I’ve seen a lot in the media about how gaming is bad for mental health and that in some cases, an addiction to gaming is being treated as a mental illness. While any addiction can be bad for this, I’m so sad to see gaming getting such bad reputation against something that, in my opinion, has only improved in my ability to switch off from real life and get lost in a game.
I was playing games before I could ride a bike, my family has always been pretty tech savvy and we always had a good few consoles at the ready. As the sole girl in a brood of two boys, I certainly trend towards their interests, though my enjoyment of gaming was certainly genuine; you can’t fake the joy it gave me.
I never had many friends going up, I was severely bullied and my home life was not great. I had no safe space to go and it left me feeling very alone. I was suffering from severe anxiety but I didn’t know that at the time, it was just projected as me being shy and scared of many things.
But when I came home from school or when I got away from an argument in my home, I could load up a game and for that time, I could be someone else and let go of the pain that was bubbling inside of me like a toxin.
My real life left me shackled and lost as a person, it limited my growth and imagination. Yet gaming took me away from that, gaming set me free, it taught me about who I was, I learned so many things and my mind filled with so much imagination that I could actually act my age; something I was never allowed to do.
Today, I do not play games as much as I would like to but when I really need to escape, it still provides me with so much comfort. We all need to turn off sometimes and forget about reality, some of us drink, some of us go for a walk or go on holiday, for me I’m just doing what feels best for me.
I think we need to stop making such stigmatized responses to people that do game, with any hobby there will always be pros and cons, people that take it too far and people that judge but who are we to try to take away the things that keep us fighting and standing on this earth?