Dealing with our Inner-Demons: a G+ Hangout featuring Ryan Macklin

Many of you may know that I have struggled with depressive and anxious episodes for many years.  Back in 2009, I was diagnosed with type 2 Bipolar Disorder. I’ve since tried to deal with it in various ways, chief among those  being a total online transparency about my condition.  I reasoned that sharing my experiences, struggles and, more importantly, small victories wasn’t only therapeutic for me, it also showed others with similar issues that they weren’t alone.

The Silverlining Panel

A year ago, I pushed things a bit further and successfully pitched a concept for a Pax East panel featuring  gamers dealing with depression and anxiety. The idea was to outline, through life stories and anecdotes, how our respective tribes* were very powerful allies in overcoming the recurring hardships of those dealing with anxiety and depression.

The Pax East panel was a huge success. Along with my friends Brian Liberge  and Melissa Lewis-Gentry, we shared poignant stories and hilarious ways that our tribe flew to our help in times of need. Many people in the room shared bits and pieces of their stories with us. Even a year later, I still get good feedback for it.

With such a resounding success, I planned an encore for last summer’s Gen Con.  That time, we were graced by the presence of game designer and writer Ryan Macklin. Ryan shared a heart wrenching account of his bout with a condition that caused him so much physical pain that it drove him out of his mind with anxiety and the darkest of thoughts.  His emotion-laden account had the whole room listen with rapt attention. Once again, many of those in the room hung around to share stories. A feeling of belonging, of not being alone pervaded the room.

Many have since asked if there were recordings or written accounts of such panels.  I’m ashamed to say that there are none. Having to deal with my own issues at the time, this is one of the many things that slipped through the cracks. I have since vowed to ensure the recording of  future panels.

Since Gen Con, Ryan and I have discussed back and forth about finding ways to transpose the panel experience over other types of media. We discussed podcasts and such and. As life would have it, we never quite settled on a format or a time…

…Until Google+ became an actual thing.

The 2013 Playbook

So lets make the announcement! On Saturday February 2nd, at 9 PM (Eastern, 6 PM Western), I’ll have the great pleasure of hosting a G+ Hangout on the Air with Ryan.  We each have a different account of our dealings with depression and anxiety and want to share our trials and successes with you in a friendly, informal format. The show will last between 45 minutes to an hour and will automatically be uploaded to YouTube after. I’ll be taking questions through twitter and emails during and after the show (Twitter @chattydm, email chattydm(at)critical-hits(d0t)com).

If the event is a success, I’m seriously thinking of making it a regular thing with various guests from the gaming industry. So stay tuned, I’ll post more precise instructions a bit later in the week.

I really look forward to this and hope that you will be there to share in this exceptional event.

See you Saturday night.

*Tribe: The group of people you keep close to you and trust implicitly. Often a mix of family and friends , quite likely includes your home gaming group


  1. Dear, I think it’s great what you propose, sorry I missed the hangout that you did, please feel free to invite me when you make one again. Tell me something that’ll help you relax, because the truth I am also struggling with anxiety, I actually create a blog in Spanish and I speak Spanish well and good because there will try to discuss my experience and what I’m doing to improve, indeed I’ll see how to recommend what exhibit here … Thank you for sharing this experience.