Video Games and Mental Health

How one gamer found solace in a virtual world
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Created by Shreya

Published on Feb 3, 2023
A keyboard and mouse in a dark room lit up with purple backlights

Please note: this article includes sensitive topics that some people might find difficult. Please visit our Resources Page for help. Now that I have escaped an abusive household, I wish to profess something I feel passionate about. Video games can seriously help mental health!

I am indebted to video games so much for letting me reclaim my peace of mind every night after going through sh*tstorms the whole day. And no, do not listen to the large international media houses that point their pen guns at video games as the scapegoat whenever talks of bullying resurface.

You will never see them suggest optimal solutions such as therapy and parenting; it is always the games. That’s not helping anything because there are many kids who need psychiatric help. 

Now let me tell you how a violent game brought me peace. 

The game I indulged in most is Warframe by Digital Extremes (now owned by Tencent.) My partner introduced me to the game, and I jumped right in along with our friends. I played it every day. Even as an avid gamer, it was the only game I played when times were tough at home. 

While loud noises can make my nerves tingle in the worst way, I increased its volume to drain out screams in other rooms. In 2017, Warframe introduced its first-ever open-world-style landscape, The Plains of Eidolon. 

The Plains were wonderful, with lush greenery, vast open fields with shrubs, river beds, and enemies swarming in. And the landscape was anything but mundane. You need to enter The Plains through Cetus, a market/base camp with various story-mode games that involve fishing, mining, and helping NPCs leave their past bitterness behind. 

Now, what drew me close to Plains of Eidolon, was not the game's guns, armour builds, or even the story (which is truly a masterpiece). It was the music and sounds that you hear across the landscape. Warframe's Plains of Eidolon has a soul-soothing ambience that runs high as the sun sets low. 

The landscape has its in-game day and night cycle, which helps us players farm and mine exclusive items depending on the time. And if you visit The Plains at night, you hear the ambient sounds of drizzles, a slight breeze, and crickets chirping, which did wonders for my mental health. 

You can hear the soft waves from the lakes caressing the rocks on their edges. Sometimes, small land animals let out squeaks to alert their packs. And if you listen closely, you detect the Eidolons wondering about you, letting out a mechanical roar, ever so distant from wherever you were. 

And as much as I loved travelling to different planets and taking down enemies and their bosses, at night, I would let my character wander into the plains. I did not play; I just clicked to keep my character idle and safe from enemies. 

I would then close my eyes, rest my head and arms on my desk, and listen to the soothing sounds engulfing me in peace. And after so many years, I am still indebted to that landscape and its ambience that made me forget the hellhole I was in. 

And if you start playing now, there are more open worlds with intricately-woven stories that will blow your mind.

Domestic violance is a cruel experuience. No one deserves it. