Developer: Lisa Brown
Launcher Quote: “When you suffer from major depressive disorder, sometimes an intense, joyous occasion can crash down into despair with no negative stimuli or logical cause. Such is the case with my annual tradition of ringing in the New Year surrounded by happy friends. It happens every time – a few days of intense high and fun and playfulness, and then the depression strikes without warning. You know, logically, that you are surrounded by loved ones, they’re just in the other room. If you could get yourself to stand up and walk 10 feet into the next room, the depression would vanish. You know this. You could ask for a hug. You would feel warm and loved and validated just being among your friends. It’s just in the next room. It’s not so easy and sometimes you fail.”
I’ve never been diagnosed with depression, but I’ve definitely been sad for periods of time. In those short time periods I didn’t feel like doing anything. I’d slog through the day, barely aware of anything except what I must do, taking no real joy in much of what I did and finding dark bleakness hazing my vision. I’ve always emerged from these with the support of friends and loved ones, and my own iron will and resilience. It’s hundreds of times worse for those who suffer from a disorder, or who deal with depression as a part of their daily lives. They might not ever slog through anything, preferring to stay in bed or in their room. They’d be only aware of themselves and the weight of their emotions. And instead of a dark haze they’d be shrouded in black fog.
Today’s game seemed to depict this heavy, weighty feeling, and the pixie/firefly/moth of light you controlled served as a means to try to help lift that depressive weight and move it towards something better. Not surprisingly, I found it extremely hard. Parts I pulled seemed to come briefly to life, only to sag under the burden of a dark miasma that settled down on the rest of the body. Oftentimes I’d pull, and get nowhere. Forced to slowly drag my target end over end across the floor, I resolutely moved them one inch forward, then another, and another.
But I only ended up suddenly dragging them into the chasm at the end of the room, and though they were bathed briefly in light, they remained weighted in darkness. It’s a visual lesson, however bleak it seems, that if you’re the pixie, sometimes forcing someone and dragging them through their depression isn’t the right thing to do. Forcing happiness as sudden as the depression isn’t always the right course of action, and sometimes can make it worse. Allie Brosh explained it very well in one of her posts about depression – that it’s like fighting nothing, and no crusade of hope can manage to fill that nothing with something.
Sometimes, it’s just better to be the light, be present, be there for someone who feels weighted by darkness, surrounded by it. Not to shine in their face, but to be available and ready to help. To let someone reach for that light, instead of being pulled by it. And to just let them know they aren’t alone, without forcing, without dragging, and always listening.