I Don’t Have Three Hands

I Don't Have Three Hands - What I am Keeping and What I'm Dropping

A few days ago, I had three drinks I needed to carry up to my office. I took one drink in each hand and told my three-year-old daughter I would be popping down for the last one. Her response to most statements, however obvious the reply, is “Why?”. I simply replied something like “there are three drinks and I don’t have three hands.” I didn’t realise at the time that this statement would become a lesson I actually needed to learn. What has happened to me recently is that I’ve been trying to carry more “drinks” than I have hands. By the way, I’m actually safer only carrying one drink. Why this matters is the reason for this post and how it changes my life, my blogging and my health. Bear with me please. I will try to be succinct, though there is a lot to say.


I Don’t Need Psychiatry, but it took a Psychiatrist

Pain and Depression

My Sith Healer Talitha'koum, being very sad.
There are multiple reasons my pain has become unmanageable but I can’t outline all those here. But, a byproduct of more and more pain is more-pervasive depression. Recently, there have times I didn’t want to be alive and on two occasions I thought about acting on it. I would never do anything about it, though. I couldn’t put my wife and daughter through that.

So eventually, I was referred to a psychiatrist. Turns out that having hobbies, a family, distractions and the like means occasionally feeling suicidal isn’t worthy of a psychiatrist. That’s fine, I both need doctors and hate needing them. However, the 1½ hour consultation was valuable.

Potential High-Functioning Autism

My LOTRO Lore-Master Ayrthir, Thinking Emote
I hate being labelled, but having them can be helpful in attempting to understand yourself. I am being referred to Autism Services (with a long waiting list), for a full assessment. There is a high probability I have high-functioning Autism, according to the psychiatrist. If this is true, it explains a lot about why I struggle. I don’t want to go into depth here because I haven’t had that assessment yet. But my pain-reduction action plan has to happen regardless of that diagnosis.

There is a chance that, if I can improve my mood, my pain will reduce. Reducing stress will definitely reduce aggravators of Fibromyalgia pain.


How To Focus?

Decision Paralysis

An Acian traps the Warrior of Light in FFXIV
Many friends, blog readers and other gaming community content creators have repeatedly told me I was doing too much. I didn’t deny it, but I had so many things I was trying to do I had “decision paralysis”. I knew I had to take action, but didn’t know where to start.

I shared the list with my Patreon supporters, and they said I should just focus on doing the things that make me happy. Well, “happiness” is a weird one with depression, but if I change that to be “those that give me a sense of satisfaction” then that’s close enough. After my psychiatry appointment, I sat down with my wife with that same list and talked frankly about all of them.

“Results” Don’t Matter

My LOTRO Beorning doing the Shrug Emote
It flies against everything in a “western” can-do attitude and incessant measurement, but my wife told me not to do things for “results”. Whether that was trying to provide finances for my family (which she said she didn’t care about), writing blog posts for traffic, or creating content out of obligation. I started with 15 things on my list, forgetting I have a semi-neglected but useful YouTube channel. We reduced it to 4 Active things and a few super-casual ones. So, what is going to change?

I will start with the positives of what is staying, or having renewed focus. Then I will move onto the positives about what I need to stop for now.


What’s Staying – Positives

Playing LOTRO

LOTRO is staying, my Guardian gives a thumbs up
Wifey said that it has been interesting for her to see, over the years, me get into Tolkien. Nearly every year I read The Silmarillion, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, including indeces and footnotes. I only recently obtained Unfinished Tales, so that’ll be in the mix too. LOTRO helps me learn even more lore in a more bite-sized way. Where my main character is at, I can still play over-levelled and enjoy the questing, without the pressure. Or gather crafting materials without being attacked. LOTRO is staying.

LOTRO Posts and Guides

The Merry Swan Barrel of Ale
To quote wifey, I “get a sense of satisfaction” from making LOTRO blog posts. I am still in awe of how busy my LOTRO Event Guides are. During events I get very tired and somewhat stressed. But once it’s done, I am glad to have achieved it, not just relieved that it’s over. So my wifey actually sees it as being “good for my mental health” (her words). So, that’s staying.

