Video games as distraction from depression

I’ve been playing a lot of The Secret World, lately. It’s quite fun, a good diversion. So far, I’d say I’m getting my money’s worth (and I bought an LTS, so that’s about $265) so far, with high hopes for the future. I’m about halfway through Egypt, as of last night, so I’m going faster than I did my first play through Star Trek Online, but in no way rushing through (like some people did, finishing everything available in a matter of days). I really want to be playing it right now, actually.

STO hasn’t been drawing me in much, especially Season 6, which is all about fleets and team-based play – I’m not in a fleet and I’ve never much played STO with other people. I’ve been thinking of starting a fleet for myself and my alts, though, and beginning work on the Fleet Starbase… it’s a long-term project designed to take a 50-player fleet about a year to reach max-level, and a 5-man fleet much longer. How long do you suppose it’ll take a fleet with one casual player?

Playing video games, MMOs especially, seems to be a good way to keep myself (my mind, my hands) occupied when things get bad. When my depression gets bad. Like it is, now. Spending all day thinking about a video game may not seem like a good use of my time, it may not seem to accomplish anything, but when the alternative is spending all day contemplating suicide, eating junk food, and/or laying in bed crying, the result changes. Eight hours playing a video game, right now, accomplishes a great deal – especially if I have some fun along the way, but certainly if it keeps me from doing anything to hurt myself.

Even when my mind is too far gone to generate new ideas, to do the real creative work, and even when I’m having enough difficulty focusing that I can’t even carry out already-laid plans for the ideas I had when I was feeling better (which is how I get 60%+ of my life done – make plans and routines, generate ideas, and set things in motion when I feel well, then simply follow those plans by rote when everything goes dark and I can’t see past the pain), I can usually focus enough to do some casual video gaming. Luckily, they’ve been building MMOs for “casual players”, in recent years. There’s a lot to do, there. Almost nothing that requires more than half an hour on any one thing. (Though last night I got to a point where I couldn’t effectively play TSW’s ‘sabotage’ missions; I was too worked-up/unfocused/crazy, I couldn’t keep track of where the guards were, and I kept getting caught/killed/starting-over. I got to a point, for a while, where I wasn’t capable of much more than sitting around, self-loathing. (Not because I wasn’t doing well at the game; just because that’s how I feel, lately. I’m generally pretty good at TSW. I can even (usually) do sabotage missions without any trouble.))

I’m not obsessed with the games, though I do enjoy them (more often than not, and right now, more than most of life/reality), but right now video games are one of the few things standing between myself and deeper depression, self-harm, or worse. While I’m playing, I’m usually pretty-well-distracted from the depression. I’ve used movies (and TV) for this, in the past, but video games is really doing it for me, right now. Though I’ll probably spend a while watching strange foreign films on Netflix Instant, as soon as I reach the end of Transylvania in TSW; they’re almost all I have left in that queue.

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