Can we take a moment and discuss mental illness? :(
Posted on July 8, 2019, 3:05 a.m. by TypicalTimmy
I know this site isn't really an appropriate one to bring such a topic up in, and I know that speaking to a doctor or therapist is the best option. But I recently came to a revelation about myself that ties into this game. Yes, I know that sounds silly but if you will indulge me I'd like to discuss it.
I've been active on here for a few years now. I first started under another username, MinotaurtheMatador because my favorite tribe was, and still is, Minotaurs. On there, I shot out a lot of decks - mostly complete garbage and mostly not finished. They all pretty much consisted of 12 playsets of loosely correlated cards and basic lands. I did this because I was learning the game and found this site as a great resource. Eventually, as my physical collection grew, I found myself at odds with the actual bulk. Wanting to become better at keeping track, I made the account Catalog9000, in order to literally catalog the cards. This is when I also expressed an interest in buying and reselling cards after being inspired by Alpha Investments on YouTube. He has been a great inspiration for several facets in my life, to be honest, and has motivated me to actually keeping track of things such as my credit score and finances better.
Probably about a year ago, I realized I use Catalog9000 far more than MtM, and I had grown to make several friends / known users on this site. So, I wanted to rebrand it in a more appropriate means; Typical Timmy.
I understand what a "Timmy" is, and that it is often thought of as a childish person who lacks strong emotional standing. They are often depicted as having outbursts, not understanding the game, and being poor players. But a Timmy is also a person who doesn't care much about winning or losing; They just want to play. They get excited over crazy large cards like See the Unwritten , Howl of the Horde , and Endless Ranks of the Dead . All cards I love, mind you. They love to find fringe cards that nobody uses, or cards that are considered "bad" and build unique decks around them. They don't netdeck, because they don't want to play what everyone else is playing.
I look at Wrenn and Six and it utterly confuses me as to how and why it is evaluated at $60. Likewise, I look at Nahiri, the Harbinger and I can't understand why people run her and force white when you can do the exact same combo with Samut, the Tested and get two creatures instead and drop a color. The creature may not have Haste, but it also doesn't leave the battlefield at the end of your turn. As for not having Haste, dude you're in red. Just GIVE it Haste?
Whatever, I digress. I'm a Timmy because I love the game, the flashy cards, the crazy combos, the fringe aspects, and the hilarious interactions.
Have you ever seen a player with over two million life?? I have, because it was me. That's what happens when you run Selesnya Tokens + Cryptolith Rite + Heroes' Bane + Predator's Rapport after you double HB literally 16 times.
But again, this isn't a thread to boast my accomplishments as a player - it's to bring up a question I am wondering if other players have.
I play Magic, primarily because I have depression. I struggle with it and have never really known peace. I am actually 30 years old. I know, I sound like I may be 16 at some times, lol. Nope, I'm 30.
But I don't just struggle with depression. I also struggle with autism. Specifically, two things:
1.) I can understand emotions, and I can feel emotions, but I have an extremely difficult time EXPRESSING emotions. I often meet a brick wall and am not sure how to move forward.
2.) I struggle with "grey areas" a lot. Things that are not black and white scare me. I like concrete answers. Yes or no. Right or wrong. Good or bad. I need definition in my life and absolution. Anything that isn't those makes me feel alone, uneasy and often times scared.
I am self-aware enough to realize that the inability to understand and process emotions, and the trauma I endured as a child in an abusive home lead to my depression. I know my depression stems from my anxiety of being afraid of the world, and I know my fear of the world reinforces my anxiety which shuts me in from it. It's a positive feedback loop of negative barricades that prevents me from moving forward with my life.
I have found being open and honest, even with strangers, helps me cope. I am actually doing quite well for myself right now. I'm a production supervisor and on my way up the career ladder. I love my job and I love helping and teaching others what I know.
But it also scares me that I will let people down. That I will fail. That I will crack under the pressure.
I use to have friends. We would play D&D into the long hours of the night, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning. But that group, and several others, disbanded. Nobody has the time anymore with life, family, kids, and jobs. I understand.
So when I turned to Magic, it was because I could build a deck of fantasy cards that do amazing things and bring them to work or my LGS and play and have fun. Get me out of the house and interact with others.
But as time moves on, I find that this one simple pleasure now causes me anxiety.
The cost of the decks, the time of deck building, scouring the internet for the right set pieces, being told how shit my ideas are - despite them working in real life...
