Friday, September 7, 2018

How World of Warcraft Saved My LIfe

I've been thinking a lot about writing this post but it was very hard to put exactly into words everything I have been feeling. I've never really shied away from talking about my mental health, both online and IRL and lately I've been having a hell of a time dealing with my anxiety and depression.

I've talked a little bit in the past about how I've had days where I barely could get out of bad, with my house piling up against me or how I've struggled with anxiety attacks in school or at work. For me, my anxiety and depression tend to ebb and flow with severity so I can have a great couple of weeks or even months with minimal issues and then have chunks of time that are just really bad. Lately it's been one of those times, but I've been trying to cope and working to get back to a more manageable level. 

One of the things that has actually helped me cope is video games, more specifically World of Warcraft. 

I've been into WoW for years now, but I struggle a lot with playing games consistently (as evidenced in previous posts). I've had plenty of abandoned characters, never to be seen again. This time however, things just felt so different.

I had gotten off work one day and looked at my game list, scanning the same list that I've seen a bunch of times when I noticed that I hadn't played WoW in months. I opened it up, and decided to start fresh with a new character. Jonathan soon joined me with a new character as well and we just jumped in.

That night, I played for 4 - 5 hours. 

The next day, I woke up for work and felt...accomplished? I headed to work and during breaks at work, found myself looking forward to jumping on WoW later that night. Usually, although I'm grateful to be going home, I never really look forward to anything specific since I usually am just exhausted and dreading the next day.

I headed home and booted up WoW, playing for another 4 hours. 

This cycle continued for the next few weeks, and I started spending my free time at work studying guides and character wikis, trying to piece together pieces I had missed and learning about new things. I even picked up copies of the game novels and started reading them. 

I started looking forward to learning and reading more about the game at work. There between calls, I'd be taking notes and reading about different game mechanics, figuring out different ways to do things I wanted or try new things. I'd then head home and play for hours.

I even created another character to maximize playing time so I wouldn't get too far ahead of Jonathan on my main, since we were working together every night.

Having something to distract me and look forward to each day gave me more motivation. Having a passion, something to be excited about, had me managing my stress because I was focused on something bigger and better than whatever I was dealing with.

Playing also gave me a sense of accomplishment. Doing quests and seeing the rewards helped motivate me to do IRL quests (like cleaning out my house) to get IRL rewards (new figures). Having something to throw myself into and being able to spend time with Jonathan and my friends online also helped me be less inside myself. I used to just get out of work and shut myself in my room. Now, I was texting my friends again and raiding dungeons while chatting in Discord, making plans to visit each other soon.

Every day is a struggle. But World of Warcraft helped make the struggle a little bit easier to get through.

Always, Raineedayze

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