Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blog 22 – The Shoulder is Your Own


Forgive me Father, for it’s been fifteen days since my last blogfession.

(That note was just for my Dad. He insists I speak strictly in banal Catholic ironies.)

In reality, I’ve felt less-than-stellar about my lack of updates to my Internet sounding board, but the actual reality is I’ve had so little to say. After the “lawl, it’s MS” hilarity that I endured at Johns Hopkins, I have buried myself in my work in an effort to not give it any further thought. Whether that ends up being a healthy solution or not remains to be seen, but in the meantime I’m getting a staggering amount of work done across multiple things.

So let’s real talk.

Avatar was on HBO the other day and that movie is really stupi—

Oh, that wasn’t the real talk we were gonna have?

Even though it’s a shallow depiction of good vs. evil using the transparent and manipulative tropes of corporate greed in conflict with an indigenous people perfectly in tune with the vaguest of glowing-leafy deities? 

Still nothin’?

Stop making explosions noises with your mouth. That’s not helping.

This is what’s known as “stalling” because the last thing I want to subject myself or anyone to is to breakdown and pepper the ‘net with Sadsies ™. I made a promise to myself when I started this blog that I would catalogue everything I could so that anyone else going through fairly debilitating issues in their life would have a place to go and see a light at the end of the tunnel. Like an annoyingly verbose Lite-Bright.

So, with your permission to degrade this into something that would cause you to delete people from your Facebook wall:

The last two weeks have been lonely and terrifying at any moment I allowed myself to slow down and breathe.  It’s depressing to admit you’re lonely, especially when there isn’t a shortage of people around that are bending over backwards at a moments notice to be there for you. I get to go into a building and make videogames with some of the most talented people on the planet; people would kill for that, which is another reason I hate even saying this – but it’s reality. We made a pact to share reality.

You have to, unfortunately on your own, come to terms with whatever hand you were dealt. Great friends and family will help push you through the door, but the journey is your own. The journey takes a lot longer than you would expect. It might actually take you’re entire life to come to terms with the unfair realities of the universe.

It just so happens that the hand I was dealt gave me an incredible gift to entertain and bring happiness to people around the world for a job. The other half of the deck just happens to have a hole in my heart that gave me a couple of strokes and a shotclock-violating diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. No one on the planet can look you in the eye and say, “It’s going to be okay” in a way you’ll believe – well, maybe Nathan Fillion. He’s got Michael Landon hair and dreamboat eyes.


And writing it down helps. As much as you don’t want to be the Facebook-wallflower, you know the type: continuously lamenting their own bewilderingly vague sadness on repeat until someone chimes in with a “u lonely bro?” It’s okay to admit you’re sad or lonely and need some time to heal. We all need a shoulder to cry on, but in the long run, that shoulder is your own. Get that shit out. It’s what I’m doing this very second and everything I felt like I was shouldering today is beginning to fade into an acceptance of circumstances.

I’ve noticed a lot of people have been talking about their own ailments and circumstances in the comments to the blogs and the best piece of advice I can possibly offer to you is:

Keep doing that.


  1. You seem to be a lot like me, Mike. Very positive and accepting most of the time, but like you said, everyone has that moment(s) of weakness. And that's ok. It means you're human. It means you're still alive. And it means there's still a silver lining out there.

    You just have to find it.

  2. I think I understand what you mean. You are surrounded by people that care about you and like you, and you are grateful for that. But when it comes down to it, getting these sorts of diagnoses and news is effing terrifying, because no one can really understand it. Sure there are thousands of people with heart defects, with MS, with thyroid cancer, and so on, but each person's journey through these issues and things are so radically different.

    For example, none of my co-workers or friends understand fully what it is like for me to possibly have cancer at 26, especially a cancer that, while totally curable, leads me to realize how screwed up my health has been for years. But also, they don't know what it's like for me to get said diagnosis when I am starting a romantic relationship with someone, or that I'm lucky to be getting this all done now, when my retail job is running on shortened hours, so I can both afford and not afford missing TEN DAYS of work.

    Thank you, by the way. Allowing me to comment and connect with you on this blog does seem to make a bit of a difference in my head.

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  4. Bah, sorry the post was filled with typos, couldn't leave that here. So, let's try this again, shall we? I HATE leaving links in a blog comment. They almost always can be construed as spam, but upon seeing this on i09, I immediately thought of you. Instead of sending this on Twitter or via email (which would reek of spam from a stranger) I figured leaving this here might tickle your interest and just might be worth looking into deeper.

    I have no words to adequately describe how in awe I am of you, your honesty and ability to inject humor into a blog that essentially bares yourself to all of us readers. You are an amazing man <3

  5. Well, Saga, I tweeted the article anyway :) It is easily over my head in terms of all the craziness that conspires against me on a semi-regular basis.

    I am consistently in awe of what people are willing to share with me, as it boils down to sharing personal stories and research with a stranger on the internet, but it makes me feel a lot less alone.

    I hesitated to make the analogy in the blog, but in a lot of ways, dealing with debilitating disease is a lot like war in way. You can only discuss it clearly with people going through the same thing. I don't mean to take away from volunteer armed forces dealing with things I cannot imagine, I only connect the ideas to better illustrate how we censor our struggles to those not experiences similar things.

  6. And now I've started my own blog about my experiences with my thyroid stuff. Here's to me keeping up with you on the update schedule.

  7. Mike, I don't know if this means much but I want to thank you for sharing so much of yourself with us. Having suffered a few near death encounters over the last few years, I'm familiar with that lonliness you speak of..though I guess you probably wouldn't want me feeling guilty for thinking that it could have been much worse.

    At any rate, I truly, sincerely hope your condition improves. After reading quite a bit of your seem like a truly decent, kind human being. I don't really think someone who wasn't could put themselves what you're putting yourself through for the sake of others. I don't think it's entirely motivated by selfishness. I think you're the real deal.

    I came here wanting to thank you for Borderlands and Borderlands 2. They are right up there with the Torchlight series as the best games i've ever played in all my 38 years, and i've played a LOT. I also want to thank you for sharing so much.

    I hope you aren't uncomfortable with me telling you that I wish I could give you a hug. I seems criminal that many of us will never get to meet the people we interact with online.

    Please take care of yourself.
    Christopher R. (Zidders Roofurry) Adams