Depression: Causes or Effects?

Sometimes I get depressed; I imagine almost all of us do from time to time.  The past few weeks were one of those times (hence the lack of blog posts) and, now that I’m feeling a little better, I think I might explore some of the reasons why depression happens.

The thing is, though, that a lot of the causes of depression could also be the result of it, and vice versa.  I don’t know if these things are a feedback loop, and everything is a cause and an effect, or if some of them caused my recent malaise and others were a result of it.

  • Diet – I have not been eating very well, and I’m not young enough anymore that I can blow it off like it doesn’t matter.  I just eat a lot of frozen waffles, bagels, and potato chips.  However, when I get depressed, I am even less likely to eat well – I end up not wanting to cook anything at all so I just eat junk food and cheap fast food.  So did my poor diet make me depressed or did my depression make me eat poorly?
  • World of Warcraft – I started playing again.  I don’t play as often as I used to, only a few hours about four days a week, but it is very easy to lose yourself in the game and forget about all your troubles.  I started playing around the time that things got bleak.  Coincidence?  I can’t tell.
  • Loneliness – I kind of wanted to call this category “anti-social tendencies” but the two kind of go hand-in-hand.  When I’m depressed, I get whiny, and whininess tends to push people away (especially the ladies).  Loneliness seems like it must be a factor in my depression, if only since most of the people I was close to once are now gone, and that fact may just now be catching up to me.
  • Poor Health – About two to four weeks ago I came down with a pretty annoying cold or flu or something, and that’s when I started feeling bad.  In the fall I tend to get stick and stay sick for a few weeks until I finally break down and get some antibiotics, that happened this time.  The antibiotics play some havoc with my system, especially with digestion, and I don’t feel better for a long time afterward.
  • Work Stress – It’s rare that big projects and important deadlines come up at work, but when they do things can get pretty stressful – the last time I was this stressed out was when they moved my work location for about 9 months.  That time I at least had someone to come home to after the long day.  The days right now aren’t long and the work isn’t even particularly hard but I find it difficult to get through the day.  Again, depression causes this, but it’s also triggered by stress.

It’s hard when all of these things are going on to tell what I should try to fix, and hard to get motivated to fix it when things are going poorly.  Luckily, I’m feeling a little better thanks to a few things:

  • My parents came by to help me fix up the house a little bit, make it more livable and nicer to look.  My mom especially took it upon herself to do some interior decorating.
  • My parents and brother in general.
  • I might be getting a housemate; coming home to an empty house is among the most depressing things you can do.
  • I have a bunch of social things coming up in the next week; the past two weeks have been pretty parched socially.
  • The changing seasons are helpful; Christmas is coming and the fall is very beautiful.  Snow will help as well, I’m sure.

I hope the good things continue and I hope I can figure out which of the bad things to try to minimize so I can feel better.  Hopefully there will be more blogging than there has been.

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[Orlo] whispers:

Guest post: by orlowski

Blizzcon has been going great. Having learned my lesson from last night, I showed up an hour in advance of the doors opening. I was greeted with a hefty line but was confident because I already had my badge, bag and mount; not much to lose now. For at least 30 minutes people were streaming past me, towards the end of the line, so I felt like I had come just at the right time. The line went into and out of the adjacent arena, but by the time I reached the outside, it was 10:00 and the doors opened. The line quickly dissolved into the convention center and I was in!

I will let some of these pictures speak for themselves. I do have one mystery to solve this weekend, though. I’m pretty sure I understand the sources of the smell of rotting clothes, but the *multiple* sources of the smell of baby powder are still elusive.

http://picasaweb.google.com/Nick.orlowski/Blizzcon

Shadow priest: 2v2 arena partners

I know most of my readers are not big on WoW, so I’ll put most of this post under the fold. I actually haven’t played in over a week, and I’m not up on the newest patch, but I can share my thoughts on who you should go into arenas with if you’re a shadow priest. The list goes from worst to best…

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Penny Arcade Short Fiction Contest Entries

So, my coworkers tell me that Penny Arcade is having a contest to find the best stories set in World of Warcraft that can be told in only ten words. I decided to have a hand at this, and I thought I would share my entries with you:

  • The shadow priest logged out. Faces are safe… for now.
  • “Kek,” said the Tauren, a trail of gnomes behind him.
  • Ride off the mill full speed! No light feathers? Mommy!
  • She rerolled, at level seventy, after tiring of the Macarena.
  • He thought he was safe. Then, eighty rogues unstealthed. Oops.

