It's fairly easy for me (plenty of practice) to come out and say I have anxiety, and that it affects me in real life, and that is sucks, and that Sindome has piqued my anxiety many times in the past. However, I want to acknowledge that this isn't an easy thing for everyone to come out and say. I'm truly pleased at the outpouring of support I've read in this thread, with folx putting themselves out there as they have.
My own experience: I have rarely had anxiety in relation to an IC situation where something bad was happening to my character or my character was put in a difficult situation. I think this is because I have put others in conflict so many times, with no ill will toward them OOCly, that my default mode is to assume best intentions and assume that everyone else is putting my in difficult situations because that is what their characters would do and because that is what is best for roleplay.
That's not to say I have never experienced anxiety while playing Sindome, because that has happened plenty. When I was playing, my anxiety would mainly be focused around the terrible things I was inflicting upon other characters and wondering if they would hate me or if I was being to rough or if I was ruining peoples fun. I've always managed it with conversations, mostly on the BGBB (See: Group Discussion: Feeling Bad OOCly
which touches on a lot of this.)
As a GM it was very similar, at least to start, because GMs have to lay down a lot of punishment, and sometimes that would get to me and I would feel bad or anxious.
As a Senior Staff member-- the anxiety has been much worse. I can very much empathize with the posters that have said things to the effect of 'I feel bad stepping away because people have put so much effort into the RP'. This is something that is very common on the GM side as well. I know I've felt it. I've pushed myself to be up past bedtime, or on during work, or skipped working out to GM, or responded to messages in the middle of the night.
On my end as a Senior Staffer, it's usually emails, staff issues, player blow ups, internet trolls, difficult players, staff drama, player drama, etc. All of these things very much pique my anxiety, as I'm a person who, in case you haven't realized, prefers harmony (Cooperative Competition).
Let me tell you all, what I tell myself and what I tell the staff when this comes up:
Sindome isn't going anywhere. It's been around for 23 years and I've only been around for 80% of that. I've only been GMing for 70% of it. I've only been coding for 65% of it. And I've only been a senior staffer for 50% of it. The game was fine before me and although my contributions have been many and important, taking time away to make sure that I am OK, is going to be better for the game, better for the community and better for me, in the long run.
It's like putting your mask on first when the airplane is having a problem before putting on someone elses, or making sure you stay hydrated before making sure others do. You can't help others if your own tank is empty, if you aren't getting oxygen, if you are dehydrated.
Sindome is a game. It's supposed to be fun. And when it isn't quite fun it's supposed to be a learning experience. A way to grow. A place to face down your fears, try out new skills, hone your ability to stand up for yourself, or step into shoes you've never filled before to see what it is like to live as someone else.
No one. And I mean NO ONE. Be it player, GM, builder, coder, Johnny, Glitch, Me, or anyone else-- should feel required to contribute, play, or show up, when they think it would be better for them not to.
Look after yourself first. The community is resilient and strong, both ICly and OOCly. While your contributions might be missed while you are gone, we'll still be here when you get back.
(Edited by Slither at 10:14 am on 9/19/2020)