Working After Two Years of Serious Depression

Depression at work

About a month ago I was hired at a community fitness center. I don’t want to go into specific details about the job because of privacy reasons, but the job was something that I’ve wanted ever since I began my road to recovery from depression. My fiancée’ and family were proud of me finally getting over the hump and getting a job. I was proud of myself as well. Landing a job, after almost two years of not working, was the ultimate goal of my recovery process. I wanted to work part-time and ease my way into things so that I don’t relapse. So far, things have been going well.

That’s not to say that getting a job has completely healed me. The first few days at work were terrifying. The fear of the unknown is one of the most paralyzing feelings to have, so it was tough to head into a new position and do my duties. However, I know that over time I will get my comfortable with the role and my stress will go down. Anything new is always a little scary, but over time it gets better.

I sat on my butt for almost two years doing nothing, so it’s also good to get up and interact with people at work. During the depths of my depression, I could go weeks without talking to anyone outside of my apartment. Now I am interacting with more people, even if it’s just a “hello”. Work has also made me more active. I routinely take around 5000 steps during a four hour shift, so I’m on my feet more and burning more calories. This is great for me because I am in the fitness industry and need to be more active. I’ve probably gained 20-25 pounds since I’ve had depression symptoms, and my depression medications do have some side effects that cause weight gain. However, the weight gain has probably more likely been to me being too lazy to cook my own food. I don’t know how many times I have had fast food during the past two years.

So far, so good. I recently met a new co-worker who really made me enjoy my job more because she is so passionate, and it rubbed off on me. I hope that things continue on the right track!

Mass Effect: Andromeda Review | Dragon Age: Inquisition in Space

Mass Effect: Andromeda

After playing for 64 hours, I finally beat Mass Effect: Andromeda. I wrote my first impressions in an earlier blog post pointing out the positives and negatives of the game. Now that I’m finally finished, I will note my overall opinions of Mass Effect: Andromeda.

For the first five or so hours, I did not like Mass Effect: Andromeda at all. I had no clue who I was or what I was doing. I was thrown into the action right away, but there was little explained to me along the way. This may have had to do with Bioware wanting to jump right into a new galaxy and having players experience the sheer chaos of it. I can understand that, but I would have liked a little more explaining while I was playing.

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The settling of Eos was a great highlight for me. Going around the planet in the improved Nomad was really fun. Solving the Remnant puzzles and defeating the Kett really made me feel like I was taking back a planet to colonize. I decided to settle Eos with a military outpost instead of a science outpost because I wanted to make sure that the Kett didn’t come back and destroy the new settlement (The Kett wiped out the first settlement on Eos before Ryder visits for the first time). I was interested to see if this decision would affect other parts of the game, but it did not. One of the first big decisions I made didn’t make a difference at all.

The other planets suffered from doing more of the same. Each planet needed to have their atmosphere changed through Remnant space magic, and after that happened the Nexus would send down a settlement. It was rinse and repeat for five planets.

The planets themselves were all different and had different environmental hazards which was fun to deal with because too much radiation exposure would kill you in seconds. However, with life support consumables, the environmental hazards seemed like an afterthought. At one point during the game, I had over 20 life support consumables, so it took away the environmental threats I faced. The planets also suffered from having the same Kett outposts scattered all over the place. They literally looked like they were copied and pasted from other planets. I don’t like seeing reused assets in games because it just tells me that the developer is lazy and doesn’t want to create something unique.

Combat

While traveling across the Heleus Cluster, I encountered all sorts of enemies that I had to kill. Mass Effect: Andromeda really shines with its combat. My Ryder was a hybrid of combat and tech skills. My Shepard was a biotic in all three games, so I wanted to try something new. My profile was the Engineer that had a little EMP drone that would detonate when enemies got close. This was effective for me because my Ryder was focused on long-range attacks. If an enemy got too close, they would be stunned so that I could kill them easier. I used Overload, Incinerate, Assault Turret, and the Remnant VI as my major skills. I also maxed out my Assault Rifle, Pistol, and Shotgun skills. This combination was pretty effective in taking out enemies with armor and shields.

