I have struggled with my mental health since I was 11 and since then, my anxiety has prevented me from doing so many things. I had no idea why I was feeling like this, but over the years I have realised I suffer from anxiety that manifests into depression. I still have not fully overcome it, and I don’t think I ever will, but it is slowly getting easier to deal with.
Over the years, taking solace and comfort in the fictional worlds of movies and the engaging environments of video games have helped me a great deal. Recently mental health issues have become the subject of video games, in efforts to represent them in a more beneficial way to past portrayals, most notably, Ninja Theory’s Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice.
After writing articles like, ‘How Gaming Helps my Mental Health’ for Jumpcut Play and a more in-depth article about Hellblade for my own blog, I began to realise that mental health and its relation to video games has not been covered in much depth. I decided to reach out to fellow gamers for their own stories on how gaming has helped them deal with mental health issues. I had such a great response from the community that I decided to make what was initially planned to be a few guest posts, into a fully-fledged online publication.
The name ‘Glitch’ is one that I mulled over for quite some time. I understood that this could have negative connotations as the definition of the word describes it as a ‘fault’ and I never want anyone to think I believe anyone who suffers with their mental health is faulty in any way. However, after giving it a great deal of thought, I decided to stick with Glitch, as explained in the introduction in Volume One:
“The name Glitch is mainly inspired by the character Vanellope from the Disney movie Wreck-it Ralph, she is constantly referred to as a glitch in her game, seen as a nuisance and a danger to others. However, she overcomes this and uses her glitch to her advantage, and this is what I wanted to focus on in the name. I don’t want it to be seen as a bad thing, I see my anxiety as a glitch at times as it comes on so suddenly and often physically makes me wince, much like a glitch, it can completely disturb what I am doing. But I can overcome it, and this is what I want to focus on.”
Glitch is not aiming to portray mental health issues as cute or gimmicky as I take it very seriously. Vanellope’s character resonated with me on a very personal level and I’m certainly not trying to make light of anyone’s situation, merely attempting to explain my own issues and hopefully making it more understandable and perhaps relatable to others.
The name isn’t meant to be taken literally, in that, I don’t feel like we who suffer from mental health issues are faulty at all. As I said in my introduction, my anxiety often comes on suddenly, often stopping me in my tracks, the important thing is that I can overcome it. This is what I want the name ‘Glitch’ to focus on, overcoming these issues, learning to deal with them and accepting them. I am aware I am only one person, who can’t speak for everyone who suffers from mental health issues, but I truly feel that what Glitch is aiming to achieve is overwhelmingly positive and is why I want to get as many voices as possible involved in the project.
I want this series to have a beneficial impact on the gaming community, I want to shine a light on how gaming can be a positive experience for those with mental health issues. But I do want to cover all aspects and whilst I want this to be mainly optimistic, I will discuss how games can have a negative impact on mental health, and how we can combat this in a constructive way, rather than demonising games.
This project is very personal to me but I want it to be respectful and helpful to anyone struggling with their mental health, whilst bringing more awareness of the issue to the gaming community. I am looking forward to continuing on this journey with the support of Jumpcut Play!