Tuesday, 4 June 2013

WTF Soco, this isn't Livejournal.

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 socowow@gmail.com - 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.


  1. 'You're not alone.'
    Yes, may sound cliché, but it doesn't mean the feeling is not true.
    Many, many things I could ramble on about this topic, but I'll simply say: I get it. You really aren't alone feeling this, but you're the only one that can pull yourself out of it.
    So good luck with getting to feel better, thank you for sharing this, and I'll be waiting to hear more on your progress! ^_^

    1. Thanks hun. It's hard to believe you're not alone so I just want anyone who reads to learn that they're not alone either!

      Thank you for your kind words :3

  2. You most definitely are not alone!

    I can't claim to suffer from any of the conditions, but I used to use WoW as an escape from real life as a young teenager. I was escaping a world where RL me was socially awkward at best, and didn't feel like I had any friends. WoW became compulsive, and I ended up letting it consume everything. The best step I ever made was to completely delete my account, and from then on I tackled the problems that I had even though I didn't have the tools to do it.

    That was getting on for five years ago, and I'm glad that I did it. I wish I had known at the time that I was not alone, and anyone saying it (no matter how cheesy it sounds) deserves a high-five and a megaphone.

    1. Small note: I do play WoW now, but I feel it's much more on my own terms :)

    2. Yeah it's definitely about finding a balance I'm glad you were able to get yours under control.

      Thanks for the comment!

  3. As mentioned in the tweet I sent earlier, this blog spoke to me, and for a moment I felt as if someone else might've been living my life. For most people, World of Warcraft is just a hobby that they invest a ridiculous amount of hours in, but for me it went from being an escape to a soul-sucking creature that keeps me pulled in with the promise of shiny loot and 'friends' but absolutely no good feelings to show for it. I've never cried more in my life than over this game, but no matter what I try or how I think about it, my mind has conditioned myself to NEED it, and those are the worst kinds of withdrawals.

    Unfortunately the answer didn't come easy for me, and dangerous situations forced me to finally put the game down and look at my life. A year or two more of living the way I do, and I didn't expect to live. Not because I willingly killed myself, but because my body couldn't handle the stress of unhealthy living anymore. I've already been hospitalized for sickness twice because my depression has gotten to the point where I just don't care to take care of myself anymore.

    My parents took me in and banned me from WoW, and I'm in the process of picking up the pieces, getting a job, and getting back on track with college and some medical assistance. It took them a long time to realize that it wasn't the game that caused the problem, but a mental issue gone untreated. I still can't play WoW, but I can't tell you how often I think about sneaking around behind them to sate the longing that refuses to shut off. I've started blogs as my own way to get around that feeling.

    Didn't mean to get lengthy with this, but you're not alone out there. There's other people out there fighting the same battle, and perhaps someday we might all get in the same room and fight that battle together. Peer support is everything, I find. Idea for the future, perhaps? WoWaholics Anonymous IRL?

    Have a nice day, hope things start looking better for you. <3


    1. I looked for something that I could link to on a blog post similar to the one here, but I couldn't find anything. One thing I linked Soco to (and might be interesting for other people here) is the Extra Credits pair of episodes on Game Compulsion ( http://www.penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/game-addiction-pt.1 ).

      It resonated a lot with me, especially Part 2. It really would be nice to have somewhere to point people to raise awareness of such problems.

  4. You are not alone! :) Take the time you need to be well. Thank you for being so bold and sharing this experience. Echoing your own wise words here once more: You are not alone.

    No one is.

    1. Thanks for the kind words Ross. It wasn't entirely easy to post but I wanted to get it out there and I want other people to know that there are other people with similar issues.

  5. My dear friend,

    I understand what you are going through. My wife suffers from clinical depression and anxiety. I am on a personal pursuit to help everyone I encounter personally (virtually or in person) to help them battle this terrible foe. I am taking psychology courses with a positive psychology spin and just went through depression. What you state is true and for those who have not experienced it, it is hard to understand and someone cannot just snap out of it. It is real and it encompasses someone's entire being when it occurs and it strikes without warning. I have been there hand-in-hand with my wife through it all and I owe it to her for showing me what true strength is. She wakes up everyday exhausted but continues to beat depression and a prior history of drug abuse and alcoholism, two more beasts that many people fall pray too and cannot make it out. I tell my kids that Mom is the strong one...she beat both and deserves all respect.

    In comfort during the rough times I sometimes just sit and cry in silence with her, just holding her tight...no words necessary because there is none that can make it go away...only time. In my studies perhaps some day there will be a permanent cure and I hope it stems from positive people looking to make a difference one life at a time.

    In the end, I would carry my wife on my back her entire journey and I do this day to day. In turn, her smile keeps me fueled and the twinkle in her eyes and the feel of her hands and warm embrace...someday...all this will be history and we will walk as we were originally intended...perfect in every way.

    Until then my friend, please call upon me at ANY TIME. I am not just saying this...reach out to me via email, twitter, facebook, or anything...

    Stay strong...and all my best.

    Profitz (Ray)

    1. Major love to your wife Profitz. You sound like such an amazing support for her and that's something she really needs. I can't imagine I'd be able to cope with things the way they are without the love and support of my fiance. Your wife and I are both very lucky, there are sadly people out there either without partners or partners who don't or simply can't, understand what they're going though.

      Thank you for the comment and sharing your thoughts, you're such a positive person. You're an inspiration.

  6. You are not alone in this. I go through something similar on a regular basis. I found what you wrote very courageous. I'm a great believer in self help, and it seems that you know what helps you. Unlike you though, nobody around me knows what I am going through. My work colleagues think I live a carefree life. I hide it very well, and I know that is not a healthy thing to do. It's good to talk about it, and sometimes it's easier to speak to strangers. You mention that it's getting lonely in your low population server. Perhaps it's time to move out of there. Join a nice social guild, and get back to playing the game in a way that you will enjoy.
    Take care. I'll post a link to your blog from mine.

    1. Yeah I think it's about time I think about moving servers as mine is pretty small and with 50% off of the price at the moment it seems like the perfect time. The hard part is deciding where!

      I'm sorry to her that you're going though the same. You're more than welcome to e-mail me if you ever just need someone to talk to. I hope that in time you find a bit of relief or someone who you can share your feelings with.

      I see you're on Stormscale EU are you Horde or Alliance?

    2. I'm Horde, but I have an alliance on Argent Dawn. Although it says that its a rp server, its seems to me that it's only rp if you join a specific RP guild. My char there is still below level 10. I created her to get the double agent achievement.

    3. I have a little Warrior on AD but like you say unless you join a RP guild or involve yourself in the RP going on in city it plays much like a normal server.

  7. I also have been suffering though depression all my life. I am doing better now and taking active steps. The advice you have given are very good. For the steps, I want to really emphasize going outside, exercising and cleaning. These are important activities that can help you to feel more alive, and connected as part of this world. When you look around your home and the place is a mess you just feel more trapped and depressed. The same goes for your physical body. Everyone is different. Writing everyday helps me. As does dreaming big and trying to take active steps to get toward those dreams.

    1. I'm glad to hear that you're doing better David. Thanks for the comment. I hope some people go away from this post with a little bit of knowledge of how they can help them selves feel a little bit better.

  8. Hey, I only just found this post but thought you'd appreciate delayed huggles. *huggles*

    I've just written my own couple of posts on this matter, it's no easy task, is it? You're very brave. Yeah, I heard that scoff. You are. *stern face* I hope you're doing a little better at the moment. :)