Hellblade and Living with Psychosis | Sidcourse
Guy with psychosis discusses Hellblade

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Check out the Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/leonardodasidci In this episode of the Sidcourse, we take a personal look at Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice and living with psychosis. Join us on Discord: https://discord.gg/K3cWKRN Video games are a unique medium and through it, developers are able to craft experiences that allow players to empathise with different situations. In recent years, it's been an incredible medium to address the topic of mental health. Hellblade is one of the first game's to tackle the topic of psychosis. Characterised as an impaired relationship with reality. People suffering from psychosis experience delusions and/or hallucinations. Where a delusion is a false belief or impression that is held even though it’s contradictory to the truth. And hallucinations are seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling things or people that are not present. As an incredibly volatile and dangerous set of symptoms, games as a medium are an incredible method of showcasing, sharing and ultimately allowing the player to empathise and understand the struggle for those living with psychosis. --- In the UK: You can call the Rethink advice and information service on 0300 5000 927 (10am-1pm). Also the Depression Alliance, a charity, has a network of self-help groups. Samaritans offers a 24-hour confidential helpline: 116 123 In Australia: You can contact the BeyondBlue support service in 1300 22 4636 In the US: You can call the Crisis Call Center on 1-800-273-8255 at any time of the day. If you're more comfortable talking via text than on the phone, 7cupsoftea.com offers an anonymous chat service. --- Join us on Discord: https://discord.gg/K3cWKRN Follow me on Twitch: http://twitch.tv/LeonardoDaSidci Follow me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/LeonardoDaSidci Follow me on Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeonardoDaSidci Hi, my name is Sid and I produce video essays, podcasts and dissections of video games, television shows, films and art on my channel; Leonardo Da Sidci. It's my aim to create stylish and substantial content that is both engaging, entertaining and informative in a format that encourages discussion.


Raycevick : I think this is definitely your best video to date. I always envy the polish of your content, but this honesty and eloquence in your writing is what really made this special. I thought Hellblade's the most important game of last year for potentially inspiring a new wave of middle-market titles, but this really shows how it's just as important in what it does for empathy of mental health issues. Thanks for the shoutout buddy!

MandaloreGaming : This is a powerful video

SolePorpoise : I'm astonished. This should be the definitive video on this game. No question.

Indigo Gaming : Damn, this is likely the most personal and heartbreaking video essay I've ever watched. You have a real talent on expressing your ideas and perspective of things. Thanks for sharing this, Sid.

HeavyEyed : This was absolutely eye opening and sobering, thanks for making this and sharing something so personal and vulnerable to you.

Brian Gasser : Shammy sent me here. A brilliant video to say the least. I am here to stay now.

ehmaysi : I've got so much respect for you Sid, and I don't say that lightly. I've sat here for nearly 20 minutes trying to write out how much I appreciate you making this, but I'm just not very good with words. I love this man, and I love you.

Draz : I know you don't know me and have no reason to believe me to be genuine, but I just wanted to say that I am sorry that you have to go through this torment on a daily basis. I regularly deal with depression, but I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to deal with psychosis. My heart goes out to you and all others who have to deal with this.

Techtronik : I don't know what to say. This Video was an Eye opener for me. I sat at my desk for like 5 minutes with my mouth open and tried to compensate what I've seen. Ty for the great Video. I wish you the very best.

