Depression and Video Games How Gaming Helped MeSeptember 14, 2018
Life can throw a lot of curveballs at you as you move through it, nothing more saddening or permanent than death. Unfortunately in life, unlike video games, we don’t respawn. Before we get into that I must first explain a little bit about myself.
Growing up family was always an important part of my life, and as such one of my life goals was to further my name and legacy with my own child. Now, growing up the person I did I never really expected this dream to become a reality. Not to say that I’m incapable of children, I just never saw myself as the type someone would care for in that way. I guess the depression started when I was young, now that I think back on it.
I grew up a very quiet person, I indulged myself in fantasy and video games from a young age so I never had a whole lot of friends. Video games gave me an outlet to keep myself from falling into any major depression related periods. As I got older, I withdrew into a shell that only broke free in a virtual world.
As I pursued a career in the gaming universe with various endeavors, including this one, I’ve grown and got a lot better at interacting with the world. A career in the retail world helped a lot as well, it’s a time of my life I miss tremendously. Something else that complicates my current situation, a lot more than I am willing to admit to anyone, including myself. I have regrets from that time that compound my feelings of sadness.
So back to my dreams of legacy. In November of 2016, I had an unfortunate accident that resulted in a rather irritating injury to my wrist that still hurts to this day. I will admit that day I was on a lot of medication, and that medication had me messaging everybody I knew searching for someone to pity me in my time of pain. That was the day I reconnected with my ex with whom I had a rather tumultuous relationship with in the past.
I’m not going to delve into the details of my brief time with her at the beginning of 2017, but needless to say, it resulted in one of my greatest fears and greatest joys I’ve ever felt. That dream that I always had, a child that would call me ‘father’, that I would call son or daughter. I felt like life was going forward towards a happy future. Looking back on it now, I should have known better.
Then a horrible day in July of 2017 came along. Thinking about it now wipes any happiness, smile, or joy I have away easily as I have yet to get over that horrible message I got that day. I don’t blame anyone for what happened, it’s no one’s fault that I can decide on but it happened the same. Any parents worse nightmare, one that I’m sure every parent has thought about at one time or another, that I had not yet had the chance to feel was now a real experience for me.
As I left my house to go about my day, going to the lake to go walking or to the store to get some food; I don’t really remember anymore. Too many other memories of that day flood my mind when I try to think about it. My baby, that I would find out would have been my son, my not yet born son, didn’t have a heartbeat.
A question I still ask myself to this day, and I honestly have no answer for is “How does someone get over something like this?” I don’t think anyone ever does get over events like this. It doesn’t give you any appreciation for life, it just makes life seem empty and pointless. It just creates a hole that is only filled by depression.
We all choose to deal with depression in our own ways. Some people fall into bad habits like drugs and alcohol, while some turn to more creative outlets like art and music. I dove into the only place I knew I was ever happy in my mind, that was my virtual world of gaming.
So I know you’ve been reading this and wondering, “What does any of this have to do with depression and gaming?”
I found some semblance of happiness, a small bit of joy in the games I play. I started playing a mobile game on my phone shortly after I went through this. I met people on that game that didn’t know me, had nothing to gain by befriending me or by listening to me talk about my situation.
I think the world looks at people who play video games that are depressed and view the games as a contributing factor to their depression. That people get so obsessed with their games that they forget the world outside of their virtual worlds. Just like video games do not cause violent behavior, I’d hazard a guess that they also do not cause depressive behavior. In my case, video games were the only thing that brought me from the end of losing any will to move forward at all.
Are video games an end all be all way of defeating depression? No. Not even close to that, as my current mental state is plenty proof of. They help, however, they help. I implore you to think about this next time you see someone playing a game on their phone, with a depressed smile on their face. The next time you hear someone talking about a game, if you hear a sadness in their voice, think about the difference that would be if they didn’t have their games.
There was a lot more I wanted to say, and perhaps in the future, I will write a follow-up article to this if people request it. Before I finish this up, however, I’d like to say Thank You to the people I met on that mobile game I started playing last year, that I am still playing now. I won’t mention names, but you know who you are. They are not the only people I give thanks to for help, but they are a major factor so, Thank you.