The break up

Normally I would begin my posts with an image to either help people relate to the material I’m producing, or to brighten up the post if I think it could do with a little bit of ‘something’. This time however, I think I’ll just talk through how I’m feeling.

My partner and I decided to no longer be in a relationship.

That right there is the crux of it. Though I think the reason for our break up should certainly be acknowledged, as it was particularly difficult to understand whether or not it was time.

A little context first. We were together a little over three years and for the most part had a great relationship. So much in common, great conversation, and a deep love for one another.

Over the last few months however, I noticed that my feelings began changing. My feelings were based so much more on memories than the future and I’d find myself thinking back to when we had a particular moment rather than what we could be doing in the future. This confused me. I decided not to dwell on it too much, though I was constantly aware of it.

Then it hit me. I’d remained in love with the memories of my partner, but fallen out of love with her. This was horrific. My partner had not necessarily changed, n’or had I. There was no big immediate factor, no fight, no relationship-defining argument or anything of that sort. No, there was just an admittance that my feelings were no longer romantic.

Having the inevitable conversation regarding this was tough, really tough. To love someone but not be in love with them is very confusing, and throughout the conversation I found myself flicking back and forth constantly questioning myself. I was able to gain some respite in the revelation that my partner realised she felt the same way. It’s difficult to articulate feelings at the best of times. We did our best. We ended our relationship on good terms, with the hopes that in the future we could be friends.

I think it’s of so much importance to be ready to have these conversations with your partner, for a variety of reasons. We need to look after ourselves. Staying with someone for their benefit doesn’t benefit anybody, and is sure to only lead to resentment and no chance of friendship later down the line.

Whilst this is a particularly difficult time for me, I take great solace in the knowledge that I did the right thing by both myself and my partner. I have a great little network of friends, I love my job and have good prospects for the future. I don’t necessarily believe that things happen for a reason, but I certainly believe that we can take invaluable lessons from those things that do happen.

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The importance of Stardew Valley

Source: Steam

To kick this off I wanted to stress that this isn’t necessarily a game review, rather an acknowledgement of why I believe Stardew Valley to be an important game. I must admit however, I will probably mention frequently how much I love this game. It is fantastic.

In a nutshell, Stardew Valley is focused around the player who in the epilogue is seen to be living a stressful and unfulfilling city life. The player’s grandfather is witnessed on his death bed leaving the player his farm in the small town of Stardew Valley, as he understands how the player is feeling and believes that this could be the opportunity for real change. This is is when you begin your life on the farm.

Now, the majority of what makes Stardew Valley a profound game is within the interactions you have with the citizens of this quaint town. When you gain control of your character, you begin to talk to others within the town and find that they’re a varied bunch who have a wide range of personalities. The friendships you forge with these people are influenced by how often you talk to them, pay attention to the gifts they like to receive, and how you interact with them in particular situations. Not all of the townsfolk react the same however, with some of them described as having their own demons.

One member of the population is known to have a problem with alcoholism as a result of depression, whilst another is shown to be a sufferer of anxiety, with another suffering from PTSD. These issues are in no way shoehorned into the gameplay, rather they are highlighted through the interactions you have with them and the various encounters you observe. To me, this is incredible. The game conveys the particularly simple idea that if you invest time into the people you care about, you’ll be rewarded with deep friendships and meaningful interactions. The portrayal of these issues is delicate yet somewhat hard-hitting, and definitely has the potential to provoke thought.

The gameplay itself is fantastic, as there are no rules or obligations. You can either create a produce-focused empire in which you grow hundreds of crops and gain massive amounts of wealth, or you can simply chat to others and spend your days fishing or exploring. There is a story, though it is never intrusive and there is never any pressure to further the story as the game will happily carry on until you’re ready to progress. I personally love to take my time with games, and in fact with most activities – I’ll roam and explore and just enjoy myself. Sometimes I really need that couple of hours of winding down, and Stardew Valley feels purpose-built for that task.

It’s definitely worth mentioning that the soundtrack is beautiful, and has on multiple occasions managed to calm me down whenever I’ve felt myself getting worked up. The graphics also allow it to be incredibly accessible on consoles, PC’s, laptops, and soon mobile phones. Plus, it’s very reasonably priced.

This game means an awful lot to me, as silly as it may sound. My girlfriend and I often play together through multiplayer and find ourselves losing massive amounts of time to it. A game that can elicit such strong feelings whilst being incredibly relaxed, is nothing short of a masterpiece.

World Mental Health Day

Source: World Federation for Mental Health

It has been over a year since I began my volunteering at the University of Hull as a Hull Uni Angel, and what a year it has been. When I first began volunteering, I genuinely had no idea about the level of impact that the project would have on both myself and those who I have been able to assist on a weekly basis. One of the most interesting things to experience is the huge level of difference between individuals and how their mental health may vary.

I’ve been exposed to a large amount of people who have been in distressing situations, and despite the volunteering taking place at the same time every week within the same area and demographic, no two individuals have even come close to being similar. Everybody has their own experiences with mental health, and I can guarantee we will never be able to see the true picture of what is going on in people’s minds. This is why awareness is of paramount importance.

Awareness is a word that is used abundantly when it comes to mental health. Is it always appropriate though? Is it still the word to use?

In my mind, the time for the sole focus to be on awareness is passing. Awareness still has a highly important role, though I’m quite certain action and attitude need to be the focus of our attention. Mental health is widely understood to exist, which in itself is a monumental feat. If we continue to focus solely on awareness, we’re going to lose sight of the fact that action is needed now more than ever.

