on a long run, on a long run

I went to my doctor yesterday, and told him how crummy I’ve been feeling. We talked about a lot of different things, and ultimately decided that it was probably a good idea to change up my brain pills. This morning, I started something new, and I really feel a lot better. I honestly don’t care if it’s a placebo effect at this point, but the end result is the same: I don’t feel despondent, depressed, and shitty about myself.

“You are very hard on yourself,” he told me yesterday.

“I know,” I said, “I just have really high expectations that I want to meet, and with all these incredibly successful friends …” I trailed off because I felt like I was starting to feel sorry for myself.

“Being judgmental about what you make or don’t make doesn’t help you at all,” he said, “you have to do your best every day, even if your best isn’t what you want it to be.”

I knew he was right, and I knew that it was my depression getting in between me knowing that was right, and accepting that it was right. That’s one of the incredibly frustrating things about depression: I can know that the way I feel is just my brain chemicals being messed up, but whether I accept it or not, the end result is the same: I feel awful. It’s a little unfair that it doesn’t work in both directions, but after living with it for my whole life, I can tell you that depression doesn’t care about being fair; it’s really a dick that way.

My doctor said that I was very clear-eyed about my mental illness (psychologists call people like me “the identified patient”), and because I could be rational even when I was feeling irrational, he wanted me to try some cognitive therapy. “When you feel bad, when you are thinking and feeling that you’re worthless or anything like that, I want you to recognize it, and then make an effort to replace those bad feelings with good ones.

“When you are feeling bad about a job you didn’t get, think about a job that you did get, that you feel good about. When you feel bad about not finishing a story, recognize that feeling, and remember how you felt when you published something you’re proud of.”

“That sounds like something I can do,” I said, “and it sounds like it may help me break out of the cycle of depression telling me a suck, then making me feel terrible because I believe that I suck, which makes me depressed, which lets depression tell me that I suck.” I imagined a particularly ugly ouroboros wrapping itself around me.

I don’t think this means that I don’t allow myself to feel disappointment, or frustration, or any of the other emotions that I think we all need to feel to be a fully-functional human. I think this means that I don’t let my mental illness take something like feeling unsure about where a story goes next and turning it into the Very Certain And Unshakable Belief That I Am A Worthless And Stupid And Idiotic Loser Who Everyone Knows Really Sucks. Not, um, that I’ve felt like that a whole lot lately, or anything like that. Um. Right.

So.

Let’s get started, shall we? This weekend, Anne and I went to the mall to pick up some fancy pants I had tailored. While we were there, we noticed that the big old men’s clothing sale was happening, yadda yadda yadda I got three awesome suits for less than the cost of one, if they weren’t on sale.

Guys: it turns out that your beautiful wife telling you, “WOW, you look great in that suit,” is a powerful motivator for buying that suit. And two others. Because reasons.

After we were finished getting them tailored, Anne had to get on the phone to handle a bunch of #VandalEyes business, so I went into the bookstore until she was done. On my way to the Science Fiction section, I stopped to take this picture of their Tabletop game section:

tabletopgames

While I was taking this picture, a young man cautiously approached me. “Mister … Mister Wheaton?” He said.

“That’s me!” I said.

“I love your show Tabletop! You are the reason my friends and I play games, and I’m actually here today to find something for one of them.”

I put my phone into my pocket. “That is really awesome,” I said. “The main reason I make Tabletop is to inspire other people to play games.”

He swallowed, nodded, and said, “um, would you, uh … would you help me pick out a game for my friend?”

My heart grew three sizes. “I would love to do that!”

I asked him a bunch of questions about the games they like to play together, his friend’s level of experience, and how much he wanted to spend. Ultimately, he settled on Ticket To Ride. He shook my hand, thanked me several times, and walked away, happily.

“I’m so sorry to bother you,” a voice said behind me. I turned and saw a young woman with a nametag that indicated she worked in the store.

“Yes?” I said.

“This is my section,” she said, pointing to the games, “and it’s here because of your show, Tabletop.”

My heart grew another three sizes.

“We order all the games you play on your show, and we usually sell out of whatever you’ve just played right away.”

“That’s really cool!” I said.

We talked about the games that she had in the section, and I recommended a few new ones for her, including Hive, Love Letter, and Coup.

