Recently I’m finding myself revisiting the spaces in media where anxiety and depression are explored. It may not always be intentional but I’d like to talk about a few of them and why I feel they express something so important. A game, a song, a book, and an artwork.
A game: The Beginner’s Guide
I’ll start with the most recent: a game by Davey Wreden, creator of the Stanley Parable. It isn’t really a game at all. It’s a confusing, emotional, narrative about one man’s experience with anxiety and depression. At least, that’s how I have interpreted it.
For the first hour or so you explore, through Wreden, his friends Coda’s increasing isolation. However, things change (without giving too much away) as Wreden’s own fears come forward and grow desperate. From then it’s about feeling inadequate and needing constant positive reinforcement. But most of all, it seems to be about not being able to let go. Being haunted by mistakes.
It’s great to see these experiences conveyed in a different format and would recommend a purchase, or just a watch.
A song: Stronger Than Ever, Raleigh Ritchie
This song is more about the ‘making it’ and the pressures and sacrifices that we and our families deal with on the way. The music video is also very powerful so do give it a look.
I’d like to leave the house to this song every day. It reminds me that it is hard, but the results will outweigh the costs. For those interested; Ritchie is not only a successful artist he also played Greyworm in Game of Thrones. So he did make it. For me this just gives the song so much more power.
A book: Reasons to be Alive, Matt Haig
I’ve read a few books about anxiety now, most of which have been in regard to coping and provided tangible solutions. This one takes a different angle. Haig suffers from a strong panic disorder, and in his late twenties he almost went over the edge.
It’s full of wonderful quotes and great advice. It was encouraging to read someone’s triumph. For me, there was also a sense of relief. Haig was in a really dark place, much darker than I’ve ever been. But it didn’t give me that ‘people have it worse than you feeling’. That one is filled with guilt. This one is more encouragement. No battle is too hard, or too small.
An artwork: You Are Still Here, Mona Hatoum
I have these words on my wall. I don’t know what she meant, and I don’t think it matters. For me it’s a pat on the back at the end of the day. I am still here. I got through another day. I’m afraid that’s all I have to say for this one.
Do check them out.