Guest Features: The CheckPoint Community coming together to share stories, knowledge and opinions about the world of mental health and video games. This article was written by Rade, who can be found on Facebook and Twitter.
Sometimes, I like to think of myself as a Sim.
Rade-Sim has ambitions to be a successful writer and have a family to call her own. Her traits are foodie (I make a mean batch of cookies), gloomy, and outgoing.
Being able to think of myself as a Sim gives me a fairly basic, but effective, way to process my emotions and situations- since I’ve been dealing with my various mental health issues for at least ten years, it’s good to be able to have a consistent way of dealing with my emotions. It also explains what happens when I walk into a room and immediately forget what I was going to do – but that’s another story.
For the past few months, I’ve been having a rough time with my mental health and it’s finally reached critical point. I had what can only best be described as an emotional breakdown and it was terrifying.
If you were playing with Rade-Sim, she would be on the floor, after accidentally setting herself on fire and the Grim Reaper was helping himself to the cookies in the fridge.
It sounds stupid to imagine myself as a Sim.
But being able to compartmentalise my feelings into simple processes actually helps me figure out what I’m going through. Being able to visualise my feelings as simple outlets gives me the opportunity to process them easily without becoming overwhelmed.
Recently, my most prominent moodlets are the sadness and mourning moodlet as my grandmother passed away. I anticipated her passing, it’s not something you can ever really prepare for. The night she died, I messaged my boss saying I wouldn’t be in to work the next day, made some calls, and cried until I fell asleep. The next morning, I woke up to the reality that my dear and loving grandmother wasn’t here anymore and I needed to do something to comfort myself
The morning after my grandmother passed, Sim mode engaged and I was suddenly seeing life in the eyes of my virtual counterpart.
I wrote a list and headed to the local Supermarket to grab ingredients, since the first thing I want to do is stress bake. While my waistline probably doesn’t appreciate the 2 dozen choc-chip cookies and salted caramel brownies, being able to follow instructions and see the fruits* of my labour afterwards is actually quite therapeutic.
As time went on, I can slowly see the sadness and mourning moodlet flicking as the time on it is running out. This means some of my other moodlets can be more prominent – Maybe we’ll get some Happy in there, maybe some Playful. Definitely some Caffeinated as I work to put together my portfolio again and struggling through the 6:30 wake ups. Rade-Sim *hates* mornings – there’s a very big Tired moodlet hanging around until I get my first coffee.
The biggest moodlet I’m fighting is the Depressed moodlet – it’s a moodlet I’ve had for as long as I can remember. This moodlet doesn’t have a time to expire and it doesn’t go away, but by trying to bring more happiness and good feelings into my life, it can be aided and soothed but it isn’t something I can cure with a quick fix and I need to remember that.
I’ve been dealing with depression for at least ten years and it’s a harder struggle on some days.
Other days, you wouldn’t think that I’m a big ol’ ball of crazy, barely keeping my brain together – I’ll be perky, happy and bouncy and it’s a huge juxtaposition of how I feel when I crawl out of bed.
After years and years of fighting against my depression, I’ve learnt from one of my favourite games to visualise my emotions as a coping mechanism. It taught me that the bad feelings will eventually run their course and let new, more enjoyable emotions through. It’s something I have to remind myself when that Depressed moodlet sneaks up on me – depression always runs its course, and while it’s hard to image the light at the end of the tunnel, it’s always there. Whether you find comfort in your friends, or family, or in that double batch of cookies, it’s always going to eventuate.