Last night was sad for me. My husband and I tried for hours to work through my paranoia about an open letter I wrote to a game developer. The letter was spreading on the Internet, and I became frightened that the game developer would come after me.
My husband and I read the letter again and again. There was nothing wrong with the letter it was just my opinion that creating a game about psychosis, depression, and anxiety is disrespectful to those of us with a mental illness.
The company developing the game claims the game is being developed to help eradicate stigma. My position was, and is, that it is a game. That means it is entertainment. Making the suffering of others into entertainment is, in my opinion, awful. I said why in the letter I wrote.
My husband thought the letter was well written, powerful, and he was proud of me for taking a stand.
After hours of running through every scenario I could think of, I couldn’t overcome the paranoia.
I couldn’t do it. I had to remove the letter from the Internet. Now, when people click on the link to read the letter they find this, “I’m sorry this post has been removed. The author has paranoid schizophrenia and the letter and its existence caused symptoms of paranoia in the author. Tragic, but true. Thank you for being interested in the issue of mental illness.”
I want to be an advocate for the mentally ill. I want to be a voice for the marginalized. I want to be strong and courageous and stand up to everyone who helps keep the characterizations, stereotypes and stigma going. I want to stand up to a company that sells a deadly and terrifying experience as entertainment.
I want to stand up to a game developer that is making the very thing that has almost killed me, and makes me too frightened to stand behind my words and true opinion, into a game that people get to play and then feel like they have either mastered mental illness when they master the game, or that they understand how it feels.
Trust me, unless it happens to you, you will never know how it feels no matter how many games you play, because a game does not take over your mind, a game doesn’t tell you to kill yourself, a game can be turned off at any time. When I stood on a bridge and the voices told me to jump, it was life or death, real life or death not an avatar.
I feel defeated today because my voice was silenced by my fear of a big company, but what is new in that really? Isn’t it the same old story?
Capitalism, the dollar sign, selling a product, wins out over sensitivity to those who are weaker or marginalized. Can you imagine playing a game where you have been diagnosed with cancer? Who would play that game? But mental illness, now that is creepy, and dark and dangerously appealing.
Of course the game will be made and sold, and people will have “fun” pretending they have a mental illness.
I wish I could pretend that I lived in a world where mental illness was treated like every other illness, but it is so damn obvious that it is not ( just read this from the beginning if you don’t understand that).
And the most painful part of it all is that taking down the letter disappointed my husband. Now he knows that hours of reasons can’t always kill the enemies of my rational mind.
He knows and has to accept there are limits to how hard I can push and how much I can stand up and push back. There are limits because I’m not playing a game, I’ve got the real deal, and the real deal is the opposite of entertainment.