Saturday, July 11, 2015

why i've been out

real sad that i have to make this uncharacteristic post but the community needs to know what's going on at this point. even back before i had wrist surgery, i knew that my wrist wasn't even my biggest problem. the past 1.5 years have been my worst in this game, plagued with health problems and unhappiness.

i've been suffering from crippling insomnia ever since march 2014. it first happened at the tournament The Next Episode in California. nothing significant happened in my life around that point in time, idk why that's when it first happened but it did. i thought it'd be a one-time thing. it ended up being like a disease. ever since then, i've spent most nights before tournaments awake in bed the entire night. i haven't actually gotten a single full-night's sleep at a tournament (even locals) since it happened. not exaggerating when i say that i spent 72 hours awake in a row at MLG, EVO, and TBH4. at CEO 2014 i stayed awake in bed the one night i was there so i just changed my ticket and flew home the next day. at Apex 2015, i played it off as though i didn't enter because of my hand problems because i didn't feel like explaining things. i was having really bad hand pain around the time of that tournament (i hadn't had surgery yet), but i would've been able to make it through a 48-man bracket (which i had qualified for with Apex points). the real reason i didn't play is that i was awake the entire night before, so i just left and went home when i got out of bed the next day.

at regional-sized tournaments like Zenith 2014, Justice 4, and Do You Fox With It, i managed to get just a couple of hours of sleep. i had to use either valium or ambien at all of them to do it, and the sleep still totally sucked (~3 hours, plus these drugs don't give you as good of a sleep as a natural one). but even 3 hours of bad sleep is a notable improvement over spending every second of the weekend awake, which is what would happen to me at internationals. the bigger the tournament, the more stress it would place on me and the worse i would sleep, i guess. my best sets of 2014 were played at these regional-sized tournies, but the sleep deprivation was still killing me at all of them.

i used to only have to worry about not sleeping at tournaments, but in mid-february of this year things became life-ruining. i started to stay up entire nights at my own house. it started out only happening on some nights, but the chances of it happening continued increasing and increasing until i reached the point i'm at now - i stopped sleeping completely.  it's actually impossible for me to fall asleep currently without pills. i take ambien every night and get 4 hours of awful quality sleep with it. tons of other drugs like trazodone, restoril, hydroxyzine, allergy medications etc don't work at all. i haven't had a good night's sleep since february or march...

i still went to tournaments throughout 2014 pretty much praying that i'd get lucky and sleep at them - it never happened. i also went bc i felt a lot better back then than i do now because i used to sleep on the weekdays leading up to a tournament - now i don't sleep at all.

it's a very depressing situation and it's affecting more than just smash; i'm not really making any life progress because i can't function like this. my friendships are being affected because i don't feel like seeing my friends on days when i feel horrible (most days). the lack of sleep also makes me irritable and not my usual self.

the problem almost surely stems from me having a brain that just doesn't calm down anymore. i'm a very stressed person in general who overthinks things/dwells on things. it feels like my brain is in fight-or-flight mode all the time. it's obviously stress-related since it used to only happen at tournaments. 20XX is honestly more than just a meme, it's pretty much a reflection of how i think lol. and i think me being a perfectionist to an insane degree has a lot to do with me suffering from this stress/insomnia. if i could just be more carefree, i'd probably sleep.

i've tried everything i can think of. all the drugs i mentioned above + other vitamins/supplements, going to the gym, meditating, getting sunlight in the morning, shutting off electronics before bed.... no results. i've been going back to the gym/working harder than i did when i went before + giving meditation a 2nd shot as of this past week, but yeah no improvement so far. still, i'll gladly hear out any advice you guys have for me -- i have nothing to lose. and i just wanted to say thanks in advance to those who try to help for having my back. i've always really tried to be the pro who plays friendlies with everyone who asks me to + responds to everyone who messages me on facebook. the only reason i haven't been doing the latter in recent months is because of how stressed i've been/how bad my health has been. i'm sorry for that. i just haven't been myself lately.

incase anyone's wondering, i've seen doctors. there's a huge shortage of sleep doctors and getting appointments with them can be ridiculous. just a few days ago i finally saw the sleep doctor i waited 3 months to see, only for her to tell me that i have to wait another 2 months to have a sleep study done LOL.

