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..

I’m tired but don’t know exactly why

I’m tired, so very tired. When I thought about it, and later went over it with T, I couldn’t tell if it was because of the hours I’ve added to my schedule or if it was tiredness caused by something else or both. Probably the latter though. I’ve been on many social gatherings lately and I haven’t been able to sleep the usual 14 to 16 hours after each gathering like my body have required the past two years.

Not sleeping 14 to 16 hours is something good though. I think 8 to 9 hours is justified at this point, I’m still in the depression but since I started streaming I’ve slowly been getting better. My anxiety isn’t as bad, I don’t need as much medication as I did back in 2015 when my mind crashed completely. But still, days like these are hard to go through. Feeling like everything is against you and not being able to take control over your own mind and body? It’s both hard and frustrating.

Luckily I have T. He might not always understand everything that’s moving around in my mind and what feelings I’m experiencing, but he do what he can to make these days easier on me. He has his own issues and cooking is something he downright refuses to do, but he takes me out to whatever restaurant or fast food place that my heart desires, no objections at all. He usually hugs me more as well as he knows the feeling of his arms tightly wrapped around me, and the smell of him and his hair, is something that soothes my otherwise jagged mind.

I also try make sure I get time to recharge my batteries when I have days/weeks/months like these. I try to do small things for myself like taking a walk, color in any of my coloring books, spoil myself with luxurious face masks or something like that. Today I felt like putting on a hair mask as my hair still is very damaged from all the bleaching and dyeing I’ve been doing lately. I have a special treatment series that’s supposed to help rebuild the hair’s structure (Maria Nila Repair) and it has worked very well for me. I wash my hair with the shampoo, put in the mask and leave there (underneath a plastic cap so the warmth stay around) for about an hour. Once the time is up I rinse and finish it all off with a little conditioner. And slowly my hair is regaining strength. I don’t loose as much any longer but whatever is still stuck to my head is still brittle and damaged.

What do you do when you don’t stream?

A few weeks ago, around the time I started streaming, I got a question from a fellow gamer when we played Diablo together. He wondered what I was doing when I didn’t stream as in, what I was doing for a living. I told him the truth, that I wanted to play video games for a living and when I don’t play games on stream, I play games for my own enjoyment. I’m not making any money on Twitch but I do get a monthly subsidy from the government and that’s what I make a living off at the moment. Once I can start making money on this I will notify the government of it and have them withdraw the subsidy. For someone not used to how things are done in Sweden this might sound very strange. So let me begin from the beginning of all this.

I was studying my second bachelor’s at the local university in december 2014 when I was scheduled for my regular gynecological screening. I have to do these screenings because I’m carrying a gene mutation, HNPCC (commonly called Lynch Syndrome), that give me a severely elevated risk of developing several cancerforms. During this screening the gynecologist said I had a possible cell change but it was so small he wasn’t sure what it was really. I was set on a bi-monthly extra checkup while he went through the possible implications this could mean for me. He said that he usually wouldn’t worry but since my case was so special and sensitive he wanted to be safe rather then sorry.

I was recommended to get a hysterectomy as soon as possible to minimize the risk for cancer but the gynecologist held off on putting me on a waiting list as there was still time. Time to get biological children, time to make a decision, time to decide if I wanted to risk it or not. The question of children was something T and I had already discussed. We hadn’t put anything in stone since we were young when we met and you change as you age. But with this on our hans he simply said: “I’d rather have you alive then wait for something neither of us have wanted so far. Get the surgery, now.”

My mind crashed around this time. I’ve always been very scared of the big C. Both my uncle and aunt, that also carry this gene, have had cancer twice in their life. Grandpa had cancer 7 times before his body couldn’t take it anymore. On dad they have snipped several polyps that would have developed into cancer given time. And now me. I was never in any real danger of developing cancer because it was discovered so early but try telling that to an escalating anxiety based in fear of death. In a little over a half year later I went in for the surgery, after loosing 47 kg (~103 lbs) while waiting for it. After the uterus and ovaries was taken out the lab looked at it and confirmed there where several small tumors in both. Had I not had them removed I would have gotten cancer within a few years. But after a few check-ups after the surgery they could say with certainty that it hadn’t have time to spread.

It’s hard not think morbid thoughts when faced with something like this. I was put on sick leave to begin with because my body needed time to heal. I’m still on sick leave because of my fragile mental health, my body has long since healed. One day I’m expected to get out there and work again, but since my surgery so much have changed. I have hormones high and low, once I had my ovaries and uterus removed my body went into menopause within hours. I had my first hot flush while still being in the wake up room.

These steps I’m taking on making a name at Twitch isn’t the first time I try to get ut there since my surgery, but it is the first time I do something of my own volition. I have so many looking after me, almost holding their breath and in the beginning it really annoyed me. But things aren’t what they used to be. I can’t do what I used to and force myself to do something I hate, I’m somewhat restricted by my mental health, the anxiety and the tiredness I more then often feel. With this experience I know my time isn’t infinite and if there’s something I want to do, I should at least try to get there.

