Depression, Anxiety, and these Friends of Mine.

I’ve lived with anxiety for years. It’s been a long term friend of mine. One that you meet, get really bad vibes from, but continue to keep the relationship going due to a mutual trust that neither of you wish to be here but it’s better than nothing. Yes, that one.*

*really bad analogy that made a lot of sense in my head???

Looking back on it now, ever since I was about nine or ten, I’ve lived with panic attacks and the unending fear of what was to come next and what was to happen in the near future. I had so, so many signs for so long and it wasn’t until about a year ago that I realized I had an actual mental disorder and that I needed to seek professional help. This was also due to my anxiety transforming into a type of depression that was altering my every day life. Basically I was sad, drained, and it kept getting worse and worse as time went on.

I was so proud to see a doctor for the first time. I was proud that I was ‘adulting’ and actually getting treatment that was needed. So I did. And my doctor didn’t doubt me for one second. She knew what was wrong with me right away and decided to put me on Celexa aka Citalopram. It’s a very common, low side effect drug that works as an anti-depressant and helps with anxiety. I started on 5mg and went up to 10mg after about a week on it. (During this visit, I was also suggested to see a therapist for seek outside help. More on that in a bit.) This was my first time on any kind of drug like this and very nerve wracking. I’ve only ever been on asthmatic meds which are just to help my lungs be actual lungs but this was different. It wouldn’t only affect me physically, it’d affect me mentally. But I did it and I did it proudly.

I started them in March 2016 and within a few days (my body weirdly works wonders and meds seem to always take effect more faster than normal??) I was feeling better. I couldn’t notice it right away but my mom could. She said I was more calm, less angry, and our fights (which would be multiple times a day) were bare to none. So I kept them up and during this month, as a suggestion from my doctor, I went to a therapist. I had one session and basically by the end of session one, my therapist legit told me that I might have a slight case of a bipolar disorder and “I don’t know what’s wrong with you, but I wanna try this *insert medical term* therapy next week, so research it and we’ll see if that works.”. A slap in the face is what it felt like. He offered me no hope other than to try some mental practice, which I would totally be up for but whatever kind he said we’d try… just didn’t sound right. So I stopped going and continued my meds. They continued to work for me up until around September/October 2016 when things took a turn for the worse. I think this was due to me getting in a relationship with the love of my life. This wonderful and beautiful thing somehow triggered some weird, horrible part of my brain. I went from this euphoric high to be depressed daily over the smallest things. My partner wouldn’t text me for a few hours and I’d think the worse was happening, I’d miss his lunch on the days I was able to make it (due to traffic, going to the wrong place, etc) and I’d have a breakdown. It wasn’t normal, at least for me. But it all hurt the same. Thankfully my partner has been nothing but supportive and tried his best to keep me grounded. I’d have a breakdown and he’d take care of me, call/text me throughout my shifts at work to keep me afloat. He’d surprise me with flowers, take me out to eat/shop, literally anything he thought I’d love, he’d do it. And it’s because of him that I am here. I’d gotten so worse that to keep myself from doing anything horrific, I promised him that I wouldn’t take my own life. It was my promise to him. Promises mean everything to me, so it was my way of making sure I survived this. Not only for me, but for him.

So I kept my meds up, stopped my meds, and decided to go back to my doctor. He put me on 20mg and I kept that up too. It still didn’t work. Throughout this time I also missed a lot of work. I’d have days where I couldn’t get out of bed, couldn’t do anything but lay there, texting friends, and trying to keep sane. But I did all of this for me. It wasn’t ideal but it worked and helped me live. But my meds not working horrified me. I wasn’t suffering from anxiety, I was suffering from depression. It just got worse and worse. So I went back to another doctor and got prescribed Prozac. I wanted to try out these meds due to what my therapist said months earlier and had one of the worst experiences at the doctors due to this. Suffice to say, the clinic and doctor offered no help and we had to file a complaint against the medical board. (Feel free to tweet me if you want to know more, but to keep this short: fuck that doctor.)

