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Hi AN,

I'm glad you got something meaningful out of playing this game.

You don't need to suffer from clinical depression to relate. Everyone who has experienced deep grief or loss knows what it's like to feel depressed. The only difference between situational depression and clinical depression is the cause of the depression. 

If you recently lost a loved one, it makes sense that you would feel deeply sad for a long period of time. That is situational depression. Clinical depression and situational depression feel absolutely identical.The only difference in clinical depression is absence of a "solid reason" for feeling sad. Clinical depression can last from a few weeks to years, in severe cases.

I appreciate the fact that you think I'm a beautiful person. I believe that I'm an average person with a collection of unusual skills and experiences. I'm nothing special, and I find that beautiful.

It is a sad fact that people must suffer, but suffering is nearly half of the human experience, so I try to embrace the darkness and appreciate it for what it is. I GET the opportunity to suffer in a way that is universally relatable but also personal to me. There is beauty to be found in suffering.

I love you too. I think I'll be here for a little while longer, so stay tuned. I'm no where near the point where I've exhausted my voice. I haven't come close to saying everything that I want to say with my art yet.

Your English is actually very good. It did not occur to me that English is not your first language until I read your apology.

When you say, "climb out of the holes," are you referring to the part of the game where you jump into a crevice that's pitch black, and walk through the darkness until you reach "the bedroom"?

The jump down into the crevice symbolizes my descent to what some people refer to as, "rock bottom," which is the lowest point in your depression/ addiction. It is the point when your life is in shambles, and you have little to no hope for a better future. Your only options are suicide or intervention. You can no longer save yourself. 

In the context of this game, by continuing to walk ~through~ the darkness, you are able to overcome your depressive episode and enter a state of relaxation in your bedroom. People talk about "leaning into" your suffering rather than standing still, because if you stand still you will stay in the same place, and you will feel the same way.

The point at which the player exits the darkness and enters the bedroom, the image effects and the music are turned off, which symbolizes the experience of snapping out of a depressive episode. The environment around the player does not change, but the filter they were viewing it through (depression) is gone. 
The player is now free to view the environment for what it truly is, rather than view it through the very distorted lens that is depression. Some people describe depression as "seeing the world through shit colored glasses."

Depression is a chronic disease. Even if you aren't experiencing active depression at the given moment, it is liable to creep back in at any time.

This concept is addressed when the player reaches the bedroom area, and sees a cube made of water that a waterfall is pouring into. This water cube represents chronic depression. 

The idea is that since I feel safe in my bedroom, it is the location I chose as the "safe space" where the player no longer actively experiences depression. They can see it for what it truly is. It is a phenomenon that exists outside of oneself. Depression exists independently of your identity as a human being. You aren't a depressed person, you are a person who suffers from depression.

The water cube represents my depression. Lets call it the depression cube.

When in the safety of the bedroom, the player can analyze the 
depression cube from all angles, seeing it for what it is without experiencing its crippling effects.

However, if the player chooses to walk into the depression cube, the uncomfortable audio-visual "depression effects" are turned back on.

In terms of symbolism in the game, the depression cube is the kicker.

By walking in and out of the depression cube, the player is meant to realize that what felt so uncomfortable and daunting at the beginning of the game was, in fact, this simple geometric shape made of water the whole time. 

The way I designed the "depression visual effects" was by centering the player character object in the middle of a cube made of water plains. Water plains are a common visual effect in unity. 
The depression cube is comprised of the same water plains as the depression visual effects.

At the beginning of the game, the player is stuck in the center of the depression cube, and it follows you wherever you go. The reflections of the water is what causes the uncomfortable visual effects.  
When the player finally reaches the safety of the bedroom, the depression cube is no longer stuck to the player. The depression cube now sits quietly in the center of your bedroom as a reminder that it is a monolithic aspect of your life. 

You can choose whether or not to give it attention. You can choose whether or not you will engage with it, but it is always there, and you never know when it will take the wheel again.

It is also worth mentioning that I chose water because it is the substance necessary for all life, and I find water to be calming.

So, that's most of the symbolism I intended when I made the game. 

The floating text is also worth mentioning.
Black text represents harmful sentences that people commonly say in an attempt to "help" or "deal with" a friend or loved one suffering their depression.
White text represents helpful sentences that people commonly say in an attempt to sympathize with a loved one's depression.

Thank you all for playing.

Many of you have described symbolism that I did not intend, but I find to be very insignful and valid. 

I love you all

- Michael