Consequences

There are consequences for actions in life, often crappy ones that can’t be avoided. Why should we tolerate them in a game? I mean its escapism right?

Because it, especially when its their actions that caused it. Sure fighting the big bad is fine and all that, I’ll get right on collecting that rod of many flanges in a minute, but facing up to the action you have made makes for a better experience.

My favourite moments in Larp, have always been down to my characters actions, or inactions, coming home to roost. Now don’t get me wrong it took a while to get used to this, but ultimately it makes for a more satisfying game. I have lived a year under a death sentence for my actions as a space wizard, Lost loved ones I have never told I cared, I have had loved ones threatened at Empire, been talked out of death and playing the spying game elsewhere has had to many close calls to mention.

In life the world and other people push back at the things we do, we do not exist in a closed system. Every social interaction, every mistake we make drives who we are and shapes us. Often it is adversity and how we deal with it that defines us. If I punch my boss on Monday I will pay for that, in spades. Not ideal so I don’t. If I punch my boss in a game, well I should expect similar consequences.

And that’s the thing, if you don’t want your character to pay for their sins, don’t do it. Step away from the two year old mindset of ‘Its not fair, just because I beat Bobs pet shrew to death, why is he picking on me?’ or ‘How do I make sure I don’t have to pay for this?’ The old adage of if you can’t do the time etc springs to mind. Ultimately you have control of what your character does, personal responsibility goes a long way.

Don’t murder if you don’t want to pay for it if you get caught, don’t steal if you wont pay the piper and don’t be a dick if you cant handle the social fall out of what you have done.

The thing is our minds are hard wired into the game part of winning, but if we step back and take a look at the stuff we like in stories our protagonists often do things and have to deal with the consequences of their actions and how much cooler the narrative of our experience is we will have more fun.

How much cooler is it to stand up in front of a judge for that shrew killing and either die unrepentant, weasel out of it or plead for your life? That’s an experience you wont have and a moment that will be remembered if you try and hide from it. Also think about the other players, its a shared experience. Your victim gets to see you go down, all the people involved either get to grieve or be victorious. You get to be the hero or villain in scene just for you and you get to provide a bucket of game for those around you.

Its not just the big stuff though, screwed up? Embrace it, role-play the crap out of it, something as simple as a silly joke can lead to an entire story arc that dosn’t need a plot writer or reffing that you have to play with during the dead time while the crew are gorging on chocolate amphibians. Oh and trust me something that comes out of an interaction between players will be twenty time better than an npc turning up and demanding shrew bones for a peace treaty.

I guess what I’m saying is let go and enjoy the things that you cannot help, it might make sitting around for the next plot drop more fun, or more importantly make the next plot drop irrelevant because you have your own personal apocalypse to deal with.

In embracing those moments you get to be remembered, no one remembers the person who kills mooks all day, no one remembers the murderers who never get caught, no one mourns mary sue and who really cares about the Larp love affair that runs smoothly?

In real life the consequences of our actions can be horrible and unfair, but in Lrp they are epic stories that in many ways are cathartic. I can honestly say my best moments in Larp have come from not running from the things I have done and trust my taking your hits, in whatever context, have made me smile wider than a chocolate frog that has escaped the crew room unmolested.

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Crewing Gulag.

Im blundering through the woods, we heard another bunch of people run into the others. There was a flash of white light and whistles. They have probably been caught. They are close friends of the guy who found us out in the wild, but he’s not going back for them. They are a good distraction to get across this road, hopefully there wont be a truck loaded with Others while that’s going on. We run across the road and one of our number puts his foot in some standing water. We know what that means, we’ve got maybe three hours to get him onto a drip at the Gulag or he’s dead.

Then we see the white light of others torches and my hearts in my mouth.

The thing is I’m crew, a bunch of members of the Gulag have gone out looking for survivors and a couple of crew have been put in with the new players to bulk out numbers and to make sure the new players understand how horrific post ‘event’ Georgia is. My character is an NPC, it dosn’t matter if I die, but I don’t want to be caught by the Others. I’m lost in a forest, hunted by an unknown foe and at any moment I could stand in contaminated water or brush against a biological contaminate painted on a surface in poster paint. If it starts raining…well that’s a death sentence without medicine.

