Launcher Quote: “Press any button/key/mouse to move.”
There’s a few analogies that have been attempted to try to explain to people who don’t typically have anxiety attacks what it’s like to have them and live with the fact that they can be had at any point and for a variety of reasons. A big part of trying to couch it in this way is to try to ensure that there is the right kind of empathy and also approach that comes with trying to better understand those that live with anxiety. Of the many that I’ve been shown, the one that the developers in this Meditation Games entry use, that of a fog of darkness and a struggle and a continuous journey towards a light of hope and clarity, is among the best I’ve seen.
Darkness and fog are perfect examples to try to depict anxiety. I’ve had it described to me as something constricting, crushing, something that closes in around you and threatens to engulf you. In the game in question, you’re never quite able to see everything, even when you get to the end goal, mostly because you’re left to your imagination what you’re controlling as the player, and what you’re seeing as far as what’s around you. This is definitely something that is purposeful in order to try to show that kind of dangerously close and enveloping feeling that is meant to disturb you. The fact that the movement is kind of like a starship’s in a nebula, where you shake and tend to at times not know how far you’re traveling, just adds to that kind of feeling of dread.
All of that makes finally getting to the light at the end of the dark and foggy anxiety tunnel all the more rewarding. The light operates much like the sun rising up does, displaying a kind of soft, yet powerfully bright beacon of hope that you begin to seemingly rush towards, reaching towards it with inexorable slowness, seeming to be so far away and yet so close at the same time. Emergence from anxiety, whether through therapy, through the right medication, or through mental fortitude, is a kind of emergence into clarity, allowing for life to be lived, some sense of normalcy to be achieved – at least until the next time anxiety happens to try to consume you. I think that’s one of the things that should be remembered about this short kind of journey from darkness into light, in that it’s an ongoing, repeated one, one that many people live with today, and which shouldn’t be shunned as something abnormal or broken for those that experience it. Mental health, like anything else, can and should be viewed as how people deal with issues with physical health, and should receive the same kind of consideration.