Then I go to my LGS, and I find nothing but highly competitive players who aren't playing to have fun, they are playing to win. You are not their friend, you are their enemy. The first chance you get to play a card, they destroy it. Your games last 3 - 4 rounds.
I've scooped so many times because by T3 I have already taken 12 or 16 damage and they have another 11 sitting on the battlefield and I have one creature. It's gotten so bad that I don't even bother showing up anymore.
Unless I spend thousands of dollars on netdecks, I can't even play. So... I don't.
Now one of the few facets in my life that actually brought me joy brings me tears and depression. I sit here trying to build a deck that can stand a chance, and it spikes my anxiety to the point I give up.
And this made me realize something...
Players use to play to have fun. Now players play to win. People don't care about enjoyment anymore. People don't want to sit down for an afternoon, crack some packs, play a few games and laugh the nights away.
They want to beat you down, insult you, drag your name through the mud, and tell you to "get good".
Yet these same people acquire their "skill" by spending a few hundred dollars on a deck they saw online.
All of these formats expect a Turn 3 win. It's like... If you don't want me to play the game with you, why am I even wasting my time sitting here? If all you wanted to do is get the gratification of being able to say HAHAHA LOOK AT THIS LOSER I WON I BEAT HIM SO BADLY HAHAHA then how about I just not even shuffle and you can have your little celebratory ego stroking by yourself?
I see it everywhere; Not just in my LGS. My roommate is like this, too. An incredibly toxic player who will shit on everything he can the first chance he gets, even if he actually loses quite often. I see this online, on Arena, and everywhere.
I feel like Magic, as a community, has become so aggressive that you can not simply sit down and play anymore for fun, and that breaks my heart. :(
Due to my depression, my struggle with emotions, and my fear of entering something I don't know it is very difficult for me to make friends. Currently, I have one friend and he's not the best kind of person in the world, let's just put it like that.
Do you remember the shooting in Sweden at the Mosques? Yeah. He still makes jokes about it.
He's the only friend I've got, and honestly I only speak with him because he speaks with me... I just ignore his blatant racism and sexism because I'm lonely.
I try to go out and do other things, but it seems like the world is in isolation. Perhaps I am? I'm not really sure. I feel like I am in a box, viewing the world turn and rage onward, observing it through a window and there is nothing I can do about it. I often feel trapped within my own life with no way out. And that, unfortunately, causes me to consider...
I have no friends that really matter, no loved ones, no passions, no hobbies, no interests... half of my family is dead while the other half is currently dying of an incurable degenerative disease.
The older I get, the more I realize how little I have. The older I get, the more I realize none of this actually matters. And the older I get, the more I realize I'm just tired of the constant battle.
It's not that I want to die, it's that I want to escape.
You can't escape your own life...
...but you can escape life, itself.
I just needed to get that off my chest. Whether this thread is deleted, have comments turned off, moved elsewhere I don't care.
Ban me, revoke my account, whatever.
I just needed to say it. Get it off my chest and lift the weight off of my soul.
Although, I truly do feel this community is going in a darker direction and I am not sure how much longer I want to be apart of it. This website is great and has a ton of wonderful resource, and most of the users on this site are fantastic people.
But overall, as a whole, the mentality of this game's community has been growing darker, more hostile, and frankly just outright insulting. As more and more players expect to win by T3 or sooner, the game becomes more and more toxic with regards to you can no longer just sit down and play and have fun.
Agree, disagree, have no opinion - I don't really care. It needed to be said, and most people already hate me so I figured I'll be the bad guy and say it.
Thanks for reading.
It's been my observation that as time passes, all games become like this - the playerbase overall improves and absorbs knowledge. In League of Legends, TP ganks were a revolutionary pro play in season 4 - now everyone knows them. In RuneScape, people with level 99s were gods - now everyone has one. I don't see Magic as any different - people who used to just want to play something like dinosaur tribal eventually get deeper into the game and build highly efficient, deterministic-quick-kill decks.
It's unfortunate that some people have a shitty attitude towards winning and sportsmanship, but you know, I don't think that it's fundamentally wrong for people to become competitive.
I mostly play in a casual playgroup. We used to all have shitty $40 decks that were terribly built. Now we mostly play "known" Modern decks, running the gamut from dredge to Grixis control to burn.
Along the way, something was lost - the opportunity to brew literally anything you wanted. People had very cute ideas for decks and we were all about thematics. Now if I brought something like a "flying tribal" deck to my playgroup, it'd get completely crushed. I have to build an actual working deck.