Phelanii : I have started playing this game last night, and it's hard. Not because of the combat, but because of my own anxiety. The camera is slow, and restricted in combat, and when I hear the voices telling me to move, warning me, I'm not sure if I should trust them. I do not have psychosis, but I've had anxiety ever since I can remember. Ever since I was a little girl, there was this voice in me that questioned everything I did. For example, when I was 5 years old, in kindergarten, I took a boys juice box from him, cause I though it was mine and he stole it from me. Turns out, mine was in the pocket of my jacket, outside the room. I have been kicking myself over that for 15 years. It was one of the thoughts that would come to me at night to plague me. I made a kid cry and our hellish teacher yelled at him, all because of my mistake. All the while his name stuck with me. And here, 15 years later, I meet a guy at uni. He hangs out with a friend of a friend, and all of us become good friends. One day while we're all out for coffee, I mention my traumatic kindergarten experiences, and he asks me in which group I was. I say Sunflowers, he says me too. Then I realized. It was him. He was the kid I took the juice box away from. He didn't even remember that incident. I went full on hysteric, explaining what I did and how it haunted me for 15 years. They all laugh, I laugh and later that week I find the exact same Juice and buy him one. This part of me, if I can even call it that, cause most of the time it feels like a parasite, stuck to my brain, draining me of all energy and will, has tortured me for 15 years, and he just forgot. I thought that kid would hate me, loath me for what I did, what did I do, what did I do, what did I do!? But, no. It wasn't like that at all. So I know I shouldn't always trust the voices inside me, and it makes the game harder for me. Stay suspicious, question everyone's motives, always alert, make escape plans, prepare stories and lies and don't forget them. Always leave a door open, a window, keep your hand in a fist, be prepared to run, overthink every step you've ever made. Analyze your own mistakes over and over and over again, etch them into your mind, so you don't repeat them. At the end of each day, question all your decisions, could I have done better? Differently? Not at all? Always in a loop of overthinking and kicking myself. Ever since I could remember myself. Ever since I had a concept for time and space. Hellblade brings out what's happening in me, and it's hard. I want to play it, cause I love Norse mythology, I want to see if the runes she sees are connected to what's going on right now to her. And one day I will finish it. I just gotta take it slow. I hope this made sense. I just let my hands type out the word vomit out of my brain. I'll probably find heaps of mistakes in this later and kick myself over this comment too! Oh, well fuck it, I'm posting this anyways! That's for sharing your experiences Sid!

Felipe Turriago : I'm a psychiatrist (and middle-of-the-road gamer) and the impossibility to actually feel and completely understand what people with mental illness experience will always be a barrier, but sincere expressions of this experience like yours is more than enlightening and help so much to make therapists and the rest of society understand more. Thank you.

Sophiesoph : This video taught me so much more about Psychosis than any article or textbook ever could. Thank you for sharing your story.

Jeremy Gluck : You've opened my eyes to the nuance of an issue which is deeply complex with your personal account, thank you very much.

Downward Thrust : Typically, I can't stomach a video over 8 minutes on Youtube... this video was an exception. Absolutely outstanding, deep, and entertaining all-in-one. Ignore what you may otherwise try to make yourself believe... this is a great video.

Vickle Media : Thank you for this video. I am fortunate enough to be mentally healthy and stable, so I don’t think I ever would’ve come close to understanding something like psychosis had I not come across this — still, without the experience, I may not ever fully grasp it, but now I can make it a goal to understand and be there for people who do suffer from it. And I think using video games is a great way to illustrate these ideas. You’re doing really important work here. Thank you.

Blue day : Kristian sent me this while I was taking the bus back to my campus, and all i can say is i probably look like the biggest moron sitting here staring at my phone with tears in my eyes. I personally am lucky enough to never have experienced psychosis, though I have heard my mother, a psychiatrist, talk about it a lot. This video really opened my eyes on the matter, in the best way possible. Listening to your reflections on this game and how they correlate with your experiences, made me realize how extremely hard it must be to actually recieve help, when the help itself becomes a burden. And although I may be wrong, or you may never truly believe it, I feel like I can understand the struggles you go through. Thank you for making this. Amazing like always.-Peter

