Not so sure where to start now. My mother has bipolar, so growing up was very difficult for my sister and I. I’d often have to care for my sister more than my own mother did. Even at a young age, we were taught to keep sharp objects away from her. Now she’s getting older and it seems like it’s getting worse.

Then in 2011, I fell pregnant. Suddenly at 22 weeks, my baby died. I went into labor and had given birth to stillborn. I suffered from postnatal depression, clinically diagnosed. I was watched by parents and friends and counsellors for many months. I couldn’t handle not having my child around. I felt like I needed to care, felt like a mother but without a child. I couldn’t sleep, didn’t eat much. I’d just cry for long periods of time and lay in bed for hours. I couldn’t be in the same room as a baby, couldn’t stand the sound of the cry without just bursting into tears.

Life had no meaning for me anymore. I didn’t care about anything. I withdrew and ignored my friends and family. I’d tried a few attempts at suicide but was thankfully stopped.

What Games Mean To Me

And in September of the same year, Binding of Isaac came out. Kind of ironic, isn’t it? It drew me in. I was interested in the gameplay rather than the storyline though. It then lead me to watch Northerlion play it. I watched him for a couple of years. Then he made a video with Green and Zen, that lead me to watching their videos and to more of their friends like Vapid and Indeimaus. I stopped by a stream of Vapid’s one day. They were streaming Terraria. I watched for a little while and noticed the chat was friendly. I began to talk to a few people and eventually I became more and more confident to talk to them, became closer to these people. I’d spend more and more time on Twitch, becoming more involved in this tight knit little community. I felt loved and needed and wanted. I’d actually began to get out of bed, even if it was to slump in front of my computer and watch the shenanigans of Vapid and his friends. I met more people over the course of 2013 and 2014. I’ve been as active as I can to be around these people because they’ve finally given me a reason to smile and a reason to want to live.

I still get upset about my daughter and about my mother’s behaviour but I no longer want to end it all. Sometimes it makes me laugh that no one will ever know how much they’ve helped me. I just take everyday as a new one and take it slowly. Sometimes I still have my bad days where I just want to cry but I’ve smiled far more in the last 2 years than my entire life.

Even just typing this out is making me feel a little better to let someone else know. It gets easier to talk about it now.

Jennifer Hazel

I'm a psychiatry doctor and passionate gamer. I run a resource called prescriptionpixel.com - an interface between video games and mental health.
This is a space for gamers to safely share their feelings, access personalised resources, and seek help without judgement or stigma.