Fast forward a week or two and Prozac made me worse and made my mind race. I couldn’t focus and made everything horrible. It was after that that I stopped all my meds completely. Tried to focus on other things, like work, projects, friends, games, etc. And it helped quite a bit. My depression was still prevalent but it was quieter. I than started a new job. I lasted two days before quitting. I couldn’t handle the hours, the stress, the being away from friends and knowing nobody. And that was only a few weeks ago. So I’ve been taking this time, this free time I have, to rebuild myself. Rediscover my loves, my passions, figuring out what my limits are, what I can handle, what I can’t. And it’s been great. I’ve been doing really well, at least in my eyes. I’m loving life again, growing all of my friendships, planning for greater things with my partner and so many other amazing things. I also started taking my Celexa again, but only because I felt I was in a good place and could be even better. Since than, I feel like my meds have made at least a tiny improvement. But the side effects have also been worse for some reason. Over SWCO I stopped them. I couldn’t handle the sickness it brought me, loss of appetite, etc. I’d go the entire day without food and only realize that I needed substance until I was dizzy and almost passing out. It got bad. So I stopped them during SWCO because I didn’t pack enough and missing one day, I felt so much better. I was hungry and had a normal appetite. It sounds weird but it feels so, so good to eat throughout the day cause I feel like it and not having to force feed myself so I don’t pass out. HUZZAH!

But with that said, I have started them again, obviously. Since starting them back the side effects have been pretty low as of now. As I’m writing this, I did wake up nauseous. Wasn’t as harsh as usual so yay for small wins but with this being said, I still do struggle daily. I go through waves of emotions where I’m either ecstatic and lively or I’m just sad and feel no emotions at all. It sucks. I’ve realized when I’m doing something productive, going to a con, doing a day trip a few towns over, etc, I feel happy. It’s all I’m capable of. But in everyday life? It’s hard. I constantly feel sad, guilty and angry. I’ve been learning that in these situations, I prefer to have no emotions vs feeling everything at once. It’s a weird balance that I rarely have control over. I’m trying to pin point when I’m sad, guilty, or angry… and when I find myself in that headspace, just shut down my feelings. It’s sounds like a fucked up way of living when explaining this in detail, but it helps me get through and stops the guilt or anger I feel from feeling those feelings in the first place.

These thoughts have been on my mind lately. I wanted to share all of this for everyone to read, maybe get inspired by, to know that not everyone is alone in this. But I also wrote this as a personal therapy session for myself. It feels so good to write this all out, to put it out into the world, to see the feedback this post gets. As I write this, I’m feeling better. It’s 12:08pm, April 22nd. I woke up with a headache, struggled to get back to sleep because of stress, and than woke up again only to let little things get me down. About an hour ago I accepted it was one of those days and decided to lay down, play games, and aimlessly browse YouTube to get my mind off these things. This all brought me to Twitter, where quite a few of my friends are very open about their mental illnesses, which in turn brought me to add the few final pieces to this piece and actually post it. I wanted to share this as a way of showing that there is a silver lining. I still battle these feelings. I still have my days. But they grow fewer in size each and every day. I’ve shared that I suffer mental illnesses but I’ve never went into full detail. I hope this has offered some type of relief for you or some type of positive emotion or some beacon of hope. I’ve always been a strong advocate for mental health awareness even before my own struggles came to light, so it only felt right to share my own piece of this mental health pie we all seem to share a slice of.

Keep strong, keep loving, keep living, and I’m always here if you need to talk. ❤

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Life Updates + SWCO Schedule!

Heyyoooooo! Hi. Hey. Yellow. It has been forever since I’ve updated this here blog. Literally more than half a year has went by and I’ve done nothing but touch up the site a bit and contemplate what to write. But this isn’t all my fault. Life happened. As it usually does. A lot has happened since last year. Like a hell of a lot. Between meeting the love of my life to moving out to finally getting my license (*high fives 16-year old Travis*) to everything in-between, it’s been a beautiful change of pace for me. My last con was SDCC last July, I’ve grown to appreciate so many other things, I’ve come to know more about myself in all the best and worst ways. It’s been CHANGE AFTER CHANGE AFTER CHANGE and that’s okay! I’m happier than I’ve ever been and have been slowly getting back into my little hobby/side project, TTG aka this here site and YouTube channel.

