Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Of Three Minds (x-posted Imaginary Funerals)

This post has been crossposted from the Imaginary Funerals blog that has since been discontinued. Posts are hosted on the Imaginary Funerals G+ page.

OF THREE MINDS (link to main host)

by +Brie Sheldon (originally posted July 7, 2014)

I sit at the table and roll the dice and don’t care how they land.

I sit at the table and play out stories and cry for real.

I sit at the table and my friends are my friends, are not my friends, are alien.

I sit at the table and break into bitty pieces when my character dies.

Playing games when you have bipolar disorder is really an experiment in experience. Sometimes I feel normal, and play normally. What is normal? I don’t know, it’s how I feel when I’m on the level. But, I respond to things appropriately, my emotions make sense, and I’m in something resembling a good mood. That means my characters act rationally and I have fun.

But then sometimes I’m manic, and I respond to everything erratically. I can’t focus, and I talk too much. Sometimes I’m over-excited so I am hyper positive. Other times I’m irritable and just want to kill things in game, so my calm characters become murderous and my good characters often find their way to evil, or something like it. I’m antagonistic to other players. My emotions are unusual and nonsensical. I laugh or cry at inappropriate times. I am confusing.

When I am depressed, it is the worst. There are two sides to depression for me: sadness and apathy. Sadness, I can deal with. I play tragic characters, in tragic situations, and eke out little bits of bittersweet happiness. I cry when my characters cry. I cling to my friends and companions in desperation – don’t let me go to where the sadness is. I struggle for happiness. But apathy… apathy is the hardest. Of all of the things I have experienced – fear, paranoia, mania, anger, elation – apathy takes away more than any of them. To take something that brings me joy and rip it away from me and leave me absently writing out character details and hoping that something will happen that is extreme, so maybe I finally feel something, it is painful. But it only lasts so long, and when it wears off, it is truly extreme. It either gives way to sadness that wearies me or mania that tears me apart.

And so I feel like I am just waiting for the other shoe to drop. The bomb to go off. Waiting for my mind to decide that this character is going to risk everything and get themselves killed because I’m having a bad day. Waiting for my mind to decide to blow up the plot, or leave the party, or burn down the fictional house. For me, this shows up in game as small aggressions – my characters might ruin other players’ plans, or I might unknowingly metagame, or I break the rules. I get a little twisted around on the split between fiction and reality. But in a game, I can leave the party, or burn down the house – and the divisions between game and life don’t really seem to matter anymore. The most important part is that my reality isn’t everyone else’s reality, and it’s entirely possible that my breaking will break the game.

It doesn’t matter which part of the cycle I’m in, I just know that the next step is unpredictable, and that it puts my games and my friendships at risk. I just have to wait and see.

I am a time bomb.

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