LOTRO FanFiction

LOTRO FanFiction - Caethir - To Retrace a Journey
I had given up doing this because, mostly, no one reads it. But that’s the wrong motivation to choose not to do something. I enjoy delving into Tolkien lore and developing believable characters within it. I enjoy creative writing and haven’t done enough of it recently. The simple fact that I enjoy it, is reason enough to pick LOTRO FanFiction up again, regardless of whether anyone but me reads it.

Drawing

FJ's Desk while drawing a SWTOR Nautolan
Drawing has become a key part of not getting over-busy too early in the day. I’m enjoying it and am slowly improving. So long as I do it to enjoy it and not “because I can’t do anything else”, then that’s cool.

I will continue drawing and saving these into my DeviantArt portfolio. I don’t “use” DA for anything else and I don’t draw because I haven’t added a portfolio item for a while. So that’s staying too.

My Fantasy Book Project

Glasses on a map of my created world
I have four maps, three character drawings, one “burnt parchment” and nearly 50,000 words. I am loving immersing myself in my own world, developing new characters based on my own lore and sculpting my own language. I am not pressurising myself over when I might publish, I just want to tell the story and explore the world. This is staying.

ICYMI: Happier Times is set in my own world as a little taster. Another one will be published here soon.

Playing FFXIV

My FFXIV Miqo'te
Final Fantasy 14 has been my digital “hideaway” for quite a long time. I’m in a “guild” of only a few people and only one of those knows I’m FJ and it never crops up in chat. I mostly play only one character and I don’t produce blog posts about it (apart from my FFXIV Free Trial Review).

But I haven’t tweeted much about it because I didn’t want to put off LOTRO or SWTOR followers. Or I felt a bit guilty I wasn’t playing SWTOR because I was playing FFXIV. Bad motivations again. I still won’t tweet a lot about it, but now it’s because I want to focus on playing it. The same will apply to LOTRO by the way.

Platforms that are Staying

I had to look at the places I have profiles or “potential engagement”. These ones are staying:

  • Twitter: my primary Social Media and, for some of you, my only method of chatting with you. This is staying, but I intend on only being on it in the evenings. This is so the daytime I can just focus on one thing.
  • Facebook Page: for quite some time, I’ve only casually checked it and mostly used it to post new content on. This is “officially” the case now so I probably won’t check it most days.
  • Patreon and Ko-Fi: to my Patreon folk and those of you who have used Ko-Fi, thank you so much. Your support is massively appreciated. These are staying but, my Patreon folk will be relieved to hear – I won’t post something “because I haven’t for a while” or try to make a blog post “because I haven’t given anything to Patrons for a while”. I will post there when I’ve made something (they get early access). My motivation needs to be how I am feeling and that I want to make the posts, not that I think I’m “obligated to”. If that makes sense?

What’s Going – Positives

I nearly called this the “negatives” section, but with my wife and my friends helping me make these changes, I am doing something positive for me. If you’re a SWTOR player, please read these bits carefully, so you understand what I am and what I am not saying. These are the things I currently cannot do because “I don’t have three hands”.

Playing SWTOR

Jedi Consular in Combat on Corellia
For now, I won’t be playing SWTOR. Summary reasons are:

  • Until I’ve had a long break of choosing not to make SWTOR content, I will not be able to play without thinking about making content.
  • Something in my brain struggles with doing the same content repeatedly, which is why I have only done “dailies” like once a month for the last year or more.
  • Newer content is, for my physical and mental health, really challenging and stressful. I don’t want to say any more about that here, but I am talking constructively about this with someone at SWTOR.
  • I have “decision paralysis” at the character selection screen. When I return from my break, I will be brutal and remove all but the most treasured characters. Or my return will be first to my SWTOR F2P Account where I only have 5 character slots.

While this break is indefinite it is also finite. When I feel well enough, and not obligated, or when SWTOR make accessibility changes that could improve my experience I will return. If not for SWTOR, I may not have played any other MMOs. It’s that simple. But right now, my health isn’t in the right place for it.

