits just a few centimeters away from me, and told him of it all. He leaned to the side so he could see me (he got his desk behind my screen), asked me a few direct questions and then firmly told me to shut the stream down. He would not have any of it when I meekly objected that I still had 35 minutes of streaming time left. If I didn’t shut down the stream within the next minutes, he would.

So I ended the stream and shut it all down. He heard when it went silent (it still sounds like a jet plane) and came around to my side of the desk to hold me close as I continued sobbing into his chest. He talked me through the whole thing, sensible and calm as he always are, and gently reminded me to make sure nothing had ended up on the stream. It had. But I had no watcher when this happened so I quickly deleted the video so me crying isn’t something that’s left out in the public.

This.. is what I have been worrying about. It seemed like things was going so well and then I just shoot myself in the foot. I’m still not 100% convinced I didn’t do anything wrong, I need to mull it over and put some distance to it before I can feel sure of anything. But I am more sensitive, my mood have been bad the past days and if I where in a comic I’d have one of those thunderclouds over my head. My mind is scattered and I’m having a hard time focusing on things. Just forming a sentence that make any kind of sense is hard. Sorry if this text turns out weird.

But I’m temporarily removing the early streams (12.00-16.00). I’ve been feeling that they are a bit too much to chew on and I’ve already been pondering taking them down for a while. But this episode speaks volumes and I need to listen to it. I’m in for the marathon, not just the sprint.