I know this sounds a little scary. Helping others isn’t a monumental task in itself though, it’s a small extension on top of how we normally go about our lives. Sure you can volunteer, but you can also just ask that person who doesn’t really say a lot how they are, or you can get in touch with a friend who is a little more secluded than usual. You can shine the light inward and think about whether you need any help.

People often forget to look after themselves. If you feel as though you need support, reach out to someone.

ASMR – what is it?

Image result for asmr

Source: Daily Sabah

ASMR has taken over my life a little recently and has become a prominent part of my life, so I just wanted to explain a little about what it is.

ASMR is an acronym for the name of the tingling feeling we sometimes get at the back of the head or neck when we’re particularly relaxed, or exposed to stimuli such as whispering or something we find soothing. It has taken YouTube by storm and is now used by millions as not only a tool for relaxation, but as a way of coping with difficulties such as insomnia and anxiety.

It works best with earphones as ASMRtists – those who create ASMR content – often use two microphones in order to maximise the surround sound sensation.

I’ve been using ASMR videos to get me to sleep for a few months now, as I find sleeping to be difficult. Having this massive wealth of content has made my sleeping much easier, and I am greatly appreciative to those who create content for the purpose of aiding people such as myself.

YouTube however, does not seem to understand the purpose of these videos. Lots of individuals are being refused monetisation of their videos due to YouTube deeming the content to be sexual, despite this being stressed as not being the case by those creating the content and the hundreds of thousands that these videos aid.

I know for a fact that I, and many others, are more than happy to donate to those individuals who are attempting to build a rewarding career for themselves despite fundamental issues such as flawed understanding getting in the way.

If you’re one of the many who suffer with sleep issues, anxiety, depression, or simply need to find a way to wind down, I encourage you to check out any of the thousands of ASMR videos out there – they’ve quite honestly changed a massive part of my life that I struggled with for so long.

Rediscovering running

Image result for running

Source: Men’s Running UK

When I was in my mid-teens, I found that I was a pretty good sprinter. I used to love running but never thought I was any good at it until I started competing against other people and realised I wasn’t doing half bad. My love of running wasn’t just confined to sprinting however, I really enjoyed going out for long jogs and just escaping for a little while.

Unfortunately, I got lazy – no excuses, genuinely just laziness and poor time management. My laziness got the better of me and I stopped taking my running seriously for a long time. Something I’ve always regretted I let slip but never really knew how to get back into it.

My friend asked me over the weekend if I’d like to go with her for a run, as she knows that I used to enjoy it and thought I’d be able to help her out. I thought why the hell not, I’m a nice guy and used to be at least somewhat good at running – sure! Luckily for me, my wanting to help my friends always surpasses my current level of laziness and it felt as though my body was just waiting to be asked to feel a little more alive again.

I got into my gym gear and I almost instantly felt awesome. I’ve lost a little weight recently, so I’ve been pretty chuffed with myself whenever I’ve had a chance to try something on I’ve not used in a while. This feeling was great, knowing I was about to have a nice jog around the park with my friend was really exciting me much more than I thought it would and I was thrilled.

The best part about this? It remained fantastic. This wasn’t one of those many times in which we think something is going to be amazing but it’s actually rubbish, oh no! This time, I was jogging around that field feeling on top of the world. I actually felt a little sad when we had to finish up, it was an odd feeling and one that I haven’t felt for way too long.

Being able to rediscover something you love is such an incredible feeling. Most people don’t really feel as though they have anything they’re good at, so being able to find something you feel you’re good at and love doing is just fantastic.

Radiant

Radiant

IMG_0899

You folks wanted a post regarding radiance? Look right there, that beautiful glow, the little butterflies above my head, the wonder as I think “why did I think this would be amusing?”. I think the only person to be amused by this is myself, and that’s just grand.

To me, radiance is just as much a state of mine as it is a physical glowing or emanation of light. It’s obviously an incredibly positive feeling, with pregnant women often described as looking radiant or glowing. The body certainly goes through some changes when a woman is pregnant, but it’s the knowing that a child will soon be born and the happiness this makes people feel that really allows that glow to emanate!

I’m often curious as to how someone can achieve this glow. I understand that Snapchat can help with this issue as it has done with me. I feel however, like there is a more long-term solution to this.

If individuals were able to glow and be radiant based upon what good fortune they deserved, they the world would certainly be a much brighter place – if people could see the impact their efforts were having in a physical sense, perhaps more people would try and do a little more for the world.

Betrayed

Betrayed

Betrayal Quotes

Source: Quote Ambition

Until I started thinking about betrayal, the quote never really occurred to me. Betrayal is horrifying due to the fact that it has to come from people we care about by definition. What a scary concept!

I’m pretty fortunate in the sense that I haven’t been betrayed – as far as I know – but this could be due to the fact that I could count my friends on one hand after having 3 fingers removed.

Betrayal does have an obvious positive connotation in the sense that it has to be assumed that the emotions experienced by both people were genuine, at some point. It wouldn’t be fair to state that all people face betrayal in the same way and because of the same reasons, so we shan’t go down that road!

It could be argued that I have yet to face betrayal as a result of protecting myself from it, with my lack of friends and pretty small family. Who’s to say? All I know is that I am one of the lucky ones. I have seen what being betrayed does to people and it is a horrendous emotion to witness unfolding.

I have to admit, I did feel a little betrayed when my mother consumed all of my chocolates that I had bought for myself – though I wouldn’t attempt to suggest that is the worst betrayal one can face. Albeit close.

People are capable of sucking, and life is capable of sucking as a result of people sucking. I think we’re all going to have to face a bit of betrayal at some point, here’s hoping that you’re in the best place possible to handle it.