The ability to jump and horizontally evade enemies was a great addition to the game. Mass Effect 1 – 3 were grounded, so it was a breath of fresh air to be able to move around the world in a new way. The combat kept me coming back because it was so smooth and addictive. Each enemy encounter was different and required me to use different skills and weapons to take out enemies with my squad. However, enemies that appeared in the distance seemed to be moving at a frame-rate of 10 frames per second. It was really jarring to see them moving so awkwardly, and trying to shoot them at a long distance proved difficult (not using snipers).

Thoughts on the New Squad

Speaking of the squad, at first I did not like the new characters. The previous trilogy had an amazing cast, so my expectations were high with the new cast.

Cora: A very powerful asari commando who sort of worshiped the asari. At first it was a little weird because she’s a human, but as the game went on I understood her respect for the asari and their culture. I generally liked her, but it took some time. Her loyalty mission was also really great.

Liam: I didn’t like Liam at all. For a serious mission to settle in the Andromeda Galaxy, he didn’t seem to care and his humor fell flat. I never used him in combat. His loyalty mission was okay, but it basically summed up why I didn’t like his character.

Vetra: I liked Vetra and the interactions she had with her sister. It was cool to have a female turian in the squad because it was something new. I was disappointed that I didn’t get to see how turian females were treated in their society, but that’s just me nitpicking.

PeeBee: At first I hated PeeBee, but I warmed up to her. I played as a female Ryder and decided to romance PeeBee, and it was a really cute relationship. PeeBee has a very distant attitude throughout the game, but when you learn more about her and develop a romantic relationship, she gets nervous and is very teenage-like when it comes to romance. I thought it was cute and I was glad I romanced her. For some reason I always romance the asari.

Drack: I loved Drack. There’s something about krogans that make them great characters. He was the funniest character in the game, and had great dialogue with other squad members. I used Drack a lot in combat because he’s a Krogan tank who packs a punch.

Jaal: Jaal is a member of the new Angaran race. Jaal was a pretty interesting character because there was so much to learn about the Angara. They are a race with a long history of fighting the Kett, which has led to infighting in their own people. Jaal wasn’t the best in combat, but I did use him the most because the Angarans had the most experience living in the Heleus Cluster. He reminded me of Javik.

The one thing that I hated about my squad was that I couldn’t customize them at all. I was able to customize almost every squad member in Dragon Age: Inquistion, so I don’t know why Bioware took that out. I couldn’t even tell my squad what powers to use in combat, which was really disappointing because it took away the RPG elements of the game. I want to be able to customize and control my squad so that we are all optimized to take on any challenge.

Quest Issues

One issue that I had with Mass Effect: Andromeda was that there were too many useless quests to do. A lot of game developers think that more content makes the game better, but Andromeda suffers from having too much to do. For example, there are a ton of quests that are known as tasks. I did quite a bit of them because I like to be a “completionist” and learn any new information about the overall plot, but the tasks were completely useless. They were fetch quests that provided nothing of value. Scanning minerals and collecting stuff is not fun.

The only quests worth playing are the main plot, character missions, and planet specific missions. Skip the tasks completely because they are a waste of time. These tasks are essentially fetch quests, and what led me to compared Andromeda to Inquisition. Dragon Age: Inquisition suffered from having a lot of filler content, and so does Mass Effect: Andromeda. Just because there is a lot of content in the game, it doesn’t mean that it’s good content.

My Face Hurts…From the Animations

Many others have pointed this flaw out, but the animations are terrible. It’s hard to believe that a game released in 2017 looks like this. The facial animations are awful, and the lip-syncing doesn’t match what the characters are saying. For a game that relies on cut-scenes and character development, the performances are terrible. There are Xbox One launch titles that have better facial animations. The Frostbite engine is incredibly powerful, so it boggles my mind why Bioware was unable to make the characters look real.

