Tag Archives: suicide

So I actually didn’t like Gone Home

This post contains unmarked spoilers for the computer game Gone Home. For those unfamiliar with it, it’s 1995 and you play as Katie, a young woman who is coming home to the States after a year spent travelling around Europe. While you were gone, your family moved into a mansion your father inherited. You arrive home in the middle of the night to an empty house, and gameplay consists of wandering around and going through your family’s stuff as revenge for them not being there. Okay, the revenge part was just in my head.

I finally got around to playing Gone Home today. I’d really been looking forward to it because not only had I heard nothing but good things about it, but I knew that the game mostly revolved around your sister Sam’s coming out story. And, you know, I’m queer, and I want to see more people like me in games that aren’t specifically aimed at a queer audience. I think I got my hopes up too much because Gone Home actually made me feel a little sick.

Pretty much, what it comes down to is, Gone Home really, really wanted me to think that Sam had killed herself and that I was going to find her body. It’s so “haha, got you!” about the whole thing, too. After finding vague notes about Sam not needing her room anymore, you walk into a bathroom where the tub is splattered with what appears to be blood. When you walk closer, you discover that it’s hair dye. (For the record, as someone who dyes her hair bright colours regularly, I have never achieved splatter as shown.) The entire ending sequence is set up to suggest that you’re going to find Sam’s body in the attic, where you get more and more journal entries about how she can’t go on without her now ex-girlfriend, until you get to the very last note, which is “actually I didn’t kill myself, I just ran away with my girlfriend!”

Sam’s story didn’t need that.

What it really comes down to is the game’s creators not trusting their story, their audience, or their atmosphere, and the game feels hollow as a result. Instead of trusting the player to appreciate the subtleties of Sam’s self-discovery and her love of her girlfriend, they assumed no one would care unless Sam might be dead. Instead of trusting the environment of an empty mansion in the middle of the night during a storm to unsettle the player, they threw in fake blood. It’s sad, because they were so close.

And it hurt me to play it because I’m sick of having to be grateful when queer characters aren’t dead by the end of the story, and this game just rubbed that in. This wasn’t a tactful approach to the suicide rate of queer people. It was present for the shock value, and as a queer person who has attempted suicide multiple times, I’m really not okay with that.

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Oh, and by the way, it makes sense to wonder where Sam is, but your parents have gone on a scheduled vacation. Why wouldn’t they leave a note letting you know where they are?


I don’t have monsters in my head

Sorry for this being a day late. This post has been difficult to write, and has the distinction of being the only post on here that I did not write in one sitting. Aside from writing it, the decision whether to post this was a hard one, as I know it will make people I know worry about me. Please don’t. I’ve been managing so far, and there’s no reason to believe that I won’t continue to be okay.

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I have had a list of diagnoses for the past six years of my life. Obviously that length of time is nothing to a lot of people, but for me, at twenty, it encompasses most of what I remember about my life. Actually, I have large gaps in my memory, so I don’t even remember most of that. If you ask me about the past two years, I’ll probably remember it, but before that there are just snippets. Most of those make me hope nothing ever comes back. I also don’t remember much of February through May, so if I started talking to you beyond pleasantries and became friends with you then, if I tell you the same stories or forget things about you, I’m sorry. I’m pretty sure I was paying attention when it came up the first time.

One thing I do remember from before six years ago is sitting on the floor of the living room with a new issue of Time looking at the cover story about children with bipolar disorder and wondering what it was like to have it. Now it seems like everyone wants me not just to idly imagine, but strive for, life without it. I mean, they don’t say it that way because that would be stupid. You don’t “cure” bipolar disorder.

I’ve said before that I’m not on medication by choice. It works for me. Bipolar disorder generally manifests in cycles and I’ve been pretty aware of when I need to pay closer attention to my moods. This year was different. My least functional time occurred in the spring, as usual, but the intensity of everything was turned up to eleven. As far as anyone can tell so far, it’s probably stress exacerbating it. I started talking to doctors about a month and a half ago. In one appointment, I was asked “Why didn’t you talk to anyone in November, when you first became aware of problems?” I didn’t really answer the question, but it’s because the good reasons to have never outweighed the bad. Ever.

I remember as a teenager being under constant surveillance, ultimately not having a say in my treatment, and most of all, people’s comments. A lot of people didn’t even try to hide that they thought I had no future, that I was a burden on my parents, but the most egregious was from a therapist I was seeing when I was 18. I wasn’t having real problems, just trying to figure out what I was doing with myself over a gap year. I’d seen her before, so she knew my history. She thought I was doing great until I came in having decided to go back to uni. There was an instant switch and she told me I was just going to end up on disability anyways so I shouldn’t take out the loans or go anywhere far away from my parents. I always tell the story about her in outraged tones, but honestly it’s hard to feel shocked by it. It’s more of what I’ve been hearing since I was fourteen, just stated more bluntly. It’s the microaggressions, the constant reminders that my brain is different, that there is something “wrong” with me. I know most of you don’t consciously think of me as being broken or different or any of those things, but when you make comments about how my brain is “interesting,” that I’m just sick, that bipolar disorder or any other of those diagnoses I have is just an affliction, well, it hurts.