I’ve been uploading videos weekly over on YouTube with help and motivation from Isaac. It’s been great and I realize every time I edit a video as to why I started making videos in the first place. It’s fun! But I have been neglecting this here site/blog/passion of mine so I want to try to make a better effort at updating. I’d love to do more journal type blog posts like I’ve been doing for years and also more involved stuff like DIY’s, reviews, etc. The usual stuff. So in attempt to start blogging again and moving forward with all my tiny passion projects, I figured I’d update you all on everything. There’s so much more that’s happened. What I’ve listed above is just the surface but I’ll save that for my autobiography. (Lolololol!)

But for now, I’d like to share my Star Wars Celebration Orlando schedule! I’m planning on meeting every single friend of mine whose attending but figured I’d share my schedule for my sake and also for anyone who wants to try and catch me throughout the con. Some of these panels overlap, but I like to have options incase something falls through. You should’ve seen my first SDCC schedule. Yikes. In addition to everything below, I’ll probably be at Disney Springs most nights, eating, relaxing, shopping. Take a look and let me know what panel you’re most excited for!

THURSDAY:

– 40 Years of Star Wars

April 13, 2017, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, Star Wars Galaxy Stage – Valencia ABC, 4th Floor

– The Growing Galaxy of Women’s Star Wars Fashion

April 13, 2017, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Star Wars Collectors’ Stage – W307, 3rd Floor

– Dave Filoni: Animated Origins and Unexpected Fates

April 13, 2017, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Star Wars Galaxy Stage – Valencia ABC, 4th Floor

– Food and Fandom: Star Wars Recipes

April 13, 2017, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM, Star Wars University – W300, 3rd Floor

– LGBTQ+ in the Galaxy Far, Far Away (MY PANEL!! Me and a few friends will be doing this! Come see us discuss sexuality in Star Wars!)

April 13, 2017, 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM, Star Wars University – W300, 3rd Floor

FRIDAY:

– Star Wars: The Last Jedi

April 14, 2017, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, Star Wars Galaxy Stage – Valencia ABC, 4th Floor

– The Making of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Maybe, Ashley Itty Bitty signing at 1:15pm)

April 14, 2017, 1:30 PM – 2:30 PM, Star Wars Galaxy Stage – Valencia ABC, 4th Floor

– The Heroines of Star Wars (with Ashley Eckstein and Amy Ratcliffe!!)

April 14, 2017, 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM, Star Wars Galaxy Stage – Valencia ABC, 4th Floor

– How to Start Podcasting Like a Jedi Master

April 14, 2017, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM, Celebration Podcast Stage – W310, 3rd Floor

– Mark Hamill’s Tribute to Carrie Fisher

April 14, 2017, 5:30 PM – 6:30 PM, Celebration Stage – Chapin Theater, 3rd Floor

– Special Celebration Screening: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Star Wars: A New Hope

April 14, 2017, 7:30 PM – 11:55 PM, Star Wars Galaxy Stage – Valencia ABC, 4th Floor

SATURDAY:

– The Force of Fan Fashion

April 15, 2017, 10:30 AM – 11:30 AM, Star Wars Collectors’ Stage – W307, 3rd Floor

– Star Wars Rebels Season Four Sneak Peek

April 15, 2017, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM, Star Wars Galaxy Stage – Valencia ABC, 4th Floor

– Del Rey Books

April 15, 2017, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Behind-The-Scenes Stage – W304, 3rd Floor

– Star Wars and Disney Parks: A Galaxy in the Making

April 15, 2017, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM, Star Wars Galaxy Stage – Valencia ABC, 4th Floor

– These Are Not The Writers You Are Looking For: Bloggers Discuss Writing About Star Wars

April 15, 2017, 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM, Star Wars Fan Stage – W308, 3rd Floor

– Special Celebration Screening: Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi and The Force Awakens.

April 15, 2017, 6:00 PM – 11:55 PM, Star Wars Galaxy Stage – Valencia ABC, 4th Floor

SUNDAY:

– Hamill Himself

April 16, 2017, 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM, Celebration Stage – Chapin Theater, 3rd Floor

– Women in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

April 16, 2017, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Star Wars Fan Stage – W308, 3rd Floor

