As always, I’d like to thank all of you backers for supporting our project! It’s been really that 1,422 people believe in what we are trying to do and want to see the game made. Today I’d like to talk about fears:
It is weird discussing fears without spoiling any of the surprises I have planned for the game, but at the very least, I hope that gives you an idea of the types of fears we will try to discuss in the game.
In particular, I am really feeling the fear of the kickstarter failing. While I heard that getting to 30% at this point in the project’s life cycle is a great sign, I look at this graph from kicktraq, and I am terrified:
We are less than halfway through the campaign, so there is still time to spread the word, and I plan on increasing my efforts. If you want to help spread the word, I’d greatly appreciate it.
Right now, I’m struggling with other more mundane fears. I was invited to speak at GDC China, so I’m flying out on Friday and will return next Tuesday. Traveling is always stressful for me (as I imagine it is for everyone). I am afraid of forgetting something, afraid of plane troubles, and afraid of contamination from food and water in a foreign country.
While I imagine everyone has fears like this, these things are more complicated when you have OCD. I have to check that I have my laptop in my bag even though I know it’s there. I’ll have the thought “where is your laptop?” and then a wave of anxiety will overtake me. The compulsion is to check, and I am a bit sad to admit that I give in. To effectively handle your OCD, you are supposed to just let the anxiety pass, but for little things, I usually take the easy way out (which is a bit detrimental to my overall health).
Perhaps I fear plane troubles less than others because I am pretty good at convincing myself that the likelihood of a plane crash is very low, but my mind always plays “what if?” What if we crash over water? What do I do? This is often combined with inappropriate worries from the previous paragraph. How will I save my laptop in the event of a crash? How upset will I be if I lose my 3DS saves? Obviously, I realize that I’m not supposed to take my stuff with me if we crash, but what about my medicine? (It’s sad that I normally think about my laptop before medicine) I can play what ifs for hours if I don’t stop myself. I imagine everyone struggles with that, but with OCD, the scenarios definitely feel more weight – more real.
Fear of contamination is something I’ve struggled with as part of OCD. It hasn’t been as hard for me to deal with as the violent intrusive thoughts, but it is something that makes things harder. My wife cooks, but I do the dishes. When I do the dishes, I first wash them thoroughly by hand and then run them through the dishwasher. I run everything I possibly can through the dishwasher even if it’s extremely clean. To me, if something goes through the dishwasher, that’s the only way it can be “clean”.
If I just wash it by hand, I worry about all the spots that I may have missed or “germs” from my hands, from the sponge, from who the heck knows, would still remain on the dish. With OCD, it doesn’t have to make sense. Your mind comes up with these rules or rituals, and if things don’t meet the criteria, then it is really uncomfortable. They are completely irrational. While washing the dishes before running them through the dishwasher seems less ridiculous than touching a door knob 3 times, both ideas are cut from the same cloth. You HAVE to do something or you fear something terrible will happen.
Fear of contamination is an especially difficult thing to deal with when I travel internationally. In the US, we are fortunate to have drinkable tap water, but that’s not the case in other countries. I would say I have a weak stomach in general, so I get sick pretty easily. I stay extremely vigilant when I travel internationally and only drink distilled water and only use that for brushing my teeth. I don’t drink anything with ice cubes in it, and only eat things which are cooked.
While that may be reasonable for international travel, I am constantly fretting over whether what I eat is safe. There are so many what ifs you can play? What if they didn’t prepare it correctly? What if it isn’t cooked thoroughly? Having OCD just makes this a lot harder. The sad part is during my last international trip, I was hyper vigilant, and I still managed to get sick. :-/
If going to GDC China is going to be so difficult, why am I? The main reason is that I really want to share my story with more game developers because I think it’s going to be really helpful. If you are interested, you can find my presentation at regular GDC here. I’ve expanded on it and added an uplifting coda about Neverending Nightmares and my new technique to making indie games. It’s weird to say that because I don’t know if Neverending Nightmares will succeed yet. My original plan was to finish the kickstarter before I gave my presentation, but we got off to a late start. Even if the game doesn’t get made, I still think I tapped into something really interesting with Neverending Nightmares, so I do feel like I have some important ideas to share.
Anyway, I’m not sure anyone has really made it this far, so I’ll wrap it up. I didn’t plan on writing this much, but I thought explaining more about my OCD might be interesting.
Thank you all for your support!