I’m crew, I shouldn’t care, but I do.

24 hours later I’m dancing to the Prodigy with a rictus grin on my face dressed in an orange boiler suite. The players have dubbed us Smilers. If we catch you we are going to eat you, all the time constantly dancing to the thump of Braintrees finest. The smoke and torches flung round as we dance reminds me of my teens, the rictus grins of my fellow crew members remind me of some choice horror movies. The night before, when we got to the Gulag the players had warned me about the smilers, that they were terrifying, that you could only hide from them. Their faces in permanent screams of terror.

The players need to sneak in to get yeast to make beer from, its a way of making sure they have something safe to drink. They only care about survival.

Gulag is based on eastern European scifi like ‘Roadside Picnic’, ‘Metro’ or the game S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Where western post apocalypse is all cars, shotguns and Tina Turner (yes I’m ignoring the Survivors.) Eastern European stuff tends to be more about just trying to stay alive and the grim reality of that situation. Gulag has that in spades. Set in a 2020’s Georgia, its the story of a bunch of people trying to stay alive in their Gulag, hunting for water, fuel and food. And that hunt is real. One of my highlights was sharing a biscuit with six people and savoring it.

All your food is provided for, in the form of tins without labels or scavenged MRI packs. However be warned that the food could be tainted (food colouring) or even radioactive (yes they have rigged cans to go off with a giger counter!). This brings me on to medicine. NBC is a thing and various things from radiation to chemicals are colour coded. Found blue food colouring in your apple? Well you are going to need a blue drip to live, good luck finding one…..

tins

Even standing water is deadly, during our cat and mouse chase we checked each other over with ultraviolet light to make sure no one got splashed, just getting damp is a potential death sentence.

This is a game about survival, the players camp is bivies and plastic sheet. They aren’t camping in tents. The first event had four people who didn’t make it to the Gulag, they slept rough on the Friday night in bin bags hoping that the daylight would send the others to bed. This may not be the game for everyone.

However , much like every Eyelarp event, this is about community. The Gulag itself is made up of a tight knit bunch of people, they have come together as a community. They have had too. Food and water is scarce, its a society based on sharing and its bred a close group of people. My time in the camp with the players was a strange combination of generosity and paranoia towards me as a new arrival.

There was a very strange moment when I got into the camp talking to the players, I realised everyone had bought into this, everyone was happy to eat cold spaghetti and peaches, everyone was terrified of white light and everyone believed that it was better to hide than fight.

Gulag is an experience, an experience that isn’t for everybody. However if you don’t mind going a little hungry, sleeping rough and hiding in a bush in the middle of the night with only a red light for company, then Gulag might be the game for you.

Right of course with the whole Eyelarp thing I best get on with writing about ghosts and learn Roy Batties death speech…..for reasons…..

backpack

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Larpcon 2016, oh my!

The LT won best large Larp and best large Lrp. Huh, we will get back to why that shouldn’t annoy you in a bit, but Larpcon. That is a thing that just happened.

One of the things I love about things like Larpcon is the diversity of stuff you get to look at and how broad our church is. From starship bridge simulators to fest Larp there is a lot of stuff out there.

Certainly the thing that I want to go to that was ‘new this year, but life will conspire to stopping me go to’ is Cry Havok from Mark Gilbert.
Not only was I a huge fan of the old fighting fantasy rpg Maelstrom (look it up it was ting book that got released, but was one of the most influential rpgs of my teens) and an old reneactor; Mark’s ambition of an immersive historical event that encourages and teaches solid combat is something to be applauded. Also helps the guy is really nice too.

I hate him already. Not as much as I hate Ian, but close.

