- Posted March 17, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
Depression, Self-esteem, Superheroes & Board Game Dreams
I am a survivor of depression and attempted suicide and I’m proud of that. With the growing conversation and openness about mental health starting to bloom within media circles, I feel comfortable sharing a past affliction I kept quiet for far too long.
It is difficult to tell people, “…yeah, at one time my self-esteem was so low I tried to kill myself…so how is your day?” It is difficult to tell people that from my teen years up until my early-twenties, I was an emotional wreck too proud to admit to my anger and depression issues.
At the time, I was angry at my father for being an overly strict authoritarian. What is supposed to be the most fun, daring, experimental and nurturing period in a person’s development – teen adventures worthy of future reminiscent stories among friends at the pub – was nonexistent for me. I grew up alone lacking social skills and confidence – problems that became prevalent when I moved out at age 19 and ended up becoming incredibly insecure and awkward.
My low self-esteem meant I was horrible with the ladies and I ended up getting used quite a bit by women who saw a gullible sap too eager to give everything to anyone willing to acknowledge his existence. This in turn made me more untrusting of people and relationships. It became a nasty cycle for years. I let some amazing women slip through my fingers while at the same time giving my heart to those who only required it as a napkin to wipe the stains of their previous relationship failures.
Although I easily obtained the grades to enter university, my stubbornness to admit something was wrong with me upstairs led to a quick exit from higher education. My mind was so pre-occupied with what made me distraught; courses I should have breezed through became harder than brick walls!
Although it sounds as if I was devoid of ways to escape my depressive mental state, I did have specific outlets to conjure positive periods of escape.
During my teen years and childhood, the few things in this world that brought me joy and escape included comic books, video games and board games. I was a geek through and through!
Playing video games on my Atari or NES provided a much needed escape from the world around me. I especially liked fighting adventure games like Double Dragon. I would pretend I was one of the tough guys taking out my frustrations on bad guys and injustice!
Board games provided escape the few times friends and I would find the time on the weekends to hook up and have a Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit tournament. Classic board games just have this simple and enduring quality to them. No wonder they are still popular in our tech obsessed world. They act as an unplugged way to bond with others and have childish fun without judgement. Board games are awesome!
Comic books were singularly the most important possessions I had as a child. They were the greatest escape imaginable. No electricity needed – just open the book and voila, you are in another realm of reality. Fiction, adventure and bravado at its finest mixed with spellbinding artwork!
The love I had for comic books, video games and board games would eventually become my saving grace!
By age 22, I had a mental breakdown and tried to take my life. The weight of family issues, school issues, relationship issues and my stubbornness not to open up to others finally took its toll.
Amazingly, that breakdown cracked open a new possibility of healing from within. Somehow the brain figured out how to deal with my esteem issues using creativity mixed with the mediums that gave me the greatest joy. I didn’t plan for this to happen – it just did.
On March 10th, 1999, I started to design a three-dimensional board game based on the comic book characters I used to doodle in high school and with a game play reminiscent of the side-scrolling brawling video games I enjoyed as a kid.
It took six months of dedicated work to complete a game I entitled Superpowerful Bonanza. Upon completion, I sat there looking at this creation I conjured up from nowhere. For the first time I felt a deep sense of pride in myself.
And then I decide to make another game, and then another, and then I started to write short stories and eventually I began to make You Tube videos to further express my creativity. Constantly creating things made me happy!
I found a personal talent I previously failed to realize. It was always there, I just didn’t have anyone to encourage it. The encouragement came from within.
My self-confidence grew and I started socializing more. I started to have meaningful relationships and eventually settled down with an amazing woman. I’m a daddy now with a little girl I work hard everyday day to inspire and nurture.
Creativity became my anti-depressant. Not drugs, not alcohol, not expensive therapy. Realizing my self-worth through understanding my creative talents proved to be my escape. And I have a very special board game to thank for that.
15 years since I created Superpowerful Bonanza, I have decided the time has come to share with the world the most important invention I have ever created. Give the superheroes I dreamed up as a lost child a chance to fly.
I decided to launch an Indiegogo.com crowdfunding campaign to see what the world thinks of my idea and to share the notion of using creativity as a therapy for depression. When you have the time, see what you think at:
Regardless if my campaign fails or succeeds, I am coming out with my game because it would be an insult to my past not to. It took me far too long to show this game the respect it deserves and to share my personal tale with others who endure similar dilemmas.
Thanks for reading.
To positive tomorrows and creative expression!