Mental Health & Gaming

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Re: Mental Health & Gaming

Postby Snowy » Sat Nov 25, 2017 1:06 pm

I think I am pretty fortunate, I have never fallen foul of mental health issues (at least I don't think so!).

I do have a somewhat addictive personality, and came very close to developing a dangerous cocaine habit in my 20s. It just happened that I was around and the right age at the birth of acid house and the rave scene, and I had a lot of fun at various illegal parties and with the drugs that came with it. I am not saying this to glamourise either it or me - hell, drug use is pretty seedy in general - it is just part of my past. Anyhow, a pitying look from a good friend that I was not meant to see but did gave me the wake-up call that I was already sliding on a very slippery slope, and I managed to step away from something that could have been catastrophic.

I have had my moments when gaming - Dark Age of Camelot and WoW properly hooked me in back in the day. Generally though, gaming is my downtime where I can switch off my brain and not let the stress of work persist once I am home.

I think that the advent of the internet will change social interaction more yet than it has already. As others have pointed out, spending time getting hammered in way overpriced pubs and clubs is a waste of time, money and brain cells. While I do like to get out for a beer and a meal from time to time, my preference would always be a good single player or co-op game with friends.
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Re: Mental Health & Gaming

Postby Asherons » Sat Nov 25, 2017 4:08 pm

I had a friend for 2+ years in asherons call and helped him build one of the biggest guilds on the servers at the time. It was really work keeping up helping people level,quest, defend the weaker players from PKs, and recruiting and processing new members to join. anyway one day I logged in and he started accusing me of killing a bot they had set up to help guild members. Saying I was on an alt of mine and killed the bot because it was a person who I had recruited to the guild. At the time I got offended by it because I thought it was garbage that he would accuse me due to how much time, effort, and money I had put into helping his guild be successful. But we had a falling out and I got kicked out of the allegiance and it was a big ol drama filled event.

Turned out he was in the middle of a manic episode and hadn't slept in days and was in all honesty going a bit crazy. I'm friends with him again now but for him he can't really play games anymore because he gets too addicted to them and has to monitor himself basically.

If I had known at the time he was bipolar and going though an episode I would of approached the accusations differently. But at the time I only talked to him about in game stuff. One of his reasons for accusing me was because I didn't know his real life name even though I been gaming with em for years.

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Re: Mental Health & Gaming

Postby Mournblade » Fri May 25, 2018 11:19 pm

Well, I've certainly had my share of mental health issues throughout the last three decades, but particularly the last two. There's some pretty deep-rooted issues associated with my childhood and teenage years -- emotional damage dealt both at home and at school -- and then the sudden seismic shift when my family moved countries at a critical time in my life, with a whole host of issues that resulted as a consequence of that decision, some of which I feel are still unresolved.

I first got into computer games at the age of 12/13 when my Dad bought our first 486-DX2 PC with a 66Mhz processor and 4 MB ram, with MS-DOS installed. I was so excited. Somehow I discovered PC Gamer magazine and bought my very first PC game in 1995, Indiana Jones & The Fate of Atlantis which is still a contender for my favourite. PC gaming became my main hobby for the next decade after.

I wouldn't say I "medicated" with games, at least not at first, but there was no doubt that the escapism they offered certainly helped me endure the pain of school. They were my main hobby and brought great pleasure to my life in those days. However, I would say that I most definitely went overboard with it all toward the tail end of the 90s, where I began to regard them them as more important than my education or a social life, both of which I left by the wayside.

During the first few years of this new century, my life had become pretty much all about computer games, and I regarded them no longer as a fun escape, but as my only hope in an otherwise miserable existence, and the only thing worth living for. During that time, I would say what had once been a form of escapism, had become something I desperately needed to escape from! Those were the worst years of my life.

Well, the last ten years -- having found religion, a wife and children -- cured me of all that. Nowadays, games are just "a bit of fun"; I play them in extreme moderation, and when I do it's only old 2D platformers. I will play something like Volgarr the Viking for about thirty minutes at a time on the rare occasions when I feel like playing something (and believe me, they are rare). Usually I stop, feeling immensely bored, after about that length of time.

Whatever "spark" drew me into computer games back then, has more or less completely vanished. I find very little satisfaction in them. They seem empty and meaningless now. Not really "escapism" anymore, but a quick "time-waster" between essential activities. Nowadays I take walks in the sunshine with my kids, I read books (to myself and to my children) and I try to play board games instead, which I find more satisfying to play and to think about.

But has that radical rejection of "PC gaming as a drug" and change of lifestyle cured my mental health issues? Not really; I'm still tormented daily by demons of my past (and present) and it's fair to say that my moods are fairly temperamental, fluctuating between the manic and melancholic. But I no longer feel enslaved to computer games, and that is something I am thankful for.
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