Posted by Michael DeLally on January 31, 2018
In the last blog, I briefly mentioned some issues with my physical and mental health before detailing my plans for Combinus, the spiritual successor to our first commercial game. I wanted to give an update to that and explain a little more about what it means for the future.
In all transparency, a large deal of the mental aspects of my current state is derived from a dependence on marijuana. I've been a daily user for almost 7 years now and the effects it has had on my mental health are beginning to manifest. A lot of that correlates directly to my physiological health - more specifically, my perception and anxiety surrounding it.
I have something going on with my stomach. My physician has yet to figure it out and I'll be visiting a gastroenterologist to get to the bottom of it. Uncertainty about any medical ailment is cause for anxiety and compounding that with daily pot smoking made it worse. A lot worse.
That being said, I've quit smoking pot for the foreseeable future, possibly forever. It's brought a lot more clarity and focus to my life, although at a cost. That cost is the effects of withdrawal. While nothing compared to narcotics like heroin, the withdrawals of chronic marijuana use are very real and can be debilitating.
Luckily, I took the precaution to ween myself off slowly instead of cold turkey - so a majority of these symptoms have been alleviated. The one that is affecting me most is known as REM rebound, wherein the brain attempts to recover months and years of little to no REM sleep by forcing it upon you en masse. I can only describe this as sleep deprivation, as these dreams are so vivid and so mentally taxing that they force you awake and leave you pondering them, causing insomnia.
Now, I've been here before. I took a break in 2016 for similar reasons but I quit cold turkey. The REM rebound at that time was LOADS worse. Night terrors, sleep paralysis, and wicked insomnia where I was literally afraid of sleeping because of those dreams. That is not happening to me now. In fact, the majority of the dreams have been very illuminating, something chronic pot smokers take for granted as THC slowly removes the REM cycle from your sleep. Up until this point it has caused very little sleep disturbance and insomnia - but I may not be out of the woods yet, so to speak.
This drastic change in my lifestyle and mental health has and will continue to affect my progress on Combinus. In the short run, work will slow to a crawl. As I improve over time, work will ramp up considerably and my motivation to progress will return. The last time I took a break, IGEO was completed and released to the world. There's a lot to be said about how marijuana use has destroyed my motivation to build games. As the apathy of withdrawal begins to decline my passion for programming and creating games will come back.
I can only go up from here. I'm generally happy, my health is improving by maintaining a healthy and structured diet, and I'm becoming more and more determined to improve myself beyond just my bad habits.
More to come on Combinus - I'm slowly working through redeveloping the movement and pushing mechanics to alleviate some of the issues in IGEO's mechanics.
Peace and love.