The End of the Dark Days.

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The End of the Dark Days.

Postby JoshParnell » Sun May 31, 2015 4:29 am

Greetings beloved LT community :wave:

I'm both exceptionally pleased and...extraordinarily nervous to finally be returning to you after what must seem like ages to you all. For me, it seems more like a rather long, unpleasant dream. No doubt many, if not most of you, are pretty upset with my disappearance by now. Although I can't possibly take back or even completely explain away the 'dark months,' I really hope that shedding some light on it will help you all to understand why I've acted the way I have.

I've had a tremendous amount of difficulty figuring out how and when to tell this little story since the true cause of my disappearance was highly personal. Unfortunately, there's simply no way to explain the dark months without getting personal. It's been the most trying period of my life thus far, and to understand how I could turn my back on those whose opinions I value most, you've got to understand why. So what I've decided to do is to offer two tiers of explanation -- the first a TL;DR (with limited personal information), and the second a full-blown 'T.M.I.' that gets more personal. If the first is satisfactory to you, you needn't go on to the second.


In February I began having some rather serious mental health issues, likely brought on by the mounting stress and ever-escalating work habits of the previous weeks and months, as well as two years of an unhealthily-narrow lifestyle. These issues at first impaired, and then virtually destroyed my ability to do most things effectively (and with it my efficacy in building LT, although on most days I still attempted to make progress). Only after three months did I finally recognize that I required medical help -- that something was seriously wrong. After returning home to my family and being diagnosed & treated (for about 1 month now), I'm feeling much, much better -- about like I felt two years ago: inspired, creative, far less 'possessed,' far less tense about everything, and generally a lot more capable of moving forward with LT. The radio silence was due to the fact that, throughout this period, I felt totally unable to face the things that mattered most to me (LT), largely because I wasn't capable of performing at the same level that had come to be my norm.


Spoiler:      SHOW
The story goes back to mid-February, when you all heard from me last. Some probably noticed that I was getting a bit too freaky with my sleep hours and general intensity, what with RTB and all. I didn't realize it at the time, but I had been mentally escalating in an unhealthy way year or so? It was OK for a long time, as I was still productive -- if a bit possessed -- until the middle of February. That's when, with relatively little warning, I flat-out broke.

Rather suddenly, my mind started behaving unusually. I won't go into excruciating details here, but what matters is that something in that odd brain of mine had basically grabbed the steering wheel away and kicked me into the passenger seat. My head was flooded with strange ideas and became completely occupied with what seemed at the time to be matters of the utmost importance -- matters that concerned things far greater than myself and LT. I was, quite literally, possessed by what seemed like an infinitude of beautiful answers to an infinitude of important questions. Only later did I come to realize that both the beauty of the answers and the importance of the questions were illusory.

It's a bit darkly ironic that, during this time, I summed it all up pretty well in a single tweet:

It was obviously meant as a joke, since the latter is all that occurred to me at the time. But, as the universe seems rather fond of painful ironies, it did indeed turn out to be the former.

After a week or so of this, whatever switch had been thrown in my brain was un-thrown. All of it left me as suddenly as it had come. I woke up one day, abruptly recognizing, at long last, how absurd most of my past week had been. As you can probably imagine, it's a jarring experience -- like waking up from a good dream you were completely convinced was real, only to realize that it had been neither good nor real.

And then? All of the surpluses of that week turned to deficits. Insomnia turned to hypersomnia, creativity turned to total dullness, facility of ideas turned to sparsity of thought. Three months passed in the blink of an eye. Honestly, I've very little memory of this time, other than of sleeping a lot, staring at code as I tried helplessly to make something happen, vacantly gazing at my LT slideshow, and so on. That so much time managed to slip by in this manner is a painful and lasting reminder for me of how dangerous a recession of consciousness can be.

During this time, I had tremendous difficulty communicating with those in my inner circle, not to mention those outside it -- the ones who I was actively disappointing. I know that sounds absurd, especially now that I'm through it. I feel so, so incredibly bad about it. I took my reputation, the PR surrounding LT, and virtually everything that mattered to me and tossed it in the trash. Why couldn't I just post a single-line message? Why couldn't I shoot off a single email? There's no good explanation -- not unless you've been through something similar and understand the feeling. The forums, those belonged to Josh. The emails were for Josh. The game was being made by Josh. Josh could code, keep up with people, post updates, understand algorithms, etc. But that guy living in my house and wearing my clothes and eating my food for that period...he couldn't. I'm afraid that's the best I can do at conveying the feeling.

It took three months just to work up the energy to recognize that I needed help. Finally, one day, scared of never being myself again, longing to feel anything about anything again, I packed up a minimal subset of my belongings and drove home to my family in Louisiana. They took me to a doctor and, after long last, I shared my story with someone and we started making real progress*. After long last, my mind started to heal.

