Dragonqueen

Mental Illness is something that a lot of us have, but not many of us are willing to talk about or discuss. Then you have negative stigmas or stereotypes surrounding being a gamer or hear people talk all sorts of bad about playing games like World of Warcraft or the gaming world in general. What if I told you that gaming isn’t all that bad? What about if I told you that gaming can also be beneficial and help someone?

Gaming is an addiction, it is a diagnosable addiction, but then you also have video game therapy. How can it be that bad if the psychiatric world is now resorting to using it for therapy? Today, I tell you how starting down the path of being a gamer and playing the world of warcraft has worked wonders in my life.

First, let’s start with my conditions as in order for you to be able to understand how it’s helped me, you should also know what I have.  I have ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety, OCD, and Trichotillomania. ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome are more neurodevelopmental conditions, but they count for the purpose of this article.

Focusing in Mental Illness

ADHD comes with a lot of things, and it differs from one person to the next. One person might be able to hyperfocus, while another won’t. I do get distracted easily. Remember the dog in UP!? Yep, That’s me.

I wanted to heal though, you know how hard it is to heal when you are getting distracted? You can imagine how well that went over with me and my group. I managed to learn though. I grabbed a healing addon and eventually was able to retrain my brain to focus only on that addon. In fact, I get so focused I end up standing in stuff I shouldn’t be.

I also make sure if I’m having a bad “ADHD day” as I like to call it, not to heal and do something else I can get distracted from. World of Warcraft has taught me how to focus and hyperfocus.

Social Anxiety

You wouldn’t know it, but I have social anxiety, which is a subtle mental illness for me. I am super social though, I love socializing. The problem is I have lost so many friends to suicide, that I am afraid of making more friends. I don’t want to lose them either, however, my therapist purposely had me seek out people I wouldn’t normally seek out. My homework was to go home and group up at least 3 times a day including joining my guild on that week’s raid and talking to those I wouldn’t normally talk to. Odd right?

However, It made me a little more open in the online world, I still get nervous when meeting someone new but it’s not nearly as bad. I realize I can’t be afraid to lose someone. I have made plenty of great friends in wow that I still talk to today, and even have met in person.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

I have severe anxiety over bridges. This anxiety started to affect me in the games as well. I spoke to my psychiatrist who suggested a therapist and so I started to go to therapy. She started suggesting things like going to bridges and touching the monitors. Eventually, it started making things easier for me. I was able to go into some dungeons or high mountains without getting a severe anxiety attack. I still get a bit of anxiety on ledges or in severely high places and some bridges, but it’s not as bad.

Conclusion

Video Game therapy is a thing even if people don’t believe it is helpful. It is not for everyone, in my case, it has done wonders and even if they were to shut down World of Warcraft tomorrow it will always hold a special place in my heart. Though there are some things that do bother me, like the flight paths in Oribos make me sick to my stomach and I have to look away from them, other areas are quite helpful to me.

What about you? Do you have a mental illness that wow has helped? How has it helped you? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.