OTHER EVENTS

  • Friday: The Dorky Diva meet up! -7PM, Rosen Centre Hotel lobby
  • Friday: Ashley photo/autograph session, Topps Autograph Hall, 5:30pm-7:30pm
  • Friday: Ashley Itty Bitty signing! – Hallmark, #2928, 1:15-2:15pm
  • Friday: Ashley workout routine! – Force for Change booth #3650, 12:45
  • Saturday: Ashley meet and greet at Celebration store, 10-10:30am
  • Saturday: Ahsoka poster signing, Barnes and Noble Booth, 12-1pm
  • Saturday: Ahsoka Lives Day! 2-3pm, main lobby stairs (Lobby B)
  • Saturday: Champions of Cosplay, Celebration Stage, Chapin Theatre, 3:30-5:00pm
  • Sunday: Ashley meet and greet, Celebration store, 11:30-12:00
  • Sunday: Ashley workout routine! – Force for Change booth #3650, 12:30

I can’t wait for SWCO! Between Star Wars and friends, it’s going to be an AMAZING time. 🙂

MTFBWY,

Travis

PHOTO SET: Spider-Gwen in Wonderland

This is a super late post, but during HeroesCon, two of my best friends and roomies for that weekend, Court and James, let me photograph their cosplays! It was Spider-Gwen in Wonderland themed and they both looked so amazing. They honestly were troopers because holy moly was Charlotte blazing hot that weekend. As usual, I didn’t have the right lens to perfect this shoot but I still really loved the outcome, especially since I never do this type of thing. It was such a fun experience and I can’t wait to do this again with all my cosplay friends. ANYWAYS, PLEASE ENJOY THESE PICS!

Current Favorite Show (or Something Like That)

Heyo, friends! Long time no see. Netflix has been killing it in the Marvel universe, with with Jessica Jones and Daredevil already locked in for season two, and Luke Cage and The Punisher soon to be release, this fall’s TV line up is really starting to look up.

But for today’s post, I thought I’d share something that has recently peaked my interest, something that I sat down to watch and managed to binge watch in less than a day. It’s a show that has caught my attention ever since it was announced. That show is Stranger Things, a new hit original series on Netflix.

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This show. This damn show. Stranger Things has been on my radar ever since it debuted its amazing first trailer which I happened upon in a theatre one day. It’s an amazing, nostalgic show that is all about life and its strange things, all of which surround a missing boy, a found girl, and a mystery that’s waiting to be solved.

Isn’t that poster amazing as hell?! I finally finished this show and without going into spoilers, just wanted to share the word about this one show, this one amazing show. I haven’t gotten this into a show in quite sometime and just want to say this: WATCH THIS SHOW! Between the kids, the story, the soundtrack, the visuals, and Winona Ryder, Stranger Things is a gem. A beautiful, rare gem.

This is just one of my favorite things I’ve seen in recent months.

 

What’s your favorite show you’ve seen recently?

Amazon Appstore, Coins, and Hearthstone Deals

Last year in September I made a series of posts talking all about Amazon, more specifically Amazon’s Appstore and how Amazon Coins worked on the site and throughout apps to save you money on all your in-app purchases. Finally I’m back to talk more about it thanks to Amazon themselves for sponsoring this post! Lots of events are coming up that involve the Amazon Appstore, so I figured I’d share a few with you all.

First off, if you’re not familiar with Amazon Coins, I highly suggest you reading this post to get the breakdown, but here’s the main roundup for you:

  • Amazon Coins are virtual currency that can be used to buy apps and in-game items in the Amazon Appstore (see above). By using Amazon Coins, you can save up to 10% on apps, games, and in-app purchases. The more coins you have, the more you can play. For example, 100 coins are worth $1. You can purchase Amazon Coins here. You can also earn Amazon Coins!

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Secondly, to highlight the Amazon Appstore and how exactly Amazon Coins can help save you money and also go further within a game, I thought I’d share Hearthstone, one of my favorite games, with you. For instance if you preorder Whispers of the Old Gods using Amazon Coins, you save about $9. Every little bit helps especially when you need more card packs.

[Here’s a list of games that are giving Coins back for in-app purchases! Check back daily as the list changes frequently.]

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Also alongside all these other deals, a whole 8 tournaments of Vainglory will be streamed live! Amazon is working alongside Vainglory to offer players all sorts of deals like 20% pack on Vainglory in-app purchases during 7/28-7/31, new skin updates, and so much more. Download the app and buy Amazon Coins here.

Lots of deals happening within the Amazon Appstore, so make sure to check it out and buy your coins here. Don’t forget to check out Hearthstone and also Vainglory for even more fun!

