Online gaming makes me anxious.


At times I can be a very shy person especially when I don't know the person who is talking to me. This happens face to face, over the phone and even online, I get very anxious and overwhelmed, so much so that I need to take myself away from that situation. I've refused to go anywhere because of this exact reason, I don't feel comfortable enough around lots of people either, in fact, I tend to feel panicked and like I'm backed into a corner so I need to find a way out to get some air. My anxiety isn't as bad as some people get it but it's been a huge part of my life for a long time now, gaming has been a great outlet for my depression but not so much for my anxiety. I've made lots of friends through it but I've also been trolled a lot and had some disgusting things said to me. 

A few years ago my family and I were made homeless, our landlord wouldn't fix the mould in our house or fix anything in fact and he was taken to court over it because the mould was that bad. My family lost the court case and had to move out because the landlord no longer wanted us there, we then became homeless and ended up in homeless housing far away from where we were living. It was so depressing, there was nothing to do and I had to give up my tortoise because this place didn't allow pets. I gave her up to a Sanctuary here in Cornwall and now she has a best bud (I haven't been able to contact the woman about her in a while she doesn't reply to me). You might all think that we weren't homeless as we had a roof over our head, but technically we were we no longer had a home and was staying in units inside a complex type of building, there was a youth hostel right near it and they would tend to be pretty violent and dangerous to each other. So anyways I ended up falling in love with games all over again, I already had my PS3 but wasn't playing on it much, I was always busy with mates or college to want to play. My sister's handed me Assassins Creed 2 and BioShock, I wasn't sure I would be any good at them because I hadn't properly played anything in a while but I was instantly transported into a world of happiness and calmness whilst playing these games, where I was living didn't matter anymore because I could lose myself in these games. As time went on we were allowed to live in the house at the end of the units and we had rooms again! A kitchen and a proper bathroom, I was so thankful, I was a lot happier and gaming eventually started to make a huge comeback in my life. Back then I would play games that didn't require online interaction, then I started to when an ex-fiance got me into them, we would spend hours helping each other get through a game and I would love it. It wasn't until me and my family moved into a proper house that I experienced the hate that came with online gaming.


(Wall planner from StarCreationsCo)

I would actually avoid playing anything online because of how panicked it would make me, with the exception of Little Big Planet as it's such a chilled out game. Now, this brings me back to today and how I find it hard to play online games without getting panicked, it's not as bad as it use to be to be honest, I hate the kind of judgement that comes with it, people may say what a ridiculous thing to have anxiety over but what you have to remember is anxiety can be caused by so many different things, for me I get it over so many different things that I let it take over my life, I have learnt how to cope with it at times and how it is a big part of my life, for example, being too afraid to go out because I will faint and interacting with people in real life and in a game because I worry about how others view me are just two things that set my anxiety off. Overwatch is the best example for this, I wanted that game so bad that James got me it, I started playing the tutorial and it suddenly hit me, I'm shit at this game and if I don't do well there is a big chance I'm going to get a lot of hate for it, so I never gave  myself a chance to actually play it online because I had seen so many streams where people get shit and I would rather avoid it. Gaming has helped my depression a lot but it makes my anxiety worse at times, I wish people would just play a game instead of spending their time abusing people. I feel sometimes like I should just get over it and play online games more, but ignoring people can be hard especially when gaming is something I love doing. Destiny has always been my go to online game because I feel the community can be less harsh to one another, bar the ones who have ridiculous requirements in order to play a raid through with them, they're the worst. I play Destiny more than I've played any other online game, I guess I like the fact that I can sit and play online by myself and that if I do play online it's usually only with James. We can have a laugh and play the game with each other for hours without annoying little trolls giving us abuse, we are lucky that when we play strikes people don't send us shitty messages because we keep dying (yet).


So I guess what I'm saying by this is that it's understandable to feel anxious about gaming online, the opinions of others can be worrisome and words can hurt, we all have different things that make us anxious so if you feel more comfortable playing an offline game there is nothing wrong with that. Others may call us n00bs for it, but self-care and doing what's best for your mental health and anxiety is what is best.

Elle May