How Video Games Help Me Cope With Mental Illness

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*Disclaimer, this is not medical advice. This is mainly a personal belief blog based on my personal experience with Gaming and My  Mental Health*. Please enjoy the read. Email me if you have any questions. 

A little about myself, my name is Eric Huff the Owner/CEO of Motiv8 Yourself Gaming Shop. unless you are my friends or family in actuality, chances are you don't know much about me. I don't feel the need to get onto Social Media and air my everyday struggles, wins, losses, etc. We live in a Society now where people want everyone to know what they are going through. Social Media is not the place for that, because people will disagree with you and belittle you, leaving you in a vulnerable place. Instead, go find a support group or a community of people with similar situations. 

Now that I am a business owner and have to be professional, I would like you to be able to put an actual person to my business, especially if you become a loyal customer, you should know about me and why I created motiv8 yourself. When I was around 4 or 5, the family moved from Indiana to Iowa, I grew up in a very small rural community, where there was the same amount of animals as compared to people or even more animals, that is beside the point! Growing up in a small town as an outsider, you get a lot of judgements casted onto you, let me tell you..IT ISN'T A YOU THING, IT'S A THEM THING. Remember they grew up in a small town, chances of them having a remote real life experience beyond their small town hopes and dreams are slim to none. 

I was young and naïve though, I wanted recognition and acceptance, I remember in Middle School I contemplated suicide, I would tell classmates via MSN Messenger at the time that I wanted to end my life, that I would do A, B and C, at the time I didn't think anything of it, except for the fact I wanted people to notice me. I guess someone or some cared enough to tell someone, I began to see the Middle School Counselor, I remember feeling cool, he was a younger adult and all the girls thought he was so "hot", I felt cool that he was there to help me...so as time went on, I got better....so at least I thought so. Especially when my current best friend moved into town, we became inseparable and to this day we still are. Even though I had a best friend, something else was missing, I pulled out the old "sympathy card" and tried seeking the attention I did several years prior. Only this time, I was older and my brain was a little more developed, so rather than just seeing the counselor, my Mom took me into an actual Therapist, to this day I thank her for helping me have a better outlook on life when I was younger. At this point in time, I was never medicated, just diagnosed with general anxiety disorder, I continued my life hanging out with my best friend and enjoying being around my family, one way I coped was playing video games with my best friend, after all that was one of the several things we had in common. I grew up with the NES(Nintendo-Entertainment System) that was the first console my Brother and I had, from there is was the SNES, N64, PS1, So on an so fourth. So my best friend and I would play practically any game that was multiplayer. He is very invested in the Gaming Industry, if he cares about the Story Line of a Game, he can give you a history lesson.

As time went on, my brother and sister graduated, our school was at the point where it couldn't afford being on their own, they had to combine with the town a few miles east that was in the same situation. I knew of the town in which the new combined school would be, I didn't want any part of that, so at that time my Mother and Father had a job in a town about 30 miles south of the small town we had lived in for the last 8+ years, so with me being the only student left in school we moved to where I currently reside. At first I was nervous the population was 100X more than where I came from, I missed my best friend and didn't know what to expect. I get there and jump on Myspace and connect with some people my age nearby, I met a few on myspace that to this day, I still remain friends with. I started my Sophomore year and I was fine, every was great. Saw my best friend on weekends when I went up there. At this time I was a traitor to PlayStation and went to Xbox, all of my classmates were playing Gears, I was pretty obsessed myself, I had the Red Gears Xbox 360 Edition, it made the Lambent noise when it turned on, I had Gears pajamas. It was cool! I was cool! My episodes never effected me anymore, didn't contemplate suicide, I actually fit in, granted I missed my best friend, I knew he was only 30 miles away.

As time went on, things change, people don't always change, my Dad chose the life he did and it wasn't a good choice, my Mom and Dad then separated, my Mom moved back north with her sister (my Aunt) I went with her, she let me drive the 30 miles there and back to continue my education where I felt happy. She realized it was too expensive on the gas bill, she enrolled me to the school that had joined with the one a few miles to the east, I had no choice, I had to go where my Mom sent me, yes my best friend was there, but I was surrounded by phony people, people who judge, people have never had real life experiences and they thought because they were in a sport or drove a big truck(they were God, in their little town), If you are reading this, is that the type of person who criticizes or belittles you?? Let them, they are miserable with their own existence and will never amount to anything, you didn't come to this blog by mistake you came here because I know your going through what I did. You are an amazing person, don't let others dictate what you enjoy and don't enjoy. They have their own insecurities they need to figure out. You will go on to do great things. So at this point, I go back into my tendencies and contemplate suicide again, at this point I seek counseling and get put on medication, at that time it was Lexapro.

