I welcomed 2014 with much appreciation. Last year wasn't one of the best years of my life, and while it wasn't the worst, I really wanted it to end. I had to deal with not only a failed back surgery, but with countless procedures that were thought to end, if not at least help, my relentless lower back and lower extremity pain. In addition to so much failure, I had to learn to accept the high possibility that I would not ever be able to work a full time job, and would in turn rely on my wonderful wife to be the sole breadwinner.
What does all this have to do with gaming? Well...while I did game quite a bit last year, it wasn't as much as my previous years. Instead of starting up one of the many other games I own(and like many of my fellow D-toiders I have TOO many to play! hehe) I would instead lay in my recliner with my heating pads...and count down the hours until my next dose of medication to help muddy up the pain signals.
Now, this doesn't mean I was getting high. One of the constant frustrations many of us with Chronic Pain have to deal with is the stigma against opiates. But, that is another topic for another day. I will say this...there is a thing called tolerance. An amount that would send someone into a deep sleep(or make them high) would only help lower my pain level...not send me to the moon.
However, what I WAS dealing with was depression. I did not feel like doing anything...gaming was a chore it seemed like. I breezed through Bioshock Infinite, not because I enjoyed it, but because I was trying to get it over with. I felt tremendous guilt that my supportive wife bought it to brighten my mood. It didn't work. And many other games that I once felt enjoyment in(like my previous addiction to the Tropico series) rang hollow in my heart.
Thankfully, I eventually started a regimen of anti-depressants as well as a montly visit to a therapist. Things started looking up slightly at the end of 2013 and in the last few days of 2014 my mood has been much better...and I've not only gamed more, but I've enjoyed it beyond measure!
Instead of forcing myself to play through a game, I've begun to lose track of time while gaming. Where before I would pray for the time I could go to sleep and become slightly, unconscious to my pain for a few paltry hours(I never, really, have a full 6-8 hours of sleep) I was now losing track of time!
Really? Was it really 1am? 2am?
And on top of that...when I heavily delve into a game and lose myself...it means I'm no longer paying much attention to the pain. Instead, I am enjoying the fact that I'm alive, and not wishing for it all to end.
I am one of the 100 million(as they say for emphasis...'with an M!') who deal with pain daily. Chronic Pain. I have been dealing with it since I was 16. I am mother-twenty-fucking-five and the pain, that was caused from a back injury, has not let up.
My issues aren't more dramatic than anyone else's in my mind. We all use gaming as a form of escapism from time to time. It is a way we can put a halt to any negative thoughts, feelings, or situations running through our mind on a day to day basis.
I view gaming as a therapeutic way to cope on certain days. Of course, we still have to deal with the outside world...at some point.
Some might see gaming as an unhealthy way to escape; but as we all can attest to, it is no different than binge watching your favorite tv show, getting immersed in a great book, or focusing on an intense work out in order to give the mind a well deserved rest.
I first discovered how to escape from reality for short bursts during the week when I was about ten years old. I was raised in a violent, abusive, home and two consoles practically saved my sanity. The N64 and PS One. I had played the NES, SNES, and even the PC when I was younger...but of course my skills were beyond pitiful.
When having to go through the horrors of an abusive father one game saved me, and took me to a world where I could evolve from a helpless child to the savior of a far distant world.
Cliche, I know. Everyone says it is their favorite final fantasy, but it is held in a special place within my heart. It wasn't my first exposure to the Final Fantasy series,that honor goes to FF1,but like I said earlier...I was an even younger child with no skills. 10 seemed to be the magic number for me to actually get through a game successfully with little to no help.
I could go on and on about games that practically saved me...Goldeneye, Turok, The Resident Evil Series, etc, etc. Every game holds special memories(sometimes wrapped up in horrible experiences).
It is my first blog...so I'm sure it isn't grand(probably a bit ramble-ish), but thought I'd share how my gaming enthusiasm, hobby, began to enrapture me.
Would love to hear about you and your relationship with gaming! :) And I'll take any criticism.