May is mental health awareness month. As someone who has anxiety and other mental illnesses, this is very close to me. So many negative stigmas surround gaming and gamers alike, but what about the positives?
This might seem like an oxymoron since many people think the worst of gamers. It was World of Warcraft that made me realize I needed help for my anxiety. I was crossing a bridge I must have crossed a thousand times at this point and I froze. I had a full blown panic attack and could not do it.
Video Game Therapy
I spoke to my psychiatrist who was treating my ADHD who recommended actual talk therapy. The therapist utilized what is Exposure therapy, but she also uses Video Game Therapy. This would allow me to expose myself to situations where I might get anxiety attacks whether mild or severe, but not pushing myself.
She had me run the dungeon, Freehold, or run LFRs that were bridge heavy. Even joining my guild on some raids helped my social anxiety as well. It became easier for me to communicate with those online. I still have an issue with people outside of my computer, but communication is much easier for me now.
How it helped
I might still have anxiety over bridges, but I don’t freak out as much if I’m in a car going over a bridge. Unless it’s a very high bridge or goes on for miles, but then I have a squishy or a book to help distract me. I can run any dungeon in the World of Warcraft with no problems and I even remember, “Hey, this is a fictional bridge. I’m not gonna get hurt!”
Anxiety is no joke and neither is any of the other mental illnesses out there. If you feel that you want to try video game therapy you should never do it without the help or supervision of a professional. Your therapist might have a treatment plan for you, and you don’t want to ruin that especially if it’s working.
I am in no way a professional and only telling you about one positive thing and how gaming helped me with my anxiety so to toss out all negatives you could say about this game. This article is dedicated to a personal guild mate of mine who took his own life, Jagren, you are missed dearly and loved.
Has video game therapy ever been used to help you? I’d love to hear your stories so please, share them.
If you or someone you know needs mental health services or someone to talk to, please contact your local hotlines or contact your doctor.