Obviously my car will explode and I won’t get to it, but hey it looks really good and I’d like to go.

http://cryhavoc.uk/

maelstrom

Pick up a copy if you can

 

 

 

Also worth mentioning is the new Nerf based larp futures end. Even though I cant go to it this year due to commitments and stupidly running a game on the same day as the second one, ive been watching the kit builds jealously. I love the styling of Corvus Belli’s Infinity, Mass effect and the Stormwatch, but as one of the Aeon/Aberrant fan boi’s I also like the central conceit. Next year, anyone up for Aeon style Legionaries?

Yes doing 90’s Superheros is going to be tough, yes getting kit to match the concept art will be tough, but I think its got a great idea, the crew arn’t awful and more nerf based larp in our community is good as airsoft is more expensive, needs more safety equipment and just isn’t suitable for some styles of game.

http://www.futuresendevents.co.uk/

Weirdly talking of Nerf, The steampunk post Martian invasion Age of Aether. I didn’t get to their stand, but worth a look.

http://macifaria-games.co.uk/ageofaether/

Oh and Eyelarp has a website! That and they were to be offering a site and logistics service where they will run logistics and kit your game as a partner. Really good I reckon for people like me who are nervous about the costs of running a project or (like me) fail at basic organisation skills such as tying their own laces.
http://eyelarp.com/lrp/
But the other thing about shows like Larpcon is you get to talk to people away from the field. Late night conversations with the folk at Mandala about game theory and concepts, discussing what the OfSTEAD grade for empires academy would be (old format satisfactory with elements of good, although putting together data showing pupil progression would push it over into good.),finding out about Jamie Wakefields planned Bardfest or getting history lessons about why a thing is a thing in Larp.

Its really great to get to talk to people like Wookie and Leah, just because I get to learn stuff, I get to froth about some of the ideas they have (and that’s just the ideas), and get to hear about good game theory. Oh and just talking to nice people about cool things is often its own reward. Its this stuff that is the star of trade events for me. Getting to talk about larp in general, ideas, possibilities and aspirations for games and the hobby.

Of course no show is complete without talks and unfortunately I only got to half of the two talks I wanted to. However Matt Pennington’s talk on sexual assault, based on facts, research and experience as an event runner dealing with this difficult subject was equal parts educational and sensitively handled. It was really good to learn about the facts around this and the that the policies PD use, based on research and good practice outside the Larp community, are in fact open source for you to do with as you will. The talk was videoed and if it gets released its well worth giving it a look.

The round table about diversity again was a really positive experience, chaired well and showed that when you remove the internet and talk about a subject with empathy and positivity you find that most people want positive outcomes. Our hobby has issues all over the place, but I think conversation face to face to look at them and solutions will effect change.

Once the talk has been typed up it will be sent out to the people taking part and I’ll make sure that I will put a copy on my blog. I was really proud to take part in it. In the mean time I’d suggest if you can there was an excellent interview with Lord John Bird on radio 2 on the 26th about the links between education and a more inclusive, equitable society. Real permanent change comes from education, empathy, social equality and looking for points of similarity rather than difference.

But you want to talk about the awards yourself right? First up, before we rabble rabble Twisted Tales won best overall larp. Got that? Awsome. I’ve never played it, but ive heard a huge pile of ‘this is great’ and how I missed a 18+ game about fairy tales…..

http://twisted-tales.org.uk/

LT won best big Larp?

Good.

A pile of talent people put a game together that people like to play. That deserves recognition. That’s the essence of the awards. If that crew saw the awards as a thing that motivated them to make a better game good. Everyone wins. The awards are about that bit, the hard work people put in. Its strangely damning of our society that we look to tear down before praise. Personally I’m damn well going to find my way onto a sanctioned off the back of this, you won’t see me at a mainline, but yes I’d like to go do some sanctioned events

Were there any misfires? Yep there were, but amusingly Ian is really good at listening to and taking feedback. I Personally feel when someone puts a load of effort into actually putting on an event shouting about issues on the internet ain’t going to help. Taking time to think about constructive feedback and think about the issues that led to an issue rather than SHOUTING can help. ‘Cause you know positive change is bought about by empathy and education, not being a twat. Which actually makes it doubly hard for Ian to embrace change….

