Real talk: I do have issues with depression (as you may have already guessed from the title of this little article). As far as actual severity, I tend to think that it’s, at most, a moderate level. I don’t believe I’ve ever found myself treading on that fine line that I know some people sadly do. I was diagnosed pretty early on in my life (I think at around six years old). I’ve been through therapy off and on, been on medications throughout the years and I’ve had family who has known for years that I deal with it. In the end result, I find myself lucky for that.
Given that I do suffer from depression, the idea of Depression Quest intrigued me. For those who haven’t looked into this, Depression Quest is a point-and-click text-based game that is more like a tool. Developed by Zoe Quinn, Patrick Lindsey and Isaac Schankler, Depression Quest is set up to show those who don’t have depression what it could potentially feel like if they themselves had it. Through the story, you take on the role of a nameless protagonist who does not know they have depression; they just know that something is up to make them act the way they do. The protagonist’s friends and family have no idea either. At certain moments in the story, you can make a choice on how to handle a certain situation. Depending on your choices, you depression levels either increase or decrease and some options in later situations will not be available for you to choose. You’ll have an outcome based on how you handle these situations.
Since downloading it on Steam a few days ago, I went through two scenarios for myself. In my first scenario, I tried picking choices that I felt I’d make at my current state. Granted, this was bit difficult for me since me and the main character have different backgrounds. For one, the main character is in a relationship during the story; I am not (some choices center around your relationship). However, I was diagnosed at a very early age and received help early on; the main character has not at his point in life. For instance, I had the character go to a party because I’d do that now. However, I had my character stand in the back of the party when his girlfriends left because I would do that as well. I also adopted a cat and played with it instead of going out, put off calling for an appointment with a therapist (but eventually I did anyway), stopped taking my medication when I thought I was getting better, etc.
I didn’t beat my depression in the end; depression is something that can’t be won over so easily. However, my end result for my first playthrough was on the more positive side since my family and my friends finally knew (since I told them), I was getting assistance and some of the weight was lifted off of my shoulders. This end result is very similar to me now and while I didn’t defeat my depression in the end, it showed that things could still get better over time. This, in turn, made me realize that for myself at my current state. I will never defeat it entirely, but there are things in my life that help make it easier for me to deal with and it can keep going that way as long as I keep at it.
Now, the second playthrough. As I mentioned before, I received my diagnosis at an early age and started receiving help pretty quickly following that. I thought to myself though, ‘What if I hadn’t?’ which became the basis of this playthrough. I certainly wouldn’t make many of the same choices again. Granted, I did in some cases just because I felt I would in those cases, but they were few and far between. The end result might be what you’d imagine: everything started falling apart. I didn’t think receiving treatment would necessarily help me, I didn’t tell my family about what was going on, I got to the point where I was calling in sick because I just didn’t want to get up and, despite telling my girlfriend about what was going on, she eventually couldn’t handle it anymore and felt like a break-up was necessary. In doing this playthrough, it helped open my eyes in a couple ways: 1). what I potentially could have ended up like and 2). how some with more severe depression might be.
You may be expecting a review on this, but I can’t really give it one to be honest. To me, a review just wouldn’t encapsulate what this can offer to many. That’s why I wrote this little article instead to tell you my experiences with it. As I’ve said before, I am a person with depression, but even I feel like I learned something from this. Those who don’t have depression can learn from this what it could feel like to have it. And to those who have depression, haven’t received help yet and decide to give this a go, perhaps it’ll convince you to starting seeking assistance.
Even now, I still have highs and lows but things aren’t as bad as I believe they could have been. Things can be better but it has to be revealed before that.
If you wish to give Depression Quest a go, you can find it on Steam and online at the official website and here as well. The game is free but if you choose to place a price on it yourself (through the two websites), proceeds will be donated to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.