 

Everyday update on life and streams

I know where my exhaustion comes from, but it doesn’t make it easier to live with. I hate the feelings of hopelessness and indifference that overwhelms and dominates. I try anyway. I try to go out and do my regular things, meet people and live my life like I want to. But this tiredness gives me a short attention span, makes it hard to remember things and solve even the simplest problems. My reaction time is slower then usual. I’m more like a zombie then anything else. And why? Because I took the car, went for a few hours drive, turned in books and went home. This depression is.. hard to live with. I always have to plan for extra time that I need to recover from whatever I’ve been doing. It’s tiring to be tired.

Other then that I can happily say that I decided on which contacts I wanted to go with. I got a 3 month supply of the chosen contacts yesterday and are wearing the first pair of them today. In contrast against the brand I didn’t choose, the ones I’m wearing are so comfortable I can’t believe it. I keep forgetting that I have them in and I catch myself trying to adjust the glasses that I don’t wear.

My birthday is coming up next week and I’m pondering if I should do a special throwback stream and play the majority of games I played when growing up or if I just shouldn’t mention it at all. I have to think about that and decide what I want to do. But I’ve almost completed my general playlists for before, after and during music to play whilst streaming. I don’t play any music when I play games like Stardew Valley (where I keep the game sounds on) but I do play music when I’m playing Diablo 3 (where I turn off the game sounds). Chill music before and after the stream is something I’ve started to do every time though. It gives me time to get ready and to give my followers a few minutes to get notified that the stream is going up soon. My playlists can be found here on Soundcloud.

Tired murmurings

When looking back at what I’ve written the past few days, it’s clear that I’ve been struggling with myself, anxiety and shifting moods. I was hesitant to write about it openly like this in the blog, mostly because it could be thrown in my face by anyone who follows me here or on Twitch. But this has since become my most read and liked post. I also figured that my feelings will shine through in the end and I would rather be honest, and be able to take my time if I need it, then hide it and come off as distant or indifferent.

But with that said I want to highlight that I reached and passed my halfway goal on Twitch since I got my 26th follower a few days ago. Many of the new followers are friends that have taken their time to register on Twitch solely on the base that they want to support me and help me reach 50 followers, so I qualify for Twitch’s affiliate program. But as much as that amazes me, I have to say I’m even more amazed by the fact that I have complete strangers among my followers that come to my channel, hang out and interacts with me stream after stream. It’s humbling if nothing else, that someone finds value and are interested in what I do on my streams. It also makes me seriously happy and giggly to just think of it.

But I am tired today, more so then usual. I went on a trip to Gothenburg yesterday to turn in all of our old course literature to a bookstore that re-sell that kind of books (as a part of the giant cleaning out we’re doing before moving). I had to throw away quite a lot of books, mostly old law books, that just were too old or inaccurate. In the end though I turned in about 30 books from both my and T’s university time. I don’t expect to sell any of them right away, but by turning them in early I give the store a chance to catalogue them and have them ready for selling once the summer break is over. This way I maximise the chance to sell them once the autumn term starts and also give myself peace of mind since I have one less thing to think about.

Twitch stats

Yesterday I spent the most of my time helping a friend with an issue of hers. When I got home early in the evening I decided that I was too tired to stream even if I actually felt like firing up the streamer software, the bot and get going on some rifts in Diablo 3. But, like always, I scrolled through Reddit for way to long and ended up wasting a few hours on nothing really. But it felt.. fine. And with my general rule that time I enjoy wasting is not wasted time, I come to the conclusion that it was just what I needed.

Yesterday T showed me some interesting statistics of when Twitch has the most viewers from a webpage called TwitchTools.com. From there I learned that the viewership is at it’s lowest around noon and if I want to hit a lot of viewers it would be best if I stream around 18.00 (6pm) to 01.00 (1am) as the majority of people are watching then. I hadn’t even thought to search for such data, but T had stumbled across it from some post he found on Reddit and forwarded it to me to check out.

As I still don’t have a schedule he thought I could use this to make some kind of plan and he wasn’t wrong. I will actually use this and plan accordingly. I might stream “off hours” anyway if I play something I want to stream but to have a regular stream schedule around the times where there are more viewers then channels might just help me build a larger audience.

2 day headache and other reflections

For the first time in a very long time I had a splitting headache yesterday. I tried to pull through by taking pain killers and use every trick I had up my sleeve but I ended up going to bed much earlier then I usually do. I did however also stream for roughly 7 hours and blog as well so it was a good day in that aspect at least. But otherwise it was a hard day as my head tried to kill me and my Witch Doctor did die the hard death of Hardcore. I felt bummed out and refused to pick Diablo up again for the whole day and that was probably good.

Sadly it feels like this is going to be another day with another splitting headache and I consider not streaming at all. T laughed at me yesterday when he realized I’ve come to the point every streamer comes to: when you no longer know what’s work and what’s free time since you now “work” with what used to be your hobby. But the more I do this the more I get the feel for what I want to stream and what I want to keep as something I do on my spare time. So far I have never enjoyed working so many hours straight without any breaks as I’ve enjoyed it these past weeks.