Mostly Indescribable: Depression Quest

By Adam Smith on February 14th, 2013 at 8:00 pm.

The new interactive fiction game from Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey and Isaac Schankler begins with a quote from David Foster Wallace and a warning. Both of them tightened the knot in my stomach and made me feel a little less sure of myself. I decided that now is not the time to click ‘Begin’. I’ve never lived with depression, at least not my own, but I’ve experienced it through others and know that at least one of those people would be extremely anxious but hopeful when faced with that button. This is ‘game’ as communication, comfort and tool of understanding. I’ll share thoughts on Depression Quest soon. You can play for free or donate, both to the developers and to iFred

I can’t tell you when would be a good time for you to play because we all cope with these things differently. I know that when I’m feeling good, I come down that much harder when faced with bleak realities so I’ll wait until my perspective is different than today. Do heed the game’s own warning.

The page for Depression Quest links to a helpline for US residents. I’m picking John’s post on Actual Sunlight for a more complete list: “If you’re in the UK, the Samaritans can be called, anonymously, at any time on 08457 909090, or emailed at joe@samartians.org. If you’re in the US, the NSPL are at 1-800-273-8255. If you’re anywhere else, this page has links to every nation’s own line.”

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186 Comments »

  1. colw00t says:

    Well damn. That hit home.

    • TheGoddamn says:

      With this and Actual Sunlight, I am glad (as glad as can be, under the circumstances) that RPS is covering the different video games that address depression.

    • Greg_Robinson says:

      up to I saw the check that said $8710, I accept …that…my best friend woz like they say actualy bringing in money part time at their laptop.. there dads buddy has done this for under fourteen months and a short time ago repaid the depts on there appartment and got themselves a Ariel Atom. this is where I went, http://www.snag4.com

  2. blacknecrose says:

    I’d just like to thank you all at RPS for writing articles that have a mature and understanding worldview. It’s refreshing that it isn’t just the (unfortunately) common and often negative/misogynistic/homophobic/etc. narratives that are available anywhere else on the web.

    Thanks, and well done!

  3. Strutter says:

    I’m down with this.

  4. InternetBatman says:

    I have too much actual depression to want to play a game about it.

    • Fede says:

      That’s depressing :(

    • Droopy The Dog says:

      Whilst I found myself perversely curious to see how someone else portrays it. It’s certainly… Resonant, I’d definitely heed their warnings about playing it on a bad day.

      But it’s not something that’s overtly out to make you feel depressed either. The tone stays away from both the patronising sugar & candy and the caricature of constant doom & gloom ends of the spectrum, so it isn’t just inadvertantly alienating thankfully. There’s also something seductively easy about the difficult options just being an instant button click away (when they’re not unavailable at least), rather than immense draining decisions that need hours of followup. Unless you think about it too hard, then it just gets frustrating. So moving on quickly! Yeah… Intresting.

    • Siren says:

      Having had clinical depression in the past I know what you mean. I wouldn’t have had any desire to play something like this.

      But now? Now the idea of playing it is actually frightening. Wouldn’t it be like going through the experience all over again? That’s a scary thought indeed.

      Also, good luck bro. Have faith in yourself.

  5. hlm2 says:

    Sometimes ‘gaming’is genuinely brilliant.

  6. LionsPhil says:

    Don’t have the energy for this.

  7. Sardonic says:

    I’ll be upset if there are no high scores. I want to be able to say I have the high score in Depression Quest.

  8. DrScuttles says:

    It’s great for depression to be tackled in games, and raising awareness is always a good thing. But to be honest, I read the first page or so of Depression Quest and started feeling a little sick.

  9. Fuzzy says:

    So this guy lives in a 1st world country has a job,his own flat and a partner, and he’s depressed.
    The fuck is wrong with people

    • Chris D says:

      Depression?

    • ffordesoon says:

      Grow up.

    • Ironclad says:

      Financial/material situation has fuckall to do with emotional stability. We are not computers, the chemistry in our brains does not run on logic, is not logical, and there is a LOT that make the processes going on in that skull of ours go haywire.

      Also: depression has been linked with genetic component (as in, someone’s genes can make them more at risk of depression if the right (or in this case wrong) environmental triggers are there.

      So get off your high horse.

      • mouton says:

        Having or not having a relationship, on the other hand, does have to do with emotional stability. Quite a lot.

        • crizzyeyes says:

          I think the only reason the protagonist was able to start fighting back was because of his girlfriend, who is truly loving. I played through the whole game, and yeah, it was sad. If you play it right, though, you get a fairly heartwarming ending (at least, in my opinion). I think I got the “best ending.”

    • Totally heterosexual says:

      Fuck off.

    • sinister agent says:

      YO and all those people who are all like “I have cancer” and shit, why don’t they just stop growing tumours, duh.

    • CaLe says:

      As someone who has suffered with depression, I support what you’re saying. It wasn’t drugs, therapy, life changes, or anything else that helped me get over that period of my life. It was learning to put my life into perspective. That and not tolerating the negative thoughts. You are in control of what you allow yourself to think about, and realizing that was much more effective than any traditional therapy for me.

      I should add, that wasn’t an overnight cure for me, but over a year of gradually improving my own ability to just not allow the darkness into my thoughts. Thinking of the many that have it much worse than I ever will. I got to the point that I felt I have absolutely no right to be depressed. No right at all. I’m aware how ridiculous this sounds to people in the midst of depression, but I can only speak for myself.

      • rei says:

        Edit: In retrospect I don’t really need to say anything.

        Have a nice everning :)

        • CaLe says:

          Nowhere did I write the word decide in my post, yet you have quoted that word like I did. I never decided to get over depression, no one can do that. What I did was identify the thoughts that were the major thing keeping me in that dark place and gradually started saying no to them. I cut the thought off before it had a chance to go deeper. I’m aware this sounds like some bullshit self-help book nonsense, but it genuinely is what worked for me.

          Finding something I was passionate about was also hugely important to keep me from falling back down.

          -snipped details of my own experience with depression here because it’s pointless to compare this kind of thing-

          • Sinomatic says:

            I think there are a multitude of approaches to combating depression and the key is to find the thing (or combination of things) that work for each individual. I’m glad you found something that worked for you!

            As for ‘not having a right to be depressed’….I take issue with that somewhat. Depression is not about a rational relationship with the world and your place in it, so you can’t really have more or less of a ‘right’ to be depressed than the unluckiest soul or the wealthiest bastard. I understand that, as you started to improve, you could appreciate your situation relative to others, and that was a perspective that you hadn’t been able to have when you were more depressed. However, saying that you’d had no “right” to be depressed implies that depression is somehow morally wrong or is a choice or is ungrateful etc. Perhaps that was not your intent, but it does perpetuate the idea to those in the midst of it that it’s yet another failing on their part – that they should feel bad/ashamed/guilty or that they’re ungrateful, fueling yet more negativity.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            Besides the rightful implications sinomatic flags up. Do we really need to decide who has the “rights” to something nobody actually wants?