So yeah I’ll be there next year just as long as he promises to stop murdering baby pandas and telling kids that santa will kill them in their beds.

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Statement of Principles and you at Empire.

So priests and the Statement of Principle.

Today I read a wonderful thing about how the Synods statement of principle at Empire did nothing.

Now lets be clear this is not an official Empire post of blog, its the random ravings of a lunatic with a PC, but its worth examining it as it is completely correct and also completely wrong.

The Synod Statement of Principle  can be a bit confusing. Unlike the Law or a Senate motion, it wont make make people do stuff, they just say ‘we all think this is true’. That however is the key. They are a piece of paper that says ‘This mob thinks this and they are responsible for our spritual wealfare.’

First of all lets get some basic things out of the way:

*A priest can raise a statement of principle that can be upheld with a majority vote in a synod. This is not legally binding, but it does say that all the priests agree it to be true.

*Priests randomly using their rites on people can get them charged with misuse of priestly powers.

*A cardinal needs the votes of its synod to keep its power. Be very clear. If you win over the majority of a synod, no one gives a flying throne what a Cardinal thinks. As a Teacher I very soon learned that children only give you as much authority and control over you as they are willing to give you. The title is nice, but it is only meaningful if everyone agrees with you.

*No one likes a minority telling you they have a mandate to govern. The cardinals can be annoyed you set fire to a person they liked, but if the majority of the priests were holding your coat while you did it, they will be looking for new jobs if they look at you funny over it.

*The synod is the only institution than can permanently lock someone out of a job. If pushed the Synod could excommunicate every Archmage, with the conclaves only response being a strongly worded statement delivered to the Senate. Think about that for a second. Also if the senate doesn’t want to play ball? Revoke them. The synod has real power.

Ok lets do this.

If you pass a statement of principle to say bob is a greedy twat and leave it at that you have wasted your statement of principle. No one will care, but lets look at how this potentially could go wrong for Bob if you pile on the pressure

The statement of principle is an opening gambit, the way to say ‘I’m onto you and you are gonna burn’

You see once a majority in a synod has said Bob is unvirtuous you can go after bob. If your statement of principle is that Bob is ‘Dangerously Greedy.’ the next thing you better do is go and put a testimony on Bobs soul to that effect, with mates to make it hard to remove. Any complaints? Well you kept that piece of paper right? So if you get inquisitioned, the Militia knock on your door or your corrupt cardinal says no, well you can go ‘I have a clear mandate here.’ If Bob has it removed? Well you are going to insight Bob regularly? Publicly to remind everyone bob is a twat. If Bob does have it removed that you slap it right back on, but also get the militia involved because a priest who removed it abused their powers. ‘See here Magistrate I have a clear mandate here and Bob is corrupting priests’. You are of course going to point out to the Synod that Bob is laughing at them right? You are going to raise that judgement of excommunication, obviously with the proviso that if Bob mends his ways it will be lifted? Your doing it for his soul, and hes’ ignored all the other steps you have taken to help him….

Its not as easy as that, A lot of the work with things like this are down to role-playing, putting on a front and hardskill political knife fighting, but the point is a statement of principle is the first step the destroying someone’s career.

*Talk to people, you need a majority to nail bob. Make friends. The national assembly is the easiest way to nail someone, but the virtue assemblies are where you want to do it as they carry more wight due to the perception they are not tied to one nation.

*Even if you are not going to tattoo someone soul make sure you face to face tell the person, preferably in front of a mob why they are unvirtuous. Make a big song and dance, fire and brimstone. The civil service are not going to tell people the synod thinks Bob is a twat, you have to.

*Cut your teeth on easy prey. Find someone that is a sure fire win and do them first. Get a win under your belt. Get a rep for going after the unvirtuous. Catch some low hanging fruit and then testimony them. Once people accept it on someone who everyone hated anyway, its easier to go after the scum who hide it better (because you wouldn’t want to do it for political gain.)

