This week I logged into WoW for the first time in around two months. I've been having a lot of fun in game but if I'm honest with you and myself, it was probably a really bad idea. I've very quickly and easily fallen back into my own trap.
I suffer from Depression, Anxiety and Panic Disorder. I'm experiencing one of my lowest points. I stopped playing for a while because my Dad came to visit followed shortly by a visit from a few friends from WoW. While my Dad was here he encouraged me to go out, go shopping, just go for a walk. I have panic attacks when I'm out on my own so having someone to go out with and someone to make me go out felt as though it was helping. I wasn't playing WoW for 14 straight hours every day - which in the past two years has pretty much become my routine. Sleep all day, wake up, log on and play all night while tabbing out occasionally to browse the internet or watch livestreams.
You'd probably be surprised at how many WoW bloggers suffer from a mental illness. Recently Nev wrote about Fighting the Black Dog of Depression on her blog. Erinys, Aidrana and many others have posted blogs on the same topic.
For people with Depression gaming can help, it can be a fantastic way of dealing with things, just letting you take a bit of a break from reality, a bit of an escape. It can open up a line of communication for people who wouldn't normally be comfortable socializing. But for me it seems to have become this all consuming, horrible thing that I'm struggling to find a happy medium with.
After our friends left I settled into a healthier routine. Sleeping at night, eating better by cutting out fizzy drinks and junk food. I spent time preparing my own meals and exercising which was not only good for me physically but felt rewarding. Unfortunately Depression is a bitch and has almost completely eradicated any motivation I had mustered up and I've fallen straight back into my old routine and that's something that I need to change.
A part of me would like to just log onto my Battle.net account and cancel my subscription but that's an incredibly scary thing to think about. I have nothing else to fill my time. I have no friends here. My Anxiety has made it impossible to go out and get a job and it's worsened over the past year.
Since I quit raiding late in Cataclysm I've slowly stopped talking to anyone in game. I'm in a guild on my own on a small server and it's beginning to get really lonely.
That's all well and good Soco but what's your point? My point is I don't want anyone else to feel the way that I do. If you think you might be suffering from Depression or your Anxiety seems to have increased over time I urge you to seek help sooner rather than later. I struggled with my Anxiety for years just getting by. Ignoring it and putting it off, avoiding situations where I knew I'd have a panic attack has made everything one hundred times worse.
You're not alone. As cliche as it sounds (and trust me, I vommited in my mouth a little just typing it) millions suffer from mental health issues.
Speak to someone. Family, a friend, a guildy, E-mail me firstname.lastname@example.org - just someone you're comfortable with. If you're unsure of where to get help put on an appointment with your Dr they'll be able to give advice or refer you to a councilor or specialist. If they give you the brush off make another appointment with a different Dr at your surgery. You know your own mind and you know if there is something wrong.
I'm not a medical professional but I can offer some tips on how I cope with my Depression.
Get outside - Depression and Anxiety can be crippling but a bit of fresh air and sunshine usually helps me feel better. I'm unable to just go out for a walk easily so even just sitting at your front door watching the world go by will be worth while.
Exercise - I hate exercise. I can never be bothered but I always feel better after I've done some. You don't need a gym membership, you don't even have to leave the house. If you have stairs in your house try walking up and down them a few times or doing some step aerobics.
Get it out of your system - Talk it out with someone or if that's not something you're comfortable with start a blog. When my Mum passed away I poured my heart out to Livejournal and it's something I stayed with for many years. I've always found typing or writing - getting my thoughts down on paper calming and it helps to sort though the thoughts and feelings in my head.
Do something productive - Cleaning is my go to, I don't overly enjoy cleaning but it's always been something I do when I'm feeling down or frustrated. You'll feel as though you've accomplished something (which you have). Find a project or hobby that you can focus on for me that's blogging. I never started this blog to become crazy internet famous. I've written about why I started my blog before.
Medication (prescribed) - Medication can work for some people. There seems to be a bit of stigma attached to medication used for Depression or Anxiety. People will experience different side effects just like you will with any kind of medication. Certain pain killers completely fuck over my stomach for example. People often assume that medication for Depression either makes you crazy happy or makes you completely numb while this may be the case for some it's not designed to be an instant fix. They can however be used to restore a bit of balance to your mood while you work on the problem.
From here what I need to do is reassess how I'm going to tackle this thing and how to get myself better. Which will certainly begin with limiting my WoW time. Our local health services are in the process of organizing group sessions for cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). So I'm looking forward to hearing back about that within the next couple of weeks and moving forward with my life.