Mass Effect: Andromeda Rating

I had a lot of high hopes for Mass Effect: Andromeda, but my expectations were not met. The animations, frame-rate drops, and general performance kept this game from being something special. I did enjoy the plot and characters once the game started moving forward. There is a good foundation to build upon, but I fear that fans will be turned off from future games because of their disappointment with Andromeda. It will be interesting to see how well the sales do because I fear the franchise might be canned if it doesn’t perform well.

C

Ryse: Son of Rome Review | Xbox Games with Gold

Ryse: Son of Rome Review

Ryse: Son of Rome was recently released as a free Xbox Game with Gold. I had always wanted to play Ryse because it was a Xbox One launch title, but I never got around to purchase it. I heard it was a solid single player game with a forgettable multiplayer, so I didn’t want to spend $60 on a short single player game. I downloaded the game a few days ago and beat it this weekend.

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My review is based on the experience I had from Ryse as a free Xbox Game with Gold. Therefore, it may be a little different compared to other reviews were people paid money to purchase it. That means that my score my be different compared to some other review sites.

Ryse: Son of Rome Positives

First, Ryse had some of the best graphics I have seen on the Xbox One. This is amazing because Ryse was a launch title. The animations during combat are very smooth and fluid as well. I didn’t notice any frame-rate issues either. However, there was a grainy effect that I saw when looking at objects in the distance. This didn’t really bother me, but it’s important to point out.

I was actually really intrigued by the plot, which surprised me because I thought Ryse would just be a hack and slash with no story. But the story was pretty interesting. I love learning about history, and the Roman Empire is one of the most famous periods of time in human history. There is so much political, social, and military history to geek out over. Ryse’s setting is fantastic. Rome itself is very fun to travel through, and the other locations are interesting to look at and play in.

Ryse’s fantasy aspect was a surprise to me because I thought the game was going to be based on historical fact. However, the fantasy parts with the two gods going against each other was pretty cool. It sort of plays off the idea of Romans believing in gods of war and such, so the fantasy was brought to life.

I know a lot of people thought the combat was repetitive, but I did enjoy it. The game wasn’t too long where I felt like the combat was getting boring, so I think Crytek made Ryse the perfect length. Some of the boss fights did require some trial and error to beat, so it was a good change of pace from slicing and dicing everyone.

And of course, the executions were awesome!

Ryse: Son of Rome Negatives

I was disappointed to only fight a handful of enemies. Ryse could have had so many different types of Barbarians, but I think there were only four or five different types. Once I learned the attack style of each enemy, it was easy to defeat them. I would have liked to see more enemy variety.

The faces of Marius and the other characters seemed a little wooden, but the rest of the animation was solid. The facial animation didn’t take me out of the experience, but it is something that could have been improved a bit.

The checkpoints during boss fights were hit and miss. Some boss fights had different stages that needed to be completed, but when I died I had to go all the way back to the beginning of the fight. I would have liked to see the checkpoint be after completing one of the stages instead of replaying the entire fight.

Ryse: Son of Rome Review Score

I was really happy to finally get my hands on Ryse because I had always wanted to play it. The single player campaign was a little short, but the story was compelling and kept me engaged. I did not try the multiplayer because it didn’t interest me, but if I do end up playing it I will update my review and share my thoughts.

B

I Finally Got a Job and Beat My Depression (Hopefully)

It’s been a long journey battling this disease known as depression. It wasn’t the easiest of battles, and it sure took a long time to defeat. But, I think I can finally say that I have overcome all of the obstacles that were preventing me from going back to work and achieving the goals that I set out for myself. There were times that I wanted to quit and continue to live my life in a depressive state, but with the help of my doctors, family, medications, and my own willpower, I was able to whether the storm.