The Kiwa that games : I want to hear more of your videos man. It has been 7 months. I already binged all your older videos twice. And to be honest. Im concerned about your health now since you have been gone for months now. Just a quick video telling us that you’re ok will do and trust me even if you need a break... even a whole year... I won’t unsubscribe. Your depression and video games video really meant a lot to me and shone a light on my mental health that i have been ignoring and under estimating my whole life. Just because my family didn’t think that mental health is as important as physical health doesn’t mean I should too. To be honest it opened my eyes to many other topics like religion and politics that I also disagreed in with my family. I believe you made a large impact on my life today which also lead me to believe that this video out of all the other topics meant something personal to you and a struggle you had to deal with you whole life. Maybe this video lead to something more personal happening.. maybe your mental condition worsened, or maybe you loved ones saw the video and had an adverse effect than what was to be expected, or -now that I think about it- you might have felt attacked that such a personal video that causes you so much anxiety to share got too much view and now you feel your personal life being invaded.. or i might me be reading to much into your situation and it just could be that you don’t have enough spare time to focus on videos nowadays. All i want to add is that..... you might just consider this as just some letters on a screen but in reality a real person cares about you the same way a real person cared about me and offered to explain to me how i could be suffering from depression and even offered me an offer that I thought was so so kind as to talk it out with them privately on discord or just have some fun playing together... I want to extend that hand to you again as you did for me... are you suffering now? Do you need help? Do you need someone to talk to? Even if the answer is no and Im just reading too much into situations as i usually do.. please respond even privately if you like (over youtube messages... if those are still a thing). I care about a friend that helped me through tough times and want to help if he is in tough times now. Please be in good health physically and stable and happy mentally. -A concerned friend

Patrick : Those 2 last words cracked me up after such a serious video :)

MisterQuake : This video is brilliant, this may be the best video I've seen on a game to date. You have earned my sub and like, please make more amazing content like this I am looking forward to it.

Hean : I feel mostly speechless in all honesty. Goosebumps at multiple points due to how close and personal this one got. I'm not gonna sit here and say that I even have a tenth of an idea of how painful it must be, I have a hard time even imagining it. I hope that this video will help spark up more debate and interest in helping when it comes to people suffering from psychosis, because rarely have I heard it mentioned aside from some kind of villainous aspect in any kind of media. Sadly I haven't played the game yet, so can't comment on it yet. I do have a question and it may be too inappropriate or too personal so of course, feel free to ignore it. Regarding the voices, do they sound like your own voice, variations of your own voice, are they strangers voices or voices of family, friends and acquaintances? Also, much love Sid. I appreciate you, even if I'm lacking in the whole...being active, thing <3

Joe S : 6 months without posting... are you okay sid?

Amorphian : I think this is my first comment on Youtube ever. And I certainly know it's coming to the right video, to the right man. Senua's Sacrifice is easily the strongest gaming experience I've ever had. The strongest experience ANY form of story, be it book or movie etc. has ever given me actually. Since I played it through, I've been searching Youtube for more and more understanding to it. Because no game has ever made it so hard for me to keep my tears not flowing around my face. And finally, your video crossed my way. Many videos have given me knowledge about this game and this state of mind, but after this video there's nothing more to gain, I think. Now I understand it, to the point I possibly can. The rest stays secret to me, and as reality to people like you. I admire you. I admire your incredible courage. I wish I could reach my hand to you, all the way here from Finland, and hold yours for a moment. Not to understand, not to say I get you. But to give you my compassion. That's all I can do. I wish this message reaches you and I wish that even for a brief moment you can feel that somewhere far from you, someone is wishing you all the best, praying that life would be even a bit easier for you, giving even tiny moments of peace to your heart. Stay strong mate.

WiteNoise : I have very severe paranoid anxiety which often manifests as psychosis (though more often than not delusion rather than outright hallucination), and I empathized a ton with this video and with the game. It's nice to see somebody else had the same deep emotional resonance with it, and I'm going to share it around. I've encouraged my friends to play it, including the few who know how deep my mental issues run, and they all seem to have garnered a deeper understanding of how my thought process works from it and from me talking with them about it. Although one small criticism, I actually really did like the combat, particularly those first few boss fights were absolutely stellar, enough that I went back and restarted the game to play them again recently, and while I agree the ending combat sequence was definitely representative of struggling against your own delusions, I don't think the combat as a whole necessarily was, because I've spoken to a lot of people who liked it, it seems to just be more subjective than anything, and imo it's impossible to truly make a definitive statement on the team's intent with combat design.