“I’ll see if I can convince my manager to let me order those,” she said. “Anyway, I don’t want to take up any more of your time. I just wanted to thank you for your show, and for everything you do.”

“It’s my pleasure,” I said, “and it really means a lot to me that you took the time to tell me that.” I started to walk back to the Sci-Fi Books, and stopped. I turned back. “If your distributor doesn’t know what’s coming up on Tabletop — and they should, but if they don’t — please e-mail me and I’ll give you the release schedule, so you can know what to order.”

“That would be great,” she said.

“Awesome.” We shook hands, and I walked back to the Sci-Fi books. Before I could really figure out if I was going to get anything, my phone chirped in my pocket. It was Anne. She was off the phone, and didn’t want to go on a quest to find me in the store. “I’ll be right out,” I replied.

I walked past that Tabletop game section, which was absolutely huge — even bigger than the entire Sci-Fi and Fantasy book section, combined, and a little voice in my head said, “it’s okay to feel a little proud about this.” I listened to it.

I’m still frustrated and disappointed when I see a character on a TV show or in a film that I clearly could have played, but didn’t even get to audition for (a casting director recently told my agent that they would not even see me for a role, because “Wil Wheaton can’t play someone in his late 30s,” even though I’m 41, with two children in their 20s, and just letting me spend thirty fucking seconds in their goddamn office to see how I look now and how I interpret the role may change their mind). I’m still frustrated and disappointed that I haven’t produced any original work of fiction of any consequence in a year, and that I haven’t finished Memories of the Future Volume 2.

BUT — and it’s a big but* — instead of focusing on those things, and feeling like I’m being crushed into a singularity by a black hole of depression, I can look at the show I created and brought to life with some very talented people, that is having a very real and lasting impact on a lot of people, in a very positive way.

When I look at the writing I haven’t finished, I can look at the calendar and see all the times I was working on a video game or an audiobook or an animated show, and was on the road to promote Tabletop, and honestly accept that there just wasn’t that much time to write the things I wanted to write, because I was busy working on other things.

I can stop being so hard on myself, and I can stop judging myself, and I can stop holding myself up to standards that are so high, even the people I’m comparing myself to every day would have a hard time reaching them.

Or, at least, I can try, and I can do my best, because that’s all I can do.

*hurr hurr hurr

500 thoughts on “on a long run, on a long run”

  1. Thanks, Mr. Wheaton. This is sound advise and something I needed to hear today as I am turning over a new leaf in my own writing career. Definitely saving this to refer to often over the next year.

    Lisa A. Adams

  2. I got teary-eyed reading this because you described so many of the same thoughts and feelings that have run through my brain. Depression sucks but it’s moments and stories like these that make you remember why it’s worth fighting. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  3. Maybe this will help cheer you some, too. My favorite of all your work is Criminal Minds “Paradise”. Not just because it’s as far from anything else as I’ve seen you do, but also because you did it well, really capturing the frustrated, in and out of control moments.

  4. Hi Wil,
    I bought Munchkin for my husband for Christmas, because Tabletop made me feel confident enough that we could figure it out and have fun. Since then, we’ve had several fun game nights with his family, including members who wouldn’t normally play the other stuff we play. That’s some good in the world that came directly from you! Thank you!

  5. Love this article, Will. I also suffer from depression and do a lot of writing, as well. I have been recognized for several pieces of fiction and I am proud of everything I do in my creative life. I beat myself up for what I haven’t done with all these creative ideas I have running around in my head. Sometimes, you are so right, it is so, so easy to reflect on what you haven’t done, instead of your successful accomplishments of the past. Tomorrow is another day. Thank you for this today… I needed this so badly. It made my day brighter.

  6. I read this and wow, I will tell you first off the only reason I started reading this because I’m familiar with you from Big Bang Theory. I started reading it and thought.. well, this is about depression, something I don’t really struggle with, but it was a tough 2013, so I kept reading…. I am so glad I did! I suffer from disappointment of missed high expectations… of myself and from others not meeting my unrealistic expectations and this is very hard to manage at times… and may even had a small part in the ending of a 23 year marriage. Anyone who struggles with depression, anxiety, unrealistic expectations or if you know anyone who does… I suggest you take 5 minutes and read it and send it to your friends, I promise you won’t be sorry. Thanks Wil <3

  7. You know, having awesome friends is something of a mixed blessing. One of the girls in my high school computer class is now among the most eminent people in the entire field of white-hat hacking; others of my friends are doctors, and federal prosecutors, and high school teachers, and rabbis, and other awesome jobs.

