Clearly, I’m depressed. Well, it might not be all that clear to you, my silent readers, but to me, it’s beyond evident. I know this because I bought more videogames this week after buying some videogames the previous week, and all I look forward to now at the end of the day is coming home from work and immersing myself in another world. Any world but this one. It could be Nazi-occupied Paris or Pandora littered with skags and psycho bandits or even a fantasy farming game that also houses caves of monsters. It does not matter. So long as it passes the hours until I can pass out and do it all over again, that’s fine.
While getting my oil changed over the weekend, I walked around the mall, finally stepping into GameStop. I just meant to wander, really, but then I noticed they had a “buy two pre-owned games, get one free” deal going on. So I did some searching. I knew that I wanted to get my mother a new Nintendo DS game, and I found Dream Day Wedding Destinations for fairly cheap, but now I needed to more games to seal the deal. Seeing as how I was going to be traveling that weekend (and the next 796 weekends), I decided to pick out two DS games for myself. Still haven’t had the energy to beat The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks, and while Picross 3D is fun, it’s not really a story-driven game, just the same thing over and over and over. I needed a little more drive (pun intended, as you’ll soon see) in my games, and I grabbed Rune Factory: A Fantasy Harvest Moon and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for about $15.00 each, thus picking up Mom’s game for free.
Both games are pretty good so far, but that’s not what I’m here to write about.
Depression. It sucks.
In high school, I handled it with an outburst of creativity, drawing furiously or scribbling in my notebooks ideas that would never come to fruition (like that one about a school of magical centaurs), but getting them down on paper nonetheless. I almost over-created, in some sense, staying locked away in my bedroom and just letting it all out. My small circle of friends quickly dubbed me “a hermit,” further leading to more depression sinking it, and I later turned the tables on them (though they most certainly have no awareness of this) by writing and selling a little short story about a hermit.
College was much harder in terms of depression. I did not like my college experience; I hid it really well though. If you called me a fake, I would not argue. There were dozens of reasons not to get down, and dozens of reasons countering this. I had a hard time dealing with issues of identity and friends, and ultimately turned to rum and booze and drinking my nights away. Sounds like a cliché, but it’s not at all. My PlayStation 2 was always there, but I never really needed it to comfort me. I did find a way to release my creativity via my guitar, playing “open mic” nights at local cafes and such, which was scary and fun and kept me on my toes, but it didn’t stop the bad thoughts from coming.
Now that I’m out on my own and mostly alone during the workweek, I rely a lot on mindless (and not-at-all mindless) entertainment like videogames. They are both a treat and savior to me come the evening, as I don’t watch any TV shows right now, can’t stand anything that I write short story-wise, and am so turned off by drawing that I have to wonder why I even try. Yet videogames are easy. Push the A button, watch something explode, reap the reward. Instant gratification, instant satisfaction. Lots of goals and Achievements and things to obtain, keeping me focused on something. Sure, some videogames let me down now and then, but never in a sense that my chest wants to cave in or that I want to scream at the sky, “Failure!”
What’s really terrible is the fact that I can’t openly discuss the reasons behind this depression. They are heavy and personal, complicated and unnerving, multiple and multiplying, a total dose of mindfuckery, and I can only imagine what this looks like from the outside looking in: hollow, emo whining. It’s not; that much I can assure you. Depression as depicted on TV commercials is not always how it has to be. You can smile through the day and think the worst things on the inside, and nobody would have a clue. You can still play videogames and have a convivial time, and you can still be the saddest hobbit this side of Middle-Earth.