Gaming, Grieving and Trauma.

Wednesday 21 August 2019

*TW this post contains death and trauma*

I wanted to do a post that centers around gaming, grieving, and trauma but I didn't want to go into too much detail about it as it's very personal to me and I find it hard to address as it is. Considering gaming has helped me throughout some of the hardest times in my life it felt like the time to maybe let others see that even though the media often portrays gaming as a bad a violent hobby there is a different side to the story, the true side that shows a positive impact to gaming and that's where my situation comes into this. I have been through a lot, not going to lie it's been hard and I have struggled with who I am and the choices I've had to make so a lot of my trauma is not only centered around guilt but also centered around nightmares of going through the same kind of trauma again, I'm sure a lot of people can relate to that.

A few years back I was ill, I went into my own world in order to cope with what was happening with my body and in the process the other important things in my life suffered (this post is centered around pregnancy loss and hyperemesis gravidarum, I don't want to go into much more detail about it than that). I would go into my own head and have thoughts I don't ever want to have again and the only way to escape being ill, depressed and not acknowledging what was happening was to sleep. Even then my dreams would haunt me because I had gone through what had been happening to me 2 times before so I was reliving all that in my head all over again. I didn't have the energy to cry let alone move from my bed, so when I finally recovered and was able to be me again I just didn't feel like I could. I felt I lost myself a little and would beat myself up constantly in my mind, I couldn't express how I was feeling to others because each time I did I would panic and I hated that feeling.

So this is where gaming came into it for me, it sounds silly now I'm writing it out because a lot of games have death in and that usually doesn't go hand in hand with the grieving process I know but for me it did. The game I would constantly go back to was Destiny (it was Destiny 1 at that time), my partner and I would play countless hours of it together and it was the best experience for me by far. Thanks to a simple video gaming I was able to take myself to another world where I didn't have to deal with the pain of what I was going through and it helped me more than I could ever imagine it would, this is one of the reasons Destiny means a lot to me, along with the fact James bought it so we could play together before we started going out so it's always been our game.

Then another game came into my life, I had always wanted to play it and when I finally did I didn't know how much it would help break that barrier I had been putting up in order to deal with things and that game was Beyond Two Souls. The game had already been out for over 4 years before I played it and I figured because I loved Heavy Rain it was only fair to give Beyond Two souls a try. I'm glad I did because it was an interesting look at loss and how a loved one can attach themselves to you and help you. The main character Jodie had a twin who died and that twin had attached its soul to Jodie and was able to help her throughout her life, no matter how bad things got for her she always had Aiden by her side.

There were two different endings to this game and one was where she chose to be with Aiden in death, for me this kind of stood out as a message that even though I'm at my lowest choosing death would never be the answer, I wanted to go on living my life much like Jodie did in the other ending. It gave me a boot up the bum to take a step back and look at how I can help myself and since playing that game two years ago I have tried to build myself up from how low I once was, I know it's not that simple for others but that doesn't make them weaker than me or mean that I'm better than them, it just means they have their own journey and its one people need to respect and not judge.

I felt pretty silly telling people that video games helped me with grieving and trauma before but once I told some of my gaming friends about it they told me their stories of how gaming helped them and it made me realise that video games aren't just a hobby they can be much more than that, they're a visual world of escapism and can help us in positive ways whether that's our mental health, bullying, trauma or grieving, etc. Hyperemesis gravidarum is a very hard pregnancy sickness to deal with and a lot of women like me are left traumatised over what they have gone through due to it, I still can't eat certain foods due to it and get upset when the topic of babies are brought up, but I'm beyond happy for anyone who gets the chance to be a parent.

I have grieved, I have had many years of grieving now but I still get upset and blame myself for things that are out of control, I still have nightmares over it all and wake up from nightmares panicked after reliving what I've been through but I put on a game and play whatever I need to at that moment to help calm myself. I will probably always be traumtised, anxious and depressed over what I went through and I have accepted that I just want others to know they're not alone and if video games help you deal with what you're going through don't be ashamed of that.


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