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Friday, July 19, 2013

DEPRESSION IN SL, PART 1: How do you reach out for help or help others overcome emotional issues- Orchids Zenovka Reports

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;
For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
When I’ve fallen out of favor with fortune and men,
All alone I weep over my position as a social outcast,
And pray to heaven, but my cries go unheard,
And I look at myself, cursing my fate,
Wishing I were like one who had more hope,
Wishing I looked like him; wishing I were surrounded by friends,
Wishing I had this man's skill and that man's freedom.
I am least contented with what I used to enjoy most.
But, with these thoughts – almost despising myself,
I, by chance, think of you and then my melancholy
Like the lark at the break of day, rises
From the dark earth and (I) sing hymns to heaven;
For thinking of your love brings such happiness
That then I would not change my position in life with kings.

                                                                                                            -William Shakespeare

The sonnet will well be understood by one who has suffered from clinical depression.
There are times when life gives you lemons and you really aren’t able to make that lemonade. I am not describing “the neighbors not doing their part in cleaning that common hallway” lemon life throws at us. I speak about the feeling of sadness and hopelessness that seems never-ending. The “downs” are more than the “ups” and one starts shutting up oneself as well as others.

A virtual world like SL can help talking with friends, creating or simply wandering helps forgetting albeit temporarily, the issues in RL. It cannot solve the issues but it gives rest to the mind for a time.

However SL can be a lonely place for a reserved person. A stranger approaches out of the blue to the“one-with-shaky-self-belief”, you TP the hell outta there.
Some Avis told me they would think twice before approaching a group of Avi’s chatting as they feel they would be unwelcome in a circle of old friends. 

On the other side, there was this “peeping- eve” girl who jumped up on one Avi’s partner-poseball when his original partner had crashed while “bumping pixels”. This griefing is also a type of need for attention.

There is also the issue of Avis getting harassed when they may inadvertently talk to the wrong person. Certain people find it in some way gratifying to destroy whatever is left of a person under the pretence of companionship.

General social Clubs are popular for being welcomed by the host to relax and join the rest of the crowd. But talking about depression is not really what you would be able to do in such an area.

There is a need to explore this disorder in an emphatic manner and provide options for Avis’ that need help. These are a few of the resources available when you just need a place to be or find someone like you to talk to without feeling out of place.


Joshuan Banx, the founder:
“Mental Health Awareness Retreat is a safe haven that provides both real life and second life resources for various mental health issues.
He raises awareness for mental health and helps to break the stigma that comes with it by organizing hunts, events, exhibitions, blog posts, and uses the social media such as facebook and pintrest to get the word out on resources and information in regards to mental health as much as possible. He also provides diverse second life classes such as making t-shirts, scripting and photography in order to encourage empowerment and self-esteem within individuals facing mental health issue/s.
The work he does helps to describe him best. It is the same work that helps ground him and heal him everyday.
Mental Health Awareness Retreat is in the process of becoming an RL Non Profit Organization and the RL Joshuan Banx will soon be taking a course on Peer Specialist counseling, where he would be able to do the work he already does in SL.”


This is a group for those whose life has been impacted by depression, suicide, attempted suicide themself or have lost someone to suicide. We must break the silence on this epidemic. We offer real life and second life support, education and info. We offer RL resources for recovery and healing. We are a friendly active group. All are welcome!

Krissy Sinclair (founder):  I am a real life person who deals with depression since I was a teen. I have a master’s degree in social work and spent many years being an outpatient therapist before going into administration. But I am more than that; I am an artist, a good friend, silly, and creative... I am more than the illness of depression.
I think the SOS group is one of the best resources in SL as we cross the boundaries and help people also find real life help to.

I thought when I first started the support group that I would maybe see like only up to 25 people join.  But we have over 400 members and keep growing.  People tend to stay in the group, so that tells me they are getting some needs met through the group.  We are a place to vent, to find solidarity, to escape loneliness and learn about depression so we can limit its impact on our lives.


