I only know two things for certain about myself;
1- Courtesy of my mental health (holla at me fellow depression + anxiety babes!) I am in a perpetual state of feeling lost, distant and overwhelmed by this whole “existence” deal.
2- Video games fix the above. Well, temporarily, but that’s better than nothing.
Escapism in general has worked, for me, better than any anti-d I’ve ever been on. Whether it’s gaming, reading, writing or even elaborately day-dreaming, I embrace whatever fiction is before me with open arms and a kiss on the cheek. Maybe a pat on the butt too, if it’s made by Ubisoft.
Life (real, actual IRL life) is a hot mess of unpredictability, unknowns, conflict, fear, social interactions, pressures, stresses, ever present time restraints, finances, having to really take your health seriously, keep others happy, somehow look after yourself, figure out what you want to do, figuring out what you’re even doing now and then it’s a hop, skip and a jump towards death. (Is my anxiety showing? No? Neat.)
Videogames, however, have clear objectives, PAUSING because time is a human construct and who gives a shit about that when you’re playing as an elf, reloading after you’ve made a regrettable decision to a time when you didn’t make said regrettable decision, eating 100 wheels of cheese to solve your poor health, and swords. And guns. And a grizzly bear companion called Cheeseburger. Then there’s Doom guy – why worry over my own PTSD when I can BE the PTSD to cyberdemons and those assholes with jetpacks.
Then there’s the feeling that while the world around you, the one you feel you just about function in, is so damn heavy to bear, it’s just all too much, nothing is working out as you’d planned, or even hoped. And fuckin’ people, they’re everywhere. And all you want is to stop for a moment so you can BREATHE, and hear what’s around you (even if it’s silence) and just to get your head a little bit more together for one sole minute, you don’t know who you’d even need to ask for it but if you knew you’d BEG for just one solitary minute where everything is muted.
That feeling right there? It doesn’t come into play when the problems you’re dealing with, and the world you’re exploring, isn’t yours.
As I briefly mentioned before, I have depression, anxiety and PTSD. It’s been a long, sometimes nigh-on impossible proverbial road, and if it weren’t for escapism (as well as my incredible family and friends, and every one of my former therapists who helped me help myself) I wouldn’t have gotten better at the rate I did.
I didn’t leave my home and didn’t speak in person to someone who wasn’t my mum or therapists for well over a year and a half. I was always a gamer, since getting Parappa the Rapper for my sixth birthday, so during those days of fear-and-illness-imposed isolation, I gamed. I love story heavy single players that I can lose myself in for hours, so I was replaying BioShock and BioShock Infinite almost to death (why almost? Because you can’t play them to death, they’re perfection, fight me.) Far Cry 3 and 4, Watch_Dogs (underrated, trust this mad bitch on that) and Lollipop Chainsaw (otherwise known as me in videogame form).
Hilariously, it was when mum bought me Dark Souls as a “Hey, you got dressed today!” present, or something like that, that I started showing signs of life (you could even say… humanity restored) and yes, I was one of THOSE players who weren’t exactly lovely, friendly, or even vaguely approachable, but it helped me work out some anger issues and resentment towards my fellow man. Dark Souls was also one of the first gaming communities that I really became a part of, so I was making these new friends online, getting my confidence back. I began talking about the only thing I could, which was games, on Twitter mainly, where I got talking to even more people and made some friends for life along the way (you babes know who you are x) and it got to a point where I missed people. I missed being outside. And talking to others. So, I began getting back into the world. The friendly people at Game who were up for a nerdy natter helped a bunch with that; you all made the outside seem less fucking awful, thank you!
My recovery took what I suppose to anyone else would be a long time, but to me it must have been the amount of time I needed. And videogames were a huge part of that; not just to distract myself from literally everything, but in giving me a lifeline, a connection to others, a subject and hobby that made me feel a part of this world. Gaming is still a huge passion of mine, although at the moment it is actually a source of frustration because I’m struggling to wait for a few games coming out in the next 3 months. But you know what helps me handle that? Take a guess..