The Breaks and the Study

About four weeks ago, I came home from my therapist and made a sudden decision: I was not going to touch my computer. I didn’t really know for how long, but I knew it was a great idea. For me, my computer (and more so the Internet) is a home for me. Even though it’s a home, one still needs to take a vacation occasionally. So I took a vacation, one as close to my ideal vacation as I could get to it.

Somewhere in Assassin’s Creed II (or is it Brotherhood?) that I thought was pretty nice.

For probably the first week, I finished up the video game Assassin’s Creed II and played through it’s continuation, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood. Honestly, I have never played through a video game series so fast. Usually, it takes me several months, if not years, to actually finish playing a video game (and by “finish”, I mean complete the main storyline, not get all the items and whatnot). I flew through Assassin’s Creed, Assassin’s Creed II, and Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood solely because the storyline was interesting. It also seemed to help me a calm down and think.

I was definitely feeling depression going off and on. I have an insane amount of conflict going on inside of me at all times and unfortunately, it was very quickly building up. I was definitely more stable when I left my therapist that day since I let a lot out, but it did fluctuate quite a bit, myself sometimes breaking over the course of the approximate two weeks I took off.

I really didn’t know when I would back when I started the break, but I knew I would have to be back because of the large amount of stuff I do on my computer.

I played the Assassin’s Creed series for the first week, as I already said until I started playing Assassin’s Creed: Revelations and started getting bored. Not because the game was boring (because, trust me, it was far from boring), but rather I had been playing the continuous storyline non-stop and I wanted a break. I switched to playing Chrono Trigger for a while, but ended up stopping because I got defeated and sent back to a save point before an annoying boss that was a pain to defeat. I wasn’t too happy about that. The game itself is pretty great though, so I’m sure to return to it one of these days.

As these days were going by, I was starting to get a bit bored and a bit antsy to do something I consider productive. I searched through my list of things I could do – writing, artwork, Japanese. Artwork was most certainly out of the question (and still is) due to how stupidly behind I am with it. I have around 53 images left to digitally ink from 2010/2011, 6 (I think) from this year, 60+ artworks to colour, plus 5 or 6 comics I have started in some way, shape, or form. I don’t want to add anymore to the pile (even though, I’ll admit I did add two more, then finished one as my last artwork for a while). I do my artwork digitally, so I couldn’t work on it without my computer. Writing was only partially out of the question. I won’t write stories on a piece of paper, but I would gladly do ideas. I actually started working on a story idea while playing Chrono Trigger that I think I’ll like if I ever get around to it.

And then there was Japanese. While I lacked the audio I needed (which was on my computer) and the answer key (also on my computer), I could still work on my lessons and get them mostly done. I could feel myself starting to itch to get back into learning Japanese anyway, so I took advantage of the feeling to start learning Japanese again.

I personally don’t really even know why I’m still learning Japanese at this point since I don’t really want to do anything with it, even though I usually tell people and try to convince myself otherwise. I can say though that as I move through my lessons and notice my progress, there’s certainly a sense of accomplishment I don’t get from anything else. That sense of accomplishment really made me happy and relaxed me as I gradually worked through Japanese. I made some pretty steady progress, until it hit May 1st.

From the day I started the break to the day I returned, I played video games and watched TV, getting quite restless towards the end of it. I was ready to return back to my computer. I wanted to become busy again. I wanted to work on Japanese and get back to artwork and just not feel like I was doing nothing.

May 1st came and the day started off pretty well. My file cabinet FINALLY came and I got to start using my computer again. I had an appointment at some neuro testing place too for a consultation and that went pretty well too, other than me being left with a slightly empty feeling. I could feel depression and anxiety just simmering in me. I think I went to sleep that night feeling the same way, but I’m not sure.

If I didn’t go to sleep, or perhaps it was the next night, I was feeling the depression & anxiety sliding down some sort of mental ramp that gradually picked up speed. I could feel myself falling into depression. I knew I would break if I didn’t start to work on something and get my mind off of it. I knew the depression was something I could DEFINITELY defeat, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to go about it. I scanned my mind for the solution to pull me out.

“Japanese? No. That would just send me into more depression.” The side of my brain that needed to be per-occupied was on the creative side, not the language side. If I started working on Japanese, it would cause the depression to come even faster because I wouldn’t be stimulating the side that needed to be stimulated. Not to mention, all my motivation for Japanese seemed to be sucked out when I turned on my computer and started using it again.