The Domus Project : Found you on Twitter from Core Ideas and Raycevick. This was glorious. I'm actually happy that you also highlighted the combat. How most reviewers criticized it for being lackluster, it took some reflection and time, as well as few online discussions, to realize that was the intent. And I'm glad to hear I wasn't the only one who fought through the final battle for a solid 30 minutes before physically giving up, only to realize that was the only option I had left. Got a new sub here, I'll be sure to binge the rest of your content!

Jeremy Norman : This is one of the best videos I've seen on YouTube, and I've been an avid user since the platform began. Please keep making these amazing videos, your channel is a hidden gem.

Calvin Tomaschko : I've greatly enjoyed my time watching this video! The "Stay sexy" sign off really put the icing on the bitter sweet (my preferred), delicious, cake that was your work!

CloudCuckooCountry : Excellent video.

Tori Ko : YESYESYESYESYES! I was hoping you would cover this.

Cocodufable : I wish I was more educated

Alexandre Nicolae : I don't usually comment, nor leave likes, on videos. But this was in my opinion one of the best video essays I've ever seen.

Nicholas Nelson : I don't have psychosis but my look on life is objectively bleak. I believe that there is no higher power or god, that life is meaningless, that the world is bent to come undone with entropy, and nothing we do will ever matter or last. But in that, there is a beauty. It makes our efforts precious and our experiences beautiful. Each one is unique, a personal taste of blood in your mouth no one else will taste, the soft warmth of waiting in the rain trashed on liquor, the infinite distance between two had-been lovers mere inches away in the same bed. In a way I think I love the pain, depression, and sadness. It is predictable, it dominated large parts of my life, it had become comfortable at one point. It shut out all unknowns and let me stay limited in the scope of my life. But the risks that pull out your heart, rip you to the edge of insanity, pushes you into senseless desperation; isn't that our humanity? To sit and accept the end is beautiful but to defy the inevitable is far more beautiful in the end. Like "Do not go gentle into that good night" by Dylan Thomas, human nature is to defy. Defy expectations, defy logic, defy reason, defy the will to live, defy to will to die, defy the bubbling truth almost pouring out of your throat. I apologize for the ramble but I felt your soul in that video. I look forward to more. And if you need a stranger to talk to, something without consequence or attachment, I'm always around somewhere.

Marjan : Hellblade really opened my eyes. This video did too, but it also opened my heart. "It's hard, but it's harder to ignore it"

16th 6-Souled Salazar : Thank you for this video. I wish you the best.

Sophie Shaw : I am late. But this is one of the most haunting, honest and relatable videos I have ever seen. For you to be so honest, and expose these feelings is a true achievement. I I don't suffer from psychosis myself, however my sibling does. I already feel like I am rambling. I hope you continue to raise awareness. I I admire you honestly I hope you are well. People will always care for you. Sending best wishes x

Jannis Tenbrink : What a video. Thank you. <3

Ludocriticism : This is essential criticism, as those without these experiences cannot know whether the game represents its themes well or not. Thank yous are certainly in order, as it can't have been easy to make this.

AvoidingtheQuestion : It's concerning to me that you haven't told your SO about this. I won't pretend to know what you're going through and I'm sorry if I'm just "adding to the voices" as you say in your video, but I do feel like it's unfair to her not to know. I dunno, there's no easy answer here, and I don't want to act like I'm all morally superior to you. I guess just think about it is all I'm saying. My girlfriend of 6 years is at risk of psychosis (it runs in the family), and I know I would do everything I could to make it work if something like that were to happen to her. Maybe you're SO feels the same way about you. It might go over better than you think.

Awfully Hot Coffee Pot : Wow. Heartbreaking and beautiful. Thank you.

Bender B. R : Hey buddy, where'd you go?

Infamous SirHellfire : I've been thinking about what to say for a while since I've watched this video. All I can come up with is a simple and genuine, well done. Keep it up champion.

Arina Tara : Thank you for sharing :) I was very touched by what you said

Elliot Scepter : It is an understatement to say this video, and this channel, is brilliant.

Martin Olsen : This was so incredibly hard hitting. What a beautiful, respectful and well put analysis. I've probably watched about 100 thousand youtube videos -and this has to be.... Maybe the best. You may be struggling with finding purpose, but know that what you've done here, is not only impressive as hell, but a positive addition to the world. This work will help people, going through tough times. Thank you for this video. All the best to you and the ones you love.