*Keep copies of statements of principle. Got 5 for one person saying they are a twat? Well use them for the next attack, but this time have them tried for religious crime or excommunication, the weight of ‘evidence helps.’

*Don’t forget curses. A curse lobbed at someone who a majority of priests have decided needs punishing for a lack of virtue will be less likely to affront the Conclave. Curses are NOT illegal and the conclave is not going to say a priest having someone cursed backed by a majority of a synod is naughty. Well they could but then they are saying the Synod is wrong about a thing of virtue, and no one wants an angry Synod looking at you.

*You need to be the Daily Mail on crack. You have to make sure your statements of principle are known. Shouted, reported. Now you could go to a paper, but they tend to have editorial bias. Nope, hire a bard, a satirist or just a citizen good at gossip. Make sure people know. It will change peoples opinion. Also make sure you hammer it home all year with testimonies, inquisitions, and more statements. Your aim is to make the persons reputation toxic. Also make sure you go after their friends if they stand up for them. Isolate them politically.

*Have an end game. All of this power aimed at one person needs to achieve something. From changing their behaviour and saving their soul to getting a bribe to leave them alone. There needs to be a purpose to this.

*Nothing stops a private citizen from saying ‘well i cursed him because the synod said he was bad.’

I would humbly suggest that 5 priests working together should be able to weild more power than any title in the game, if, and only if, they are willing to talk to others, use the power they have and be willing to go after hard targets.

This is quick sketch of a very complex political system, however if you are new to destroying careers or just need to re-look at how to do it, I hope this helps.

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If its not fun, why are you doing it?

If I don’t like a movie, I don’t watch it. If I don’t like a comic, I stop buying it. If its season 4 onwards of Xfiles? You can’t make me watch it.

What I don’t do, even with the last season of Babylon 5, is continue to consume while moaning about it.

It’s like choking food you don’t like while complying about it and going back for seconds. You just don’t do it. Well their as some niche life choices that might make you, but that’s pretty niche and not part of this discussion.

But in Larp we do like a good moan, this blog is evidence enough of that. We like a good moan and we don’t do anything about it other than continue to attend.

I think in many ways its facebook culture, but there is an element of entitlement here too. If I turn up to an event and complain about logistics, heavy hits or something serious, that’s one thing and the correct thing to do, with the organisers.

If I turn up and start complaining their background doesn’t fit what I think their world should be like? That makes me a twat. No really. A massive, prize twat of the highest order. With a badge and medals or twatage.

Its like going to the cinima to watch star wars and complain to the staff that you wanted to watch the avengers, why isnt star wars like the avengers? Luke should have a hammer, Leia should turn into a giant green anger monster and why isn’t the Emperor played by Tom Hiddleson (to be fair more Hiddleson is good, but you get the point).

You see what I’ve done there is read about a game, spent time going I’d like to play this, but only if it fits my view of how it should be. Imagine if that is how we all acted? If we only played games if the people wrote worlds the way we wanted them? What a samey morass of shite it would be?

I mean today I read a treatment for a very cool tribal game with spirits and spirit quests that I have fallen in love with. There is the achingly beautiful tales out of anchor. I mean is there any room for them in a hobby designed by committee?

And that’s what a the hobby would be like if you got everything you wanted grey. Game runners make creative choices about their worlds and as a player I have a choice. I can either accept changes made and play or not accept them and leave the game. It’s a simple choice. There are a couple of other choices, I can email the game runners and give my opinion with the understanding I have to respect their choice, as I am an adult or I could moan about it while continuing to attend their events.

Cause what I’m not going to do is watch the Xfiles week after week complaining its not what I want to watch. That would make me a shit version of Sisyphus.

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Popularity

So its l(A)rp award nomination time again…..

And so the controversy begins. From the ever popular ‘It’s a popularity contest’ to the amusing ‘its rigged’ there is always a little bit of contention it’s time to spread the Marmite.

marmite_2321702b

But hey it’s the l(a)rp community and its on facebook, seriously….

The thing is what is awful about them really?