    But, yeah. Some days, you have to look in the mirror and say, “You know, it’s true that I know lots of awesome people. Of course, those awesome people also know me. And they like me. So maybe I’m a little awesome myself?”

    You, of course, have the extra benefit of playing tabletop games with some of those awesome people and showing people what it’s like. So, y’know, yay you!

    But I’m a big fan of pills that make the brainweasels shut up at least a little.

  8. Thank you for this, Wil. It’s very, very hard not to compare yourself to others and to feel like you’re not doing enough or succeeding at ALL of the things you want to do, even if in reality, what you’re doing is considerable, and maybe making a difference for others. And it’s easy to downplay the things you have done in comparison to others, like “Oh I did THIS, but it’s not really that big of a deal because really, anyone could do it, I just got lucky, and anyway look at all the amazing things So-and-So is doing and they’re not all that different from me, so clearly I’m not working hard enough.” This is something I struggle with daily, and I know it frustrates the hell out of people who care about me.

    Please know that the things you ARE doing make a large difference to many people, including me. All the advocacy you’ve done for inclusiveness and making geek spaces more safe and welcoming for people, and for it to be ok for girls and women to say “Yes, we’re geeks, too!” so that people can be nerds and geeks in any way they want, has been a great inspiration. I was fortunate enough to meet you at Wizard World Chicago last August (your Just a Geek book has been favorite and I was very happy to get it signed, I only wish I’d also had a copy of the Secret of NIMH DVD, too). You had some very kind and supportive words when I mentioned I was running a panel at the con pushing back against the whole “fake geek girl” stupidity, and that I hoped it would have some kind of positive impact. Referring to us as “advocates for being inclusive geeks” meant a great deal to me and the other panelists and helped boost our confidence (we ended up with standing room only and Batman writer Scott Snyder show up at the panel, too!), and I’m proud to say that we’re doing follow up to that panel at the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality at the end of this month. If we can provide a fraction of the inspiration you’ve given to people like us for others, that would be a wonderful thing.

    I always enjoy your writing and I look forward to when your next book comes out, I’ll definitely be in line for a copy!

  9. “Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” –Eckhard Tolle

    40 years old, finally figuring out my own happiness. Sometimes a struggle, but I am much happier than I was a year ago. 40 is good.

    Best of luck to you, Wil.

  10. The first thing I had to unlearn was to be so hard on myself. One of the best tricks I had was asking myself the question: would you find this behavior or feeling as bad when someone else would come to you and tell you this? 99 % of the time my answer was no.
    Looking at myself with kindness really helped me get over my worst problems.
    I really love the way you write about this.

  11. Mr Wheaton, I’m very glad you are getting the help you need. And always remember that despite the detractors and naysayers you do have fans like me. I remember growing up watching you on Star Trek, you were far and away my favorite character. Perhaps because I was a smart ass kid who thought he knew better than the adults too. But again, I’m very glad you are seeking the help you need, I have too many friends who still see mental health as not the issue it is.

  12. okay…I had a lengthy comment to share. but the frame where the comment is edited, and more importantly the log in controls, are scrolled off into oblivion if the comment exceeds a few lines.
    Chrome Browser if it matters to you

  13. Just read your January 16, 2014 post on depression. Thank you for being so open and honest. I also read about Jane Pauley (former news anchor) in TIME magazine-January 20 issue, being bipolar. Illogically, I had felt that it was just me whose brain was melting away. I suppose that is ego. I took myself off meds about a year ago due to fatigue, weight gain and hair loss* (*I am female and no Patrick Stewart). Recently the panic attacks/depression have made a sporadic return, but watching you on Tabletop along with other Geek&Sundry and Nerdist videos keeps my brain working. Wonder if I can blame my issues onto an evolutionary quirk resulting from ancestors who avoided saber-toothed cat ambushes by being cautious and fearful? On a more sane note, I do admire your courage in discussing this issue. I cannot speak for others, but reading your post has given me some hope.

