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.