Animal Crossing and My Mental Health

A poorly-taken photo of my new limited edition Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch!

Content note: this post is about my mental health (or lack thereof), and mentions suicidal ideation, depression, the coronavirus and the fact that the entire world is a fucking mess. (It also mentions the upsetting experience of being stung by wasps in Animal Crossing.) If any of that is going to be challenging for you, go ahead and give this post a miss – your wellbeing always comes first đź’™


My mum used to say to me, seemingly all the time, that “lovability and efficacy are the cornerstones of self-esteem”. 

I would always roll my eyes at that, in part because she was saying it in an attempt to nudge me towards doing my part in our three-person household. I absolutely did not believe that doing a bit of washing up or moving my dirty laundry from the bathroom to the washing machine would do anything for my self-esteem, and I told her as much. 

Except, actually, the time has come for me to admit that she was – and is – right.

I have been in the depths of mental illness lately. If “deep self-hatred and misery” is equivalent to treading water, I have been so much further out to sea and under the waves that I’m amazed the pressure hasn’t crushed my skull yet. I have effectively been on suicide watch for at least a week. The only reason I’ve showered in recent memory is because I had an appointment at the blood donor centre and knew that some kind phlebotomist would be getting all up in my armpits with a pressure cuff. The closest I have come to “efficacy” was when I started my Pusheen crochet project, and even that has been a challenge. You know, regular mentally ill person stuff.

This is where Animal Crossing comes in.

My Daddy and my boyfriend schemed for weeks behind my back and pooled their resources to get me the limited edition Animal Crossing Nintendo Switch, complete with the newest Animal Crossing game. They’ve called it a birthday present, even though it’s currently March and my birthday is in late July, for presumably two reasons: 1. They needed a reason to buy it for me upon its release, and couldn’t have sat on the surprise until July, and 2. I am parodically Leo in every way, boasting a deep need to be the centre of attention and to be spoiled rotten, so my birthday celebrations usually start in late spring and don’t end until the beginning of the academic year. Naturally, this means that two people I love conspiring in secret to surprise me with a very early and very fancy birthday present was already unspeakably lovely. 

They didn’t know when they first started planning this endeavour that I was going to be extremely mentally unwell when my Switch arrived. (Please save all your D/s-themed Switch jokes until the end of this blog post.) They also didn’t know that Animal Crossing would be the thing that dragged me back to “treading water” levels of sanity – and nor did I.

Animal Crossing’s gameplay revolves around completing small, achievable tasks and being rewarded for it. You can’t fail at Animal Crossing – the worst thing that can ever happen is that you get stung by wasps and need to find medicine, or maybe that a villager you love moves out of town. The stakes are low, and the music is soothing.

Getting my little island set up in Animal Crossing felt good in a way that no other activity has felt good for a while. Having fictional raccoons compliment me on my work ethic felt good. Helping a fictional cat choose a spot for her tent felt good. Editing my fictional passport to say, “Be gay, do crimes <3” on it felt good. 

Accomplishing things, however small and however fictional, felt so good that I found it within me to start writing a blog post. Because efficacy really is critical in maintaining one’s mental health. Feeling like you can do things, and do them well, makes a huge difference to your self-perception. Or at least, it did to mine. And feeling in control of things, even tiny things like what you have for dinner, or your fictional Animal Crossing home, is extremely healing and empowering at any time – but it’s especially healing and empowering for me, right now, because there are so many things that are beyond my control. I’m writing this in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, so you can probably imagine all the things that have spiralled out of my – or anyone’s – control recently, but I feel like this post is evergreen: there will always be times when your life seems beyond your own control. But there will also always be things that you can influence, that you can achieve, that you can feel good doing – even if it takes a good long while to find them.

The world is a shitshow at the moment. But the deserted island my Animal Crossing character inhabits is not. It’s breathtakingly pretty and rich in resources. Starlight glitters on the river as I shake trees to find branches. Dicking around on my Nintendo Switch reminded me that there are parts of the world that are beautiful, and they aren’t beyond my reach.