I think the most important thing that I did to overcome my depression was to listen to myself. A lot of people told me what I should do with my life, and they had good intentions, but I was the only one who knew what was best for me. Even though others didn’t agree with some of my decisions, I had to learn how to take care of myself and listen to my body and mind to make appropriate decisions.

For example, I interviewed at a library and got the job, but something seemed off to me. I realized that I wasn’t ready to go back to work. My self-confidence was still not 100%, and I didn’t feel like it would be a good fit for me. Although I turned down the job, I did gain confidence that I would be able to succeed in a job interview and get a job offer.

Going back to work was the ultimate goal of mine because my depression had kept me unemployed for so long. At first it was okay staying at home and doing my own thing, but I knew I was getting better when I started to get bored. I needed to do something worthwhile and help my family financially. I also needed to prove to myself that I wasn’t defined by depression. I had to take control of my life and become more than my depression.

And I did it.

 

Wrestlemania 33 Review

Wrestlemania 33 Review

It’s the greatest night in wrestling! Wrestlemania 33 was last Sunday, and I wanted to do a quick review of each match and the event as a whole. I should note that I didn’t follow Raw or Smackdown too much for the past month. I had some family illnesses that needed to be taken care of….and the product didn’t really entice me. Here are my thoughts on each match!

Neville defeated Austin Aries (Cruiserweight Championship)

I admit that I didn’t watch this match. I thought that Wrestlemania 33 started at a different time, so I missed this match. However, I did hear that it was really good and both guys really worked hard. I’m glad that Neville won because he’s brought credibility to the Cruiserweights and he deserved his Wrestlemania moment.

Rating: N/A

Mojo Rowley wins Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale

I picked BRAUN to win the battle royale because he was built up as an unstoppable force for the past few months. It was surprising to see him eliminated so early, but it did take the entire roster to eliminate him. Some people are mad because Mojo won, but Wrestlemania is the one time WWE is mainstream, so it didn’t surprise me once Gronk got involved.

Rating: C

Dean Ambrose defeated Baron Corbin (Intercontinental Championship)

This match was incredibly disappointing. I like Baron Corbin and wanted to see him get the win. He was getting a pretty good push leading up to the match. Ambrose seemed to just phone it in. It seems like ever since the Stone Cold podcast, Ambrose hasn’t been himself. His matches are sloppy, and his performances haven’t been great. I hope that Corbin wins the championship soon because he’s a good heel, and has really improved as a wrestler.

Rating: D

AJ Styles defeated Shane McMahon

I thought this match was going to suck because of Shane, but it was one of my favorite matches of the night! AJ can have a match with a broom and put on a five star match. AJ and Shane had some great spots, and the match got the crowd hyped. It did what it was supposed to do. It was a great match.

Rating: A

Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho (United States Championship)

This match was okay. I knew Kevin Owens was probably going to win because Jericho is going away soon to tour with his band. Nothing really stood out to me during the match. It was a little disappointing because the build up to this match was really well done. I think it may be because Jericho can’t physically hang with the guys anymore. On the mic, no one touches Jericho (except The Miz). In the ring, he’s lost his touch just a bit.

Grade: C

Bayley defeated Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax (Raw Women’s Championship)

I still don’t know why the WWE brings out the champion first. The champion should always come out last! Anyway, the match was pretty solid, but I wish it had another five minutes. I liked how all three women teamed together to take out Nia Jax. It made her seem strong and didn’t hurt her. I was really surprised that Sasha Banks was eliminated after a head bump to the exposed turnbuckle. It seemed a little rushed and out of nowhere. I wish that Charlotte was champion heading into the match because it would have made Bayley’s victory seem much more important. That was a missed opportunity, but overall solid match that could have benefited from some more time.

Grade: B

The Hardy Boys defeated The Club, Enzo and Cass, and Sheamus and Cesaro (Raw Tag Team Championship)

This match had the biggest surprise of the night when Broken Matt Hardy and Brother Nero returned to the WWE. Even after a long hiatus from the WWE, the Hardy Boys seem to be on another level compared to the other tag teams. I thought that Enzo and Cass were going to win the championship going into the match, but once the Hardys came out I knew they were going over. These guys are super over, and deserve the titles.

