To be honest, it took me a little bit to read Carl Straumsheim’s and Lydia Brown’s articles than I would have liked. This is because I had to reread some parts, as I took part in one of these programs. It was at my middle school, and put on by one of the teachers who was confined to a wheelchair, where her whole class and then some more students would, for 3 days, confine themselves to a wheelchair. Some students could opt out of it, most particularly in cases when they might already be living with a disability or other strenuous circumstances. But, back to the articles, once I really started thinking about what I did, I realized that the articles really did have a grain of truth.
While I was confined to the wheelchair, there wasn’t really anything wrong with me. Yes, it made life a little bit harder. It made getting in cars impossible without help, and going up hills were awful. But I knew that on the inside, that if I really needed to for some reason (maybe there was an emergency), that I could very easily get up from the chair and run for my dear life. Despite “living” in the chair for three days, my life wasn’t tied to the chair. It made me aware of some hardships yes, but at the same time, may have downplayed others by refuting their existence.
Refuting may have been a strong word, but nonetheless. By introducing this program to get people to understand hardships, they may only “understand” (I say that generously) the hardships they experience in that limited time. It’s almost the same as race discussion, a topic that was alluded to in Straumsheim’s article. You can explain the problems of living with race as much as you want, but other people will never truly understand. In much the same way, I will (hopefully) never truly understand the kind of judgement I would face for the rest of my life and so forth if I was put in a wheelchair.
So, despite its intentions, I think that the game depression had the same effect. It was engaging, and tried to be informative. It tried to take people through the same train of that depressed people have, it just isn’t on the same level of magnitude. Now, I’m not saying that everyone should go and get depressed, but this kind of game just can’t simulate well enough the actual effects of feelings of being depressed and create the same problems as above discussed.