I mean if they came round your house and took a dump your sofa, you could get angry. Or if they punched a family member I think we can have a pop. Certainly if the l(a)rp awards started dating my sister and then cheated on her I’d get all older brother on them.

However they aren’t going to, they are awards. They do however embody the idea that at some level someone has won something, and that is seen by many as a negative. If someone wins, someone has lost or not been nominated and they could in some way feel bad.

Lets be clear I’m not up for anything and I’m fine with that, if I was I’d take it a as a compliment and if I won something I’d be stunned and find a way of being offensive about it in public. But not winning is ok, not being nominated is ok. As an adult I don’t always have to have what I do validated, however when I see others validated I can be happy for them, rather than sad for me.

That at many levels is a modern societal thing which is probably well outside the scope of some awards for make believe.

The idea that you can be happy for another person is not a bad thing. Sure my fav game of this year Pant-less:The Unveiling isn’t going to win, but hey I had fun and it dosnt need to win prove that I had fun and enjoyed it, but the folk who ran this imaginary horror show would probably be happy that their bleak pant-less Gothic romance was nominated, that someone took the time to say ‘Hey your thing was good enough I thought you should be recognised’.

So if you care about a game or a thing I suggest you say something. Vote. Not to win, but because you think it might be nice to say ‘Hey, bob I voted for you cause your game was cool’ or hey ‘Bobbie, I know you do loads of work out the back no one knows about and I reckon you deserve to know I appreciate it enough to fill in an internet survey.’ (Well maybe not quite like that.).

So what will I be voting for. Well most of it I’ll keep to myself thank you very much, but Grass roots Larp? I’m actually just putting forward University l(a)rp societies. No other group gets more people into the hobby, and that is no small thing. Well it was that or Wizards of the coast….

Where can you find the voting? Here.

www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/O0Y1M

To be fair you don’t have to bother, but you know what if you don’t I hear the l(a)rp awards will come round your house and smear marmite on your windows.

So how does it work behind the scenes? Well its easy.

People nominate, the things with the most nominations go on a short list.

That short list gets sent out to the judges who are made up of previous winners and other assorted hangers on, and no you can’t vote on a category you have been nominated in. they pick a 1, 2 and 3 from the list and it is then sent back to the larp awards. Tragically £50 notes attached to such form don’t actually work.

And you know what? If all of this still talk of awards depresses you, just think pundits believe Mad Max: Fury road is potentially up for 9 Oscars, but hey awards are just a popularity contest and that couldn’t have a chance based on a ground breaking story, an actresses performance or any of that now could it….

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The S word

One of the reasons I write about depression is to normalise the discussion around it and to explain it. A lot of the time we see amusing memes and comics that try and explain it, but I always feel that they can be filled along with cat pictures and pictures if trees with quotes about my inner beauty. Well meaning, but ultimately disposable. Although they educate, they are a click and gone, they don’t necessarily hold attention beyond ‘That’s so true’ followed by ‘ah a video of a turtle snowboarding, that’s adorable.’ When I’m going through a relapse, as I am now, I can talk about it from being in it and hopefully that gives a greater insight into the way it feels and works. Of course it also helps me as a form of catharsis.

But I haven’t really spoken about this one.
Suicide.

The S word is like the C word we don’t talk about it. We don’t talk about it because its seen as cowardly, admitting to suicidal thoughts makes other people blame themselves and most of all saying it out loud makes it real. Not to mention it’s just bloody unseemly.

This cycle or rage, guilt, sadness and loneliness that comes with depression takes a toll and often that toll is counted in the life of the person with depression and those that surround them.

First of all, I’m not about to kill myself and this is not a plea for an intervention. Turn up on my door trying to save me will result in me being grumpy, you learning some new combinations of swear words you haven’t heard before and . But I do need to talk about this from my perspective to make it a little more real, and maybe someone might go ‘hey, its ok to talk about this.’

I suffer from suicidal thoughts, its part of my depression. I can identify them as illogical, I know what they are and apart from a couple of times I have never even got to the planning stage. This is from CBT and Mindfulness training. However if you are trapped in your head, unable to talk about the feelings that are in there, ashamed, scared sad and angry, those words get seductive fast. Before I had been given that training? Well it was a bit of a crap shoot if I’m honest.