The pandemic and subsequent semi-lockdown that’s going on right now means that I’ve lost a lot of work opportunities (because every other fucker at my agency is snagging jobs before I can). If you also want to give me a birthday present four months early, consider buying me a coffee or commissioning transcripts or captions from me!

20 Things I Learned Whilst 20

I turned 21 on the 24th of July, right at the dawn of Leo season, and I managed to only Tweet obnoxiously about it once. In fact, this has been a pretty quiet birthday by all accounts, but it felt like it would be remiss of me not to mark it with a blog post.

However, it’s brain-meltingly hot, and I have a busy weekend ahead, so I decided I’d treat my readership to the ultimate cop-out: a listicle.

I have to admit that some of these things are things I learned before I was 20, but they’ve definitely been reaffirmed or brought back to the forefront of my mind over the past year. Some are kink-related and some are not, but hopefully at least one of these twenty things will be enlightening, or at least uplifting.

  1. I’m probably sort of a furry. I don’t feel a strong affinity for the furry community as such, but I have to concede that the headspace I enter into when engaging in puppy play (right down to having a specific breed in mind…) isn’t dissimilar to having a fursona, especially when I play with accessories like my collar, leashes and ‘puppy treats’ (usually Maltesers). Plus, I’d definitely fuck Nick Wilde from Zootopia.
  2. PRN anxiety medications don’t work for me, because as soon as I’m even a little anxious, I become too paranoid to take any medicines at all.
  3. Anti-psychotic medications do work for me, and so far I’ve been one of those miraculously lucky bastards who doesn’t lose any of their sex drive when starting a new psychotropic medication.
  4. I actually do like masturbating, it just spooks me when I’m alone for trauma reasons.
  5. I am definitely more of an A-spot person than a G-spot person.
  6. Letting your sadistic Daddy wax your vulva for you is not as good an idea as it might sound. Especially if he’s never waxed anybody else’s body before and you’ve never had your own body waxed in any capacity before. Really, it’s a fucking terrible idea. Put the Veet strips down.
  7. Crying during kink scenes is the purest, most amazing form of catharsis I can access in a healthy and sustainable way.
  8. Being face-slapped a lot makes me cry.
  9. I like Starbucks frappuccinos as long as they’re super sugary and don’t have whipped cream on top. I have reached Peak White Person.
  10. If you want something (especially if that something is a writing gig or similar), you should go for it. The worst that can happen is a ‘no’, which you can accept graciously and move on.
  11. …but seriously, I am capable of awesome things if I just scrape together the bollocks to spring for them. Like appearing on Disability After Dark. Or being featured on Girl On The Net. Or putting my amazing, well-lit nudes on Twitter.
  12. I’m much better at receiving beatings and bottoming in S&M scenes more broadly if I’m tied up and receiving encouragement.
  13. It’s not normal to bleed after vaginal sex stuff! Who knew?! (This discovery did lead to me getting to view live footage of my own cervix, though, which was cool as shit.)
  14. Therapy is actually useful if you don’t lie the whole time! If you can find a therapist who will accept your kinkiness and/or queerness and/or polyamory and/or proud neurodivergent identity (etc…) then therapy sessions can feel productive and worthwhile, rather than another chore-ish appointment you have to make time for.
  15. I have a lot more work to do in therapy and outside of it. I’ve realised I’m absolutely brimming with internalised fatphobia, internalised ableism, suppressed anger, suppressed feelings of loss… but I’m starting to unpack it all, and it’s worth the hard work.
  16. I’m even more of a huge nerd than I thought – I’ve spent the whole summer so far itching to go back to uni. I thrive on structure and intellectual stimulation, and I miss university so much whenever I’m away from it longer than a week. Master’s degree it is, then.
  17. I actually love giving analingus. If I could abandon this blog post right now and put my tongue in a butthole I would.
  18. Cis dudes actually can eat me out in a way I enjoy if they just listen and proceed carefully. Not all of them are teethy, sucky trainwrecks.
  19. If you have a penis in your mouth and you press a vibrator to your jaw or throat, the penis-owner can feel the vibrations, and they’re usually pretty happy about that.
  20. There is always new stuff to learn about sex, kink, myself and the world. And I’m excited about that.