Sunday, 25 May 2014

New words!

At the risk of posting two things in a month, I feel like expressing a few words that might cohere into thoughts similar to the thoughts inside my head.

I'm not having a great time. I haven't been having a great time for a very long time. About a month or two ago, I felt like my usual depression had vanished and left general anxiety in its place. Now the anxiety has mostly cleared and the depression has flooded back. Tonight's not really that bad, thanks to a day in the Forgotten Realms (first I nearly died, then my party conspired to polymorph me into a penguin for... Fuck knows why they thought that was appropriate. I need a new party, but at least that's fun) and an evening with Bill Bailey, skipping the scheduled clubbery that I'd been looking forward to only days ago. But all day I've been unable to shake the feeling that I'm only able to do all this by skirting close to missing work deadlines. I'll probably still meet those, but fuck this work thing. I want my mind to myself on weekends, or I know I'll break.

I'm also exhausted. All. The. Fucking. Time. Teaching is hard work, but I suspect I've been feeling even worse over the last month, and yet I keep waking up earlier every morning too. Perverse pattern.

Part of my reason for venting all this here is to give the individuals I'd otherwise lean on a bit of relief. I now have an entire team of regular shoulders to cry on, so none of them ever gets the full brunt of me. But apparently even my fractional brunts are too much for some to bear.

It's been suggested, and I agree, that I should get proper medical help. The big obstacle that's kept me from initiating this for weeks is my telephone phobia. If I end up dead in the next few weeks, blame the slow adoption by doctors of online booking forms. (Also, since I bring this up: organ donation, then cremation, then my sister's in charge of distributing my stuff among whoever she finds worthy.) It would be quite a relief.

That's why I've been posting here so sparsely this year: If I'm not too exhausted to type, I don't have any thoughts I feel like imposing on the whole wide world. So much has stopped being fun.

I couldn't even finish this last night. I just got... Tired. Again. Meh.

Monday, 5 May 2014

General Anxiety, Seats of Pants and GMing

Generalised Anxiety Disorder. I'm worried I might have it, but I'm also concerned that this might be a misdiagnosis.

This is a relatively new thing for me. Over the years, I've had depression, I've had acute anxieties, especially social anxiety. But ever since my fucking four horrible months in fucking Pretoria, I just can't stop worrying. Life got magnificently better after I returned to Joburg, in so many wonderful ways. So why can't I just relax and enjoy it? General anxiety, that's why.

This relates to a thought I had about the difference between teaching and GMing. I've argued in the past that running a decent class is much like running a decent roleplaying game, because both require a loose, flexible confidence. You should know what you're talking about while staying comfortable following your class/players at their pace of understanding, rather than railroading them at your own pace to keep yourself comfortable.

I've now learned one way in which these two are quite different, and stressfully so. In GMing, you can always change the plot on the fly and if you don't get a certain handout printed in time, then oops, the players need never know it was ever going to be a thing. But in teaching, the curriculum is set, and the formal assessment handouts not only have to be printed out, they have to be sent out for external moderation, then internal bureaumancy of some sort, and all to a set and inflexible schedule that you have no control over.

This does not click well with my happy-go-lucky style of playing things by ear, any way the wind blows, which works so well for roleplaying. I even noticed the quality of my GMing suffering when I last tried it a few months ago, possibly because of this same admin rigidity creeping in there. I think this is one thing that's feeding my anxiety, and I'd love to know how Real Teachers (TM) cope with it.