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1) Never tell them to "just stop worrying" or to "just stop thinking about it" if they are in the midst of an anxiety attack. It does nothing. If you could just stop worrying about whatever it is, we totally would.

2) Remind them to breathe. Different people have different numbers, but basically concentrating on how long to breathe in, how long to hold it, and how long to exhale helps a lot. I was originally told to do 4 seconds in, 6 seconds hold, 8 seconds exhale. Over time I've changed it to 5 seconds in, 2 seconds hold, 5 seconds out, 2 seconds wait. Your friend can find the numbers right for him and it will help a lot.

3) Often times you just kind of have to ride out the attack and wait for it to end. Personally I always find it helpful to be by myself with a nice set of headphones and music of my choice. My college roommate said it always helped her get through attacks by just doing stream-of-consciousness writing. Maybe try different things with your friend to find what helps him calm down - maybe it's reading a good book, listening to music, writing, gardening, gaming, whatever.

Anxiety attacks are no fun. But if you can help your friend get through them more easily, he will definitely be grateful to you.

I really appreciate the feedback. I'm glad this has made you think about getting back into gaming! Dear Esther is definitely a very different sort of 'game' (many argue that it's not really a game but rather an 'experience'). I think that while 'traditional' games like Call of Duty or Assassin's Creed or Tomb Raider take up much of the market, indie games like this are starting to emerge and challenge what it means to be a 'game'.

Luckily games like this aren't too resource intensive so many computer can run them (though at lower settings some of the details may be lost). A similar game to Dear Esther is Proteus, another "explore an island" type of game - but with no specific narrative.

Stephen Fry is my role model. He is incredibly smart, humble and (in my opinion at least) funny. He studied English literature, I studied English literature. We both tend to dress like tweedy English teachers. We both struggle with ourselves.

Last year I read his autobiography, The Fry Chronicles and I watched his documentary on mental illness, The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive. I highly recommend both of these!

I struggle with anxiety and anxiety attacks. It can be so frustrating when even the people you love just don't understand - I can't count how many times I've heard "Just don't worry about it!"... if only it were that easy! Fry perfectly echoes that sentiment in this article where he says:

    That’s the point, there is no “why?” That’s not the right question. There is no reason. If there was reason for it, you could reason someone out of it.

Luckily, my condition is not so bad as his. I mostly have my anxiety under control except for times of great emotional stress (at one particularly bad time I had 4 very strong anxiety attacks in a month). Also luckily according to his twitter feed, Fry is doing much better these days.

I sing to/about my cat to the tune of Trololo.

I also go out into the garden and spend a lot of time just looking at all the plants.

Yes, its definitely a very untraditional game. I read a post somewhere online that said Dear Esther pushes closer to art than what we normally think of as a computer game.

I will definitely look into Passage. Thanks for the heads up!

I think the longest, most recent net-break I took was in February for two weeks while my family and I were traveling on the east coast.

Ironically, now that I live with my fiance (who I met playing an MMO) I go on the computer a lot less and partake in online gaming a lot less. When we lived apart, we were both on the computer as much as possible, often just so we could be on Skype. Now I don't even turn on my PC some weekends and only check e-mail/facebook/news sites from my tablet every so often.

Cithryth  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Personal projects and research

Thanks! I definitely will post them, at the very least so I can get some feedback. I just finished recording a playthrough of the exploration/interpretation game Dear Esther and will hopefully have some videos of that edited up soon.

Cithryth  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: What are your Everyday goals?

Ah good point. My bottle is 700mLs. I have a bad habit of just drinking all of the water at once. It's like as soon as I start drinking my body realizes how thirsty it is and just wants all of it at once! A "water per-hour" is definitely a healthier way to go about it and I'll try it out. Thanks!

You bring up a great point with "Ask people for things, not machines". I tend to try to do as much stuff as I can online or via e-mail as I can rather than in-person or on the phone. My fiance has been trying to get me to do more "talking to people" type things myself but I've been pushing back pretty hard. It's definitely something I need to work on.

Cithryth  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: What are your Everyday goals?

Nice pictures, but that's pretty scary! Water damage is always pretty serious business.

That's a good goal and I should probably add it to my list. I'm a 'house-wife' for all intents and purposes, but a pretty lazy one. If there's no house work I have to do in a given day, I won't and then it backs up and there's more to do the next day.

Cithryth  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Personal projects and research

Hopefully the gardening will yield enough food that we don't have to buy as much at the grocery store. Already we buy a lot less fruit for snacking because we have a fully loaded mandarin tree in the yard.

I know some people manage to make a living off of game-related YouTube videos. I don't expect to ever be at that level. But if I eventually ever make enough to buy myself a cup of coffee or a magazine, I'll count that as super successful :)

Cithryth  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Personal projects and research

I feel like I always have a few projects going or at least knocking around in my head as "Projects I Should Work On".

Right now my fore-most project is making game review/playthrough videos. So right now my researching is basically how to use the video capture/editing software I've acquired (TechSmith's Camtasia Studio 8). And also watching lots of gaming YouTube channels to see what is popular, what kinds of things other vloggers do that I like and what I don't like. So far I've made a one minute long video that's just a bunch of clips of games with stock music. But it makes me really excited! I didn't expect to like it so much.

A secondary project is that I am trying to sort out the garden of the house we just bought. It's just starting to be winter so it's a good time to start digging up beds and re-doing things. Unfortunately, there's so much stuff going on in our garden right now! I don't know if some of the stuff is weeds or intentionally planted (having lived in the Midwest of the States my whole life a lot of the plant-life in NZ is very exotic to me). So I'm doing plant research and researching when to plant the vegetables and fruits I want to grow. I bought a few books at the local bookstore - one of them is really great, *Companion Planting* by Brenda Little, that is specific to NZ.

This is the good thing about being unemployed - I have so much time for personal projects!

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