SWTOR Blog Posts

I'm having a rest from doing SWTOR Content
I have let the team know I am pulling out of the Content Creators Programme. Being in it is truly an honour and I genuinely mean that. But because I’ve struggled to muster the mental energy to play SWTOR, I’ve also had to fight against feeling guilty about not actually creating content. Guilt is not a great motivator for many things, least of all writing about a game you want to love. If you’re in the programme you should, you know be a “content creator”. Clue’s in the name. Until I can overcome the guilt of not making stuff (which happened to me even before being in the programme) I don’t have the right drive to do it.

I also have feelings of inadequacy here too. SWTOR has a large number of quality bloggers, streamers, youtubers etc. While none of them would say I was competing with them, I always saw my stuff as late, slow, inferior and unappreciated compared to those. Whether that is factual or not is irrelevant, if I feel it then the feeling is there. So I’m on an indefinite break from SWTOR blog posts.

SWTOR FanFiction

The Trials of Talitha'koum - SWTOR FanFiction
While I know a small number of you read and appreciated The Trials of Talitha’koum, I have to push the pause button. If I’m wanting to do LOTRO FanFiction and my own Fantasy Book, I cannot also be logging SWTOR and trying to find creative juice for this too. I haven’t done any SWTOR FanFic for most of the time I’ve been in the Content Creators Programme anyway, I’m just making it an “official break” now.

That’s not to say I won’t ever pick up the story again. It’s been over a year since I last wrote a chapter and I still know what the next two are about. But right now isn’t the time to add more “things” into my life.

SWTOR Drawing Staying

I will still mix in SWTOR characters into my drawing. It’s a way to stay connected to my characters while I am disconnected from the game.

Oh, an interesting point: if I had never started SWTOR FanFiction, I wouldn’t have tried LOTRO FanFiction, which led to me starting my fantasy novel. I have much to thank SWTOR for.

Platforms that are “Going”

  1. Twitch: you need a Twitch account to watch Twitch streams, which I rarely do, but it does happen. Wifey said to “close the door, but don’t lock it”. So I’ve formally withdrawn from the Affiliates Programme (before they kick me for inactivity) but I have kept my channel. If I ever return to Twitch to stream, I won’t have to start from zero followers again.
  2. Discord: I barely have social energy for Twitter at the moment. Discord had become a “thing” I wasn’t checking. So I’ve decided to close my small server and my Discord account. Thank you to those that helped set up and protect my server and to others who posted game update information to it. I appreciate you considering my wee server like you did. But as I’m not streaming, and won’t be streaming and I simply can’t try and chat on it, it’s time to move on.

TL;DR Summary and Thanks

In short, my health is up the creek. Trying to do too many things puts me in a more stressed and therefore more painful state. I need to take time away from some things, while still pursuing those which are genuinely good for me at present. Most doors that look “locked” from the epic list about are just “shut”. I can pick them up again sometime, so long as I don’t feel like I “should” pick them up.

If, after all this, SWTOR people choose to unfollow, then I’m at peace with that. You can’t take everyone in the world with you on your journey. I’ve never been one to “go with the crowd”, even less want a crowd following me! While I work through my pain, potential Autism, a house move and goodness-knows what else, I must cut back. This should help me feel like I’m making progress on the things I can do. To those that follow, financially support, verbally encourage, rightly kick me in the butt for ignoring myself – thank you.

It’s time to remind myself I don’t have three hands. Onwards and upwards, yes? Or at least onwards.


All my content will always be freely available. However, if you'd like to support myself and my family, please consider buying us a virtual coffee. Either way, thank you for visiting, I appreciate it!

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Fibro Jedi

A 30-something Shadow Jedi, married and have a small daughter. By that I mean "young", not just "short". I have a chronic pain condition called Fibromyalgia andI play LOTRO, SWTOR and FFXIV and blog about two of them. Social Media has connected me with so many people and some of those have become amazing friends too! As a hobby I am relearning drawing, which you can see on my DeviantArt profile.

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