but yeah a lot of people were worried that i was quitting. i would never quit this game; i've dedicated my entire life to it. but that isn't to say that i'm not done for, because as long as this persists, i don't stand a chance. i'll probably be at EVO just because it's EVO; it would be my first tournament in like 2 months. don't expect much since i'm not expecting to get any sleep. =/ probably gonna go back on hiatus after it's over with until this resolves since tournaments just aren't enjoyable experiences when you feel the way i do. i really do want to be an active top player again more than anything - not being able to compete in SSBM has made me realize how much of my life it used to be. i don't have much to stand for outside of who i am within this game. so yeah, i'm doing everything i can to get to the bottom of this and come back. just wanted to inform everyone of what's going on; thanks for reading.



  1. I don't know if this will help, and meditation doesn't help everyone. My insomnia isn't nearly as bad as yours but I reccomend (if you haven't already) when meditating, if you focus on your breathing and imagine the air going through your whole body and do that for a little then move onto focusing on the birds chirping or whatever is going on around you and hear the noises and just feel the air and feel everything and then just let the images in your head play and and if thoughts of anything else come into your mind don't try and force them away, just realize they are your thoughts and just let them go away on their own.

  2. I remember that even being a complete stranger for you we talked a few times trough facebook (you also did the same with a friend of mine, that even send you a gyfs of him doing multishines, my friend is from El Salvador and I'm from Mexico). Being able to talk with you was awesome cause we find that you are a very kind and humble guy, so read about your problems make me very sad.

    I have cero experience in a situation like yours, so I can't give you the advice that I would like, but from I can read about the problems and what are you doing for bring a solution, all I can said is pls try to keep seeing you friends (and do things not related with smash). The other thing is try with another kind of professional help beside the medication, like a psychologist. You talked about being a very nervous person so I think that a psychologist could help you in that way.

    I'm not writting more cause my english is very bad (Xd), but pls keep going, youre a great person and I'm pretty sure youre gonna find the way to solve all this problems. Maybe youre in the dark but with time and effort you will learn to see in the dark, and in the end leave that dark place.

  3. I don't have any ideas to help but I just want to show support in some way. The only experience I've had with you is when you played my friend in friendlies at DYFWI. He was so excited that he took stocks off you and you said good games afterwards. Thanks for being awesome and I hope you get better.

  4. insomnia is more of a mental illness than a physical one in most cases, and the symptoms you're having line up pretty much exactly with an anxiety disorder. a sleep study and a sleep doctor will help but most likely you'd get optimal results from cognitive-behavioral therapy and anxiety/depression medication. I've dealt with insomnia in the past as a symptom of an anxiety disorder (which feels exactly as you describe--your amygdala is overactive and as a result you feel like you're in fight-or-flight mode all the time, because you more or less are) and very little helped me until I got in-depth professional mental healthcare. it's difficult and scary but your life will improve immensely I promise. it might take a while to find a therapist you click with but once you do it can have a huge impact on our quality of life. from what I know, therapy and meds have better outcomes and effectiveness for insomnia than any other forms of treatment, though it's still relatively new. it helped me a lot, at least

    Whatever happens, good luck and I wish you the best. you've fought and struggled a lot and it's really hard but you're still here. I hope to see you healthy and in tip-top shape as soon as possible!

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  6. Have you thought about picking up running or pick-up games of basketball? Running would be the easier choice. Unfortunately, going to the gym can only do so much if your not breaking a sweat or breaking a sweat/getting your heart rate up. Try running for 20 mins early in the day. Then say two hours before you plan on going to bed you run for another 20 mins. Try to run the full 20 mins without stopping, but dont hurt yourself be smart about monitoring how your body responds if your not used to it. Im a college athlete and iv been a fan of yours for a longgg time. I wish you the best of luck hax. P.S a cold beer might help relax you a little bit too before bee :)

  7. If you haven't already, try taking melatonin. It's a natural supplement so your sleep won't be trash like with sleeping pills. For several years I had sleep problems ranging from lying awake all night in bed, and when I eventually passed out to sheer exhaustion, I would only get 3-5 hours of sleep before my body woke up naturally. Quite recently I tried melatonin and it's worked wonders. On the FIRST NIGHT after taking it, I woke up in the middle of the night as usual, but I was able to fall back asleep quite quickly. The rest of the week, I slept 8 hours straight through to my alarm. I'm hoping I can get my body back on a natural schedule without having to take pills eventually, but for the time being it's way better than suffering on little to no sleep. The best part is you can just go pick up a 60-tablet bottle for $5 at a drug store.

