A couple of things before I launch into this proper: one, I had to remake my Twitter account not too long ago. Long story short: old one was getting hit by constant mass reporting by The Gamers, and I was tired of being suspended constantly, so you can find me over here now.
Two, someone made fan art for one of my Mario Maker levels! It’s really cool!
This week was a pretty rough one, involving me grappling with my terrible mental health. So naturally, because I’m not so loaded that I can do bourgeois things like “take medication” or “seek therapy,” I figured I would write about it.
The thing about being Bipolar is that you are constantly being assailed by this voice in your head. A voice that will helpfully remind you at every turn how worthless you are; that you don’t have any talent, your friends don’t actually like you, everyone is out to get you. You are kept on a diet of paranoid ideas. When I’m having a bad time, that’s when the voice gets louder, until it finally provokes a response where it feels like I’m being taken over by every negative emotion at once. I get depressed, often times to the point of deleting everything I’ve ever made, or talking about detransitioning, and even suicidal ideation. I get mad; wanting to punch a hole in the wall (which I can’t do because I have tiny girly arms) or scream at someone I don’t like. I want to give in to every self-destructive impulse, and drive away everyone I care about because Fuck Them, They Don’t Like Me Anyway.
I feel guilty and embarrassed every single time this happens. How could I let myself lose control like that? Especially over a catalyst that’s either so painfully minuscule, or completely non-existent. My emotional state reduces me to that of a Heath Ledger Joker roleplay account. And even though I mostly managed to keep my last outburst to myself, I still feel like shit for even thinking that way. “Fuck other people, they’re all assholes and I don’t fucking need them!” “They’re never around when I need them!” “I really wish they would stop lying about liking me or liking my work when it’s obvious that they don’t!” And all this other shit that I know isn’t actually true. What kind of selfish asshole am I? I get frustrated when some of my art does low numbers, and my stupid ass blames everyone else for not sharing it enough, despite the fact that I don’t have a large audience, due to a lot of my own words and actions, and how even if I did, it’s still so easy to get lost in the always-updated timeline of social media. Expecting people who are busy with their own lives to monitor my every move, as though the world revolves around me. It’s stupid and unrealistic and what the hell is wrong with me and so on.
Or the opposite happens: something I make gets popular, and I get all sorts of wonderful positive reviews and compliments, and I can’t accept them. I know where all of my mistakes and flaws are, this wasn’t my best, and on top of that, I’m the worthless jerk-off who made it, so what kind of fucking asshole would sit there and say otherwise? That’s the fucked up part: I can never be happy. Either I make something that has a low “engagement,” and I get mad that it’s not more popular (not really for money reasons; more due to a massive amount of childhood trauma that’s too long to get into here), or I make something everyone loves, and I get mad that nobody is honest enough to tear it apart like it deserves. Like I deserve. I opened this post with that Mario fanart, and I’m of two minds. The first part is being really happy that someone liked something of mine so much that they drew a picture to show it. The other part of me is second guessing everything. I don’t deserve that kind of adulation. What’s this person’s game? Is this a joke?
Now, looking at this logically, it’s fucking stupid. There is no way a Japanese woman on a pseudonymous video game comments section, who I will most likely never meet or speak to at any point in my life, took time out of her life to draw a picture of something I worked on just to fuck with me. There are potentially millions of people on the Mario Maker server, someone singling me out of all those people is fucking ludicrous. But when you’re sick, you aren’t thinking logically.
There was a documentary released last year called Bipolar Rock n’ Roller. It follows Mauro Ranallo, a sports announcer, as he does his job while struggling with Bipolar and anxiety. There’s a scene where he’s in a hotel room after calling this major fight. He’s looking at Twitter on his phone, reading all the positive comments fans are giving him for the job he did. Mauro responds by throwing his phone down on the desk, taking his glasses off, and just saying “fuck off.” Because he knows all the mistakes he made that night, and all the small ways he thinks he fucked up. Who would praise that?
Like I said, it’s very hard to be happy, even when you have every reason to be.
Last year, there was an incident. I was working on a project with my friend Gabi. One of the worst kept secrets in the world is how much I care about and for her. I’d rather fucking crawl through broken glass than do anything to hurt her. Anyways. We were working on this game, and I was doing the graphics. The project called for all of the enemy sprites to have a special keyframe where they were at a 45 degree angle. Now, when you’re working with an image that’s 16 x 16 pixels, you can’t just click “rotate” in Photoshop and call it good. You’re left with an indecipherable blob. So you have to redraw everything, which doesn’t sound that difficult! I had no problem doing them at their regular angles. But for whatever reason, I could not redraw these characters in a way that didn’t look terrible. And I started getting that frustration-driven cloud forming over me again. I wasn’t mad the project. I certainly wasn’t mad at Gabi. I was mad at myself, because I couldn’t do something that seemed so fucking simple, and I was letting everyone down. And Gabi sensed it, trying to calm me down, telling me that what I done was perfectly fine, but I wasn’t really hearing it that night. And that froze my heart in place. Because I realized that, holy shit, I had shown someone I care about my “dark side.” That thing I try to keep hidden as best I can (at least, in a 1-on-1 setting; my old social media feeds are a different story). And it wasn’t even me at my worst. I wasn’t yelling, or being a dumbshit edgelord, I was just having a hard time and not being able to deal with it like a non-crazy person. The last thing I want to do is have that part of me exposed to someone that should never have to see that. Now, I’m all but certain she’s completely forgotten about this (or at least, until she reads about here), but I still feel guilty about it even now.
The part that really scares me about all of this, and why I brought up that old incident, is because I don’t know what the “real me” is. Am I the easy-going idiot who plays too many video games and wants nothing more than a quiet life with my friends? Or am I the angry, bitter, selfish piece of shit that yells and wants to get into fights because I’m self-destructive and it’s a good way to disguise the fact there is nobody on this planet I hate more than myself? I don’t know. And it’s hard, but I’m trying really hard to make that first description the “real me” some day.
I can’t let that other side win. It’s a constant battle, one that I feel like surrendering to sometimes. But there are a lot of people who have stuck with me, despite multiple reasons why they shouldn’t, and I guess I owe it to them to try, even if I don’t always feel like doing it for myself. My fucked up brain has actually been pretty alright today, which is why I’m able to write this now, and I would like for that to keep happening. But there’s no guarantee. It’s not an enemy attack, or a natural disaster, The Bad Times can come back without warning, or reason. But I promise I’ll keep trying.