            A-”Hey that’s my soiled toilet paper stuck to your face, you have no right!”
            B-”Goodness, you’re right. By all means, take this shit off me then!”

    • GenBanks says:

      Such a complex issue which i’ve thought about a lot since my mum was hospitalised because of it.

      I’m also worried if I play it that I may be gripped by the feelings I had after watching ‘Biutiful’ (which is an outstanding film).

      I love you guys, RPS :D
      Don’t ever change

      *** oops, didn’t mean that as a reply ***
      was going to post something spiteful at that guy above but realised it was pointless. ‘Fuzzy’, do you think people commit suicide just because they’re ungrateful?

    • Fuzzy says:

      I shudder to think what would this kind of people do in my situation.

      I work for 300 euros a month 50 hours/week, have no family to support me, have 0 chances of advancing in my job, have no time or resources to finish some sort of school to help me through life, and my last relationship that lasted over a month was in high school ’cause currently i’m not able to provide any sort of economical stability to a partner.
      Only fucking things that give me any sort of joy are video games and that’s if i’m able to afford some old game ’cause strangely enough my conscience won’t let me pirate them.

      I can honestly say that i can’t relate to the protagonist of this game.

      • LennyLeonardo says:

        That’s probably because you have literally no idea what depression is, or no apparent desire to find out.

      • Totally heterosexual says:

        People don’t agree with your stupid bullshit over then internet, so you break out the sob story.

        Again, fuck off.

      • Phendron says:

        Part of empathy is giving people the benefit of the doubt despite having no real understanding of their situation or feelings. I’m very much like the protagonist, I even dated a girl named Alex and it fell through because of my ‘funk’, I have a good job, make enough money and live comfortable, but struggle to live with anything.

        A line from ‘Actual Sunlight’ really rang with me: “You don’t live any life but yours”. I hear about struggles and atrocities well beyond anything I could ever dread to experience, but how can this knowledge really influence the way I perceive the world? I guess I could ‘man up’ because plenty of people can handle their shit, right?

      • Jenks says:

        Armchair psychologist reporting in:

        I think there are some people who are depressed that would be happier in your situation. As an American, I can tell you there is no real adversity here. The poorest typically have air conditioning and cable. In my choose your own adventure, the protagonist didn’t even try to keep his job or his girlfriend, and yet he was doing just fine in life. I think that the removal of obstacles that people faced in the past has led to a lot of complacency, which has led to boredom, which has led to fat, lazy, depressed people.

        Please understand that I’m not talking about every person that suffers from depression, just theorizing from past personal experience about one segment of depressed people.

        • GenBanks says:

          Agree with you mostly, except the ‘no adversity here’ bit lol… Sure, starving to death is unlikely, if that’s what you mean.

        • iridescence says:

          ” As an American, I can tell you there is no real adversity here. The poorest typically have air conditioning and cable”

          Are there really no homeless people in your part of the US? I find that hard to believe

          • Jenks says:

            I live a few miles from Camden NJ and went to college in Newark NJ. The worst places in this country have it much better than the average elsewhere.

          • GenBanks says:

            Bad parts of Philadelphia, Mississippi, Alabama that I’ve visited have been on par with some of the bad parts of places like Laos, Ukraine, Colombia, Iraq and Syria that I’ve also visited.

            Bear in mind that this is a UK site, so people don’t view the US as a unique bastion of plenty. (i’m also a yankee, but I live in the uk)

        • Brun says:

          As an American, I can tell you there is no real adversity here.

      • Chris D says:

        This is the internet and it can be difficult to tell so I’ll say up front there’s no sarcasm intended here.

        I’m genuinely sorry to hear about your situation. You described it in some pretty bleak terms there. I was wondering if you’ve ever considered you might be depressed yourself? You might not be, sometimes life is just genuinely hard, but often there’s at least the possibility of things getting better, which there wasn’t in your description. There’s always someone who has it worse but that doesn’t mean problems don’t matter to the people who have them, whether that’s someone like the protagonist or someone like you. I think if you feel alone sometimes it’s easy to think “I have to deal with this myself so why don’t you just deal with things too.” but I think that’s kind of a false notion of independence. The reality is we all have weaknesses and none of us have it completely together. I think the better way is to be understanding of other people’s struggles, help where we can, and to allow others to help us in turn. We don’t have to be in this alone.

        • beekay says:

          He’s said you’re an idiot if you’re depressed despite having a good life, and you think that’s a possible indicator of his being depressed?

          That’s pretty cast-iron evidence that he hasn’t suffered from anything like it.

          (Not that I think you’re an asshole or anything. It’s just that unless you’ve been depressed – and even then – you should be cautious about ‘diagnosing’ it.)

      • GenBanks says:

        You’re confusing ‘depression’ with ‘having a shit life’.
        You seem to consider yourself to ‘have a shit life’ (since you’re describing it to improve your argument) and you’re using that as evidence that other people with fuller lives shouldn’t be depressed.

        What you don’t get is that these two things are VERY SEPARATE.

        If you want to sample what depression feels like, take a couple grams of MDMA over a 24hrs period until you’ve depleted all your serotonin and your receptors are completely messed up. Then sleep a bit, and see how you feel when you wake up.
        Point is, your life circumstances haven’t changed, but your brain chemistry is making you feel like life isn’t worth living, even if you are sex on legs, rich, funny, popular and smart (people often feel depressed on an mdma comedown).

        If you have clinical depression, you feel depressed without having brought it on yourself. You’re just unlucky.

        Do some research! Wikipedia is free. You’re going to piss people off with your ignorance if you maintain your current argument.

        • MarcP says:

          Research tells us depression is hard to diagnose accurately, and research tells us about one out of ten people experience depression at one point in their life. Research also tells us people aged 45 to 65, women, folks from lower social classes and/or having less than a high school diploma are more likely to be depressed.

          Now, I’m going out on a limb here – but the above qualifiers seems unlikely to fit the profile of the average RPS reader, certainly not in the proportions people replying here are suggesting. Parsing the comments, you’d believe most commenters have suffered from depression. If you took people at face value, that is.

          Thankfully, most of those who claim to be depressed on the Internet aren’t, especially young adults with no material difficulties. People choose to extend their teenage life into the twenties, yet their brain chemistry, that very same brain chemistry some would love to use to justify every single “depressed” person out there, does not stop evolving just because they do. One day, chasing cheap thrills isn’t enough anymore, and living without a purpose suddenly feels purposeless. Big shocker.

          Pinning it right away on a mental illness, without even checking with a qualified practicioner, is attractive. No need to face your problems, it’s something bigger than yourself, better go back to bed. You can’t fight it, it’s brain chemistry at work; nevermind that if we believe in rational science, everything we do is dictated by brain chemistry, and our actions can certainly affect our brain chemistry – in this context, said by these people “brain chemistry” is to be understood as a magic word, an ominous disease that can only be fixed by a magic potion, be it pills or electric shocks. Or talking with a therapist. Most likely, they are inherently magical beings.