At this point, my Mom knew I was miserable, she let me move in with my Father, he lived close enough to the town we moved to 30 Miles south of the small town, so I moved in with him, still on medication, however I got to go back to the school where I felt I belonged. Living with my father came with it's pros and cons. He was an alcoholic so he was either always drunk or high, he didn't care what I did, just as long as he knew where I was and didn't have to get a call from my Mother pissed off at him or something like that. The pros was I had girls over whenever I wanted, played video games as long as I wanted, ate whatever food I wanted. Cons; I started picking up my fathers bad habits, I began to smoke marihuana, drink beer occasionally(didn't like it as much when I was 18), this type of lifestyle would lead me to what I thought was my demise. Because of the people I now surrounded myself with I got into other things that impacted me mental health severely, at the point I lived with my father I came off the medication, thinking the pot and alcohol was the cure all, at the time it seemed that way until you get yourself into a situation and with the wrong people. I remember my very first EXTREME Panic Attack, I was 19, of course Smoking and Drinking with the wrong people, didn't think these substances would impact my mind the way they did that night. I won't ever forget that night because it changed my perceived notion on the reality of this world that you and I live in RIGHT NOW. 

So....the panic attack lasted a good 24+ Hours until I came down from the high, the alcohol wore off, I was then able to get back into reality....as days went on I became more paranoid, had the see the two guys I was with the night I panicked at work the next day and let me tell you, just because they drink and smoke with you or hang around you, DO NOT THINK THEY ARE YOUR FRIEND.....Just don't most people are out for themselves these days. They knew I panicking but made a joke of the situation and in all honesty, I believe made it worse. So because of the extreme paranoia my mom got me into the Hospital right away, I spent a few days in the Psych Ward. Judge me all you want, but it is not a joke and I don't have time for childish tendencies coming from a grown adult. I was diagnosed as Bi-Polar, from a Dr. who only talked to me for 2 minutes?? That is another thing, don't let someone who doesn't know your history try and tell you what you have. I went back to the Counselor I saw when I was in middle school and was still diagnosed as the original Diagnosis GAD/Depression. To this day I live with it, I deal with it and I cope with it. I am still on medication, I play video games(Went back to PlayStation) Xbox can just F**K OFF lol. Now I just recently turned 30, I am married now my wife and I have a dog and cat. In the last 2 Years something personal has happened that I wont get into, but it led me to drinking again. I don't smoke weed anymore, I have drank more since Covid up until recently when I had another panic attack, it wasn't as significant as when I was 19 but it made me realize, I have been using alcohol as a crutch. Don't rely on a substance it will only make your mental health worse. I am not saying Don't Smoke Weed or Drink Alcohol, just don't use them as a coping mechanism for whatever you are dealing with. There is a reason they have restrictions. I get it, Pharmaceuticals are "man made" yes that is true but so is alcohol. There are people who study chemicals, scientist, doctors, who develop these medications that may have shitty side effects, but they do help? Am I wrong? 

So in conclusion, my opinion on Gaming being used as a coping mechanism, I am all for it. *HOWEVER*, Gaming shouldn't be used as a coping mechanism for everyone that has a mental disorder and you ask why? Because I do not condone violence, some people with a mental illness have delusions and don't have the same concept of reality as someone like you and I who has Anxiety or Depression, those who think what happens in a video game is "real life" are the ones who need to stay away from almost anything that will effect their brain. There is a reason I went into detail about the school I grew up in, my form of sport was gaming, I didn't participate in Football, Basketball or Baseball, etc. Maybe that's why I didn't fit in? or was it because I was a nerd who played video games? Maybe both, but what I do know is, half of those people still live where they grew up and still have no life experience of what is outside of their "safe bubble" Either way I don't let those people dictate me or help me form my self. If you enjoy Gaming and don't like the "Traditional Sport", I say the more power to you. Gaming is seen as a sport, I mean why not...it's competitive, same concept as a traditional sport. And remember if you are bullied, SCREW THEM. They have their own insecurities, I PROMISE, it's THEM not YOU. I feel bad for a bully honestly. They either need to make a change or they will be dealt with their maker at the end.

If you have any questions or just want to talk Gaming or About mental health, I am here for you. Please email me @ yourfriends@motiv8yourself.com


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