  14. I am not one for motivational sayings as a general rule. I only cling to those that really speak to me. Therefore, I only have 3 up in my cubicle that I read every single day. One is by Steve Jobs (from his speech at Stanford), one is from Sam Berns (the boy who just passed away that had Progeria) and the other is by you (Be kind..be honest..) I start out every single day at work by reading all three of them. And every day, I try to be a better person because of them…and I always try and be awesome. It’s the little things we do in life that affect other people that should always be our biggest successes. Look at these comments…what you do matters to be people, in a big way.

  15. Thank you for sharing this Wil.

    It is the curse of conscientious creative people to ruthlessly judge ourselves about the quality and the quantity of our work. It is so very important, yet so very easy to forget, that we sometimes need to reflect on our accomplishments and learn from them.

    I also recently noticed that just about, if not, all the games in our local bookstore were covered on Tabletop. I got excited, pointed to each one in succession and said, “THAT one was on Tabletop. And THAT one was on Tabletop…”, but for some reason in Paul Lynde’s voice.
    Probably why I didn’t get very good service.

    Keep on being awesome, Wil.

  16. 1. I feel like you were talking about me! Well, until the Fancy Pants part.
    2. We’ve never ever met, but I’ve read all your books and have been a fan of TNG and you since I was really young, so reading this makes me so proud for you! (Probably doesn’t help your feelings, much but I hope otherwise.)
    3. As an aspiring actor/performer with depression myself, you’ve shared a very specific exercise I can do too, so thanks!
    4. Can I call you Fancy Pants now? How ’bout Fancy Pants Wheaton? Hey, you wrote it. :-D

    Keep on dude, I actually think you’re pretty great and was glad to see you on TV more this past year. Okay. I’m done being stalky now. Ciao!

  17. Dear Mr. Wheaton,

    A few years ago i was laid off of a job that I had poured my heart and soul into for 11 years. I ate, slept and breathed this job. I worked my way up from simple peon to department manager. I had money and friends and felt like my life was worth living. And then in the blink of an eye it was gone.

    The “friends” I had made stopped returning my calls. I could not find another job for quite some time. I felt like the bottom had fallen out of everything. I got up the courage to start my own business. It’s not very big and not very successful, but it pays the bills and I love to do what I am doing. The problem is that it requires me to spend vast swaths of time alone. Nose to the grindstone, always pushing forward to make ends meet for my family. Even if it meant I never got to see them. I was sad and lonely and all I could do is just keep working.

    Then I found Tabletop. I had played games in my youth. Never intensely. Just here and there, with friends from school. But your show reminded me of all the fun I used to have. It reminded me of what it felt like to smile.

    Fast forward to today. I have used my very limited funds to buy quite a few of the games featured on your show. I have gotten my decidedly non gamer wife to play a handful of them with me and I am putting together a game club that meets at a local pizza joint twice a month.

    I can’t tell you how good it feels to walk out in the world again. To talk to people and smile. And this is all because of you. I feel like a person again and you are the catalyst for that change.

  18. You certainly share lots of brave and insightful things, and I don’t want to diminish any of them by singling something out. What deeply affected me, tho, was thanking the woman for “[taking] the time” to thank you. So often, we operate under the framework that, in any interaction, only the person of higher status’ time or energy are worth anything (in this case, you, as a celebrity.) It was refreshing that you valued – rather than resenting – her using her time/energy at that moment to speak with you. I love that you recognized that she gave you her time and spiritual energy, moreso than that she asked for yours.

  19. Your awesomeness saved my family Christmas. I am a huge fan of Tabletop. The Sunday before Christmas our power went out here. Christmas day came and we still did not have power. I asked for Ticket to Ride for Christmas. I got my wish. My family played Ticket to Ride Christmas day. It was unanimously the most fun any of us have had in a long time.What could have been a horrible day with no power became one of the best Christmas days my family has ever had. Thanks buddy! You, sir, are fantastical.