          For every depressed person, there’s a dozen of wankers who just need a good slap in the face, and each of these idiots make it that much harder for people who suffer from actual depression to get competent help.

          • GenBanks says:

            I agree… The guy I was directing my comment at was denying the existence of real depression though.

            Why were you replying to my comment?

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            Either your data’s out of date or you’re just chosing to interpret things how you like. The average age of first onset for major depression is now the mid 20s and the most common age of sufferers is 25-45ish, depending on which sources you go on. Women are around twice as likely as men to suffer statistically, but if you believe that women don’t play games you’ve missed the well intentioned but hamfisted point around these parts recently.

            Also, since you’re a firm believer in rational science, how did you account for the sample bias in a population of voluntary comments on a video-gaming blog article about depression and comparing it directly to the national average?

            I assume you did something to correct for that before just calling a bunch of people wankers in need of a slap, right?

      • Zeewolf says:

        You’re lucky that you can’t relate to the main character in this game. Depression is an illness, and if you haven’t experienced it you will have a very hard time relating to people suffering from it. I think that’s one of the points the game is trying to make. One can learn a thing or two by reading, you know?

      • meatshit says:

        From personal experience, it’s easier when you can focus your anger and hatred at external circumstances that are keeping you down. When you overcome them and you’re still extremely unhappy, you’re left with nothing to hate but yourself.

      • mouton says:

        The amount of crap in this thread is seriously unworthy of RPS. On many sides.

      • jalf says:

        I shudder to think what would this kind of people do in my situation.

        What if we were talking about a broken leg, or a tumor, or a bad flu? Would you be unable to relate to that, just because your life is oh so hard?

        Because the thing about depression is that it is not “Oh, I can objectively speaking say that my life sucks, and that makes me sad”.

        Objectivity has nothing to do with it. It is something that happens to some people, in the same way that some people sometimes get a cold, and some people sometimes get cancer and some people sometimes get any of a million other diseases. Because that’s what depression is. A mental disease. It is not rational, but if it afflicts you, then it alters your perception of, for example, your own life. Making a lot of money or having a wonderful girlfriend or being able to afford videogames doesn’t cure a depression any more than it cures bronchitis.

        If you want the short, politically incorrect version, then a depression means that your head is broken so that you feel sad regardless of whether you have nothing to be sad about.

        The key word is the “broken” part. Because it is not rational, it does not objectively make sense, there is something wrong that needs to be treated, and saying “you shouldn’t be depressed because you have a wonderful life compared to me” is as meaningless as saying “you shouldn’t have a broken leg because you have a wonderful life compared to me”. The quality of ones life just doesn’t come into it.

        I sincerely hope that if one of your friends one day tells you he’s battling a depression, you’ll support him rather than try to turn it into a pity competition.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        my last relationship that lasted over a month was in high school ’cause currently i’m not able to provide any sort of economical stability to a partner.

        Because that’s exactly what relationships are all about. Economical stability above all else right?

        Here’s an idea, stop seeing yourself as your job and “economical worth” & you might not be such a vile piece of infectious human waste.

      • beema says:

        Station in life has little to do with it. It’s a medical condition, like anything else. I suffer from chronic depression and it is debilitating and crippling. It doesn’t matter if the sun is out and I have money and friends. Stop being so callous. Just because your have a shitty life doesn’t invalidate other people’s legitimate problems. It’s not a matter of who has it worse. It’s not a competition.

      • automaton says:

        What the fuck is it with the replies to this one comment? Fuzzy said that considering all the advantages in life the fictional character has, it’s hard to imagine even the moderately optimistic resolution peddled by this game as a realistic situation for people who suffer from both a) depression and b) other difficulties in life. And considering these things tend to go hand-in-hand, the game does come off as rather fanciful.

        For this, the poster has been mocked for his “sob story”, told to “fuck off” and called a “vile piece of infectious human waste”.

        The response to someone with problems beyond a serotonin disbalance is basically to “snap out of it”, and shocked dismay at his inability to appreciate how hard some fictional game character has it. Considering this discussion is about understanding depression, that’s pretty terminally ironic. This whole thread sounds like a bunch of autistic schoolyard bullies have decided empathy (but only for a specific, clinical form of depression depicted in a game) is the cool thing to do, and fuck everyone who doesn’t consider a piece of interactive fiction on the subject as the most touching thing ever.

        The viewpoint character of this game has reasonable parents, an understanding girlfriend, supportive friends etc. All things that many real-life people struggling with depression (yes, the clinical stuff, too) don’t necessarily have. The message of the game seems to be, “Just listen to all the great and supportive people around you who care deeply about solving your issues, get some counseling and/or pills and your life will be peachy!” Which is probably all great and shit for this magical non-existent depression-sufferer whose depression hasn’t yet had any permanent impact on his job, relationship or social life. And maybe also something that also comes off as pretty fucking condescending to any depression sufferer whose condition has already caused not trivially repairable damage to their life?

    • Joshua says:

      Depressed people tell themselves that. It makes them feel worse, as they think of themselves as whiny twats.

      It’s depression, that is what is wrong with people. It’s a mental condition you get due to random stuff happening, like, say, bronchtitis.

      • Cuddlefish says:

        As an upper-middle class american guy presently grappling with depression, exactly this. Depression makes you take every single possible flaw and turn it against yourself – even if it doesn’t make particularly much sense, and you would never think it was a fair way to judge another person; and then you acknowledge the fact that you’re doing it and blame yourself for that on top of it all. Shit like this is about the opposite of helpful, because it tells people trapped in this loop that THEY ARE RIGHT. I cannot express how important this is to understand.

        So, with all due respect Mr OP: FUCK. YOU. There’s no reason to kick people when they’re down, and saying these kinds of things (even if it seems like just an offhand comment, or a post on the internet) does exactly that. “But clearly we shouldn’t take things so seriously, right”? Yeah, it sure would be nice if we could just take it easy and stop being so sad. No such luck. That’s kinda the thing about being depressed.

        As far as the game, it mirrored my own personal experiences in a lot of respects. Perhaps had too much sad piano and nowhere near enough option to mute, but clicking through the ‘best choice available to help yourself’ track and making it to the end felt good. Putting the ‘obvious’ options there but striking them through is one of the more elegant ways of expressing how it feels that I’ve seen.

        • Joshua says:

          As an probably middle-class european guy who has just figured out that he probably has a depression, my feelings mirror yours exactly. That is actually really good to know. Thank you for your words.

    • HothMonster says:

      Because getting paid and laid does not correct shitty brain chemisty

    • trjp says:

      Thanks for making it clear you’re hugely ignorant about mental illness – it’s annoying having to question people to check they’re not just joking around but you made that unnecessary.

