How Video Games Reminded Me That I'm Never Truly Alone

It’s the beginning of December. Provided that the weather in your region isn’t completely confused, it should be getting colder out there. The leaves are turning colors. Summer is officially over and the cold dark of winter approaches.

For some, the arrival of cooler weather brings another type of cold dark: depression. For some, this means that there will be no jumping into piles of freshly raked leaves, no plans to build snowmen or have snowball fights in the coming months. That’s not always because their plans are indoors, spending hours upon hours reliving memories in Halo or exploring the lost lands of Draenor. Instead, some will be trapped in their beds, hiding under the covers as they attempt to escape the horrors of reality that lurk behind their doors.

While the idea of visiting virtual worlds to escape the real world is incredibly appealing (and something I’ve talked about before elsewhere on the internet), sometimes even that’s not enough. After all, playing video games involves getting out of bed or off the couch. Sometimes, the idea of lying around doing nothing is just too appealing to refuse. It’s just too much effort to do anything else. Those appealing virtual getaways, over time, become the opposite of appealing: they become work instead of joy, pain instead of pleasure.

That being said, video games offer something that can help alleviate the pain and frustration: companionship. Part of the joy of online gaming is making new friends. Friends you develop relationships with, friends you come to rely on. In turn, they come to rely on you, care about you, and want to make sure that everything is okay. When you can’t get out of bed, these people, people who’ve never met in person before, are there for you, trying their hardest to cheer you up when you’re down.

I can’t speak for other people who suffer from depression, but when I’m down, I always look for that hand to help me back up. I’m thankful enough to have friends who are there for me, but when people I’ve only met over the internet are there for me, it reminds me one of the reasons why I love gaming: it helps me escape my fears and brings me close to people who are there for me. These are relationships you create with people over common interests and goals. People who eventually become your friend not because you play the same games together, but because they enjoy your virtual company.



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