  20. Yes. All of this. I went through a particularly nasty depression last year for about three months. I grew a beard because I couldn’t be bothered to shave. I ate double what I would normally eat because who cares what I look like? I stopped cleaning up and caring about the house. And I stopped sleeping. And I finally had to take a good look at myself in the mirror and tell myself to stop, just stop, and start focusing on all the good things I was doing – raising my kids well, mainly, and deciding to finish a short film script last year, which I did. I’m not medicated – I’ve never really gone to the doctor about this sort of thing (although maybe I should’ve) – so I guess my situation isn’t as dire as others, but I certainly understand the emotional spiral that my wife, and you, described. Even so, I’m trying to let my successes define me more than my failures, and that’s helping a lot.

  21. I so know where you’re coming from with this post (well not the tabletop stuff obviously) and I’m booked in for my first consultation to discuss counselling and whether it will help me. Whilst I find it sad that you’re going through this my heart skips that someone is talking openly and publicly. The more we do that the more others will feel able to discuss it.

  22. Ah, crapsicle. You mean I’m not the only person to feel like shit and beat myself up for not attaining my own impossibly high standards? Dammit. I thought I was unique. I CAN’T EVEN WIN AT LOSING. Spose I’ll just have to go and edit something and be productive. And there I had scheduled an evening of being pissed off at my failures. YOU RUINED IT. Damn you, Wil Wheaton!!

  23. I can relate. My depression went insane last July and completely beat me down and kicked my ass for a few months. It looks like I had an iron deficiency and a calcium deficiency, and somehow that caused my brain chemicals to go haywire. (We upped my antidepressant too, but I didn’t see a real turnaround until my iron counts got back to normal.) All of this happened when I was trying to pick up the neglected, half-finished draft of my novel and work it into A Real Book. I totally lost my confidence. I thought I would never write again. I cried a lot. But I picked it up again at the beginning of November and slowly started prodding at it, and I’ve made more progress since then than I have in a few years. So many days a little voice in my head would tell me I couldn’t do it… but I’m managing somehow to counter that voice and remind myself that I can do it — if not today, then one day soon.

    I don’t know if this would help you at all, but I started using a website called Happify.com, and they have little cognitive exercises you can do to help counter negative thoughts, improve self-confidence and so on. I think it’s helped me, so maybe it’s worth it for you to check out. It’s cheaper than therapy and I’m more comfortable with it since I can keep all my answers private — plus I can do it whenever I have a few minutes free.

    Also, you should know that I started playing board games again because of TableTop. I got Elder Sign and Castle Panic and Pandemic and Forbidden Island, and I play them all solo since I don’t have any gaming friends. I also have some card games now too — Chrononauts and Onirim and Urbion — and I really enjoy them. It’s something fun to do and I enjoy the challenge.

    Anyway… thanks for sharing your story. It’s always helpful to know that it’s not just me that has these sorts of problems. And I wish you luck in getting better and feeling satisfied with your life. Best wishes…

  24. Not exactly sure why this is my first time here on your blog… I follow you on Tumblr and twitter (I’m a religious Bloggess fan, which lead me to you in the first place.) But I’ve been there and a bit further lately. To the point of not leaving my couch for anything other than to take care of my 8 month old (postpartum depression blows!) The more people (especially people like you) come out about their own personal struggles and issues, the less I feel alone, the less I feel like a freak, the less I feel crazy. Thank you. You helped me today ;)

  25. All anyone in the board game community talks about is how great your show has been at making more interesting board games look less intimidating, more fun, and more generally accessible.

    I really hope that you already have it in your future plans to do something similar with a broader focus on role playing games. I know you’ve done some, but it hasn’t had the same impact. I’m not a huge fan of all the indie games out there, but the “everything but D&D and Pathfinder” systems could really use that sort of loving.

  26. Wow so glad you walked into that store right at that time. Its good to be told your work is of importance to others. Hope you remember that feeling when the guy asked for your help in choosing a game for his pal. I no only to well the horrors of depression Like you I try to take the positive out of situations. Anyway just wanted say your piece here is welcomed I am sure by many others too

  27. Related to this, I visited a toy store in Port Jefferson, New York one evening, and they had all sorts of tabletop games out (all age ranges, etc) on display for people to wander in and check out. Not just the boxes…but the games opened up and ready to play. I don’t know if this is because of your influence (this was over the Summer 2013), but I loved that. The store benefitted from a long horseshoe-shaped counter that ran almost the length of the shop, but I’ll bet this idea would help sales in stores.
    Great post. Open and honest stories really help people. Trust me.