Is that unfortunate? Maybe to some people, but I don't really find it that way. I enjoy the more intense play that resulted from getting better and having better decks, and I still find opportunities to incorporate my personal preferences wherever I can. High-powered Magic has its own joy.
If you want to just crack some packs and laugh the night away, limited sounds like your cup of tea. A lot of the best Magic is played by getting a group of people and building a cube together.
I'm sorry to hear about your problems. I hope you find peace and wish you the best of luck.
July 8, 2019 3:48 a.m.
I'll admit bad apple is by far my favorite song, I have been building a playlist on youtube of just many people singing their take on it.
Now the part of the mtg community growing in toxicity I'd have to argue isn't true, it has always had some form of toxicity in varying pockets, just the element of mana screw and the color red in the game can just make some people mad naturally, especially when both happen at the same time. it may just feel like it's growing because the playerbase is in fact growing and with that so are prize pools and the desire to win said prize pools, I have gotten close to a pro tour entry and I'd have to say that feeling leading up into the finals was intoxicating (I would so go all out to win and in vs a small kid, no mercy) definitely the best feeling to chase after. I do admit the most toxic people to the game I've come across when playing was more the people who liked to play the janky hydra deck, the heavily budget banding is the best mechanic guy, and the I can't win without dumping hundreds of dollars into one deck. Then again I have found myself playing off meta builds of good decks or just straight weird decks that more often than not just happens to ruin the slightly off competitive decks, so off meta the competitive players get annoyed that they lost, but tuned such that the untuned still thinks it's a net deck and complain. (may have tangented a bit)
Now the anxiety part for doing other hobbies have you tried a mmo? I raid with honestly a weird hodgepodge of people with various issues, from just being old and retired, actively fighting cancer and has a massive fear of being scolded or ruining the fun for others with how bad they are, or being a veteran with related medical/mental issues. I'll admit it is quite the challenge to get them to improve at the game so they can kill newer and newer bosses, but it's technically a much lower barrier to get into as a hobby than trying to find a playgroup for some physical game.
Now the whole emotion difficulty thing (terrible advice ahead), it maybe a ton of work (and honestly very painful if you actually succeed to the point of just wanting it to go back) but there was a point I tried acquiring my emotions from the mental brick wall by following an idea I got from a route of katawa shoujo, destroying oneself that built the wall to hopefully have something to rebuild to improve. It is most likely the wall is in fact your emotions acting to protect you from what is on the other side, kind of a Pandora's box, but yeah the moment you manage to open it you will experience a pain similar to chugging cold water when you're very dehydrated, but along the way I have to admit to having a lot more energy and general enjoyment of stuff (but still terrible advice).
July 8, 2019 6:01 a.m.
For me, getting away from hugging an emotional wall has been difficult - though only the first few steps. I tried my hands at creating stuff and engaging people with my creations. Magic deckbuilding has been a way, but you have to go a step further - I am now trying to build a board game and being involved in that creative community has led me to get to know a lot more people than usual and be more happy overall.
In Magic what I have done is built the first cube in my shop, regularly take part in Limited events and becoming a limited specialist and some casual commander. All focusing on creating and discussing possibilities.
So, my 2 cents, for both Magic and real-life would be to create and show it off. There are few creators in this world and whenever you create something you generate attention. Try your hand at different communities - MMOs, cosplaying, board gaming, any sport.
July 8, 2019 7:44 a.m.
I'm at work now so I can't really dive into this yet, I may come back to it later, but I can tell you something that helped me deal with my need to make fun decks in a group that evolved passed that point: I taught new players the game. New players don't have a good gauge of what's good or bad and they tend to go for the things they think are cool or the things that look fun. They're the perfect people to play your Goblin Game / Plague of Vermin + Worst Fears / Mindslaver deck against.
July 8, 2019 10:11 a.m.
Wow, I totally feel you on this. Are you in Chicago by chance? I'd love to play some jank magic with you.
July 8, 2019 11:59 a.m.
At work on phone, so I can't say much at the moment. I will come back for a longer response, but know that you are heard and valued.
July 8, 2019 1:27 p.m.
Do any of the other people at your LGS feel like the environment's gotten toxic? If my experience is any guide, there would be at least a couple of other people willing to slam together a awesome jank deck and just have fun for an afternoon. Find out if anyone else has any different hobbies or interests, and tag along with them.
As you mentioned, talk to a specialist. And know that you're valued and respected around here.
I have close friends and family with autism and depression, so I know what they can do to a person.
July 8, 2019 3:04 p.m.