Kasper Fabricius Laursen : Wow. Not only did you share something incredibly personal of your being only few people know of at all, nor “just” use this particular disposition to deliver an analysis and interpretation of the game, which wouldn’t be possible without you having lived through your struggles up to this point, but you also reached out to others who might be experiencing some of the same or other mental struggles. Bravo. This is just the first video of yours, which I have seen, because it was recommended by Mark Brown, but I will be sure to watch your other videos, as you really seem like a lighthouse of humanity - not in some excessively grandiose way, but because you seem have managed this struggle of your life, of which I could never truly understand the severity, and still you find it in yourself to be there for others. Bravo :)

kwarsha : I finished watching your video, thought about it for a good while and debated whether reading a total stranger's opinion would be of any significance to you, or at least be neutral and easily forgotten. Anyway, here goes... I didn't know much about Hellblade before playing it, I was just curious to see an indie game I had heard good things about. From the first scene with the whispering voices I really started liking it a lot and kept going. The more I played the more I liked it, as a game. The visuals, the norse mythology, the combat, plus the story intrigued me. As the story unfolded, and as the voices kept going there were more and more times that it made me feel uneasy and uncomfortable. But I finished it and absolutely loved it. Afterwards I read and watched a bunch of things and videos about the game, the motivation behind it and about psychosis. It's something I didn't really know, as it doesn't affect me or anyone close to me (that I know of of course). I started recommending Hellblade to my gamer friends (a very small group of people in fact, since I'm much older than the average gamer) and I knew that playing it was one of the most intense gaming experiences I've had, both because it was quite a ride to get through it, but also because it opened my eyes to something I knew nothing about. Then, today I found your video. The brutal honesty with which you talk about what you go through every moment of your life, the lucidity of your essay and the guts it must've taken you to make this video are both humbling and inspiring. As I said, I'm just another random person on the internet, but I rarely felt such a strong hope that my words could make even a small positive impact on someone else. It's of course pretentious to think that they will, but I felt compelled to leave you a message because your video really left a mark. Your words touched me more than mine will touch you. And for that, I thank you.

matt4045 : Thank you for sharing your perspective with us.

Chon Warren : I also suffer schizophrenia (the particular psychosis senua suffers herself) I haven't played this game but I saw a review of it then I watched someone play through it I was personally astonished at how accurate her symptoms were how they not only told you how she suffered but showed you the constant voices chittering in the ear even while I'm asleep I hear the voices I just recently got help myself and got on meds but for years I coped by smoking weed to slow my mind down and help quiet the voices and meditation to corral and focus my mental energy to handling my symptoms (I have other things along side the schizophrenia) now on to why I decided to respond to your video (sorry about the lack of punctuation my mind goes so fast I don't have time to worry about it) you my friend have articulated to the greatest degree the heart of my suffering much better than I could ever wish to do so myself my heart bleeds for you and the suffering you go through on a daily basis I've been dealing with my psychosis for 15 years (mine fully developed when I was around 19 to 20 years old) maybe we can talk and I can offer some advice that's helped me through the years in my daily struggles that frankly I'm surprised I've survived and if it wasn't for my son being born 5 years ago I would have killed myself on or after my 30th birthday (he was born 2 months before that birthday) I had everything planned out and I was already getting what I needed but that's enough rambling if you would like to chat let me know and I'll throw you my Facebook info

Firemumba : thank you for opening up. thank you for letting your viewers know. i don't know what it will do to help or if it does as you said. but it is still a powerful move. i am constantly excited to see your videos come out and they all make me stop to think but more importantly, it will also make me stop and feel. Thank you for making these videos and for recommending more creators in a previous video.

BRUXXUS : Thank you for this video, and thank you Shammy for making me aware of this channel. As much as I hate the word "hope" I can't think of any other term, but I hope you, and everyone of us that knows the struggle of relentless mental health issues will find more ways to experience some peace and happiness. Even if it's just for a moment at a time.