Advice

Woman Wishes Her Depressed BF Cared As Much About His Life And Appearance As He Did Pokémon Go

Love is hard. It's even harder when life stacks the deck against you. One woman was so frustrated by her situation that she turned to Reddit for help. Her back story involves a partner with depression and questionable hygiene, an extended period of separation because of work, Pokemon Go and some dead mice in the kitchen. Yeah, it kinda took a turn for the unexpected there at the end.


The 31 year-old woman posted that she was concerned for her 34 year-old boyfriend. He had always struggled with insecurities and depression, but things really fell apart when she had to move away for six months for work. They kept in constant communication and saw each other once a month, but as time went on things started to get worse. He stopped showering, his hair was so filthy that it had actual chunks falling out of it. His visits devolved into her forcing him to take care of himself. When she was able to move back into their home, it was a wreck. He let things get so bad that she found several dead mice in the kitchen and it took her an entire month to clean and restore their home.

That's not to say that he didn't do anything while she was gone. He poured himself heart and soul into Pokemon Go. His obsession got him in trouble at work because he was playing and coordinating raids when he should have been working. He stopped coming to bed so he could play. It got to the point where a simple trip to the grocery store involved several stops or detours so he could play. He started skipping work to play. When they had days off together he would plan Pokemon raids rather than spend time with her or help with chores. Long story short, Pokemon Go became his entire world and she was understandably worried.

Here's her original post

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My SO is currently dealing with some depression issues, but his Pokemon Go choices are starting to make me wonder how much of his life is in turmoil because of depression and how much is because he just doesn't care.

I've known my SO for 8 years, dating for 3.5 (knew each other through previous relationships, same friend group). Before we dated, I always thought he was a cool guy who was good at everything. And it's true, he IS handsome and has great style and he IS smart and good at many things. But the person we all thought he was is actually a front for an insecure, scared human being. He projects being "good" at things because he was raised that way—son of immigrant parents who are VERY hard on him personally and culturally—and he feels like he needs to be the best, all the time.

I noticed early on that he gets overwhelmed easily. He pretends to know things then researches the crap out of them to get by doing whatever he's doing. He survives purely on intuition and fake confidence, but he crumbles in secret. He gets sick ALL the time from lack of sleep and stress. He started therapy at my request to help him learn coping mechanisms and because I suspected he was struggling with depression.

Anyway, things fell apart this summer for him when I left for a 6-month academic stint back east (2,000 miles apart). We saw each other once a month and it was good each time, but the last time he visited, his hair was so dirty from not showering that it had actual chunks of dry shampoo falling out of it...I made him shower as soon as he got to my apartment. I came home from my 6-month program and our home was in shambles. I smelled something dead and there were THREE dead mice in the kitchen! It was disgusting. Everything was dirty. I spent the entire month of November cleaning, reorganizing the house, and generally trying to pull him back together. He made an appointment this week to get medication for his depression at the recommendation of his therapist.

Now, this all sounds like standard depression stuff, right? Okay, but imagine in the background of all of this, he somehow reached level 40 in Pokemon Go and spends ALL his time playing it. I mean, he gets the bare minimum done to survive in life and work his good full-time job, but he got in trouble at his job for having Pokemon on his iPad and being distracted by it. When he's not doing Pokemon, he's on discord trying to get people together to do raids and shit. While I'm sleeping, he puts together Pokemon 'teams' to raid and stuff, trying to get the best combos. We can't go to the grocery store without him making me stop for at least 2 gyms or raid battles. I have an account, which I made in June as a way of staying connected while I was away at school, and he obsesses over leveling up my character (which I got to level 30 by myself, by the way, it's not like I need help). On the weekends, we don't plan things, he just looks for raids and does them instead of doing chores or running errands.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy Pokemon Go. I think community days are fun and I like walking around, but this is like, next-level shit. Why is he so able to succeed in the Pokemon game but real life is a HUGE struggle for him? He calls out of work at least 4 times a month because he's "sick," the house is disgusting if I'm not here, and he gained 10 lbs from only eating take out while I was away and not working out because "he's sick"... but he can literally spend the entire day playing Pokemon? I do not understand. If he put 10% of the effort into his life that he puts into that game, his shit would be together! He's planning on going back to school next year for a career change and I'm truly worried that he's going to sit on campus playing Pokemon instead of doing the schoolwork, then he'll get stressed out about his procrastination and then he'll break down. It's a cycle and I don't know what to do to help him.

