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  1. Sometimes it's just bits and pieces I overhear, or an offhand comment made to me. But sometimes I do seek it out, when I know I should detach myself from the more dysfunctional aspects of our family life. That's good advice, and I'll try following it more closely. Thank you.
  2. And there I was thinking you'd have the grace to stay quiet. You spoke from a place of ignorance, and ignorance is not a virtue. Why that needs explaining to someone with 40,000+ posts and "Wiseman" in their username is utterly baffling. Thank for your continued concern, and for having something of substance to say. Family isn't as bad as it sounds - at least not in the present. My mother hasn't changed as much as it appeared when I reconnected, but she has changed. Most of the full-on drama is between her and my brother's future in-laws, consisting of petty arguments that have built up and boiled over. Watching that nonsense from the sidelines isn't fun, but it's nowhere near as bad as my childhood. Insomnia is making it difficult to keep a consistent schedule, and I don't have the mental fortitude anymore to work a full shift on three hours of sleep. That was the single biggest reason for quitting, and it's why freelancing might be my only realistic option in the short-term. If it wasn't for COVID, we'd already be back up in New York. That was the original purpose of staying at home instead of immediately looking for roommates - to hitch a ride, get settled, and branch out from there. We left a lot of friends and family behind. NY also has more job opportunities, more resources for job placement, and public transportation so I can get to work or socialize without having to drive. The cost of living is too much for me to return on my own, so going back with family is still the mid-term plan. Just viewing other threads has given me more perspective. It's exhausting being judged, having to explain myself, and getting into senseless arguments. Becoming an active participant feels like a mistake, so I think I'll just observe for now.
  3. This is assuming too much. I barely touch video games these days because most of the time they're lonely and therefore meaningless. I only quit my retail job after my panic attacks became debilitating. I am trying to get back to a state of mind where I can be productive, hence my thread on programming in the Career forum. And my father did not become passive just to cope with grown children - he's always been like this, even when my mother was having tantrums like a toddler, throwing things all over the house and slamming doors when I was only eight years old. She's domineering, and he's pliable and weak. That's the only reason they've been married this long in the first place. Asserting things you know very little about is NOT the way to go about a pep talk.
  4. Hey, thanks. Yeah, I made that choice between independence and approval a while back, leaving abruptly and estranging myself for six years. If anything, I'm lucky we patched things up and I was able to move back in when I needed it. I don't know how I'd get by now. It's just...a reminder of past dysfunction is all. Or not entirely in the past - my younger brother is now discovering how irrational our mother can be, and how our father sits on the sidelines and allows it. I'm the one having to tell him this is the way they are and they're not going to change. (He's also discovering the grass is not always greener - his roommates suck, like mine did.) I was just venting a bit. I was a little anxious over the health concerns, and I've been desperately lonely (we don't socialize much as a family), so I couldn't resist having something to talk about. It wasn't the best idea, no. My doctor says a CT scan would be ideal, but that it's a good sign I don't have any other symptoms and it's probably nothing serious. I'm still on a copay plan, but unfortunately copays don't apply to CT scans until after my deductible is met. As much as I value peace of mind, I can't afford a brain scan essentially out-of-pocket unless absolutely necessary. It looks like I'm going to have to drop the medical concerns for now.
  5. No, definitely not a doctor. In fact, she’s been unemployed for the better part of a decade, since her degree is in a dying field. I’d like to join a gym, but we had both cars die last fall, one after the other. (Yeah, 2020 was fun.) Technically I own the one car we have now, but my father co-signed the loan and covers most of the costs. I worked overnight, so we were able to share the car despite both of us working full-time. Unfortunately, his schedule is busy and unpredictable, so I can’t get around much during the day. To top it off, he starts a new job in NY in about a month, and he’ll have to take the car with him while we stay behind until summer. My mother is planning to have groceries delivered. Anyway, I’ll keep up with the jogging. And once we get back to NY, public transportation will be a thing again, thank goodness. I plan on making good use of it.
  6. This thread is at once depressing and comforting. Depressing because you have your life together far more than me and still haven’t had much luck, and reassuring because if it is this hard, I may as well not worry about it at all and just focus on myself until I’m in a better position. Anyway, I knew someone who insisted on acting like any attitudes vented in private are always expressed in public - that we behave the same everywhere, at all times, regardless of context. (This man was the organizer of a social anxiety Meetup, and I believe he was a fool just stroking his own ego.) I’m not going to fall into the trap of assuming your negativity shows in your dates...at least not until recent ones. Like you said, you’re saturated with bitterness at this point. It really shouldn’t be this hard, and your negativity is understandable. But I can’t help agreeing that it’s become a roadblock and you need to figure out how to either press forward or step back. I’m no expert in either of those, so all I can say is that I hope your luck changes, mate.
  7. I haven't heard back from my doctor yet, which is odd unless he was out of the office yesterday. He typically is out on Thursdays. But my mother is suggesting that even if I get an expert opinion saying I need a brain scan, that I should ignore it because it would be a waste of time and money. That I should focus on something productive like researching degree programs in New York, nevermind the fact that we can't move back until end of summer so I won't have residency for the fall anyway. I can't even look after my own health without my mother being critical of me. Goes to show how my parents only ever want me to do what makes them feel better, not what I actually need to do.
  8. Yeah, possibly. My friend does IT, which might be something I could go back to school for. Still working with computers, but I assume lighter on actual programming. I'll have more options when we move back to New York this summer.