      Saves time…

    • Kestrel says:

      Couldn’t agree more. Depressed folks oughtta learn to solve their problems with a bottle like the rest of us.

      • trjp says:

        Since alcohol is a depressant I guess all alcoholics are depressed – it’s just not all depressed people are alcoholics ;)

        • colw00t says:

          “Depressant” in that context doesn’t mean “makes you depressed.” It means “depresses inhibitions” which often translates to “lots of exuberance.”

          • phuzz says:

            More technically it reduces the activity in parts of your brain

    • Triplanetary says:

      Haha, the old “first-world people aren’t allowed to be depressed” argument. You, sir, are a twit. Even your sob story makes you look like a twit. I was once unemployed and living in a hotel room and I had a girlfriend. It doesn’t take money to have a girlfriend. I’m not sure if that’s just an excuse you make for yourself or if you only know high-maintenance women. Don’t really care either way. Just go away.

    • Ridnarhtim says:

      I hope none of your friends ever gets depressed, because you are going to make things much, much worse for them.

    • Gamboni says:

      You’re confused, the word “depression” has several meanings, two of which are very easy to get mixed up if you’re not familiar with the subject. You’re thinking of the regular kind of depression, the kind of blues everyone goes through after something shitty happens in their life. The other meaning is a mental illness that just happens to have the same word used to describe it. It might be easier to understand why people are taking issue with your post if you replace the word “depression” with another mental illness like schizophrenia:

      So this guy lives in a 1st world country has a job,his own flat and a partner, and he’s schizophrenic.
      The fuck is wrong with people

    • Gamboni says:

      You’re confused, the word “depression” has several meanings, two of which are very easy to get mixed up if you’re not familiar with the subject. You’re thinking of the regular kind of depression, the kind of blues everyone goes through after something shitty happens in their life. The other meaning is a mental illness that just happens to have the same word used to describe it. It might be easier to understand why people are taking issue with your post if you replace the word “depression” with another mental illness like schizophrenia:

      So this guy lives in a 1st world country has a job,his own flat and a partner, and he’s schizophrenic.
      The fuck is wrong with people

  10. harveydanger says:

    That was really painful to read through.

  11. faelnor says:

    It looks interesting, but I really don’t see the interactive in interactive fiction there.

  12. Hoaxfish says:

    Have you tried masturbating

    • trjp says:

      I assume you have?

      If so, imagine what it would be like if you didn’t ever feel like doing it – or indeed didn’t feel like any form of sexual contact with anyone else either.

      Worse – imagine you decided to do it anyway and simply lost interest halfway through.

      Given the level of interest some people have in masturbation, I imagine losing interest in it would illustrate lack of motivation and self-interest better than anything else I can think of? :)

      • Jenks says:

        “imagine what it would be like if you didn’t ever feel like doing it”

        My god, I could learn Japanese, start training for that marathon I’ve always wanted to run, plan and build an extension onto my house… what can’t you do with an extra 5 hours a day?

  13. sinister agent says:

    So much easier to do the things that will help when you just have to click a button.

    Maybe if I eat something I’ll feel up to it. Maybe if I sleep. Maybe I should watch something that will make me laugh. Maybe tomorrow I’ll have a good day and everything will feel better. I just need one good day.

    And then you try to sleep again and lie there for another five hours, either distracting yourself with pointless fantasies or going slowly mad with sadness and fear and self-doubt and getting more and more frustrated, knowing that you’ll now either oversleep and waste the day and have to spend a week trying to fix your sleeping pattern, or stay up all night and feel like death, and it just gets more and more exhausting every time.

    Ugh.

    • Joshua says:

      This is exactly what the “game” does: It gives you options like “Just go to sleep! Close your eyes for five seconds”. In red. With a line struck trough it. That will not be an option today.
      I thought it was brilliant.

      I also identified myself with the main character… too much. Thank you for giving me this Adam Smith, as I might just… write that e-mail I always meant to write.

      • Triplanetary says:

        Ha, reminds me of my ex-employer’s HR director. She was nice and meant well, but when she gives you this stock advice, you can’t really adequately explain why it’s not an option. Sometimes you can’t adequately explain it to yourself. Exercise is a big mood-booster, studies show. So I should exercise. But I don’t. Doesn’t that mean I’m just lazy? I’m not really sure myself.

    • mouton says:

      “have to spend a week trying to fix your sleeping pattern”

      Ahahahaha

      No, I am not laughing at you.

    • beekay says:

      As well as that – I loved how actually improving your situation required going through the game at least once so you could know, magically, which apparently-good options would fuck you regardless, and which risky options would help.

    • Donkeydeathtasticelastic says:

      I tried to play.

      I couldn’t do it.

  14. BigJonno says:

    As someone who is currently suffering from severe depression, I think this is an incredible game. It actually made me feel a little better because of how perfectly it described the way I feel most of the time, that “someone gets it” effect.

    That said, I have to envy the character in the game for having a job, a girlfriend and enough money to go out/buy pizza.

    • trjp says:

      It’s a mistake to mix-up your emotional state and your financial/employment/social state.

      Whilst they obviously affect each other, it’s wrong to assume that making one better would improve the other – seldom works like that, plenty of wealthy people in good jobs with lovely families get depressed too.

      • Triplanetary says:

        Please. People can be depressed no matter how much money they make, it’s true, and money is certainly no cure for depression. But let’s not pretend certain things (or, y’know, virtually all things) aren’t easier for people with money to spare.

        Well-meaning people seem to have this habit of taking the (entirely true!) truism that money can’t buy happiness and turning it around into some condescending lecture to poor people about how money wouldn’t solve their problems anyway. Money does solve a lot of problems, actually. A few years ago the cops here in Atlanta busted into the wrong house in a poor neighborhood in a botched drug raid and shot an innocent woman to death. I’m guessing that doesn’t happen in Warren Buffet’s neighborhood.

        • Phendron says:

          “easier”

          I don’t follow. How can you speak in relative terms about something with no way to compare objectively one case to another?

          • Triplanetary says:

            I’m not saying depression is necessarily easier for rich people to deal with. I’m just saying, I’ve seen depression help pages that are like, “Go see a movie!” Okay… what if I can’t afford to see a movie? People often don’t take this into account. It doesn’t make dealing with depression impossible, but it obviously limits your options, and a bunch of empty rhetoric about money not buying happiness doesn’t change that.

            EDIT: And incidentally, when you’re reading a depression help page or whatever that just tacitly assumes that you can afford to do any given thing, when in fact you can’t, it becomes easy to feel like they’re not talking to you and have no advice for you in particular. That’s another thing that middle- and upper-class people often fail to take into account.

            It’s a bind, because I respect the hell out of psychologists and psychiatrists – been to a few great ones myself – but for obvious reasons they tend to be middle- or upper-class. Class consciousness is something you have to cultivate if you’re going to give advice to people of all classes.

          • trjp says:

            Whilst easier might not have been the right word – I think his point that your wealth/employment status/relationship status/appearance or whatever do not preclude you being depressed is pretty clear.

