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Gamers With Depression

I want to share my story of gaming and depression with other people in hopes that they can relate and hopefully gather strength from the knowledge that depression is not everlasting and can be fought, that video games don't cause depression and violence.

Author: maxedits576

Gamers with Depression: An Introduction To My Situation

Posted by maxedits576 Tuesday March 26 2013 at 10:31PM
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"Video games lead to depression." This is an assumption that is witnessed all around the world with no regards to the reasons behind it. When a horrible crime is committed, it is not uncommon to hear that the assailant played video games and that they were depressed and that this depression led them to commit violence. What you tend not to hear though, is that over 70% of the human population on Earth, plays video games. Now granted, they may not incorporate games into their lives as heavily as some do, but whether you play Angry Birds on the train into work, slice a few fruits on your tablet while you are in the waiting room at the dentist, or spend 8 hours a day perfecting whatever game it is you enjoy, we are all gamers. It isn't fair to fit every single one of us into this huge mold and then berate us but media outlets do it anyways for their own motives.

Regardless, that is not what i want to talk about. I am a gamer. I have been playing video games since i can remember. I was born in 1992 and i remember my first gaming system being the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). And like, i would assume, most kids of my generation, Super Mario Kart was the first game i remember playing. The colors were vibrant, the music made me want to dance, and the characters made me want to believe. I wanted to believe there was a little mushroom man racing around on a rainbow track somewhere. I  wanted to believe that Mario and his buddies were having a great time. I wanted to BE one of his buddies. That sense of belonging, I believe, is where the link between depression and gaming is made.

I have struggled with depression for a very, very long time. My parents divorced before i could remember, my father struggles with epilepsy and the seizures that accompany it, and my mother and her husband at the time thought that physical abuse was a good way of parenting. I have been overweight for quite a while as well which combined with all those other things led me to develop a very low self esteem. The kind that people notice without you having to say a word.

All of this is to say that my depression lead me to my love of video games. Video games did NOT make me depressed, or increase the severity of it. I actually believe that gaming has combated the depression to a level that is not detrimental to my well-being.

Did depression have or continue to have an impact on your life? Do you think gaming help or hurt your battle with it?

Ergload writes:

Thanks for sharing. I don't have depression but I've struggled with ADHD and tourettes since I was a kid, and the ADHD comes with fluctuating dopamine levels which can lead to some very low feelings even though there's nothing to really be depressed about.

I've been playing MUDs for the past 13 years and I enjoy having a fantasy world to escape to. ADHD makes it extraordinarily hard to concentrate on most tasks, but video games provide an immediate reward dopamine response that my brain responds positively to, so I have no problems getting lost in an RPG for a few hours. Is this healthy? I think so, it provides an outlet and a useful stimulant when the ADHD anxiety becomes too much.

Wed Mar 27 2013 5:35PM Report
mysticaluna writes: I've always found video games helped my depression, along with anime and music... There's simply no reason to blame a healthy outlet like video games that help cheer people up, they say "where there's a will there's a way" .  Which, is true, people will do what they want to do, video games don't  turn people into depressed people or violent people, they are merely an outlet and a distraction, a great way to cope and survive...  Thu Mar 28 2013 4:36AM Report
mysticaluna writes: That being sad, its poor parenting, and no parent should let their 7 to 11 year old child play Call of Duty or other realistic warfare games that are meant for high schoolers/adults... These types of games are useful for training military soldiers for real life combat, not for raising a young civilian boy...  Thu Mar 28 2013 4:38AM Report
mysticaluna writes: Kids should be playing mario, sonic, kirby, any number of kid friendly games...  Thu Mar 28 2013 4:39AM Report
Nephaerius writes: I am an LCSW-C (basically a mental health therapist), so I have quite a bit of knowledge in this area. The fact is that videogames neither cause nor increase any likelihood of depression, violence, or any other mental health issue. The issue with videogames that connects to depression is a lack of physical activity and social interaction. Now obviously you can maintain a decent degree of physical activity and social interaction while still being a gamer. However, if your gaming increases your social isolation, decreases social connectivity, decreases physical activity, interferes with getting regular sleep/eating, etc. then it will factually make your depression worse. You can replace gaming in this scenario with any activity that is engaged in excessively. As a side note, I would never encourage any of my depressed patients to increase their time spent playing video games and would probably be interested in decreasing that time for the aforementioned reasons. Thu Mar 28 2013 1:42PM Report
warpath98 writes:

Personally, I feel PC gaming has been a good outlet and form of entertainment for me.  It's been nice to be able relax and vent any frustration on digital enemies.

However, on the flip side, playing MMO's has mixed results and sometimes makes matters worse.  Online anonymity allows many online players to be abusive without concern for their actions.  To me, it seems to be a growing problem and I think it has led me to be less socially active in online games.  My only solution so far is to stay away from PvP game-play unless I'm in the mood for it.

Fri Mar 29 2013 8:43AM Report
FelixMajor writes:

I think, from personal experience and from being witness to close friends in similar situtations that the real problem can stem from the alter ego you create online.

 

We all pretty much do it to an extent.  When you're online you have no worries.  You can say whatever you want wherever you want with no real consequences.  Whether good or bad things, doesn't matter.  Getting mixed up with how you are online and in reality can cause depression to worsen because you're not comparing to how you feel as your online ego and reality self.

 

I used to use gaming as a wall to reality and when I was younger I would catch myself playing games a lot more often when I was bothered and unhappy with something in my life.  Luckily I was always able to catch myself and pull myself out of that and eventually I eneded up breaking that habit completely.

Mon Apr 01 2013 4:52PM Report

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