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Hi! This is my little slice of the internet! I'm not 100% sure why I decided I wanted to make an official blog- maybe it's born of my want to help people and make even the slightest change, maybe it's because my hand hurts when I'm trying to write journal entries. Who knows? Not me!

My name is Shayla and I'm 28 years old. I was diagnosed with depression when I was a young teen and as I grew older, I had anxiety, borderline personality disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder added to the roster. While my mental health has been a huge source of problems in my life, I've also experienced numerous traumatic events and hardships- and I continue to work through them to this day.

Whether you're here to understand mental health better, here to remind yourself that you're not alone in your struggles or any reason in-between: welcome.

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Kind Words: A Game Spreading Hope

Very recently, I was browsing Steam (a PC gaming platform from which you can buy and play games) for something new and I came across a game called Kind Words. This may be one of my favourite discoveries in a heck of a long time. The game's official synopsis goes as such: "A game about writing nice letters to real people. Write and receive encouraging letters in a cozy room. Trade stickers and listen to chill music. We're all in this together. Sometimes all you need are a few kind words." At a glance I assumed it was going to be a game where I'm given prompts to write to the real people in my life, all while listening to a great lo-fi soundtrack. I was (pleasantly) surprised to find out that it's pretty much an anonymous system where people can send a letter out into the void that talks of how they're feeling, or a problem they face and then others can go look through a page that shows a randomized handful of said letters that they can reply to with kind words and advice. It's the most wholesome thing I've ever experienced. You have the options to write letters to put out there and then you can receive replies from folk, you can also just sit down for awhile and do nothing but sending out uplifting replies and (my favourite part) you can send out a note with a little kind note and these notes fly across your screen in the form of paper airplanes that you can grab from the air and read. Others' notes will be shown to you, and yours will float around in cyberspace to be found by others.

I highly recommend this to.. well, everyone! If you have a PC, this is a wonderful little game. It's not a video game in the standard way, but it's fun nonetheless. Your little characters sits at a desk in a whimsical room, writing letters and you can fill your room with the little items people send you as thank yous for replying to their letter.

The best detail? It's all entirely anonymous. Only your IP address and your nickname are known by the server, but all letters, replies and notes you write will only show the first letter of your name. You're also offered a tab you can click to be given a good handful of mental health resources for when you're really feeling down and need someone to talk to immediately. The first time I booted the game up and read through a number of letters from others talking about their problems, I felt a little prickle in my eye. And when I received my first reply to a letter talking about my depression? I straight up cried. And then I got a second, a third, a forth, a fifth, a sixth... and they were all so supportive and beautiful. Kind Words can be a place for you to go if you need to vent, but you just don't have it in you to talk to anyone you know. I completely understand that feeling. It can also be a place where you go to spread love and light to others. That's my main use of it, so far! I make sure I spend at least 20-30 minutes on it daily and I write as many letters as I can to the folks out there. Living a life littered with tragedy, misfortune and a lot of mental health blocks along the road.. well, there's little more I want to do than to be able to make others who feel like shit feel better- if even just a little. If someone across the world knowing that someone out there cares, I'm more than happy to be that person. Check out Kind Words! And even if you can't- take it's message to heart: We really are all in this together. A few kind words could change everything. xoShay

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