“Artwork? No. That’s after Japanese.” I have so much artwork and since I was more in a “neutral state” for my “modes” (I go through intense cycles of focus where I can concentrate on something with everything I got until the steam runs out; for instance, most recently, I’ve had a “Japanese mode” cycle), I would risk myself falling into one of my cycles and focus on that with all I got. While I do eventually need that, I can’t afford to do that now with myself almost done with Genki I!

“Writing? Nah. No ideas.”

Then it hit me.

Sewing.

I remember there’s been a few times in the past where I was so depressed where all I wanted to do was sew. Sometimes it is writing, other times it’s drawing, but occasionally it’s sewing.

I wasn’t necessarily in the mood for sewing, but it was also the only one that didn’t require me to do or have something else before it. I already knew what I was going to sew. All I needed to do was make the pattern.

I initially rejected the idea, not feel really wanting to do all the cutting and pinning that was required. However, I could feel the depression getting closer to the bottom faster each second and knew I had to just do something. I stood up, declared to myself that I was going to sew.

I began to work on the project I meant to do back in 2010, but I knew pretty quickly I didn’t actually want to make that particular outfit anymore. Quite frankly, it didn’t fit my criteria of what my outfits need (i.e. they need to hide my upper arms and most of my thighs because I don’t like them) and it required more skill than I had. I haven’t sewn since 2009 (!!). I was kind of iffy about how my skills would be for being away for so long. When I sewed up the first piece of the shirt, I quickly knew I had to give myself an entirely knew outfit.

I pulled out a piece of paper, pondered for a few minutes, and quickly doodled something I knew I could pull off. It had to fit my taste and I needed to be able to wear shoes I already owned. I rather liked what I decided and started with the second easiest piece of it – a skirt.

The skirt I made with one of Jenni’s petticoats underneath.

I sewed it that night. I think it came out decently for being my first time sewing really anything in a while and not having the right coloured thread. Once I was finished, I knew the skirt needed something underneath it – either a hoop skirt or a petticoat.

I asked my mom the next day and she said a petticoat, which I knew she would. I went out to the fabric store and bought myself the right colour thread for the skirt and fabric for the petticoat. I tried to sew the petticoat that night, but instead I broke. I cried so hard that night, to the point where I had trouble breathing. I felt like a failure, knowing that I didn’t have the time, the patience, or really much of a clue on how to work on the petticoat. I am so sick of not completing things and having the petticoat fail on me was not a good feeling at all.

I ordered a petticoat the next day. My mood gradually improved throughout the day. I think it was that night or the next night that I made a stomacher. All that was left was the shirt itself, which I still haven’t sewn.

I finally hit a point during my week back where I just started to play catch up on a ton of TV shows just for the heck of it. I wanted to relax. Of course, while I was watching TV shows, my hand started to yearn for me to draw. I gave in and drew two pictures – on of myself and one of Kelly. I decided that day that I was going to colour the one of myself and was going to post that one up as my last artwork for a while. I also decided that I was going to turn off my computer again and not touch it until I finished my textbook.

Ha. Ha. Ha.

So, this was the week that I was not suppose to be on the computer. The beginning of the week seemed pretty successful. I started working on Japanese again, intensely focusing on it, getting everything I needed to completed. Everything was going great until I got curious about if I was caught up or not with my Japanese. I turned on my computer to check the calendar and sync my iPad with it. It’s alright for that reason, right?

I saw I was farther behind than I thought I was, which was not a good feeling. I tried to speed up my learning, cramming in more than I should have in a day, and, most predictable, I have crashed. I tried to push myself to go faster to catch up to where I needed to be and my mind overloaded.

The next day, my iPhone came, which forced me to turn on my computer AGAIN to set it all up. I thought I would have been fine to continue studying, but alas, I forgot to put my Anki decks onto my iPhone. So the next day, I had to turn on my computer AGAIN to load them on.

Honestly, my motivation is partially shot at this part because I feel warn out and worried I’m not going to be finishing my Japanese by the date I want to be done by (the 20th). I feel like I sacrificed the pre-studying I need to do before each lesson to get them done faster. I don’t want another lesson 6 on my hands, which took more effort than it should have for me.

I’m not just warn out from that, but also because I’ve been using Japanese pretty actively the past few days. One of my friends on Twitter was talking to someone who was Japanese and I couldn’t help but take advantage of talking to the person in Japanese! The person appears to be a HUGE Pokémon fan, which makes it easy for me to come up with topics to talk about. It does honestly partially motivate me to learn more, but distracts me at the same time because I don’t want to be forgotten and I would love to establish a decent friendship with the person where we talk occasionally.

I finally decided today that I will screw over the “no computer” thing…hopefully only for today. I’m worn out and I need some distraction.

…and that’s about it. Related to breaks and studying, that is.