  8. hey. i'm a dragon killer.

  9. Pills/medication only makes it worse and makes you dependent on them for non natural sleep. Stop taking them. You need natural healing. Meditation, exercise, good healthy natural food, meditation, cannabis, yoga, etc. Seriously. I hope you read this. Also don't use electronics too much. If you have android, download twilight. Its an app that changes your screen color to red because blue light before we sleep disrupts our sleep rythym

  10. hey i tried to post before but im not sure if it went thru or what cause i dont see it. i feel for you. tho i dont know u, i wanna give my input and hopefully i can be of help. as you probably know, all the sleep med pills cause cancer, so it's best to avoid them if possible. please look into natural remedies. when i would have trouble sleeping, i would dip a cotton swab in lavender and put it next to my pillow. lavender is associated with drowsiness and helping people sleep. it can be picked up at a local cvs. camomile (spelling?) tea as well helps with sleep if u sip it before bed. i drink it all the time. also, this sounds like anxiety. you should take a probiotic every day. and eat yogurt everyday. it helps with the good bacteria in your gut which has been directly linked to helping the mind deal with stress and curing anxiety problems. hope i can help.

  11. Hey Hax,
    I too used to suffer from insomnia and I wanted to give some advice based off of my experience to help you out.

    Back in college, I would sometimes experience insomnia before midterm/final exams. I think what you and I experience is
    performance-related anxiety which leads to insomnia. Because I was worried/scared about not doing well on an important test, I would stress out the night before the exam and sometimes not get a minute of sleep. When an episode like this happens, we fall into a dreaded negative-feedback loop. This is where we start worrying about things like, if I don't get some sleep I will not be able to do well on my exam. So you are trying to 'force' yourself to sleep so that you can perform. But since you have you are worried so much about doing well it adds to the stress and prevents your body from relaxing into a peaceful slumber. This would also lead to me to getting angry at myself and my inability to sleep,which would further wake me up and prevent me from sleeping.
    Once that occurs it was usually game over for the night and I would have to just stay up and take my exam in the early morning (usually with some coffee/redbull to keep my brain functioning). It really sucked :(. Sleep meds really did not help at all. I am a really light sleeper so if my earplugs failed I sometimes got really agitated and had trouble sleeping. But I didn't give up and I managed to get through it in the end and overall did well.

    Importantly above I said I had performance-related anxiety which caused insomnia. In the beginning I thought insomnia was my biggest problem. But I later learned that in most cases, insomnia is the result of some other problem. Unless you have insomnia due to physical/medical reasons (e.g. severe back pain, restless-leg, life trauma, etc.), the cause of insomnia is usually due to mental health (depression, stress, anxiety, etc.). You must do some introspection to identify what is causing you so much stress/anxiety and work to resolve that. You will have to accept that fact that at the end of the day exams/tournaments are not worth sacrificing your health and well-being. Win or lose, as long as you have do your best and have a great time then its fine. Also there will always be some days that you dont get much sleep. It happens to everyone. But if you know under what conditions the problem arises then you can better approach the situation and hopefully mitigate/resolve it.

    Sorry for the long wall of text but hopefully this helps. Besides working on good sleep hygiene, I highly recommend looking up Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Good luck! Let us know how it goes. :)

  12. Hey Hax.
    I don't have any advice but you were at a local Philly tournament and played friendlies with my friend and I for like an hour even though we were both scrubs. You're a great pro and I'll always remember that which is why I will root for you at every tournament! Hope that you find a peaceful nights rest soon.