  9. My mother quoted the definition of insanity to me recently. I didn't take it well coming from her, but that has more to do with how dysfunctional we used to be (her specifically) during my teenage years. My parents believed I could succeed at this in my early twenties, allowing me to quit school so I could focus on self-learning. We all read the success stories (Minecraft and such), but for each one of those you don't hear about the hundred other stories of miserable, soul-crushing failure. I didn't appreciate how hard it would be, and I failed many projects for the same reason most of my clients did - too much ambition, not enough money. In fact, I had one client blow three years and $50,000 he didn't really have just for his project to fall apart. He spent another three years paying off his debts. I've blown a lot of money, but nowhere near that much. My parents are "not supportive" of my own projects any longer, which is massively disappointing, but I've tried to learn from each of them and I did manage to finish the last one. That's some sort of progress, at least. As you suggest, I would like to take a break. However, I may not have a choice, having been forced to quit my retail job recently due to mental health problems. I have plenty in savings and could afford to take the time off, but I moved back in with my parents two years ago and may need to freelance just so I have an income, to appease them and avoid friction. Only one or two clients would be equivalent to a part-time retail job, though. As far as design goes - yes, absolutely, beyond any doubt. It's all I've wanted to do since I was a small child. I brainstorm and flesh out game ideas just for fun, with detailed notes on dozens of different concepts. I understand you often have to do things you don't want to get where you do want, but I've run out of passion for programming and it's worn me down. I wish I had the money to hire whoever I needed so I could sit back and be the ideas guy. I had one client like that, but programmers are expensive and I need to be careful with money now that I no longer have an income. You're undoubtedly right about marketing, especially on Steam, which is badly overcrowded. Expectations seem lower on mobile and quality less consistent, which hopefully translates to a better chance of standing out. I admit I have little clue what I'm doing when it comes to marketing and don't have many friends to help spread the word, but there are a handful of review sites dedicated to mobile games. As long as I heed the most important feedback and improve my game accordingly, those sites may get the ball rolling. Unfortunately, my loss of passion for programming means I don't learn tools, languages, or subdisciplines I don't immediately need. I had a terrible professor for Survey of Programming Languages and never even learned C++ properly; I had to research years later just to understand how pointers are used. Thankfully Unity uses C#, which was easy to pick up due to its similarity with Java, my first language. I became well-rounded early on, but even in Unity I have major blindspots, like not being capable of network programming. My resume is embarrassing and I'm not sure I'd have the confidence to apply to larger studios until I have a more respectable portfolio. I've made poor decisions and left myself in a bad place. Maybe I should try to pick up one or two clients, only work on personal projects if I struggle to find any, and focus on myself until I can focus properly on my games again.
  10. I'm a (mostly) self-taught game programmer who managed to freelance for several years. It was halfway decent money, but my clients all failed in their projects and I had nothing to show for the time spent, so work dried up. I fell back on retail, toiling away on a personal project, but I hated my circumstances and although I designed this game to be simple, it wasn't simple enough. My focus began deteriorating and the years dragged on. I finally managed to release the game on Steam. The genre and scope were more appropriate for mobile, but I had lost confidence in mobile controls. I did receive one positive review, and a compliment on Unity's forums about the presentation being well done...and that was it. The return rate was high; people apparently expect more from desktop games than what I was able to deliver. In fact, thanks to the $100 minimum for Steam payouts, I'm ashamed to say that I haven't received a single penny for any game of my own after a decade of trying. All I want is to design. I'm good at programming, but it was only ever intended as a means to an end. I made the mistake of dropping out of college, so I'm not qualified to do anything except maybe go back to freelancing. I've redesigned my game's mobile controls so that even my father picked it up after only a couple of minutes; it might actually do well if I port it over. Also, I'd like to think I've finally learned how to design a game to be as simple and quick to develop as possible while still having some appeal. The problem is, I'm just so, so fed up with programming. I still think I can achieve something, but I don't really believe it anymore. I'm sick of trying, but I'm also sick of being so utterly unsuccessful. What am I supposed to do?
  11. Well that's disconcerting. Damn, I have enough to be anxious about as it is. But yeah, I'll message him.
  12. Hey, thanks for the quick replies. Unfortunately I won't be in a position to move out soon. I only moved back in because after five years, my former roommates and I were nearly at each other's throats. My parents convinced me to stay and move back with them to NY, since they felt bad about leaving me without family nearby, but then COVID hit and screwed up everything. We get along okay now, but we used to be incredibly dysfunctional and many things have gone unsaid. At least NY will feel more like home. I've spoken to my doctor a lot recently thanks to panic attacks and insomnia; I should have brought this up. I can shoot him a simple message and maybe he'll convince me to call again, but I think it's more mental than physical. I've felt this for years, so if it was something more serious I'd probably be experiencing more symptoms by this point. As far as I know the frontal lobes are responsible for impulse control, and, well...I've had a lot of impulses that have gone unfulfilled. Kinda feels like that part of my brain is overloaded. If anyone has felt something similar, please still let me know. It would be nice to know I'm not the only one, besides (maybe) whoever wrote that song.
  13. I often feel a pressure in the front of my brain when struggling with anxiety or intense emotion. I'm heavily repressed and conditioned from childhood that any outburst from me, no matter how minor, is abnormal and a sign of instability. (Nevermind my mother's frequent past outbursts.) My father acted disgusted when I asked many years ago for him to buy me a punching bag; I knew I needed some way to relieve stress. I moved back in and don't even feel I could buy one with my own money without my parents having something negative to say. I started jogging recently and the higher activity level seems helpful, but I doubt it's a substitute for venting aggression. There's plenty of that left over regardless of how I'm treated on any given day. I'm reminded of a lyric from Green Day: "Toothache of the mind." It really does feel like it, but Googling either phrase doesn't turn up anything relevant besides the song. Has anyone else ever felt such a thing?
  14. It's been very wet over the holidays. I'm wishing it would start back up again; it might help me go to sleep.
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