Warmachine, and its companion game, Hordes, were made in the United States. Warhammer 40,000 was made in Great Britain.
The more I think about it, the more I feel like this explains a lot of the differences between the two games.
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For the past couple weeks we've been having some major interpersonal problems, which combined with our hormones making us feel weird have brought us down to basically zero functionality.
On top of that, we tried to go back to FFXIV again, and it only took us a few days to be reminded of how ugly and sexist the culture is (both in terms of the players and the non-player characters) and how much it hurts just to be here. Let alone try to befriend anyone.
We're extremely sorry to everyone who has been waiting on us to write anything, whether it's a response or a game or a fanfic. We're trying to take care of ourself and get through this and stop getting hurt, and it's hard.
We're sorry to keep asking for everyone's patience, but you will all have to wait a bit longer.
Wundergeek, AKA the "Go Make Me A Sandwich" lady, drew a thing about what it's like to live with not only depression but anxiety as well. You can read it here.
Keep moving forward? How can I when I can't breathe?
Spending time with people I love? I'm constantly on alert for a disaster that never happens.
I hyper analyze everything I do and say for signs that I'm a burden to the people I love. Because of course I'm a burden. I have to be. If I can't live with me ... how could anyone else? How could anyone love somebody so broken?
This is the sixteenth chapter of a fanfiction adaptation of Christine Love's visual novel Analogue: A Hate Story. You do not need to have played the game to understand what is going on. This story is designed to be accessible to newcomers as transhumanist dystopian sci-fi, and many liberties were taken with the setting and dialogue, as well as with certain events.
This short chapter contains a first-person account of a PTSD episode, written by someone who has been clinically diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder in real life.
If you're afraid that it would be triggering, or don't want to read something potentially disturbing, you can skip ahead to the next chapter without missing much else. This one is short for a reason.
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tl;dr The overheat mechanic from the BattleTech / MechWarrior games is a really good metaphor for being triggered when you have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
BattleTech is a board game played with miniatures which represent BattleMechs, which are basically big walking tanks. It has a whole slew of spinoff games and novels, including the MechWarrior PC and console games, which most people are probably more likely to have heard of.
Most of the games let you customize your mech. The big limiting factor, though, that keeps you from slapping on as many weapons as you want and mashing the fire button, is the fact that firing weapons heats up your mech and can cause it to shut down.
Someone I knew once put twelve fire-linked extended-range large lasers on a single mech chassis, just to see what would happen. As he put it, the "fire" button doubled as the ejection seat switch.
It's an easy mechanic to get the hang of, because it's ludicrously detailed but all the details make intuitive sense. Using energy weapons overheats you faster than using projectile weapons. Operating a mech on a desert planet generates more heat than driving it through the tundra. Standing hip-deep in water while firing weapons helps cool your mech down. And if you want, when building your mech you can skimp on armour plating or advanced electronics and put in a bunch of heat sinks, which work exactly like you'd expect.
How this relates to PTSD
Having your PTSD triggered is not the same as "choosing to be offended," or throwing a fit because you aren't getting your way. (In my experience, the people most likely to accuse others of doing that are narcissists, who all seem to think it's a legit debate tactic or parenting method when it's them doing it.)
PTSD triggers are called triggers because they're reflexive responses, like the ones most people have upon seeing a jump scare or being tapped on the knee with a hammer. They can immediately put someone into "fight or flight" mode. But when you've been socialized not to do either (like in my case), or you "heat up" too much or too rapidly, they can make you just freeze up instead.
Just last night, someone said something that created a huge spike of "heat" during an FFXIV raid, when I already wasn't doing too well, and I shut down just like a BattleMech that overheated. I was watching the fight going on around me, and I couldn't do anything about it. I couldn't move. I couldn't talk. I could barely even think. I felt like a deer in their headlights.
I'm having trouble even writing this, because I remember how I felt and I freeze up again.
What you can do
It's not hard to explain how to deal with someone who has PTSD. There are really common triggers to avoid, like rape jokes and anything sexist / cissexist / homophobic. There are signs to look out for, like that deer-in-the-headlights look and someone freezing up and being unable to talk, or suddenly becoming really defensive. And there are things you can do, like say "I'm sorry if that was a trigger" and "it's okay if you need to take a break."
