Wow I haven’t written here in a long, long time. I started the pandemic using this site a bit. I was still doing walking blogs just to get my thoughts out and do something with myself.
The pandemic actually saw me volunteer my time with Furnal Equinox to produce their first ever virtual convention.
I started out working on it as merely a small asset creator. I created props for the many worlds, but it soon seemed that the people who had bigger committments of time to the project had also had other time commitments in life that took them away.
It was very important to me that this be a success. I wanted to make something really great for the community, so I stepped up and did everything.
I did all the bug fixes, finished up the worlds, learned everything I could about Unity and VRChat world development and did it all in time to get the event to launch!
It was quite a harrowing experience, truth be told, but it was exhilarating.
I didn’t expect much good feedback, but I got it in droves. The community was quite appreciative and it made me feel so special. It brought me to tears. I felt appreciated for my work and I was doing something I loved. I didn’t know I could feel like this.
Well that was early 2021, between November of 2020 and March of 2021.
After that it seemed like there was a virtual convention online every single weekend. I started spending a lot more time in VRChat, or developing VR worlds and avatars.
I started going to the https://communitymeetup.net/ meetings as well. They are a tour of new VR work shown off by the VRChat community. It’s always been wonderful to see what people created. I get so inspired by the things everyone creates, for free, for the greater VR community to enjoy.
These meetings happen every Sunday at 4PM Eastern Time so it changes for other timezones throughout the year.
This led me to create one of my other worlds, a quick 1 day build (one morning build) of a dome style library. I had watched Nerdforge on Youtube and saw the host create a little microcosm. The idea of making an ornate little building of my own popped into my head and then I started thinking of nice buildings, and staircases, and a library, and then I just whipped out my laptop and started creating.
I did all of the modelling that morning and went for a walk, then returned from the walk in time to submit the world to VRChat so I could show it off at the meeting that afternoon at 4PM.
It was while talking about my inspiration for the world that I was invited to a different community server dedicated to creating assets for people to share and make new things within VRChat.
That was quite an honour, and it was a bit unexpected to me.
Inside this server I feel as if I have learned a lot by watching the other members and asking questions. I feel so lucky to be there despite huge feelings of inadequacy because I haven’t really contributed public assets or code very much.
I have shared code snippets I’ve made but that’s about it. I feel as if I owe them more.
In the fall I also promised to help with a new convention called Cozycon. It was a nice little event and a bit of fun but it also took a lot out of me. I was working on it alone.
Everyone who had promised to volunteer for it had again disappeared when the time came to make things.
I did what I always do in group projects. I took over all responsibility and did basically everything. I created two concept worlds, showed them off to the team, pressed them all to vote on one, and then created that world from whole cloth (bits?).
I did everything except for some bits of concept art and ideas for the names and graphics for some food booths which I had added to the world for fun.
I modelled every booth. I pressed others for their contributions, of which there were a few. I stressed out over booth graphics from the vendors not being submitted. I created samples where necessary. I modelled trees, a ramen booth, a generic template for food stalls.
I coded a way for the ATMs in the world to dispense “Barkcoins” which the congoers could carry around and play with.
I coded a way for the world to keep track of troublemakers so they could be dealt with.
I did everything, save for a few little bits and, as you can imagine, it took a mental toll.
I have noticed quite a few online friends talking about suicide lately. Far, far too many.
It could be that the pandemic has worn on too long, but I feel as if there is something chemically wrong with me.
The convention went smoothly and I had a pretty good time but really didn’t get to hang out with anyone.
Once it was all over, I kept fixing up the world, I kept working on it, and I dove into a deep depression.
So deep that I wanted to kill myself.
Please don’t send me platitudes. I know my life is full of love and reasons to live. I want to live.
But there’s something strange going on. My skin would crawl when I tried to sleep. Every nerve felt like it was being tweaked somehow. Not like pins and needles. This was like a rhythmic activation of my senses.
I don’t know how else to describe it, but something was very chemically wrong with me and it scared me.
I told my wife about this. She was understandably concerned. I told her I would take care of it. I told her I would talk to my doctor about my meds.
You see, I also had started a new regimen of ADHD medication in 2021. I started on Vivance over the summer and from the moment I started taking it, I felt a huge sense of anxiety.
This was no different from usual, but the strange part was, I had not felt that anxious since before I had started HRT.
Since I stared HRT at the beginning of the pandemic my anxiety had reduced and I was generally very happy. This was… a return to a terrible familiar friend.
Well, I would like to tell you that at the beginning of October I started to get better, but that’s not where I am.
My doctor sent me to see if my estrogen levels had taken a dive. They had not. My levels are exactly the same as my dose, so my body is getting every bit of it.
Since then, I’ve felt anxious a bit every day and in the back of my mind I occasionally catch myself saying, “kill me.”
This is not a great place to be and I would very much like to take control of things. So I am going to ask my doctor to move me to one of the other options for ADHD medication to see if that helps.
Now, I’m sure reading this you are quite worried. Trust me, I will never act on these impulses. I have had suicidal thoughts in my life before and I never have. But it’s something I want to be very aware of.
Every once in a while I’ll think of Heath Ledger or Robin Williams, or any of the other stars who have taken their own lives later in their career and it scares me.
What happens if I never get better and one day I get sick of it?
I don’t want it to ever come to that. I have promised my cutie that I’m not allowed to die. I mean to keep that promise. Besides, I have a lot to live for, to be honest. I love life. I love adventures. I love exploration and learning and becoming a better person each day.
I love life!
And yet, here I am thinking these thoughts.
I should rewind a bit and mention, in school when I was diagnosed with ADHD, I was also diagnosed with seasonal depression and given Effexor at the time for it.
I was afraid of taking the meds, so I took one or two and then I stopped.
I’m starting to think that maybe I need to look into that again.
So while this is a lot to take in, trust me dear reader, I am going to make sure I manage it as properly and responsibly as I can.
To leave you on a positive note, I am looking forward to submitting a booth for Winter VKet 2021! This will be my first time entering a booth.
It terrifies me as I feel woefully inadequate to compete with everyone else.
I just have to keep framing it as something fun. I’m doing all this stuff for free. It should be for fun and it should be for me.
Also: my cutie made a good point. I keep saying yes to things too often, even when it would sacrifice my relationship with her, or my own health, or my other responsibilities.
Being a part of this nascent social VR experiment has been so wonderful. I feel like I’m a part of the future. I feel as if I am making something new, and good, and important.
I feel important and loved and I crave that attention. I need it. I always have.
I just need to learn how to balance my personal projects with life in general.