Press Pass was established January 2010. The network consists of blogs, groups, twitter, other social networks and subscription kiosks. Since 2012 we have been more active than ever and get on average 4,500 page view hits monthly and higher. Lanai Jarrico is its proud owner. Krissy Sinclair is the Director.  Includes magazine releases, fashion shows, bloggers, articles, TV, radio, machinima, events and much more!

Lanai: I am a human being, daughter, mother, wife, friend and student behind an avatar with a love of writing, creativity, expression and Second Life.

I went through deep depression in my early twenties and I turned to art. It was my therapy along with friends that never gave up on me and helped me get through it.
Press Pass Media group was handed over to me by the original owner, Carmichael Couldon. I tried to keep up with it but juggling SLE and PPM has been a difficult challenge that I was unable to keep up with so Krissy Sinclair, another PPM original owner has stepped in to handle PPM operations.
Krissy: The goal of press media group is to help the press find out things and to communicate with in the group.

Positive Mental Health

This is one of the largest groups: “The purpose of this group is to explore RL mental health issues in the safe environment of SL.  We deal with issues related to anxiety and depression and work on ways of coping with the challenges in our lives.”
Founder Craig Kamenev is a “Psychologist in practice in Norcross, GA who is interested in expanding his practice to include cybertherapeutic interventions.
IMs and an email to the RL id of the founder did not yield response over 1 week.

However I found the group active and members who are eager to share their struggle to help others...

Arwen is weary of humanity and has adopted the identity of a Wolf in SL and RL and rarely comes into human form. She is a part of many groups.
Mayaca (Arwen Spiritweaver) (Member): I am honest. I will tell you what you need to hear, which may not always be, what you wanna hear. I'm a Wolf; I learned the hard way, growing up, and the cost, of lies. I live now, by the sacred pipe. My birth Alpha female, was major depressive and *Rage, Unspecified* so I inherited that. 
I've suffered from depression all my nearly 53 winters...If I can help someone, that's all I can ask for…
Orchids says:

“There is no point treating a depressed person as though she were just feeling sad, saying, 'There now, hang on, you'll get over it.' Sadness is more or less like a head cold - with patience, it passes. Depression is like cancer.” (Barbara Kingsolver (The Bean Trees) - American novelist, essayist and poet.)

“Generosity is giving more than you can, and pride is taking less than you need.”- Khalil Gibran

Sometimes we resist help. This is a fight against the negative and you need the entire arsenal you need to fight. Medications, Counseling, Meditation, Work or anything that helps. It is your Life… You have to take charge.

Shakespeare, although we will never know if he himself was affected by it; was extremely perceptive of depression in his plays. An illustration of his far-reaching ideas is visualized in the depression seen in maddened Lady Macbeth and also in her husband, who had to watch her.
In the depths of despair, he beseeches the doctor: "Cure her of that. Canst thou not minister to a mind diseas'd?"

His words still hold true today where medicine still has a long way to go to understand the mind.
Van Gogh -- marvelously creative till the end, in one of his last paintings, Wheat Field With Crows, the black birds fly in a starless sky, and three paths lead nowhere, commented: “It is not difficult to express here my entire sadness and extreme loneliness” 

·         Some of us have never had major depression so I cannot say this would be complete understanding nor a complete list. There are many resources out there and one will be right for you.   
·         This is important because our friends (SL+RL) and family could get affected and we need to understand more to help.
·         Any of us could develop depression tomorrow. Life is full of happenings that are not under our control. It is a mistaken belief I saw when I talked to some Avis, that, this does not affect us.
·         It is not the external world that is hard to fight against. Each of us has a demon to be fought against, inside us…

The world is full of suffering; it is also full of overcoming it…. Helen Keller

Part 2 with exclusive interviews coming soon

*Please note that the information shared on the SL Enquirer and in this article are thoughts and opinions of Second Life residents and do not claim to be nor should be taken as professional help. If you think that you may be depressed or feeling suicidal, professional help is need. You can reach out to your doctor or local church for resources that can help in your recovery process.


