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Video Games as a Crutch

by dergrimnebulin   //   12:37 PM on 11.27.2011

Now, this post will be fairly personal, but I feel the need to put it out there. I've played video games my entire life. I still own my NES, SNES, Genesis, Playstation, and so on. I'm a 26-year-old man, and video games hold an important place for me. My wife has understood this for our entire courtship and 5 year marriage. I couldn't ask for a better lady. But I've just come to a realization; I use video games as a massive emotional crutch.

Over the last 6 months, I played through Mass Effect 2 again, Red Dead Redemption, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, Portal 2, Final Fantasy III, and Chrono Trigger. Then, of course, Skyrim came out. I've already logged 75 hours. It's highly abnormal for me to play a game that much in such a short time span. Just earlier today, me and my wife got into a little spat about how I have seemed like a different person for the past 6 months. After a few minutes of introspection, the connection between the two became startlingly obvious.

Six months ago, I was coming home from work and had some pains in my chest. I wrote it off to a pulled muscle or a bit of indigestion. Next day, the same thing. And the same the next day. I went to a doctor, and they sent me to the ER. After a battery of tests, they had no clue, so they sent me to another doctor. Suffice it to say, 6 months, and still no clue as to what's wrong. Pretty damn terrifying, to say the least. Then, about 5 months ago, I was walking across the street, in the crosswalk, and I was hit by a car. No horrible injuries, but quite painful. 4 months ago, my boss, who is also my best friend, quit, and was replaced by a horribly incompetent person. There are a couple more things, but they are a little too personal to post here.

When I stopped and thought about it, it became crystal clear; rather than dealing with my issues head on, I've been losing myself in games. I'd rather invest myself emotionally in the problems of Captain Shepherd than have to think or deal with all the real problems that I have. At the end of the day, there's little difference between what I'm doing, and what someone who drowns their sorrows in alcohol or drugs are doing. There's just not as much of a physical consequence with video games. But mentally, it's the same thing; I am using something to escape my real life. It's a hard thing to admit to, but it has to be done to attempt to make it right. And I'm quite sure I'm not the only one that uses video games as a crutch.

What I need to do is put the controller down for awhile, and only pick it up when I'm positive I'm doing it for the right reasons. I need to learn to talk to my loved ones about what's bugging me, rather than subconsciously taking it out on the Forsworn. I need to get over the fear of not knowing what's physically wrong with me, and take control of my life again. I love video games, and I will play them until the day I die. But I love my wife more. I have to get back to who I was before everything went down. Games may have to be put on the back burner for awhile, at least until I can learn to deal with my issues without sinking into a fantasy world. And I'm okay with that.

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