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  14. Hey Hax, really sorry to hear about this. I don't know if you are doing better now, but my sister has been going through the same thing for the last 5-6 years, I would love to discuss it with you (what your symptoms are,etc.), because my family has gained a lot of knowledge about insomnia and chronic illness. If you are taking ambien now, I suggest you ween off of it, and use some natural supplements (I Know that seems impossible, you get to the point where you are so dependent on sleeping pills yet they do not give any decent sleep). Long term use of ambien can destroy your kidney and liver, because it gives you heavy metals which takes years to process out of your body. There are some tips I can give you that might be helpful for your situation, and if it's an offchance that you have what my sister has (Lyme's Disease). You might have to go to Lyme's specialist which will probably use some heavy doses of a specific strain antibiotics depending on the type of Lyme's you have. The problem is that if you have Lyme's disease (which does affect sleep severely) the Lyme bacteria hibernates when there is any type of threat, and through DNA transference it shows all of the co-infections how to avoid your immune system. This makes it incredibly difficult to get a positive test result leading to many false-negative test results. There is a really good doctor that I can give you the name and number of that does consultation over skype, who has had Lyme's and recovered from it. Okay now that we got that out of the way. Tricks that I have found to help myself (who also struggles with insomnia) and my sister sleep is a few different types of tricks. The first one to try is to stop eating at 5:00 PM and try to eat breakfast when you wake up. This overrides your circadian cycle (sun cycle). Not to mention you should be getting about 10 minutes of sun in the morning every day even if it feels like it doesn't help. Next thing to do is to get a few sleeping supplements, ashgwanda, passionflower, and melatonin are good. However don't use them until you look up the drug interactions between those supplements and the sleeping pills you are taking. It's also important to make sure you don't use any electronics an hour before you go to sleep. If you are having trouble with anxiety try St. John's Wort (make sure to look at the drug interactions of the supplements with the current drugs you are taking before you take this supplement). Working out everyday helps for sure, also if you drink coffee at all, stop. It majorly fucks with your adrenals and mimics anxiety for the rest of the day(happened to me and I couldn't sleep at all) A lot of these might sound insane, but the key in which almost everyone with chronic illness forgets (insomnia included) is that it takes consistency, and there is no out right cure. It takes consistent use of these tricks to eventually get rid of this type of disease (insomnia). Hopefully by the time you read this maybe your insomnia is already fixed. Good Luck, if you feel that you have a lot of symptoms of Lyme's you can give my phone a call (1-530-906-8227), and i'll give you some information where you can get testing and a good doctor to treat it.

  15. hey hax, have you heard of asmr? they're a type of video that's designed to be very soothing to listen to, and i'd imagine they'd help you relax a little more before big tournaments. you should give them a shot.

  16. Hey Hax,

    Have you tried taking some multi-strain probiotics? It may seem a little bit odd but there's a ton of melatonin in your gut. If your intestines aren't working for whatever reason - inflammation, disease, not enough good bacteria, etc... - it can throw off your hormone levels including things like melatonin production for sleep or growth hormone for cellular repair. I'm not saying it will work but I think it's worth a try. There's a lot of research on certain strains, such as Bacillus Coagulans helping with RA, and many benefits from Lactobacillus types of bacteria. Maybe it'll help, maybe it won't, but you don't have to wait much and it won't burn a hole in your pocket.

  17. Have you tried a chiropractic treatment? That helps in so many areas of life it's not even funny. I would also recommend researching sleeping in a hammock, it's healthier for you and the swaying may help you sleep. Good luck man!

  18. Hax be strong!! You really inspire me as both a captain falcon and fox player.
    You play ridiculously well and i know for a fact that you could be the number 1 smash rank player if not for these hand issues.
    I missed you hax and i was very happy to see you compete again.
    But hey you are right, health is more important and you are doing the right thing and im proud of you.
    Good luck hax$ i will pray for you.

  19. Hello Hax, I'm not sure if you have tried this but seeing how you are desperate for an answer at this time I think you should give it a fair shot. Now normally I don't recommend this to people, however depending on the laws in your state I suggest you look into medical marijuana. Specifically the indica strains, because those will mellow out even the most high strung people. Seeing how you are under a tremendous amount of stress it will definitely help you mellow out and put things in a calmer perspective, not to mention it will help you sleep tremendously! If you're not a smoker that's OK, because there are also edibles that will do the same thing. I suggest looking for more information online if you're interested. Because like I said it seems you're running out of options and for myself and plenty of people I know it is very effective at what it does.