Illustrated By Ly Ngo.
We've all heard someone ask, "Why can't depressed people just snap out of it?" Of course, it's difficult to understand any mental illness unless you've been there yourself.
Depression Quest, an award-winning, text-based video game seeks to give people a window into the experience of depression. It's a sort of Choose Your Own Adventure-esque setup. Your character is a depressed person in his or her mid-20s, working a mundane job, and navigating through life. In the game, your avatar struggles with things that many of us struggle with, at one time or another: not feeling successful enough; not feeling secure in our relationships; not knowing how to talk about how we're feeling. But, here, you encounter these hurdles as a person with depression.
In each scenario, you're given a series of options. Your friend has an extra kitten he's trying to find a home. Do you decline or reluctantly take the cat? Your best friend from high school asks you why you seem sad. Do you answer truthfully or hurriedly assure her that everything is fine? Your answers determine how you move through the game and, then, how and when you ultimately recover.
The game does a beautiful job of creating an atmosphere of mental illness. You really feel the anxiety your character might feel trying to make a decision. Or, the self-doubt felt in a relationship. It's an impressive use of the medium — a video game that truly evokes emotion and forces us to think outside of our own experience. Interested in checking it out? You can play for yourself after the click. (Depression Quest)