I don’t have the exact date of when I came up with the overall idea of doing a “board game” style devotional activity, since I wrote it off as 3 am brain equivalent of shitposting (sometime this spring?). However, I was given the greenlight by my Deities to work on two “board games” at the beginning of the summer; this is only covering one of the ideas.
First, I have a form of seasonal depression (fall / winter onset). I sometimes use Seasonal Affective Disorder or S.A.D. in conversations where people already know what that means rather than spending a lot of effort explaining something that sounds similar to it, but I don’t have a diagnosis of S.A.D. I’ve spent several years denying and ignoring that I have anything remotely related to depression, and my first round of shadow work (last summer, 2014) was entirely focused on breaking down the personal barriers to admitting that I have some form of depression.
Part of how I kept the self-denial going has to do with not having a clear cut experience with depression that only keeps itself to certain lists (having gone through situational depression and reliving it the next year or two, so any seasonal connection was ignored for the situation). I’ve tried the “pull yourself up by yer bootstraps” method, which did not help in the slightest because my self-denial game was so strong I actually don’t remember certain details of my first experience with depression. They’re not details I need to remember really, but forgetting certain things doesn’t erase the event from having happened.
Last summer’s shadow work got a good chunk of the self-denial out of the way, but I still didn’t know how serious things were. My situational depression was very specifically tied up in the situation at hand, so dealing with that situation helped with that depression and helped me to see that my depression wasn’t just bound up with that situation. I typically designate my situational depression as what I dealt with in my Junior and Senior years of high school and sort of into my Freshman fall semester of college. My seasonal depression wasn’t really realized until that round of summer work after going through the falls and winters of my Freshman and Sophomore years of college, so there’s a wibbly-wobbly area in my Freshman year where it was kind of both.
There were noticeable symptom increases and certain symptoms getting more severe as the years progressed, but I still thought I was dealing with something mild and not very serious. I tried looking up the info again, but I can’t find it right now; I’m reasonably sure I read somewhere that S.A.D. typically isn’t associated with the most severe symptoms of depression (like suicidal ideation). I hadn’t gone through anything beyond ‘inconveniently affects my life’, so I didn’t listen to Several Who were like ‘yo, see someone and try something; at least do a consultation about meds being an option’. So, after that round of shadow work, I promptly went into my Junior year of college and the absolute worst escalation of symptom severity (as of now).
There’s a reason why I refer to certain points of this past winter as CODE FUCKING RED. I found out about there being a categorization of suicidal ideation as passive / active, which I hadn’t ever heard about until that drop-in (so a part of me isn’t surprised that “it just snuck up on me”). Based on my personal experience, I’d also add that there’s a passive to active spectrum (passive-passive, passive-active, active-passive, active-active) because it’s not as simple and clear cut as just thinking ‘I should kill myself’ in all cases.
This is what I mean when I use the religiously based metaphor of walking the Hel-road. It may not have been astral travel / journeying / what have you in the traditional sense, and it wasn’t a matter of purposefully wanting go with this route, but I can’t write this off completely as a means of having still done this. I may not have physically gone through with the plan and did the whole resuscitation of the body route as a sign of being turned away, but on some soul / spirit level, I was turned away from entering Helheim.
If you stuck with me til this point, you may be wondering how in the hell this relates to a “board game” devotional activity. Well, my seasonal depression is something that without proper management will come back year after year and (based on past evidence) escalate. I do have plans in relation to ‘irl’ management, but that doesn’t handle all of the soul / spirit level stuff. The ‘board game’ is set up to take token ‘me’ through my symptoms, to the entrance of Helheim, and to Mordgud and Hela [what I’ve done tonight]. They each set up one barrier to help me stay in Midgard (the already touched on Raido pendant and Mjolnir necklace; both are to be worn for this exact purpose), and I will be turned away from Helheim and ascend a different path of management options / tools to the starting position [tomorrow].
It ties in metaphorically with Feast of the Fallen, which is why it’s split between the night before and the day of. The goal is that token ‘me’ will go through this now, so that I don’t have to literally go through this again this winter. Note: I started writing this before midnight on 7.31.15 and have finished after midnight (so I’m mentally still on the 31st rather than on Aug 1st).