Grade: A

John Cena and Nikki Bella defeated The Miz and Maryse

The rumor that John Cena was going to purpose to Nikki Bella was true! Everyone was denying it before the match, but come on…this is wrestling. The match seemed a little short, but it was great to see The Miz work the crowd so well. I was a little disappointed that Maryse didn’t get a lot of ring time, but the match was about John and Nikki. Some may call it corny, but this was a Wrestlemania moment that people will remember for years. It did its job. It also made my fiancee’ want to start watching Total Bellas and Total Divas, so it did its job to convert her to the reality shows.

Grade: B

Seth Rollins defeated HHH

Here is where Wrestlemania 33 took a turn down. The ultimate thrill ride peaked with John Cena, and started its downfall with this match. HHH matches seem to suck the air out of the building. I don’t know if it’s HHH himself or what, but it was a chore to watch. Others have praised the match, even calling it the match of the night. I just don’t see it. It was pretty obvious that Seth Rollins was going over here because there would be no point for a HHH win. Hopefully the Authority goes away for awhile.

Grade: C

Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt (WWE Championship)

This was probably the most disappointing match of the night. I really liked the story between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt, but the match seemed like a total buzzkill. Bray Wyatt used some gimmick graphics on the wrestling ring to try to mess with Randy Orton, but Orton hit the RKO and it was all over. I felt like Bray Wyatt needed this win to cement himself as the WWE Champion, but for some reason the WWE wanted Orton to get the victory.

Grade: D

Brock Lesnar defeated Goldberg (WWE Universal Championship)

The match lasted a lot longer than I thought it was. I felt that the match did its job with the limited cardio that Goldberg had. Two guys went out and hit their big spots and no sold everything. Even though it was only five minutes, it was better than their previous Wrestlemania match. The match also got the crowd back into the event.

Grade: C

Naomi defeated Alexa Bliss, Becky Lynch, Carmella, Mickie James, and Natayla (Smackdown Women’s Championship)

I felt bad for the Smackdown women because I could tell that this match was rushed from the very beginning. The women didn’t even make it to the ring before the next theme played. I wasn’t surprised that Naomi won because her introduction was really over the top, and Wrestlemania was in her hometown. It was a decent match, but it needed more time.

Grade: D

Roman Reigns defeated Undertaker

The match that everyone was waiting for! I think it was common knowledge that Roman Reigns was going to win this match because it’s Roman Reigns. Although the Undertaker is one of the best wrestlers of all time, he looked way too old to be in this match. I think the Undertaker should have retired after doing the job to Bray Wyatt at Wrestlemania 31 because the characters are so similar.

Instead we got an old Undertaker trying to hold his own against Reigns. I was really hoping for a Roman Reigns heel turn. What a better way to turn heel than to absolutely destroy the Undertaker at Wrestlemania? Instead, it looks like Reigns is still a babyface? It’s hard to describe what his character is because he’s pushed like a face, but gets heel reactions.

After Roman won, it felt like a dud. I knew it was coming, but it was just weird to see the fireworks and explosions after Roman winning. I mean the Undertaker just lost. Undertaker did get a nice sendoff after the match, but I think the damage had already been done.

Grade: C

Wrestlemania 33 Overall Grade

Wrestlemania 33 was the ultimate thrill ride. The event slowly went up and up to the peak (Hardys), and then it quickly fell into the ground (Roman wins LOL). The ride was fun, though. However, it did last way too long for my liking. I just told my fiancee’ how I remember how the old big four pay-per-views were four hours. Now every event seems to be a minimum of four hours.

Wrestlemania 33 did its job for me, which was to get me back into wrestling. As of now I watched both Raw and Smackdown post-Mania, and I will continue to watch and see what happens next.

Grade: B