You see most of the time they are a fantasy in many ways. I try really hard to explain what living with clinical depression is like and trying to function with it and hopefully I get that across, so hopefully at some level you understand that the idea of not having to struggle through getting up, making yourself talk to people, explain its not their fault, do a full days work and taking breaks to hide and cry ‘just because’, go home have no motivation to do anything with the only view of tomorrow being more of the same….the fantasy of not doing it is appealing.

For me I give those thoughts their time, I acknowledge them and I deconstruct them logically, then I move on. When it gets bad and I catch myself planning or there is any kind of actual effort towards suicide I go to the doctor.

Also they are not always something you see coming, much like the Staypuff Marshmallow man they just pop in there, and much like him they are very destructive. Sometimes its as simple as ‘I forgot the sugar, I am sad and angry, if I kill my self I don’t have to feel this way, where did that come from?’

Stay-puft-marshmallow-man

I have a system, I have had help and I was willing to acknowledge to a professional, with support from loved ones, I was too week to do this alone.

It saved me. If I am honest I almost walked in front of a car and I have almost overdosed. Ironically the guilt of what it would have done to those I cared about and the poor copper who would have had to have picked up the pieces is what stopped me. Amusingly the resentment that I couldn’t is part of the horror show that is depression.

For many people this isn’t an option. You see we are raised to see mental illness as almost a failure. Certainly talking about it makes people uncomfortable, and from this side of it explaining it is tiring. In many ways constantly saying ‘its ok, you haven’t done anything its my depression’, ‘I’m quite because of x’, ‘I need to be in my own head because x’ over and over is not as much fun as it sounds, cause constantly revisiting feeling rubbish to make other people feel better is a fast track to misery and anger. In many ways even the conversation is a difficult and uncomfortable one without talking about suicide, thing is we must.

Suicidal thoughts are not the norm, but you are not alone.

Often you will hear ‘it’s ok, we all get them’. That is an awful thing to say.

‘It’s ok, people sometimes feel like that and you can get help’, Is helpful, but suicidal thoughts are indicators that something is wrong and dismissing them as ‘hey it’s normal.’ Pretty much dismisses someones feelings and fears.

By saying they are normal gives the indication that you should just deal with them, and what people in this state is support, not to be pushed away or told that they shouldn’t worry.

For me actually being told that feeling suicidal wasn’t normal was a relief, certainly through my teens into adulthood they have always been around in the back of my head, I had believed that we don’t talk about it, its normal, depression and mental health was something you shouldn’t discuss in polite society and that somehow identifying with those feelings of sadness and loneliness that came with them somehow made me less.

To be stuck feeling like this is horrific and certainly we can’t address the S word without talking about it seriously.

So what to do?

*First up you can get help and it’s ok to say you need that help. No one that matters is going to judge you for it.

*Secondly get that help, there are lots of ways about going about it, but even just saying ‘hey I feel this way’ helps. Doing it anonymously is fine. Here’s a great resource from the wonderful NHS:

NHS help

*Get treatment. Like any illness it wont go away because you really want it to. CBT, Mindfulness and medicine or whatever works for you.

*The Meds will make you feel worse before you feel better, prepare for that. Also accepting medication is not failing and your doctor is literally trained to give you the best advice.

*Don’t feel bad it’s not fixed straight away. I have been fighting this for years and will be fighting it for years. It is a fight, but it’s worth it.

*Make time for yourself. I’m bad for this, but you need to be able to say stuff it I need to do something to cheer me up. I feel guilty about it, I’m a bit rubbish on this one.

*Do something, the worst thing in the world is doing nothing. The world may feel like its in slow motion, but you need to engage with it even if its a walk.

I hope that at some level me talking about my experiences will help someone get some help or feel a little less alone, because god knows it is lonely.

Talk about it and don’t feel ashamed ‘cause it ain’t just you and you can get through it.

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