There is no easy way to write this. Those who’ve read my posts dealing with my mental health know some of the battles I face. Others will be surprised by what I am about to share.
My name is Richard Iorio and I suffer from bipolar depression and suicidal tendencies.
This Colonial Gothic Bundle of Holding was very important to me. My company, Rogue Games, has taken part in past bundles, but this one was different. It supported an organization whose work helps keep me and many others alive, quite literally: the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The AFSP is dedicated to prevention, education, and healing. The work they do touches many lives, either by giving a hand to someone suffering in silence, or helping those who lost a loved one. They bring hope and light to those trapped in despair and darkness.
Daily I deal with my own tendencies and my personal fight. However, I have come to this cause via another way: loss.
Over the weekend of June 12-14, 2015, I lost three friends in succession to suicide. All three were mirror images of me: bipolar, suffering from crushing hopelessness, and craving some way to stop the noise in their head. Think about that: three people, all dear to me, just like me, took their own lives in the space of three days. All three came separately to their decision. All three showed no sign. They wanted only one thing: silence.
See, that is the truth about this act. It is not about weakness or selfishness. It is not cowardly, or a mortal sin, or even a means to punish your loved ones. It is about your fight.
When you live with mental illness, it wears you down. Your mind is always loud, relentless. You wake up every morning tired. You go through your day fighting. You go to bed exhausted from another day. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
For those who who don’t have this issue but want to understand it, strap a 100-pound weight to your back and carry it every day, 24/7. You sleep with it, work with it, hell, live every moment of your life with it. The weight is not the only thing you carry. You also have a pair of headphones, playing to an incessant track on infinite repeat: your own voice pleading with you to drop the load and quiet the noise.
Yes, that is what I and others go through every minute, every hour, every day.
Mental health issues are rarely talked about publicly. Most health insurance plans do not see mental health as important. Many, like myself, pay out-of-pocket for therapy, or face a limit on the number of sessions the insurance covers. Worse, the medications we need are often not covered. Society tells us to just “cheer up” — that our illness is just a bad mood that will pass — the daily struggle is nothing. Essentially our problems don’t matter.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention helps you understand why this event happened and, more important, they offer comfort. They cannot take away the pain, but they can help you deal with it. Those left behind can choose either to forget and move on, or to take up the cause by seeking a way to help others heal, to prevent suicides from happening, and to advocate for those who can’t advocate for themselves.
This is why I chose my game Colonial Gothic for this bundle. Though the game is about occult horror during the American Revolution, it also celebrates freedom, exploration of our heritage, and protecting the lives of those who cannot. It is about fighting for a cause. Everything Rogue Games earned from this Colonial Gothic Bundle — everything — was donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to aid their mission.
For me personally, Colonial Gothic represents the fight, every day, not to give into the voice — to continue fighting for those trapped in darkness — to carry on for loved ones lost. It is hope. Survival. Freedom.