One month later, here I am. I'm finally capable of returning to the world of things that I love. Hi :)

* Please know that I won't say any more about the medical aspect of the story, especially since it is all very new to me

Takes off super-serious hat :monkey:

Well, I intentionally wrote that pretty solemnly, since neither the community's nor my experience over the last few months has been a joking matter. But! I want you all to know that, at this time, I'm seriously doing a lot better (I wouldn't have been able to write this if I weren't). I won't say that I'm 100% back to 3-years-ago not-infinitely-tightly-wound Josh just yet, but I'm getting darn close. I think it's safe to say that, at the very least, I'm not totally posessed anymore! My brain is starting to stabilize and heal in ways that I didn't even realize it had become wounded. It's a weird suddenly regaining control over a limb that you didn't realize had gone numb :crazy:

So. Here's the deal. I am incredibly, amazingly, unlimitedtheorily sorry that I wounded the community's confidence in me (to the point that some called LT a scam :cry:). Limit Theory means the world to me. And so do you all. I couldn't face all of you wonderful folks during my hard times. I can't even express how much it means to me that so many of you kept the forums and optimism alive during my absence...this is truly the best community out there. I hope you can forgive me, at least partially. You can forgive the other percentage when the game comes out :) I missed you all. I really did <3

The Plan for Moving Forward, in fact, to not make a plan just yet. As much as there are times when I feel capable of unpausing my update stream and hopping right back into RTB 3, I know I can't do that. I can't go back to the old ways, at least not immediately.

For now, for the sake of my mind, I'm going to have to start slowly. Work-wise, I'm in a really good place again: healthy hours, healthy amounts of work, and more-than-healthy levels of inspiration. Oh, and no delusional ideas :oops: So for now, I'm going to come back to the community, keep up my healthy work, and escalate the update schedule gradually as I become more comfortable and stable in this shiny new mind.

Finally, there's one last thing I'd like you all to know: I would never actually give up on Limit Theory. Ever. I suck at meeting deadlines, I really do. But if there's one thing that I actually can promise, it's that I will never call it quits on the biggest dream of my life.

Now then. Where were we? :)

PS ~ Also, :squirrel:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: The End of the Dark Days

Postby JoshParnell » Sun May 31, 2015 4:33 am

Wow, feels so nice to finally share it all. Been working on that for weeks :silent:

Hope you guys don't think I'm too crazy now :ghost:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” ~ Henry Ford
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Re: The End of the Dark Days

Postby Dinosawer » Sun May 31, 2015 4:33 am

Nothing to forgive Josh, I'm just very happy you're OK now. :)

*virtual hugs* :squirrel:
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Re: The End of the Dark Days

Postby HowSerendipitous » Sun May 31, 2015 4:34 am

Welcome back! :squirrel:
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Re: The End of the Dark Days

Postby Mistycica » Sun May 31, 2015 4:37 am

:squirrel: :squirrel: :squirrel:

I'm relieved. Was getting tired of posting the same damn thing into every 'jash is kill' thread! Welcome back, and keep it healthy. No rush.
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Re: The End of the Dark Days

Postby Talvieno » Sun May 31, 2015 4:38 am

I'm so happy you're back!!!! And sorry to hear about what happened - but we still believe in you. We wouldn't be here otherwise.

*hugs Josh*
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Re: The End of the Dark Days.

Postby Cha0zz » Sun May 31, 2015 4:40 am

welcome back :wave:

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Re: The End of the Dark Days.

Postby RAM » Sun May 31, 2015 4:44 am

I am 100% with you take u time, build u mind and spirit againg, we will be waiting with patient, be ypu self.

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Re: The End of the Dark Days

Postby Daddie » Sun May 31, 2015 4:44 am

It is really sad to read what happened to you.. As I am more interested about the game development and the developers behind it I feared as much. Reading between the lines I felt the pressure on your shoulders and how you pushed yourself aside to please the community. For me it was a question what would come first; the release of TL or your breakdown...

Glad you are in a better shape now. Please don't make the same mistakes as before.. health is priority 1!! I mean, your dream cannot happen if you aint healthy!

I am looking forward for your new video's in the future. It is really fascinating how you changed the paradigms for certain designs like the UI.
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Re: The End of the Dark Days.

Postby Blunderbus » Sun May 31, 2015 4:45 am

Welcome home, welcome
Come on in, and close the door
You've been gone, too long
Welcome, you're home once more :D
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Re: The End of the Dark Days.

Postby Lodis » Sun May 31, 2015 4:45 am

Welcome back Josh, take it easy mate :) 8-)
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Re: The End of the Dark Days.

Postby Victor Tombs » Sun May 31, 2015 4:46 am

Good to have you back, Josh. :D :D

I read your words with deep sadness and hope that you never have to revisit those dark days again. Good luck with your recovery and your renewed interest in the LT project.

Please take care of yourself from now on, coding warrior. :angel:
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Re: The End of the Dark Days.

Postby Lum » Sun May 31, 2015 4:47 am

And now that he's back, it feels like the last time we've heard from him it was... yesterday. True story. :ghost:

Virtual hugs & good vibes for you, Josh! Happy to have you back and, what's more important, in good shape!

:D :D
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Re: The End of the Dark Days.

Postby Groufac » Sun May 31, 2015 4:47 am

Welcome back Josh! Sorry to hear what happened :/
But! I'm glad you're okay now so take your time!
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Re: The End of the Dark Days.

Postby Silverware » Sun May 31, 2015 4:49 am

Your subjects await you Overlord!

What is thy bidding?
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