game + narrative designer, writer, producer, + musician

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Success, Sadness, & Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher died today πŸ’” I want to take this moment to share what I've been learning about mental health and success, partially from her:

Life is hard, happiness is often fleeting. I dare to say it can be especially hard when pursuing things like creative recognition, a public voice, some amount of fandom to support my work.

Being open about unhappiness, depression, and anxiety - that's even harder. Especially as I find successes here and there. 

"I shipped a successful indie game! I made money! Am I allowed to be sad?"
"I get to give GDC talks! I am DIRECTING at Square Enix. I am a leader and (oh god) sometimes a role model. I shouldn't show sadness, right? I need to be strong for my team."

I've found this especially hard now that i'm a DIRECTOR. I'm responsible for a game, for people's work, motivation, some inspiration, and some element of happiness. There is a mountain of pressure to not undermine my leadership with panic, anxiety, etc.

What I am slowly learning, thanks to friends, experience, and heroes like Carrie Fisher, is that it's always okay for me to feel messed up. There are times when I have to be strong, find focus or passion when I'm not eager to... but outside those moments, it is poisonous and detrimental to worry about my team, fans, or peers seeing me struggle.

I learn a lot from the times when I struggle with depression and come back from the edge. It makes me that much stronger, even if I'll always be at the mercy of loneliness or despair. I have support from friends, family, and professionals.

Carrie Fisher was proud of herself. She knew her struggles well, and was open about them. She normalized them, and normalized the idea of being strong and proud in spite of her public problems.

Yeah, I get sad a lot, feel weak a lot. But I'm not gonna take shit, and I will fight for causes I believe in. Strength isn't fearlessness. Strength is courage in the face of great fear.

RIP General Organa

Teddy Diefenbach