            I know some people believe that ‘depressed’ people just need to “get off their arse” and “cheer up” and “do something” – I know people believe that because I once believed that.

            When you actually encounter depression tho, you soon realise that it’s anything but what you thought it was – even if it’s not you who’s depressed, it’s easy to see that whilst it may seem more likely you’d be depressed if you’re single, skint and unemployed – the fact is that people who are none of those things still get depressed.

          • BigJonno says:

            I can categorically state that my depression would be much easier to manage if I had a comfortable income, simply because a lot of the stress I have to deal with is caused by a lack of money, which also makes it hard to do anything to lift myself out of depression.

          • The_Mess says:

            I don’t follow. How can you speak in relative terms about something with no way to compare objectively one case to another?

            /twitch

            Ye elder things, there’s this thing called “science”, you might want to try and think about what you can do with it, say make observations, run standardisations and use statistics to make highly empirical inferences about the effects of environmental variables on the level of a depression sufferers symptoms.

            Like what’s been done in psychology for quite some time now to study depressive disorders and work out what effects different medication and therapy modalities have on them etc *coughcough*

          • The_Mess says:

            @BigJonno
            Same here, I think I’ve defused that trigger somewhat, but the best solution to it is what ever cheap/free exercise you can summon up the will to do and do regularly. Even if it’s just a long walk. As it’s a useful tool to try and put financial issues in perspective, along with other triggers for depression.

          • sinister agent says:

            I must agree with those saying that having money does help… or rather, not having money hinders even more. Which isn’t to say that the amount of money someone has means their depression is less severe or important, but well, I’ve been penniless and I’ve been rolling in cash, and having money means you simply have options that some don’t.

            Of course, those options aren’t enough on their own to make everything better. But it certainly doesn’t hurt.

      • The_Mess says:

        @trjp

        /facepalm

        If you’re on the autism spectrum or highly asocial, then perhaps, but given humans are highly social primates, social interactions and social status are thus highly important and for the majority of people with depression, and have major effects on their level of depression. Heck, last year for me was complete shit depression wise due to a long term friend shunning me and positive contact with the friends and acquaintances and fellow students have and still are major mood boosters.

        • Asurmen says:

          Why the facepalm? He’s still correct. Yes, positive social interactions can do wonders for depression. It does not necessarily mean that having a wonderful social life means you can’t be depressed, which I believe was trip’s point.

  15. Jenks says:

    That game was awesome, I got a cat and some pills.

    • emertonom says:

      As a person suffering from depression, I had to stop playing when the option to get a cat came up, because I was afraid if I took it I wouldn’t be able to take care of it and it would die, and I couldn’t handle that, but if I didn’t take the cat, he’d have to give it to a “kill” shelter and it would die, and I couldn’t handle that either.

      I did like the way that each option seemed to lead to another scenario that was bleak and forced another difficult choice, because that’s part of what happens–you anticipate that things are going to stay bad or get worse, so each choice seems bad, and it doesn’t seem like there’s anything good to do.

      But I both did and didn’t like the crossed-out options. I liked that it conveyed “that’s not an option,” but it felt a little cheap, in that it sort of implies that they’re the “right” answer. It’s hard to express quite why that feels derogatory, but it’s like a remnant of the “just snap out of it” response to depression.

      • identiti_crisis says:

        I would like to echo your analysis of the red options, they burned me with the scorn I imagined they contained, but I liked how they change depending on previous choices / current mood.
        I also liked how your “mood” seemed to oscillate in a way that I couldn’t quite correlate with my choices – felt awfully disorienting.

        Also, SPOILERS: The cat gets a home even if you don’t take it. :)
        I just employed a bit of self-deceit and managed to get out of having to worry about caring for another living thing, or its consequent fate. And in the game.

        I should probably go to bed…

      • Faxmachinen says:

        I don’t think the struck out options are necessarily the “right” ones, as when I was doing well I had a bunch of depressing options struck out for me.

        • Tagiri says:

          I think the struck out options are ones that you just can’t do in your current mindset. There was a point after my character had started seeing a therapist where the online friend suggests seeing a therapist and the “I’m not depressed, it’s fine,” option was crossed out.

    • mouton says:

      My experience tells me cats don’t cure depression, just make people crazy differently. Dogs are probably better, I suppose, with all the love and daily walks and meeting other people.

      • sinister agent says:

        Dogs are much harder work. A cat can be just enough to help motivate you sometimes (even if it’s just because the little bastard won’t stop banging on your door because he hasn’t eaten for almost ten minutes) without being a constant source of guilt if you’re too fucked to take them out every night.

        • mouton says:

          Dogs are not exactly something one can ignore, though. Unless someone is so depressed, he or she does not care about dog piss and shit all over the place. But at that point, it’s probably hospital time anyway.

          Also, they always love you and never judge you, even if you failed them repeatedly.

          • beekay says:

            They might not judge you, but you can do it for them, so it’s all good. Cats can take care of themselves, so it’s not a big deal.

  16. hypercrisis says:

    This is somewhat like a guy with a broken ankle preaching to paraplegics the woes of being disabled. Nice enough effort, but perhaps a little more knowledge and less sanctimony would be nice

    • trjp says:

      It’s only sanctimonious when you attempt to compare apples and oranges – when you fail to realise that each person’s problems are big to THEM and that attempting to undermine them is about the worse possible fucking thing you could ever do.

  17. Sinomatic says:

    Oooft, emotional gut punches ahoy!

    Actually, I found myself laughing at some points purely because there were sections that came so close to my own experience that they could have been copy-pasted out from my own mind. Thankfully I *can* laugh about them now, having the distance from it to see how utterly warped your thinking is when you’re in the midst.

    Having said that, I’m not sure it actually went quite far enough in terms of the depths-of-despair blackness of it, to me, but then again it’s not the easiest thing to explain or recreate in something like this. Plus, not everyone has the same experience, problems, or has it for the same length of time, so I suppose I can’t really complain. I’m just pleased that things like this exist, to open a window into a world that is very hard to understand if you’ve not experienced it yourself.

  18. iridescence says:

    I considered playing this game but why bother?

    • Drakedude says:

      I’ve been in a somewhat similar situation, and i say for understanding. Thus, i shall play the game, and if you feel you are in a good position too, DAREFACE.

  19. aliksy says:

    Interesting, well worth reading, but it seems a little simplistic that the best route seems to be “Do things even though you don’t want to, go to therapy, take the pills they prescribe you.” If it was as easy as clicking the right link, I don’t think depression would be that big a deal.

  20. Hawkseraph says:

    a slow evening, a failed exam, alcohol, an isntantly regretted cigarette, and this game really make sme feel emotional. Thank you, RPS.

  21. bowl of snakes says:

    Should not have clicked play, beautiful though.