You don't have to understand how it feels to be triggered if you can just think of a mech shutting down, and let the person cool off and get back to "all systems nominal."
(Content note: Transphobia, detailed account of interpersonal conflict.)
I went to speak with my therapist the other day, and the first thing on the agenda was how I was treated by one of the receptionists on my last visit to my psychiatrist's office.
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I kind of have to fight my Mormon upbringing to write accounts of being treated badly. I feel like, what she said and the way she said it were right; I just need to be patient and accept that I'm not a full person, and it's okay to do things to me that they would never be okay with if it were anyone else. Abuses of power and trust are supposed to stay hidden and never see light, because abusers are more valuable than the people they hurt and it's important to not hurt their feelings.
The fact that I was raised this way, by people I now know were terrible, is part of the reason I write about this. Also because I want to keep my friends and loved ones posted, and I want to remember what happened and explain it to myself, so that I don't slip back into feeling like I deserve it all and it's all my fault.
Earlier, I realized that if someone tells me not to be selfish, it's usually because they want to keep the selfishness all to themselves. I'm now convinced that if someone tells me not to take offence, it's because they're going to start dishing it out.
Apologies for being away from Dreamwidth so much! We got put on a new medication that lowers your blood pressure, and it's made our limbs feel like lead and made us feel a lot weaker and tired-er. Worse, it was supposed to keep our PTSD nightmares from coming back but it hasn't ... so we're going to ask if we can be taken off of it.
(We also experimented with switching from coffee to tea for a little while, and that basically put us out like a tranquilizer.)
Besides that ... when we announced our intentions to set programming aside earlier, we felt really depressed afterwards. Same with when we talked about switching from D&D 4e to Pathfinder. These are things that we really like and care about, and the fact that we're having problems with them doesn't mean that we have to quit working on them.
We're going to experiment with ways to make 4e work better online. Also, we've been taking more programming classes. We don't have much to show for them yet, but everything we learn is exciting, when we're able to set aside the time and the energy to continue learning.
Sometimes we miss writing stories. Right now gaming is scratching that itch for us, especially tabletop gaming and the amount of creativity that goes into that. But every now and then, we feel like something precious has been lost, when we think about the stories we used to tell and the way we used to do so.
I don't think we can ever recapture the way that things were, but maybe telling stories can continue to be a part of our life going forward.
Content note: Enforcing of gender roles, lack of respect for others' identities.
After going to the psychiatrist the other day, we and rev_yurodivy went to the local games store to play Warmahordes. I still haven't finished painting my models, but I cut out a bunch of counters and cards so that we can play games using proxies for the models in the other starter box sets. Also things like blast and spray templates. (This was a lot of work, and I'm very proud of the results.)
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So a couple of hours ago there was a *BANG BANG BANG BANG* on the door, and these big guys with big guns in their holsters (interpret that however you like) wanted to talk to me.
I immediately went into "scared and compliant" mode so fast that one of the officers complimented me on how polite I was.
They wanted to step inside. "If you must."
They wanted me to step outside. "If I must."
They wanted to see what calls I had made on my cellphone. "Okay."
They talked to me and rev_yurodivy separately and wrote down some notes. I was shaking the entire time (another thing one of them noticed). I didn't stop shaking for hours afterward.
The first thing I did when they left was crawl in bed and go catatonic, shaking so hard it was like having a seizure. Thinking, over and over again, "this is how society treats a person like me. This is how society treats a person like me. This is how society treats a person like me."
Someone had called the police, and had told them I was posting things on the internet that showed an intent to self-harm.
Just now, my aunt called and told me who'd done it.
They won't apologize for anything they've done to screw my life up. They've made zero restitution for turning me into a wreck and a shell. But they'll stalk my journal, and send literal men with guns to drag a PTSD victim out of her apartment and interrogate her in broad daylight, because that is the best thing to do when your daughter is suicidal.
Not call and apologize to her. Not say "I'm sorry I treated you like shit, hate me if you have to but go on living! You are more important to me than my ego is!" Just call and tell the police they need to go talk to this person, which in no way resembles punishment or intimidation and could in no way be construed as a threat along the lines of "if you ever talk about how much you hurt again I will lock you away forever."
