Getting Over It with Sydney W

If you follow gaming at all right now, you may or may not have heard of a little rage inducing game called "Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy” which is literally described by it’s creator as:

A game I made for a certain kind of person to hurt them.” 

In this game you attempt to scale a mountain with only a hammer and a man sitting in a cauldron. Needless to say, this is difficult and your frustration only increases as the creator - Bennet Foddy - spouts philosophical drivel in your ear the entire time, and around every corner is a chance to fall right back to where you started. While the creator uses the game to primarily discuss the evolution or devolution of games and game design, the entire experience is very similar to trying to get over anything else in life. It is a perfect metaphor for the grief process.

Now let me be clear here, by grief I don’t just mean sadness over the death of someone you care about. I mean any loss. This could be death, a break up, a change in something that’s important to you, anything in which something you cared about is lost. Any loss leads to grief. And from my experience there’s this false idea about grief out there. We’ve all heard of the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Seems straightforward enough. Seems logical, methodical. It sounds like something doable. But grief and “getting over it” aren’t so simple. The grieving process is anything but linear.

“Getting Over It” displays this lack of a straight course so beautifully. One of the features of the game is that there are no checkpoints. There’s nowhere where you can save and come back to if you mess up. If you fall, you fall, and you have to decide whether or not to keep going. 

This is where those stages come into play. Many who are new to their own grief and grieving process expect to be able to go through these stages and kind of tick them off as they go. “Okey dokey, not mad any more, anger’s over with, time to move on to bargaining!” But grief has no checkpoints, no saving mechanism, no place to just take a breather and know you can only go forward from here. Much like in the game, you have times where you climb quickly and things seem to be going alright. You make a lot of progress, and may even feel like you’ve accepted things as they are. But anything can set you back. In the game it’s a wrong jump or janky controls. In life, it can be a random visual or phrase that reminds you of what you’ve lost, or seeing something else take the place of what you once treasured. It could be nothing at all. Just an off day or a dream that you can’t even remember. And maybe you try and get back to where you were. You can see it, it’s right there, but the climb might not be as easy this time. You slip and fall back further than you were before. 

In the game, this is where you may give up. And in the game, there’s no repercussions for giving up. You walk away and you can come back to it when you want to. But in real life, this is a critical decision. And it’s a hard one to make. It can feel like everything is weighing you down. You just. Want. It. To. Be. Over. You just want to move on, to crest the mountain. In the game, getting to the top is floating off into a space, with many fewer rocks to climb and no chance of falling. In life you might call this acceptance, moving on. But getting there is hard, and tedious. You may feel like you should have reached a certain point by now, gotten over it by now. That fact that haven’t can make you feel weak. You’re not. The mountain’s just hard to climb, and tools we’re given are not the easiest to use. And setting these time limits and high expectations for yourself only stunt your progress. If you rush in the game, you have a higher chance of pushing yourself right off the edge. Same in life. Trying to convince yourself that this should all be over by now only makes it that much harder to keep going and creates another obstacle to your assent. Of course, life serves up plenty of obstacles of its own as well. 

Remember that voice over I mentioned earlier? Yeah, that’s in real life too. Except in life, it’s friends and family who really do have the best intentions. They serve up platitudes or things they think will distract you. Some even do go into full philosophical discussions of the situation. And sometimes it works, but sometimes it’s just as exhausting as the climb itself. And you don’t want to shut them down (in the game you do have an option to shut off the voice over) because who knows, they may say exactly what you need to hear, but sometimes, you just wish you weren’t hearing the same thing again. That’s not to say, don’t reach out to others when you’re grieving or don’t try and help when others are, it’s just another part of the journey that has to be dealt with. And sometimes you do have to turn it off. Just asking people for some space or to just sit with you can be enough. There’s no need to be mean about it, just know what you need, which can be hard too. But know that those voices, those who support you will always be there when you’re ready for them.

Falls and expectations may hold you down. They may make you feel weak, make you question why you just can’t get over it already. You’re not weak. The mountain of grief is a tough one to climb, and it’s a climb that will leave its marks on you. But no matter how impossible it may seem, no matter how many times you have to restart, or how many times you fall, it only becomes impossible once you stop trying to climb. 

If you would like to try “Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy” for yourself, you can find it here: http://www.foddy.net/2017/09/getting-over-it/

Disclaimer: I do not own or claim any sort of rights to “Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy”. I am not Bennett Foddy.

Images sourced from Youtube and thenextweb.com