“It’s a serious question. When the illusion of self is shattered, you simply cease to be. Thought it may not seem that way to others, you know when it is true. You can feel it, a stranger in your own body, an imposter and nothing is the same ever again.”
– The Narrator (Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice)
One of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite games, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It is a work of art as well as a very well made game. The game is from the perspective of a woman names Senua as she goes on a journey to retrieve her husbands soul from the goddess Hela after he was brutally murdered by the Northmen. Here’s the catch: she suffers from psychosis.
Senua hears voices she calls ‘Furies’, suffers from audible and visual hallucinations, and severe depression. The player is treated as one of the many voices swirling around Senua’s head as she struggles to come to terms with her disease, her loss, and the truth about her past. It is a beautiful game that explores mental illness in its wide array of colors. I highly recommend watching a bit of it on YouTube if you cant play the came yourself.
This quote was spoken my the main voice in Senua’s head and has always struck me as a fantastic way to describe to someone how loss and grief, depression and mental illness feel like. And this is just one of many fantastic quotes in the game. This one is just my favorite. Just the way the question is asked so matter-of-factually: “Have you ever died before?”
When you experience a great loss it changes you. The old you is gone, is dead. But it is on the inside where no one can see it. To everyone else it looks like you’re alive and well. Maybe they even see you smiling, or joking, or laughing. Maybe they see how perfect you life seemingly is, you have money, or family and friends, or a dream job. But what they don’t see is the body inside, a stranger masquerading around as you.
Some of us die once and have a beautiful funeral where we’re put to rest. Others die several times but are still walking around as emotionless zombies. We do the things that humans do like eat, drink, sleep, go to the bathroom. But we’re dead inside and probably have been long before we get that beautiful funeral.
A Deceased Writer