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Tuesday, 20 April 2021

How Gaming Helped Me

TRIGGER WARNINGS (mentions)

  • Suicide
  • Depression
  • Abuse


I have mental health problems. Most anyone who reads this would already know that. If you're new, I'll let you know: I have Anxiety, Chronic Depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I have lived with these things for most of my life. I've know about them for only half of my life.

I moved out of my family home at 17 years old due to mental and physical abuse. During the year that followed, I did attempt to take my own life. I thankfully had someone in my life that I give much credit for saving my life. She talked me down, she treated me with love, she made me feel safe. It was years later that I was finally diagnosed and started my (slow) journey to getting better.

At 18, I met someone who I thought was my soulmate and we had twin girls just before my 19th birthday. Sometime in this period of my life where I was a stay at home parent of twin littles, we got an Xbox and a couple of games. While I had played a few shooter games in the computer lab during lunch hours at high school before, never had I got really into it as much as I did at this point. I started playing Gears of War and Ghost Recon.

When we upgraded to our Xbox 360 we got a copy of Call of Duty 3 with it and that's what really started me on playing that franchise. My mental health deteriorated and I turned to video games to escape from my every day life. Eventually I became so depressed I didn't even play games. My relationship ended and I began the journey of single parenting.

Now we know that winter months can be especially hard on people with mental health problems such as depression. I started taking up gardening in the summer, getting a social life and a new relationship and building a 90s tuner car. During the winter I would spend my down time playing Call of Duty and eventually got myself the Xbox One.

These last few paragraphs spanned the better part of, or even more than, a decade of my life. I have met some really great people while playing these games. Some of which I still speak to, some 10 or 15 years later after beginning our friendship. Some of which I have been lucky enough to meet in person event! The entire experience has been such a big part of my life I cannot think of what my life would be without these people, playing these games.

Gaming has helped me escape from my life when I needed to. Gaming has helped me talk to people when I would otherwise have not. Gaming has helped me pass the time when I had nothing to do/nobody to talk to. Gaming has been a community of friends that I know I'll always have. Gaming has provided me with a distraction from being inside my own head when I really needed it. Gaming has given me friends I would have never met otherwise, friends that I truly cherish.

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