  28. I have struggled with depression for the last 20 years or so. It is a terrible ailment that can stifle even the most positive people. Just moments ago I was having an inner dialogue about how my disappointment in myself was completely false in comparison to how other people see me. Most see an energetic, happy, smart individual that has the world at his fingertips. Where all I see is failure and disappointment

    Thank you Wil Wheaton for being honest and open about your struggle and giving us a glimpse of something millions of people can relate. Together, by sharing our hearts we can truly see the beauty that lies within us all.

    Thank you. And thank you again. There is always hope.

    Cheers!

  29. Thank you very much for your post. Dealing with depression is a constant struggle, not a momentary inconvenience, at least for some of us. I am fortunate in that I *am* able to deal with it, for the most part successfully. Your essay has given me some new perspective which I am sure I will find helpful. After all, I decided years ago that even though I’m clinically depressed, I’m not going to let it keep me from being happy.

  30. I’ve recently developed a similar technique for myself for dealing with my depression. I started realizing that I’d often tweet about the negative stuff in my life, times I was feeling depressed, and so forth. I decided to start tweeting the small stuff that makes me happy, that I do that I’m proud of, the ‘positive stuff.’ The idea is to show myself that the positive matters more than the negative. I’ve come to accept (or begun to) that there will be times I feel bad, and being hard on myself for being sad is just a negative vicious cycle. But I can show myself that the positive things in my life matter. And so far it has worked very well. My mood has changed a lot over the past few weeks that I have been doing this.

  31. I’ve given up on how many times I’ve been in that mindset in the past year – and worse. I was very, VERY close to giving up and ending it today.

    But then something happened that made my heart grow three sizes. And I read your blog post, which made me feel much better. Gotta fight the big black dog, man. Depression is a nasty little bastard.

    x

  32. Funny you write this as I just submitted my first writing in several years. I had previously written some RPG books.

    What I think we need to do is to start a petition to gt Wil an audition. Anyone with me, or know how to get the ball rolling on that?

  33. Wil, you’re an awesome ambassador for our hobby. You’re an awesome guy. I love your books. As someone else who gets depressed, I know what you’re going through.

    You’re a guy I’d love to hang around just to watch a hockey game, even if you’re cheering for your Kings clobbering my Canucks. Again. :-)

  34. What a great encounter at the game section! You have a such a warm voice and you’re a genuinely awesome human being. Best of luck in this struggle.

  35. Dear Will,

    Loved the blog and agree that often we down play what we should up play.

    If you follow my ULR you will see a beautiful website of origami note cards. I did it all from start to finish. Yes, weebly provided the template, but I had to have the pictures, content, add the animoto video, shopping cart and integrate paypal. I did it with a fair amount of guidance from http://www.websitetooltester.com/, but I did it.

    I made only $155 before I went homeless at (47). Now I live in a cousin’s room and have a part-time job at $9, but I still consider it a Huge success and it’s utterly beautiful. When I make the cards, I feel fantastic.

    Feeling good about your work is probably the best gift you can give to yourself. We Sci-Fi geeks tend to just be shy but its just put your freak flag on the pole and fly it high!

    My suggestion? A walking meditation the Vietnamese Buddhist monks perfected. As we all know their country was in turmoil for over 100 years. They had to learn to meditate without looking like they were meditating. So they developed a walking meditation! Knocked my socks off it was so darn simple, yet VASTLY better than anything any doctor could give. Simply take a step and one word/phrase with the left foot and one with the right foot: “bicycle” “ice cream”, or “Happy healthy body” “Happy healthy mind” or your favorite games that make you smile. Best thing I ever learned – no meds, no doctors, no costs.

    Beyond that, go swim in the ocean and enrich your body with 67 nutrients – including liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, lithium, sodium, and iodine. When was the last time your family hit the beach? Go have fun and adsorb all you want.

    If acting is now working out, then change your agent, start bodybuilding and change people’s perception. I remember some geeky actor did that, and loved what he ended up doing. Look at George Takei, he just made his own broadway musical. Don’t live by their standards. Work by Your Standards!