  22. Abbykins says:

    Is it possible to get to the point where your character commits suicide? I chose every pathetic option I could (except getting a cat), and only earned a heart-to-heart with my mother…

  23. DoktorV says:

    I myself have struggled with depression for essentially half my life. Lately I’ve been much better, and I’ll get into why in a moment. Explaining this in any coherent way is difficult, unfortunately, so forgive me if I seem to make little sense.
    The cancer metaphor is fairly good – most people don’t get any sense of shame if they discover they have cancer, but at the same time some kinds of cancer are brought on by lifestyle. Just as one can avoid carcinogenic substances and activities but still get cancer, one can try to live a balanced life and still get depression, especially if your genetics predispose you to it. Unlike cancer, almost everyone has the tools to cure themselves of depression, but many people aren’t aware those tools exist
    Medication can mollify the imbalances brought on by genetics or developmental problems but real freedom from depression is a skill. Therapy attempts to teach patients that skill, and works well for many. However, and this is something the game doesn’t get into, there are certain combinations of psychological problems which make the patient impervious to cognitive-behavioral therapy, the most common form at this time. I myself have such a constellation of problems by the accidents of my ancestry – CBT didn’t make me better, it made me worse, much worse.
    It was only the discovery of Stoicism that led me to discover how I could overcome my own problem. I’m not completely effective at it, not yet, but I’m much better than I used to be and I’m still improving steadily. So, to anyone who’s struggling with depression and finds they don’t understand the therapist at all, I suggest looking into the Buddhists and Stoics, and accept that the first steps towards victory will be uncomfortable.

  24. Almond Milk says:

    Not sure why I clicked the link over to the game. I even laughed a bit at so many people agreeing that the sentiments in the game mirror their own. Why admit something like that? Why are you like that in the first place?

    But I couldn’t “play” longer than about 5 screens. It was like being forced to confront something you thought you buried long ago, and then watching it get closer and closer, realer and realer, and then quickly escaping from that part of your mind. Only closing the tab this was running in didn’t do the equivalent in my head, and now I don’t feel so good… Maybe I’ll finish it later.

    • Sinomatic says:

      “Why admit something like that?”

      Why not?

      Isn’t that sort of, you know, the reason these sorts of things are made? So that we can, collectively, deal with the stigma and not feel ashamed of it?

      • The_Mess says:

        This.

        Not that I’m presently able to play something like that, only escaped a depressive episode recently (gogo nortriptyline for greater resilience) and defused a great deal of grumpiness :/

        ‘Mess has enough shit to deal with at present sadly. Otherwise I’d see these as great tools for getting perspective on my own depression.

    • zeekthegeek says:

      DEPRESSIONFACE

    • WedgeJAntilles says:

      Why admit it?
      Maybe because depression is a disease and not a failure of character or something we should be ashamed of? Maybe because for some of us, talking about our experiences is a helpful and sometimes necessary way of dealing with our disease? Maybe because we know that depression is a disease that is often ignored and erased and that it’s important to have our experiences validated by knowing that we’re not the only ones that have had to live with depression?

      Because fuck you, that’s why.

      • Almond Milk says:

        Everyone completely missed the narrative of my comment. I wasn’t trying to insult anyone, but lend some perspective to my own experience with the game. And why would you say something like “fuck you” to a person you’ve never met? Whatever.

  25. Grover says:

    A job, girlfriend, apartment, income, brother, mother and friends? This wasn’t half as depressing as it could have been.

    • colw00t says:

      Which is a big part of the point, which is that depression is not a rational or external problem. It’s internal.

      Alex is a hell of a lot more patient with Depressed Person than anybody I dated at that age, though.

      • FrankTheCat says:

        Indeed.

        Depression is not rational. If it were rational, it wouldn’t manifest in the first place.

        The weeks where I struggle to get out of bed are just the tip of the irrational iceberg.

  26. colw00t says:

    The red choices are probably the cleverest thing about this.

    Also, because I’m awful person, I went through it again to see how shit I could make things. I’ve struggled against depression, I’m allowed to see how far down you can go!

  27. noom says:

    I might have been able to take this more seriously without the melodramatic piano accompaniment.

    I read through a dozen or so pages, and frankly I’d categorize this as closer to “listless ennui” than actual depression. I speak only of personal experience and don’t mean to belittle anybody that identifies with this (I’ll admit it’s not far off how I tended to feel when I was 20 or so), but I view depression as somewhat more serious than this type of existential self-pity. This story is a phase I imagine many of us go through as we enter adulthood and leave behind the illusions of youth.

    • Triplanetary says:

      Depression manifests itself in different ways for different people. And belittling someone’s case for not being sufficiently severe is like rolling your eyes at somebody and saying, “Please, you just have a little bit of AIDS. Quit complaining.”

      • noom says:

        It wasn’t my intention to belittle or offend. I may have been slightly off the mark here with my first post. Really what I’m considering to be depression above would probably be more accurately described as grief. For me personally it perhaps took the shock of experiencing a much more acute sense of loss (merely a broken heart if you’re curious; I’ll admit opinions may vary as to whether one considers that a valid reason) to gain perspective on the trivial things that troubled me before then. When I eventually recovered from that rather bleak period of my life I felt a hell of a lot stronger for it.

        I’m not unsympathetic to anybody that does relate to this story. To clarify, my criticism is that I don’t feel this game really succeeds if its intention is to engender sympathy towards those suffering from depression. I stick to my interpretation of this as more a story of the type of existential crisis which is typical, perhaps even necessary for anybody growing up in the same kind of western middle-class environment that I did. I don’t presume to understand anything outside of my own narrow experience in that regard, but there you are.

      • LifeSuport says:

        editors note: a little bit of AIDS is HIV

    • Phendron says:

      Your ‘everyone goes through with this’ argument disheartens me.

    • zeekthegeek says:

      No. Just no.

    • Steven Hutton says:

      Try playing through the game a few more times. I think I made the wrong choices because my version of the character got A LOT worse. …And then didn’t get better.

    • telpscorei says:

      Actually, he’s oddly not far off the mark, he just doesn’t realise it.

      The clinical definition of depression is defined mostly by length of time. He’s quite right in that everyone feels depressed at sometime in their lives, most commonly bereavement. Being clinically depressed is when this feeling lasts too long, essentially.

      What he describes as “listless ennui” would be considered depression, but wouldn’t be considered a clinical problem because it didn’t last long enough (“a phase”).

      However, what he’s failed to divine is that with clinical depression, the patient is incapable of coming out of the depression without help. That’s why it’s lasted so long; and that’s why it’s treated medically.

      I would say to you OP that yes, you got through it. And yes, many people manage to. But some don’t. Some CAN’T. And those people suffer through it the way the protagonist does. Until they find help. Hell, most of the game involves the protagonist feeling like he can’t talk to anyone about this because he fears they will react kinda the way you have.

