I escape into my video games, probably more than I should. Currently I’m working on Grand Theft Auto V. I forgot how fun that game was. As twisted as it may be. Gaming for me is a way to distract. A way to disconnect the emotions. I know disconnecting from your emotions isn’t exactly the healthiest of ways to cope with them.
I also know that it is a lot cheaper than my other hobby, which is working on my car, featured in the picture above. Grand Theft Auto and a love for cars, talk about two hobbies running smack into each other.
But I digress. Gaming is not necessarily a bad thing. In moderation. And that is the key. A bit of gaming can actually be healthy and effective as a coping strategy, as long as its not all day, everyday.
I use gaming along with a certain amount of fitness, and house work to keep myself busy. I know I am sliding when gaming goes from a couple hours here and there, to all the time, where everything else starts suffering.
Since 2013 when I left the ambulance service, I have had a lot of time on my hands, which has meant a lot of gaming. I haven’t held a full time job since I left the service, and the two jobs I have had that were close to, I lasted 6 weeks at one and 8 at the other, before I was burnt out to the point of not being able to function. With the emotional swings and anxiety I have developed as part of my mental health issues, it has been a challenge to work.
So I game. Although I have promised myself that after the last hospital stay, I am going to drop the amount of gaming I do, and start turning towards more healthy coping methods. Writing for one. Exercise for another. Things to get myself healthier, mentally and physically.
I have come a long way down this mental health road, and I don’t resemble the person I used to be. I am learning. I am evolving. I still have a long ways to go. I still struggle. I have my doubts I will ever stop. But I am learning to manage my issues a lot better than I used to be able to. The sound of sirens don’t grate on my nerves, quite like they used to. Depending on the day I can handle crowds a bit better. I’m still not a fan of large numbers of people though. Being able to handle them is a lot different than liking them.
I am under no illusion that my struggles are over. Far from. But I do have a scarce commodity called hope. Things do ebb and flow, and right now I am on the upswing. And I know what goes up, must come down, but I know now that my record for survival is 100% up to this point, and I am learning to cope. Things will turn. Keep hope. Keep faith. And Keep true to yourself.