At this point, we've talked about his Pokemon obsession but he's extremely fragile right now and everything I say feels like criticism. I'm trying hard to be gentle with him since I essentially flipped out over the dirty house full of dead mice and made him feel horrible about himself. I just wish life was like Pokemon and he would spend time doing tasks and getting rewarded the same as the game.

- u/HugeLeopard

Yeah ... that's a lot to take in. Reddit kind of collectively took a deep breath and reached out to help, though. Here are some of the more popular responses.

Gamify Real Life

PoGo is, at this point, a realm in which he doesn't have to pretend. He doesn't feel he has to fake anything, because he is good at it and the game doesn't really require any skill. Anyone who just keeps grinding can get to level 40.

I just wish life was like Pokemon and he would spend time doing tasks and getting rewarded the same as the game.

I mean, if you both think that could help there's no reason why you can't set up some kind of reward system. He might also like HabitRPG or any of the other apps that gamify getting your adult sh*t done.

- NightOwlEye

Luckily...

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What he is doing is super super common with depression. He is obsessing over something outside of his "miserable life" reality and that he is good at. Luckily he isn't gambling or overspending, etc. This is something he should talk to his therapist about because it is interfering with his ability to perform in real life.

- JamPlanet

Hideaway

Oh. This is easy. Pokemon Go is his hideaway. It's his safe place to feel like a success. He knows it all, the variables in it are limited, he can figure it all out.

The whole world overwhelms him, so he lives in Pokemon Go. It gives him a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

You need to talk to him.

Reading through the comments and responses we learn a few new things. Evidently boyfriend had made an attempt on his own life several years ago, just after high school. He was diagnosed with major depressive disorder and prescribed medication. His mother refused to believe the diagnosis, particularly because she considered it shameful in her culture. Mom convinced him that the doctor was just trying to sell him pills so he could make a profit. He spent his twenties getting no mental health treatment.

The original poster took some time to consider people's advice and put some stuff into practice. After about two weeks, we got an update.

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After posting here, I took some of the comments about depression and talked to my SO about how he feels and what I can do to be a better support system for him. He's still continuing therapy and his medication is slightly helping (although it'll take a few more weeks to really kick in) but he registered for his prereq classes without me saying anything or reminding him and he has been trying to help with cleaning when he can. So there has been some overall improvement.

We also talked about Pokemon Go, how he's using it as a coping mechanism and how that's okay (I cannot stress enough how I want him to still feel okay playing), but also how we can't just drop everything all the time for it. We just got back from a small holiday trip and the entire time, he kept the Pokemon Go under control and played when we wanted but not when we were doing dinner, taking parents places, and such. He showed a lot of restraint and a lot of respect for the stuff we talked about.

I have also done a few raids with him and his people from discord, and I'm really glad he has this group of random Pokemon people that he knows by their Pokemon nicknames and stuff. It's actually very sweet, and not forced socialization or awkward adult-friend-making...they just go do raids, trade pokemon and know each other from these small moments. It's good for him, especially as his social circle has shrunk over the past few years. It's all so low key and low pressure that I really do think it's healthy for him to do these raids and talk to people about his hobby.

I'm also trying to be receptive that his way of "giving" to me right now is by helping me with the game. He really likes to play PoGo with me and gets excited when I get a shiny or catch a legendary in a raid. I have to realize that while the depression stops him from acting like he cares about stuff like cleaning or eating, this is a small glimpse into what he can be like once he gets better again (and also, a glimpse of his old self).

I wanted to thank everyone who shared their stories of depression and opened my eyes to the fact that there is so much more to being depressed than just being unmotivated/sad/empty. I had no idea that his motivation in the game was part of the depression and part of coping with life. Thanks for all the stories, seriously, they meant so much.

- u/HugeLeopard


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While we still have a long way to go before we can find out what's next for June/Offred in the Republic of Gilead, we can, at the very least, regale you with some cool facts about one of the most enduring stories of the last three decades.

The Trailer for Season 3 Plays Off a Slogan from the Reagan Era

Perhaps the best thing that came out of the Super Bowl––aside from the memes haggling Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, that is––was the trailer for the third season of the Hulu series.

The trailer lampoons former President Ronald Regan's 1984 "Morning in America" political campaign television commercial.

"It's morning again in America," you hear over a soundtrack and images that resound with boundless optimism. Things turn dark from there. Soon the camera freezes on Elisabeth Moss's face: "Wake up, America," she says.