      Final note: the information I have here comes from medical school of ten years ago and a pair of psychiatrist friends I talk to about this kinda stuff. So some of it maybe out of date (“hell these days if you’ve been out of med school five years, half of what you learnt is obsolete”). Incidentally, Scrubs is the most accurate portrayal of medicine I’ve ever seen. If you remove the funny bits, it’s almost identical to life in a hospital / as a physician.

  28. phobic says:

    Midway through this, i realized i really should start taking medication again. And did.

  29. elilupe says:

    Ok, wow, I probably shouldn’t have played that in the state I’m currently in. But, wow, that hit home…

  30. Anders says:

    Darn, I want to play this, but I’m going to heed the warning. I am depressed AND suicidal, so I’m going to stay clear of this until I am feeling better.

    Edit: Well that lasted long, I pressed Begin anyway. And the first screen, and second, hit right home. This is exactly how I feel, every day.

  31. Sardonic says:

    Could anybody bring themselves to take the clear “wrong/self destructive” path? I certainly couldn’t. In the game, anyway.

  32. Altnabla says:

    As someone who actually did went through 5 years of psychotherapy. I found this interesting until it all went “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy” Bullshit. I mean come on, that’s something that’s not working AT ALL for serious pathology.
    Basically, saying “I’m going to get better and move my ass” is not solving the underlying issues of depression. Period. The only way to go about it is to do some serious work about yourself and actually understanding why the fuck you’re having so much problems at life.
    What the fuck, this game just made me rage madly.

    • Nick says:

      Yeah, CBT doesn’t really work for “real” depression. Pop psychology.

    • Gamboni says:

      Can you elaborate on what “doing serious work about yourself” entails?

      • Altnabla says:

        Certainly,
        I had to take a whole lot of things to get better. First and foremost, seeing a therapist and actually following the therapy for five years. That meant finding the money to pay a good one while keeping on studies. So part-time there.
        It also meant taking some crucial steps about my lifestyle, about defining who I am (I cannot stress this enough). It meant changing studies although I already had a bachelor degree because It just made me miserable (art studies yo!). It meant accepting a lot of fears that I had dug deep inside, to meet back with a lot of sadness and also to go on and stop being lonely.
        Finally, It meant to confront life and try to get emotionally active with girls, which did hurt me a lot but is really fine these days. (And by that I mean to be able to say I love you to a girl and stop being afraid of losing people, which is harder than what I can make it sound here).
        So yeah, It’s really a work in itself and it’s draining a lot of yourself.

      • Altnabla says:

        But as for a more general overview of what I mean, It’s also about accepting what defines you, what are the difficult steps and you can’t make and WHY. I mean you can joke about it but there’s a lot that’s passed to you through your parents and that’s often slowing you down in ways you can’t conceive. It’s not just smiling and working your ass off, It’s more about knowing yourself and understanding why you’re not smiling and why you’re not working your ass off. I hope I make myself clearer this way.

        • Siren says:

          I understand what you’re talking about, except… it was my CBT nurse who helped me through all that and taught me valuable things. I wouldn’t be where I am today without her. Well, her and the fact that after so many years I had reached the endgame.

  33. Amnesiac says:

    I just want to not exist after that.

  34. mcwill says:

    The “good” bit with the girlfriend, later on.

    I had pretty much that EXACT conversation about 9-10 years ago. It’s arguably the reason I’m still alive.

    I am now all covered in wet stuff which I believe are tears of some kind, you bastards.

  35. Jackablade says:

    Thanks for posting that guys, that was… helpful.

  36. Ballistic says:

    I’ve struggled with varying levels of depression since my early adulthood. So much of the early part of this characters life fits my life like a glove. I found myself nodding when reading the story, feeling like I knew exactly what he was going through.

    Even though I’d consider myself fairly strong mentally, as I’ve NEVER relied on medication to get through my problems, and have always had strong support group, there have been times when my thoughts almost got the better of me.

    Thanks for finding this RPS, even though it did bring back some bad memories.

  37. Kronic says:

    Oh hells.

    I just did what seemed right in any situation, and it all went downhill. Honestly, I don’t know if I’m depressed, but I sympathies a lot with the protagonist. Did make me wonder about my choices for dealing with this sort of thing – I’m always afraid to actually get anything officially checked out, because I don’t want to feel any more broken.

    Anyhow, tired ramblings. Couldn’t sleep last night, but a good read.

  38. Vraptor117 says:

    Echoing what other people have said, this hits really close to home:

    Pointless job: Check.
    Sleeping through days: Check.
    Older brother doing way better: Check.
    Disappointed parents: Check.
    Small social circle: Check.
    Telling random people on the internet: Check.

    And unlike the protagonist, I don’t even have a girlfriend or a “project” to try to do. Seriously, where’s the camera, guy?

  39. Vraptor117 says:

    So what’s the best possible ending you can get (even if none are the ideal)? Both times I tried, I just the same “everything just continues” one.

  40. bobbobob says:

    This is fantasic. It’s really well done and the writing is superb. I’m still not quite done with it, but it’s great making these little changes that seem to be slowly helping this guy.

  41. beema says:

    As a sufferer myself, it makes me glad that this issue is getting exposure like this. However, as a sufferer myself, I’m not sure I want to play it.

  42. HilariousCow says:

    Squeezed a few tears from me. Thought I was fairly aware of how depression affected me, but some of the aspects of the story made me a bit aware that those feelings weren’t really nominal.

    I used the game to see how medication is supposed to affect you (because it never quite worked out for me, and maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance?). Food for thought, certainly.

  43. Skamberin says:

    As someone who has suffered from major depression with suicidal tendencies for years, going through several types of medication, therapy, apartments and a relationship; completing this cheered me up.

    Some parts hit hard, others felt alien (I kind of envied the guys supportive circle and that he had such a supportive girlfriend), but I only chose to proceed with actions that were essentially my own at similar real life situations.
    Getting a good ending and helping this character through this levitated some of the pressure, as I am going down a similar road myself, it gave me a glimmer of hope.

    Thank you for linking this game.

  44. ScorpionWasp says:

    I’d like to put things in perspective with a little fictional story. The year is 1700. Mike has a really good and pleasant life, considering. Most people like him don’t get half the luxury. His owner is a mild mannered man who adamantly refuses to apply corporal punishment, and only demands a pitiful 8 hours of labor per day from him. Most colored people out there are working twice that much. Most of them are reasonably happy with life, as normal, adjusted people should be. But not Mike. His mind is ravaged by recurring, insistent thoughts, day and night. He can’t sleep. He feels miserable. You see, Mike is too hard on himself. He sets impossible goals for himself and is then frustrated when he can’t meet them. Mike wishes to learn to read and write, and to be a doctor. Most people take pleasure in the small things, a cigarette, restful sleep after a day of work, sex (with someone of your own race, of course), the scraps from a really good meal your owner left for you… lately Mike can’t find pleasure in any of these things. His brain is defective. It keeps thinking unreasonable, impossible things. “Why can’t I have my own plantation?” – it whispers into his ears at night, robbing him of his sleep. “Why can’t I learn to read and write? Why can’t I choose my mates freely? Why do white people look down on me?”