  1. Am I the only one who noticed that in the first picture, the man has on a whiskey tshirt? Maybe not the best thing to be wearing to a mental health center, as some people with mental health issues do have a tendency to abuse alcohol because of their problems. ><

    I'm sure that it's just a coincidence that he happened to have that shirt on in the picture. I guess I just noticed it because I have mental health issues and used to drink A LOT before I quit drinking 6 or so years ago.

  2. @Serra... Thank you so much for sharing your story and it is indeed heartening for those afflicted by similarly. It is great that you have been able to move ahead.I hope others come forward too.

    Ah as for the whiskey t-shirt :).. I noticed it the minute the shot was set up. I was about to say the exact same words that you said, but I felt in a way that he wants to potray the fact that this is a place run by people themselves helping themselves and others.It is okay to have fallacies.The best fight worth fighting is against ourselves and there is no shame in that.
    (This is my personal opinion.It may not be the most complete understanding. But I have realized that the sufferers are the most sensitive and uniquely talented people I have ever come across.)
    (I will get Joshuan's personal opinion too. )

    thank you.. Good day!!Please continue helping!

  3. I am so happy to see this article on mental health highlighted. Most people are not aware of the amount of resources, help and support that can be found on SL. However, I was a bit disappointed by the responses I've seen here. As someone who personally suffers from PTSD, I have many triggers, which vary and one day could simply be a man clearing his throat. I realize that I have to fit into society, society doesn't have to fit to me. I cannot expect people to not clear their throats around me. I have had the pleasure of meeting Joshuan and have personally seen his conviction and passion for helping people. I would hope that all of the good his retreats have done people, have not been simply dismissed due to a choice of a graphic on a tshirt.

  4. Honestly I didn't think anything of the shirt. Orchids stopped by for a photo and I just happened to wear that shirt. It held no meaning to me but I can see how it can affect others who have different personal struggles than myself. It goes to show how we are all different and how our minds process different factors. I personally have had PTSD triggers where I wanted to change people and situations in order to avoid having to deal with the triggers themselves. I then learned coping skills that till this day helps me manage and maintain myself grounded through some tough times. In our retreat we welcome all walks of life. Some people may wear things such as collars, furry avies, and even prim babies, that may trigger issues in others. This is why the retreat is important as well as spreading the word and resources, so that people can find the help that they need to cope in a world full of daily triggers and emotions as well as other mental health issues. Through facing these things with love, understanding and help, we hope to be able to live a better productive and functioning lives. I hope that all of the lives that have been touched through Mental Health Awareness Retreat, and the good we strive daily to achieve, have not been overshadowed from a wardrobe choice. We do hold meetings every Saturday at 1pm slt and it would be a great topic discussion to have "triggers and how it affects people differently". Thank you for bringing that into light Serra.

  5. I uh, think this is a fabulous idea. I mean, I know a couple of people who suffer depression and thankfully it's not major but their state sometimes gets to you yourself, and I think by helping people it'll do them so much good! :)
    I appreciate this project very much, and I wish them the best of luck with it. :D

  6. As one with Depression, Disassociative Identity Disorder and Panic and Anxiety attacks I've had my keester pulled from dangerous cliffs I nearly went over in here. While in nearly all cases, the inworld support systems are a good stop-gap. However they can not replace RL Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or treatments that may need medications as well as Clinical Counseling. In most cases they are not staffed by Trained Professionals but employ a support system known as peer to peer counseling. This in many ways is like the AA model of being helped by someone who's also been there and may still struggle. AM I DISCOURAGING the use of Inworld web based help ? FAR FROM it..just sometimes 911 is the only answer. But if you're not at that point, then there are many ears to listen with and shoulders to lean on if you need them..use them..there's no shame in asking for help.


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