I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to either purchase the Colonial Gothic Bundle of Holding or directly donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
Just like last year, I am humbled by your response and touched by the number of you who have reached out to share your stories.
Between the emails, Facebook Messages, Skype, and other means, the fact that you want to share your stories humbles me. I wish I had enough time in my day to respond individually, but it is impossible. Just know, I have read everything you have sent, and I share in your grief.
Last year I wrote about the motivations behind doing this Bundle of Holding. I thought it would be a good idea to revisit that essay. If you have already read this, there is no need to do it again. If you have not, I hope it gives you insight into why this is important to me.
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.
I am bipolar.
I suffer from depression.
I have suicidal tendencies.
This Colonial Gothic Bundle of Holding is meaningful to me. Rogue Games, has taken part in past bundles, but this one is different. It supports 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 affect many, either by giving a hand to someone suffering in silence or helping those who lost loved ones. 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: bipolar, suffering from crushing depression, 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 a mental illness, it wears you down. Your mind is loud, relentless. You wake up every morning tired. You go through your day fighting. You go to bed exhausted from another day.
If you want to understand what this is like, 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 necessary. Many, like myself, pay out-of-pocket for therapy or face limits on the number of sessions 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 earns from this Colonial Gothic Bundle — everything — is 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 darkness — to continue fighting for those trapped in darkness — to carry on for loved ones lost. It is hope.