    You see, a portion of it is paranoia. Of course white people don’t look down on coloreds. They’re a vital and absolutely essential element of the economy, with a full, legitimate place in the world. They should be proud. But Mike’s defective brain is unable to feel pride. It is unable to feel positive emotions which it should feel in response to these things. Like most coloreds do feel.

    Yet, Mike’s condition is more common than you think. If you own a colored like Mike, you must understand, whipping them is not the solution. It’s not their fault that they’re like that. What they need is some bogus treatment that we provide (and are handsomely paid to do so, of course). Don’t worry, the government approves of what we do, it’s legitimate. We’ll talk and talk and talk and talk and talk and talk to him about how his expectations are unreasonable and he should be happy with what he has. Everybody else is. And we’ll prescribe medicine with a host of side effects that is only better than a placebo by a tiny margin (and we don’t even know how they’re supposed to operate exactly, to be honest). In the end, whether Mike feels better or not is immaterial. We’ll have been paid for the years and years of fruitless counselling and drugs. Mike’s legitimate complaints will be suffocated under the widespread view that his brain is defective and his worldview hopelessly warped. The government is happy, we are happy, the happy pill industry is happy, if we manage to sedate him sufficiently even Mike is happy, but nobody cares about him anyway. It’s win-win for everyone, my friend.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      Did you just manage to mix racism into your ignorance of psychology?

      • ScorpionWasp says:

        Did you just speculate on what I do or do not know? Seriously? Can you read minds from a distance or something? How about some actual refutation of what I said?

        • jrodman says:

          I’m not sure what that person was trying to say, but it’s completely unclear what you were trying to say as well. Maybe you were replying to a deleted post, but out of context it sounds like some sort of white mans burden post, which could be interpreted as racist.

          I would suggest making clearer points.

  45. DRoseDARs says:

    *Note: I’ll likely repost this in the uRPS Minecraft thread since that community has been a part of my life for 3 years now… and without meaning to, I’d mostly exiled myself from it. I’ve talked with some of them about this in chat, but I owe the broader community an explanation outside of chat.

    *breaths in, exhales*

    Well that exercise was interesting. Not completely relatable, and certain responses were not really what I would have done, but meh the game was close enough. I won’t go into too much detail, but the past 2 years have been rough for me. I ignored it as long as I could until symptoms physically manifested themselves. I’m not taking therapy, but have been on a medication since December. I’m not “good” but I’m not as awful as I had been through much of the past few months. It’s silly, but I feel guilt and shame for not being around on the uRPS Minecraft community very much during all this, despite knowing and playing with many there for almost 3 years now. It’s such a strange and horrid place to be, depression. It’s very true that you struggle to find joy and comfort in things. I had to force myself to play some stuff on Steam, but gaming just wasn’t getting there for me. The thought of facing my friends on the server was unbearable because I felt so… alien. Even at work (I’m a manager at a gym, janitorial and maintenance) surrounded by people and co-workers, I just wanted to be invisible most days, left to stoically do my tasks. By late November, that strategy was back-firing and I had to address it before it got worse. I’d had suicidal thoughts in my teens, being uncertain about myself and coming to terms with being gay, so I knew I was in a dark place again but as an adult, so much worse could result from being there again.

    I found that community while I was unemployed, having lost my job of 7 years, and the people there combined with the simple joys of Minecraft got me through all that, for which I am immensely thankful. What I’ve gone through these past 2 years is nothing like that. I was sad when I was unemployed, this darkness had been much more pervasive and unrelenting. I didn’t feel guilty nor was I responsible I’d lost my job, whereas of late I felt utterly worthless at times, repulsive at others, and felt sub-Human the entire time. All that wretchedness… from no where.

    That is depression. It is a disease. It cannot be cured as if it were a virus or a broken bone, but it can be treated and managed. Depression is not your fault, nor anyone else’s fault. Depression simply is.

    You don’t have to bare it in silence. Talk to someone empathetic who you know won’t mock you for it or give you the “stiff upper lip” bullshit. Whether to take medications, seek therapy, or both is between you and your doctor. My meds have helped and I’m on the training wheels class of anti-depressants, rather than any of the hardcore stuff. I need to make another follow-up appointment with my doctor to discuss the future of my treatment. I’ll likely stick with this med rather than upgrading to something stronger, and I’m leery of therapy, but I shudder to think where I’d be if I hadn’t made that first appointment in December.

  46. tehfish says:

    Eef, parts of that are so incredibly familiar…

    In particular the messed up sleep, waking up before the alarm, staring blankly at my pc unable to get the enthusiasm to actually play a game.

    I do like the way it tackles the reluctance to seek help in particular. I know i really should, but it really is the hardest thing i could possibly imagine to do right now…

    Some bits seem hilariously wrong compared to my situation though: He has his own girlfriend and a place of his own… then gets a kitten? I’d kill for either of the first two and love the third to bits. None of them are in the slightest bit available to me though :(

  47. Sawyer42 says:

    This is the best thing I’ve played in a long while

  48. TheGameSquid says:

    Playing this piece of Interactive fiction and reading the comments has sparked all sorts of different emotions in me.

    I’ve never REALLY considered myself to be “depressed” in any kind of way. I’ve just been like, permanently unhappy since I was quite young (I like to use the age of 12 as a reference point for the age where my feelings of unhappiness became overpowering) and have had no hope of having any future ever since. I have always regarded these feelings as “logical”. I simply felt these things because they were true: I am a bad person in every sense of the word.

    Playing through the thing though, I encountered countless paragraphs that described more or less precisely what I feel on a day to day basis, only in the story it felt much less worse (I think the authors tried there best to not make everything feel overwhelmingly negative all the time, which is a good thing).

    I do see a therapist on 2-weekly basis, but the intention is to talk about how I coped with everyday life (I have been diagnosed with aspergers). I also take medication, but again the main purposes of that medication is to subdue overwhelming feelings of social anxiety (which has turned out pretty good to be honest, I now have a job that I’m handling pretty well despite permanently being around people and requiring social interaction, something which I wouldn’t have been able to do 2 or 3 years ago).

    I’m not sure if I should seek help regarding this issue. I don’t think there are a whole lot of people who take my issues very seriously anymore, including my therapist, considering I’ve had them for such a long time (usually people just think it’s part of my quirky/weird side). I don’t want to be another one of those guys who, despite having received all opportunities in life, goes to see his therapist because he can’t “man up”. :(

    Anyway, I thought this was really well done considering how well it hit home with me.

  49. Phendron says:

    I’d probably feel less sad if I had Timothy’s co-worker’s sister’s computer job and a large bankroll…

  50. colw00t says:

    I wouldn’t. According to the spam-bot, the sister works nearly 70 hours a week to make that kind of cash. More if she actually pays her taxes. Doesn’t sound so great to me.

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