How Gaming Helps With My Depression

When you think video games, you probably think of all the ridiculous claims that they increase violent behavior. That if a video game is too real, or too obscene, that people will try to emulate it in real life. I like to think of the articles that say that playing video games increase your hand-eye coordination, improve critical thinking, and foster good social skills. Playing video games, for me may be an escape of sorts, which I’ll get into later, but is often far more than just that. The merits that playing video games hold for the mentally ill are boundless. I personally think that video games have saved my life on more than one occasion.

Depression, among other mental illnesses, is an especially cruel thing. It will take the things that you love, and turn them against you. The case is the same for video games. It will take all the fun out of it, and make it feel like a chore. You’ll sit in front of your games, staring at a multitude of choices, and still feel like there’s nothing to play that would be fun. It steals away all the positives that anything holds.

Video games, with role playing games(RPG) being my favorite genre, open a huge world of possibilities for anyone who delves into them. They allow you to do what you otherwise could not. You can fight dragons, lead a crime syndicate, become a master assassin, be the hero that saves the world. It allows you to build this immense imaginary world where everything is possible, and you can forget the real world problems for a while. In this essence, video games become an escape for people, myself included. It allows us to sequester ourselves away from all the pain and misery that life holds, and lets us live out our dreams without any real world consequences (except maybe being a time sink).

Despite what people say about gamers, we are a very social bunch. While some games prioritize a single player experience, others focus on a completely social interface, commonly known as multiplayer. Whether you are playing against other players in PvP (Player versus Player) or cooperating together towards a common goal in PvE (Player versus Enemies) the entirety of multiplayer is a social enterprise. I myself have met some of my best “real world” friends through video games in multiplayer games. Gaming, when done collectively, can be the seed that blossoms into an incredible bond between people. It binds people together through a common interest, as well as through whatever adversity they may overcome in the game.

Gaming helps me manage my depression, by creating a space for me to be myself. It enables me to become someone who is revered by the masses, even if they’re just lines of code. It helps me overcome my severe social anxiety by letting me talk to other people in an environment that may be historically harsh, but is actually a collective of like minded people just trying to have fun. Whether you’re an avid gamer, a button masher, a novice, or have never played, gaming can offer so much more than just a fun pastime.

Yours,

Wolfgang

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