CW: Depression, suicide. Please skip to the heading “What Now?” if these things are a problem for you but you still want the gist.
When talking about my depression, I’ve found it useful to talk about it like a net, suspended across a river that represents your experiences. For most people, the net isn’t there, and so when things flow down the river, they’re temporary- dealt with and allowed to move on. But when you have depression, things get caught in the net. Sometimes they’re big things and it’s obvious when they get caught, and you know what you have to do is go and dredge that shit out of the river so your net stays clear. But there s a lot of things that seems small at first, innocuous, but eventually they build up. And by the time you notice they’re building up, by the time it becomes a problem, you struggle to keep up with clearing that net because you can only deal with one or two things at a time and, well, your net is already groaning under the strain. Eventually things are going to snap.
I’ve had things to deal with since the beginning of the pandemic that most of you can relate to, I’m sure. The worries about keeping safe and not getting sick, the frustration of yet another lockdown because your neighbours can’t seem to take the pandemic seriously, the death of family either due to COVID-19 itself or the neglect brought about by an overburdened medical system. I’ve been fortunate enough to be spared the financial difficulties many of you have been struggling with, but on the other hand, I wasn’t entering this situation with the best of mental health to begin with. One of the things that’s been on my mind recently is the suicide of my father, who I have now officially outlived as of this year. Add to that the ever growing spectre of climate grief and I have no shortage of subjects that keep me awake at night, thinking bleak thoughts and struggling to sleep.
Then on April 26th, following yet another missed deadline in a string of missed deadlines for HC, doing a job I have been dreaming of since childhood but that I increasingly struggle to accomplish, I received an alert from my password manager, indicating that someone was attempting to steal my identity. This pushed me over the edge, and in a frenzy I changed every password for every account, everywhere, that I own. When she came to check on me, I ended up saying things to Nekochan that hurt her and I deeply regret.
Following that debacle, I left home with the intent to end my life. All I wanted was for the frustration, anxiety, sadness and pain to go away.
Thankfully, for my sake, the place where I intended to kill myself was crowded with pandemic-irresponsible people enjoying the good weather. This gave me enough hesitation that Nekochan was able to call me and convince me to come home. When things had settled, we came to the obvious conclusion- that there is something very, deeply wrong with me and unfortunately, it’s getting worse.
I am taking the month of May off entirely from work on Harem Collector, leaving Conash in charge of things at the company until my return. My intention is seek treatment for my mental health, not just to cope. I am approaching this situation from as many avenues as possible, exploring options with regard to therapy, psychiatry, anything in order to arrest my mental decline. Because of this, work on Harem Collector is by necessity stopped for the time being. I can’t even promise that I will resume in June because if I need more time, I am going to take it.
Fortunately for us all, I am not in Bad Kitty Games alone. Even as you read this, Conash, Nekochan, Hilent, Kumiho and Moomabelle are hard at work completing art assets for Harem Collector and laying the groundwork for I Live to Serve, Dungeon King!! While my writing and leadership is a necessary element of the chemistry that makes HC great, for now things are able to click on without by supervision. To that end, I am forgoing most of the Patreon “take” that I reserve for my own use in bonuses so that the team can manage things in my absence. Fortunately, Nekochan and I are well off enough that I can do this without creating undue financial hardship for us- remember to put money away in savings if you can, kids.
As to the end result of all this, I don’t know when I will be able to grind out a new Harem Collector release, but work is ongoing. If this turn of events causes you to end your patronage, I understand completely, and you can do so free in the knowledge that you’re not sending me falling into poverty as a result. While we will still be ending the Megafan merch program at the end of the month as intended, the rollout of the Bad Kitty Games store will be impacted as well
And with that, wish me luck. I sincerely hope that you are in better health than myself, and that in time I can return to work healthier and stronger than ever. Thank you, as always, for your time, support, and patience.