I doubt any of these are top top quality, and some are a little inside baseball, but after this I can claim to have entered a short fiction contest.

Right?

Day 1

Day one of being single.

I didn’t bite into a brick of cheese directly, yet.

I spend a lot of time checking out the Internet. When I woke up this morning, a few people had messaged me during the night, so I replied to them, checked my e-mail, and all that good stuff. I wrote a short blog post about missing my brother.

I had recently joined Geni and Facebook at the request of friends, so I played around on those two sites. They seem worthwhile and interesting. I petted the cat for a while, then decided to watch a movie. I put on No Country For Old Men and then the phone rang!

It was a friend who went to my college who I had never met other than online, and he said he was in the area and was going to hang out downtown and go to the monuments. I haven’t been to the downtown monuments in a while, and this guy and I have had really good conversation in the past, so I said yes.

This is when the ball really started rolling. I made some lunch, I got dressed, I programmed my phone, I did the dishes, I actually did some things that were useful, which, if it hadn’t been for that invitation, I probably wouldn’t have. I would have stayed in bed all day moping and surfing the internet.

So, I’m glad that happened. It distracted me when I needed it and we had a good time. We saw all the normal sights:

  • The Capitol
  • The Supreme Court
  • Washington Monument
  • World War II Memorial
  • Vietnam Memorial
  • Einstein Memorial (a personal favorite)
  • Korean War Memorial
  • FDR Memorial
  • Jefferson Memorial

This is actually a lot of walking, for me.   At least 3 miles, I think.  This is definitely a good thing, and I had a good time.

I promised some friends I would play some WoW, so I am going to do that now, and hopefully have a good time doing that too!  All in all, a better first day than I expected.  And I think that’s all we can ask for.

Am I still a shadow priest?

shadowcropped.jpg

It’s been about two months since I quit playing World of Warcraft. I have a new rule about only gaming socially, when invited by other people, which I hope will prevent me from going overboard and losing myself after Melissa leaves (which is tomorrow). I haven’t even opened my copy of Smash Bros. Brawl. But, in any case, I have been invited to go back to WoW by some of my old gaming friends on Sunday. So, I think I will do that for at least one day. I hope it’s a good one, and I can get in a little bit of all the old PvP we used to do.  I might also be able to play more when I move in with my brother, because we can play together, if he is interested.

Anyway, I was a shadow priest before it was cool to be a shadow priest. Back in the day when we were rejected for groups, called noobs, and generally subjected to all manner of rudenesses. I even got a shout out in a post about how terrible off-specs are! But these days we’re sometimes requested! (at least up until two months ago we were).  I liked the persecution and the uniqueness, but now I’m an accepted member of WoW-society.  So am I really still a shadow priest, or have I lost something?

I really am.  No matter how loved I am, I can still take pride in having been an outsider when it counted!

Has anyone ever quit cold turkey and then come back to be a casual player?  I’m talking casual player like 6 or 8 hours a week, because any more than that and I’ll never get out there and build the friendships and relationships I want to.  Any advice on whether I can and how to do it successfully would be happily accepted!

The D-word

My wife is leaving me for another man.

Melissa and I have been married for 5 years. We’ve been together for 10. She makes me happy and I love her very much, but for the past two years or so we have grown apart. We both started playing World of Warcraft, and instead of playing together and staying close to one another in-game, we took separate paths. I went for PvP (Player v. Player) and she went in for a guild doing dungeon raiding. We ended up having completely different sets of friends, different schedules, and different goals.

I have nothing against games, and I don’t think they break up marriages. I am not blaming WoW for my marital problems. I am blaming myself for failing to stay next to her in all our walks of life. If you have a significant other, I implore you now to give them all the attention and love that you can find within yourself to give. I don’t want to happen to you what has happened to me.

The man she loves, she met through her guild. He lives in another state. When she moves away, I will almost certainly never see her again. It’s a very painful thought. She really is my best friend. I want to remain friends, I’m not a spiteful guy. My goal is to maximize the happiness available to all. She could be happy with me again — I know she could. But right now it seems she’s happiest elsewhere.

I have no idea how to get a divorce. I also have no idea how to be a single adult. I guess I will have to learn as I go. I will try to document my experiences here if I can do it.