Developer: Juan Albert
Launcher Quote: “At first, I was a little hesitant because it is difficult to talk about depression without sending the wrong message, but I still want to do it because this is a feeling with which I feel closely familiar, both from my own experiences and from a very close friend of mine.
That’s why I tried to show a bit of the courage needed to get rid of all those thoughts that are part of oneself but that lead us more and more to the bottom of the pit. Hope you like it.”
Depression and other mental health issues are difficult for people to both describe and deal with. The experience is distinct for each person and while there are consistencies, there’s always a sense in which some of what happens is unique to the individual, both in circumstances and in coping. Part of this might be why the developer was uneasy about presenting their portrayal – they didn’t want to make their own experience the experience that everyone appears to be having.
But even the depiction of what it feels like – that kind of ever-contracting suffocation and removal of things that can lead people to “the bottom of the pit”, as the developer calls it, is still one that is worthwhile to put forth. For people who don’t experience an issue with their mental health, or have to deal with things like depression, the visual presentation of the experience, even if it’s one that isn’t necessarily theirs, helps with the ability to empathize and understand what it’s like to ultimately go through it.
I say this is important because it’s so easy to sterotype of stigmatize the idea of being depressed and how to cope with it. We have preconceived notions of what that might be like, and the problem is that those notions can easily be made into assuming that’s what everyone goes through when depression hits them, when that’s not really the case. It’s important to see this shown, even as the developer displays it the way that they themselves see it, as a means to be able to better know it and be able to help define it much better. The end of the game has the player rolling over, content in the fact that they’ve cleared their mind of the miasma of distracting depression thoughts and items, and that too is important to try to show some kind of coping that’s possible even in the most crushing of depression experiences.