Margaret Atwood's Follow-Up Will Be Released Later This Year

Margaret Atwood will release a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale titled The Testaments in September 2019. The Testaments is unconnected to Hulu's adaptation and will feature the testimonials of three female narrators from Gilead.

This literary device keeps with the metafictional epilogue that follows Offred's story in the original novel. The novel ends much in the way Season 1 ends: with Offred entering the van at Nick's insistence. The epilogue explains how the events of the novel were recorded onto cassette tapes after the beginning of what scholars have come to describe as "The Gilead Period." An interview with a noted academic implies that a more equitable society, one with full rights for women and freedom of religion restored, emerged following the collapse of the Republic of Gilead.

Serena Joy Waterford Is Likely Based On A Noted Conservative Activist

As the series goes on, we learn more about Serena Joy Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) and her beginnings.

Serena was a conservative activist who, along with her husband Fred, spearheaded the Puritan movement that ultimately gave rise to Gilead. Inspired by women whom she perceives to have "abandoned" their families in the name of female autonomy, Serena Joy delivers impassioned speeches at venues around the nation calling for policies that would place women back in the home. She even wrote a bestselling book, A Woman's Place, that served as the vessel for much of her conservative dogma and inspired many of the Commander's Wives who become her friends and neighbors.

Serena was likely based on conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who established herself over many years as one of the fiercest antifeminist and anti-abortion advocates in the United States. Schlafly was also a vociferous opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, which she considered an attack against traditional gender roles.

The 1990 Film Adaptation Had a Messy Production

A film version of The Handmaid's Tale was released in 1990. It starred Natasha Richardson as Offred, Faye Dunaway as Serena Joy, Robert Duvall as Commander Waterford, Aidan Quinn as Nick, Victoria Tennant as Aunt Lydia, and Elizabeth McGovern as Moira.

The film was not well received and had a messy production. Director Volker Schlöndorff replaced original director Karel Reisz amid internal bickering over a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Schlöndorff asked for rewrites, and Pinter, who was reluctant to do them, directed him to author Margaret Atwood, who was one of several who ended up making changes to Pinter's screenplay.

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It became … a hotchpotch. The whole thing fell between several shoots. I worked with Karel Reisz on it for about a year. There are big public scenes in the story and Karel wanted to do them with thousands of people. The film company wouldn't sanction that so he withdrew. At which point Volker Schlondorff came into it as director. He wanted to work with me on the script, but I said I was absolutely exhausted. I more or less said, 'Do what you like. There's the script. Why not go back to the original author if you want to fiddle about?' He did go to the original author. And then the actors came into it. I left my name on the film because there was enough there to warrant it—just about. But it's not mine'.

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The Film and TV Series Aren't The Only Adaptations of This Seminal Work

There are several different adaptations of Atwood's seminal work, including, but not limited to:

  • an audiobook read by Homeland actress Claire Danes that won the 2013 Audie Award for Fiction
  • a concept album by Canadian band Lakes of Canada
  • a radio adaptation produced in 2000 for BBC Radio 4
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Asked by a fan about the parallels between Gilead and Scientology (namely the belief that "outside forces" are inherently "evil") Moss responded:

"That's actually not true at all about Scientology. Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion and creed are extremely important to me. The most important things to me probably. And so Gilead and THT hit me on a very personal level."

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As images and stories of children ripped away from their parents at the border began to circulate, the Season 2 episode "The Last Ceremony" showed just how timely the show really is: After Offred is raped by the Waterfords, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) allows June/Offred (Elisabeth Moss) to visit her daughter, Hannah, in an undisclosed location. June is given 10 minutes with her daughter before a guard forcibly separates them again.

The episode, written well before the crisis was initiated, premiered just as Homeland Security admitted that more than 2,300 children had been separated from their parents.

Another Episode During Season 2 Appeared to Predict Canada-U.S. Relations

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Pray God you can cope
I'll stand outside
This woman's work
This woman's world
Ooooh it's hard on a man
Now his part is over
Now starts the craft of the FatherI
know you've got a little life in you left
I know you've got a lot of strength left
I know you've got a little life in you yet
I know you've got a lot of strength left
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I should be hoping but I can't stop thinking
All the things we should've said that I never said
All the things we should have done that we never did
All the things we should have given but I didn't
Oh darling make it go
Make it go away
















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