    Hugs Dude. You know you rock! We do too!

  36. If you wish, you can pretend that I am your friend. I am much less successful than you, so the comparison should help. ;-P

    To be serious, though, I’ve loved everything I’ve seen you do, and look forward to anything in the future. I await the next volume of “Memories of the Future” with anticipation – it doesn’t matter how long it takes. Also, because of Tabletop, I asked for (and received) Ticket to Ride and Lords of Waterdeep for Christmas. Such fun!

  37. I am definitely not a touchy-freely person and I consider anyone who is within earshot to be in my personal space, but I want to give you a big supportive hug for your candor. Many of us have to struggle with these things, some far more than others, and seeing and hearing prominent people admitting to the same struggles helps. The Bloggess is fantastic that way too.

    Hugs to you from a total stranger whose cranky black heart you’ve touched.

  38. Reading about your encounters with the two people in the bookstore made me feel all squenchy and cuddly and like I wanna give you a big, giant, not creepy hug, because I want you to know E-V-E-R-Y D-A-Y that you have made that kind of difference for people, for my family, too, and my kids. When I heard you years ago, reading from Just A Geek at Powell’s Technical, I finally felt free to embrace my Inner Geek and just love the things I love, with no worries or cares about whatever the fuck anyone else thought about it. Maybe it’s the wisdom of getting older, too, but reading and hearing it from a person who has influence, a person like you, was a great push for me.

    So I thank you, too, Wil Wheaton, for doing what you love and trying and being open and being willing to let us see you and hear you in these moments when you’re not sure about it all.

    ~Claudia

  39. Thank you so much for writing this! Depression is a terrible thing, and the worst thing about it is that many people don’t get treated because they are ashamed or embarrassed about it. So whenever you write about your illness, you are helping people that you don’t know. It is actually in large part because of reading your blog posts about depression that I finally learned to be comfortable talking about my depression.

  40. My doctor has been suggesting I get cognitive therapy for a while now. You’re article has been more convincing than anything he said. :)
    Also – table games for the WIN!! My sons are 21 & 24 and we all get together to play table games at least once a week.

  41. Wil, I am going to share this post with my husband, even though I am sure he already subscribes to your site feed. He’s a major fanboy of yours; we were lucky enough to see you at the Birchmere in October with Paul & Storm (on the night you “walked 500 Kahns” –yes he watches the video when he needs a laugh.) Anyway, my husband also struggles with a mental illness and feels the way you describe above, a lot of the time. No amount of me telling him not to be so hard on himself ever helps. He changed his meds recently, too… and is functional now but not feeling magically better. I wish there was a magic answer. Some days are just a struggle.

    Anyway thank you for being so open about who you are. It helps him to know that he is not alone. You make it ok for him to say when he has a problem. And, as his wife, I appreciate you for that.

    Thank you,

  42. [email protected] says:

    Good luck. You’re a talented buy.

  43. So, I know, self-help books, but Learned Optimism by Seligman and The How of Happiness by Lyubomirsky are worth checking out WRT cognitive therapy.

  44. I bought a game for my best friend from the Tabletop section at Dragon’s Lair in Austin, because it was also an employee recommendation, and I thought “If Wil Wheaton and Dragon’s Lair BOTH say this is a good game, he’ll love it!” And he does.

    Something you said really resonated with me, about having successful friends.

    By a lot of accounts, compared to the guy watching teevee on the sofa after his boring day job, I have a really interesting, challenging, accomplished existence. I do a lot of things that affect a lot of people. But doing a lot of things that affect a lot of people has put me in the room with people who do a LOT LOT LOT of things and touch a LOT LOT LOT of people’s lives, and being around them makes me feel like an absolute nobody sometimes, like I might as well be the guy on the couch thinking “I should get some dreams someday.”

    But then I remember that the reason I can even stand in conversation and community with these incredible, brilliant, articulate and creative leaders is that they, whose vision I praise on every other subject, see something in *me* that is worth a slice of their time. And that’s something, because if their vision regarding politics or paganism or art is such good judgment, if they can discern an idea or a concept so well, why is it so unreasonable that the quality they see in me isn’t actually something I’m faking them into believing?

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