 

Skill Based Games in Casinos

 

Casinos to offer skill-based video games to attract more customers

Move over, slot machines and Texas Hold’Em. It seems that Las Vegas could soon become the biggest venue for video game arcades.

In February of this year, Nevada and New Jersey passed a legislation that would allow skill-based games in casinos as a way to draw in more customers, particularly millennials and the kids-at-heart. So instead of winning money through sheer luck, imagine playing something like Tekken or Street Fighter and winning something based on your current skill level. The legislation was approved in September 2015.

The sky is the limit for these skill-based games! According to reports, casinos are set to offer a diverse set of games ranging from action-adventure to puzzle games.

Currently, most Las Vegas casinos offer the “link” type of machines to guests, which are kind of like multi-player modes in video games. So it’s likely we will see cooperative video game titles in casinos such as Call of Duty, which, according to Gambit Gaming — a company that develops skill-based games — would be one of the biggest attractions in a casino.

Dr. Tony Alamo, the chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission, said that the progress with which the legislation to introduce skill-based games in Nevada passed is proof that casinos are eager to offer something new.

“It won’t be a sea of slot machines. You’ll see smaller, more intimate areas with specialized themes,” said Dr. Alamo.

Today, online casino providers give something “new” to the players either through fresh variants of poker, pay day promotional bonuses for table games, or sweet bonus credits for first time players. And while these are all tried and tested strategies to attract gamers, skill-based games target an entirely new market, which could mean a new set of returning customers for casinos that are in dire need of innovative techniques to draw players back through their doors.

So, what games are you expecting to see in your local casino? Being able to play your favorite game while winning money on the side sounds like a dream come true to all the hardcore video game players out there, right?

Disclaimer: this was a guest post!

I Survived A Marathon! No, Not That Kind… (Ultimate Captain America Marathon)

Yesterday I attended the Ultimate Captain America Marathon at a local Regal theatre! It was a 5 film marathon featuring Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Winter Soldier, Age of Ultron, and than Civil War! This post will mainly be about the marathon itself and not Civil War thoughts. I honestly need to see it again to gather all my feels. But yeah, about the marathon! I’m so glad I was able to attend. Originally they weren’t bringing it near me since it was more than 3 films, so when they announced they a local Regal would be doing it, I snatched up tickets faster than Pietro runs. I was so excited to see some of my favorite films again on the big screen, especially Winter Soldier!

Team Cap
Selfie while waiting outside to get in. It was freezing.

We got to the theatre about an hour and a half early. Based on the Star Wars marathon, we knew the earlier the better. Turns out the theater wasn’t *as* prepared and we didn’t end up getting seated until 30 minutes before The First Avenger started. Once in, we got comfy and prepared our feels for an entire marathon of Captain America! I really loved seeing The First Avenger on screen again cause Bucky/Cap/Peggy feels. I always seem to notice something new, mainly character development. I will admit, I did fall asleep for like 10 minutes at one point due to only have 2 hours of sleep beforehand. Sorry, Cap!

Team Cap medal
Our medal for doing the marathon!

Next was The Avengers which is always a classic, than Winter Soldier (which I was most excited about), Age of Ultron (gets better with each viewing), and than CIVIL WAR! I think I enjoyed seeing Winter Soldier on screen the most out of them all mainly cause it’s my favorite MCU film and Bucky. But than Civil War happened. I’ll save all my Civil War thoughts for later cause I have so many, but I will say that the marathon went by really fast. Star Wars felt like it went on for forever (in a good way), but this time it felt as if we’d just arrived by time we’d left. Which I guess is a good thing, but I honestly didn’t want it to be over with. It was just so much fun! I really hope they do another marathon for the next Cap film cause I’ll so be there. Oh and did I mention that there was a merch stand at the end of the film? No? Cause they had exclusive merch! I may have got a few things. Oh and the theater even had some popcorn buckets and a cup!

Civil War popcorn bucket and cup
Got the one featuring them all!

All in all, it was a perfect day. I really enjoyed spending the day with all my MCU friends. I just really need to go see Civil War again. And again. And again. Also I need Infinity War and Black Panther ASAP. Now to figure out how to write up my Civil War thoughts… Hmmm…

Civil War display
Break time = picture time!