Because they’re not these monsters in my brain. They’re part of who I am. Try and separate me from them, and unless you’re related to me, you probably wouldn’t know me. If I had no anxiety, I might be better at social situations, and I might have grown up with more friends I’d originally met in person. If I hadn’t been hospitalised I might have stayed more in touch with the ones I did meet in person, and I probably wouldn’t have gone to uni when I was sixteen. The music I compose would be different, or maybe I wouldn’t compose, because the albums that inspired me meant so much because the feelings that connected me to them would be different. Because of everything that happened as a teenager, I have felt a constant need to leave the country, get as far away from where I grew up as possible. And I did. I feel better outside America. How can these diagnoses not be who I am if they have visibly affected the last six years of my life to the point where I live in a different country?

But still, whenever I bring up a problem remotely related to my mental health, whenever I feel suicidal, or like self-harming, if I tell anyone, the first response is always “See a doctor,” or “take this pill.” When I consider telling anyone anything, I am risking losing the trust and support of everyone around me. People tend to either pull away or get too close when mental health issues come up. I stop being someone who can take care of myself and become someone fragile, someone who needs to be watched.

This doesn’t have to be the response. A few months ago, I came off of a manic episode during which I had cut. I went and knocked on the door of someone I didn’t know all that well. We’d been friendly all that year, but we never specifically hung out together. He was just the closest person I knew who I felt sort of comfortable going to. So I pretty much came into his room crying, and he didn’t suggest I should be medicated or anything. We went for a walk. We bought some frozen pizza for later. That was all he needed to do in the situation to make me think “this is someone awesome who I should make an effort to stay friends with.” Really, I don’t need advice if I bring this stuff up. I don’t need you to tell me things about bipolar disorder or feeling suicidal. Trust me, I know it already. Just be around.

Really, I won’t break.


If there is a good title for this, I can’t think of it

I kind of doubt a lot of people will agree with this entry in its entirety, and it might go a bit all over the place, but it’s what’s been on my mind for about the past month.

Okay, first of all, some people have mental disorders. Since I’m trying to stick to what I know here, I’ll focus mainly on depression and bipolar. Once you have been diagnosed with either, there is a long process of figuring out how to be able to live your life without it being taken over. Medication works for some people. Therapy works for some people. Electroconvulsive therapy works for some people. There are more. But the real challenge of these disorders is dealing with other people. I do not like to hide that I am bipolar. I accept it as a part of me, and feel that to say otherwise just to make other people more comfortable, or like me better, or anything, would be as much of a disservice to myself as hiding my sexual orientation.

So if someone asks, I’ll tell them. I am also perfectly happy to say that I am not on meds, and that I only go to therapy to please my school. I will then explain how I have learned to deal with my mood swings through being ultra-aware of my mood, and how my friends and family are more helpful than a therapist has ever been. However, there are always the people who will not trust me to function. I know that my methods will not work for everyone, just the way medication, ECT, and therapy work for some people but not others. This does not make me any less healthy. It does not invalidate the work I do, and it does not mean I should be living at home with my parents “just in case.”

If the conversation turns to the past, I may mention that I used to be suicidal. Here I run into two problems. 1) Sometimes people assume I am still suicidal, and 2) a lot of people believe you have to be insane to want to kill yourself. The first one I mostly attribute to my choice to not take medication. The people who think I am still suicidal would most likely be comforted with the sentence “I used to be suicidal, but I’m taking medication now.” The first one is irritating, but fairly easy to work around. The second one is what really worries me. Thinking that a suicidal person has to have something wrong with their brain, even temporarily, is a huge insult to the feelings and reasons of that person, whether they attempt, succeed, or just consider it. It is rather egotistical as well. Pretty much, you are saying that because you do not understand the motivations or emotions of that person, that person has something wrong with them. Of course it is fine to help that person, and prevent them from harming themself, but the moment you get into “they must be crazy” territory, you are dismissing some of the strongest pain and emotions they will ever have. Everyone has their breaking point. They do not have to have any sort of mental illness to hit it. There is only so much each person can take before thoughts of a better future can’t comfort them anymore. When this happens, I see suicide as a form of self-defence. Hopefully, it will not end with suicide, but sometimes it does, and we need to respect the decision made as being theirs.

-20 minutes left.