As one of the people frequently telling people "git gud", it isn't meant to berate or disparage much of the time when I say it. I'm sorry to say that I have never stopped to think about how it may affect others. I have little tolerance for people not running interaction and then being upset that their opponent won. Most of the time it is meant simply to encourage people to interact with their opponents and not complain about their opponent's "non-interactive deck" interaction is a 2-way street. If I have ever said those words to you and you took it to heart, I apologize. You may want to consider also that others may not have been intending to be condescending with similar expressions.
You sound like you are getting disenchanted with MtG, I would suggest either switching formats, making it clear when you go to your LGS that you are hoping to jam some casual games, or finding a group with a similar mentality to yours. As a parent of someone on the spectrum and having social anxiety myself, I realize that expressing how you want to play to the exclusion of others or meeting new people are stressful events. In the long run it is going to be better for you and for your enjoyment of a hobby to go through this short term stress though.
Failing finding a new way to play you could also look for other hobbies. I personally find online games to have enough different people and types of people for there to be a place for everyone to make friends. If you need someone to talk to send me a DM and we can talk, or play on untap and talk on a discord. Just realize that you are a valued part of the tapped out community and though opinions may differ on playstyle the people worth caring about their opinion will not actually think less of you for disagreeing with them.
(I realize that the timing of the offer to talk is bad since I have stuff to do for the rest of the evening, but I will make time when I can to let you know that you matter.)
July 8, 2019 6:15 p.m.
I would just like to say that you are an important part of this site, a username that I see again and again, recognize, and maybe know a little bit about. I really think that you have a lot of skills, be they in deck building or in card creation, but all too often our skills aren’t enough to play a game of Magic, we also need money just in order to sit down and play. That has always been true, but more than ever now. It is hard to play a game of casual Magic because the game is moving away from casual play. I wish it were different too, but sometimes we have no choice but to adapt. It is easier to play fun jank in EDH, but it is still hard to find a friend group who will play with you. I am sorry that this is happening, and I am here if you need anything that I can give.
July 8, 2019 6:47 p.m.
Hello Im also a magic the gathering player who loves and values flavor and fun over a lot of other things. I really feel for you and understand the struggles of the dark times that you are emerged in. Do you have somebody to talk to? I have a therapist and it has been immense help. I wish you good luck in your magic the gathering journey.
July 8, 2019 10:08 p.m.
Ok, no matter what is and isn't true about the MTG community and how it may or may not evolve, there are a few things that are important.
1.) You need friends that really matter. Don't get desperate on people, but try as many avenues as you can to connect with people and to develop those relationships into ones in which care is reciprocated. If you're not racist, sexist, or homophobic, you're doing pretty good already.
2) MTG is a game played with overpriced pieces of paper that aren't ever worth as much as you pay for them. There's no real bragging rights anyone gets for being "good" at magic. Like, a person making a living off playing MTG is less valuable to society than a plumber, a garbage man, a farmer. There are literally pieces of shit that are more useful to the world than someone that's "really good at magic."
3) Just because MTG is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things, doesn't mean life has to feel like a constant battle or that life can't get better for you. I mean, that's a pretty big jump, right? I'm an outlier in that I'd argue the existence of progress is debatable. But for that reason, and because I just can't stomach the idea that progress can't exist, I believe in trying to make the world a better place. Find something you care about and devote regular time and energy to that. It won't always be fun and I can't promise it will make you feel fulfilled or that you'll make good friendships. But if we don't matter as individuals, we do matter as agents of change. The burden of life isn't to have fulfillment or fun, but to assert your values. Unless you're a racist, bigot, etc. Fuck them. Seriously, though - sometimes life isn't all about you - it's what you can do for others. So maybe doing something like Habitat for Humanity or volunteering at a local animal shelter or Big Brothers/Big Sisters or cleaning up a beach - no matter how it makes you feel, you'll have done something good and that's the only thing worth counting.
4) Please don't kill yourself. Please don't kill yourself. I know life is hard. It may well be harder for you than me and it's certainly harder for a lot of other people than it is for me or you. But the world puts resources into even the poorest and weakest of living things and the only bad outcome is wasting those resources.
5) Reasons to live: Yo! The technological singularity may occur in life times! We are living in exciting times. We get to see how things unfold, for better or worse. Our ancient ancestors would have given their right hands to live a day in our lives. Those in the distant future would give their right hands to turn back time and look in on life today. And you can't know what's around the corner for you. The joys of your future are unknowable now, but waiting. Try to look for something bright today, some splash of happiness. To quote William Blake, "To create a little flower is the labour of ages."