I'm so angry right now that if I could harness it into a ki blast I'd blow up the fucking moon. (Sorry, aliaspseudonym, we'll just have to buy you a new one.)
What angers me more than that is the thought that they have been reading my journal this whole time, and using it for narcissistic supply. My mother of origin's been crying her face off sharing every damn entry with everyone, going on about how "he hates me! he doesn't even consider me his mother anymore!" Well, damn, woman, I wonder why that is!?
I hurt so badly I wish I had killed myself. I wish I were brave enough to. But I'm not.
Just like I wasn't the day that my father of origin threw me out of his house, for throwing down the knife I was going to kill myself with. Which is the last time I couldn't stop shaking like this.
It means a lot to us.
We were in a bad place when we wrote that last entry. We had a number of trigger events happen in short succession. We are doing somewhat better right now, although we're still physically ill.
We are not in immediate danger, and while we will have to work harder to maintain our living situation I think we are up for it. We have been getting some help from Yuro's family of origin, grocery-wise, and we are also being switched to a new prescription antidepressant which will hopefully have fewer side effects.
We are sorry for distressing you and we hope that you're all doing well.
One of the first things that our new therapist did was diagnose us with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, in addition to anxiety and depression. Despite having a credentialed professional certify us as being this way, we still have a lot of lingering incredulousness at the concept.
The problem is, ignoring it won't make it go away.
A few days ago, our home internet went out for the second time in a month. We called tech support for our ISP, in the process finding out that our free government cellphone service had been canceled even though we made a call to keep our account active like they asked. We then went online using our mobile broadband modem (which gets 500 MB of completely free data per month through a company which very aggressively upsells you on stuff), and let a few people know on Skype before logging out.
When we woke up, we found that our modem's plan had been used up, because we hadn't turned off Windows Update. The plan would reset in two days, or we could buy another 500 MB for $10. We did not have $10 because everything was earmarked for rent. On top of that, while discussing the finances we found out we owed someone a large (to us) sum of money because of a misunderstanding that we felt responsible for.
We freaked the hell out.
We started apologizing compulsively for causing the problem, for being the problem, for existing. We told people (and honestly believed) that our life was not worth the sum in question. We felt completely helpless and powerless, and yet knew that we had to try somehow to repay it in full even though every day made us go further in debt.
None of this makes any sense, from a distance. We weren't dealing with bill collectors or landlords (the cash set aside for them wasn't the problem). We were dealing with our partners. Of course they would pay the $10 so we could have (limited) internet access while waiting to get a new modem. Of course they would take responsibility for the misunderstanding and get everything taken care of, just like they've done with our finances for awhile. They were more worried about us, and wanted to have us online with them.
But that's not how we saw it. Because having PTSD means that your triggers take you back to the original situation that traumatized you. And we're badly triggered by finances, and by being deprived of things that we need. We feel like at any time everything can be taken away from us, and when it does we'll deserve it. So when stuff goes wrong all at once, really fast, in ways that we didn't expect, we don't feel like "ugh, there goes the power again. What do I pay these noobs for!?" We feel like
We've been physically ill for the past few days. The day it all happened, we slept for about 16 hours on and off. Our system was flooded with stress hormones, and we still feel anxious and on edge. We had horrible heartburn, to the point where we got nauseous if we stood up for too long and had to elevate our head in order to sleep. And that's not even getting into the more unpleasant symptoms. >_o
Reality is that which does not go away if you stop believing in it. Unfortunately, the reality seems to be that we're very sick, and might never recover from this. Not unless we avoid our triggers completely ... which in this society seems almost impossible.
If only they knew they were making things worse.
EDIT: In hindsight, I think part of the reason we feel hyper and nervous is because we just had our Celexa dose increased by 50 percent and our brain hasn't had time to adjust yet. I remember we felt like this right after going on it originally. I don't think it's what made us physically ill, though. And we had actually worked through our initial distress about things, right up until we realized the part about owing money, and because of the internet being out weren't able to effectively talk to our loved ones about it.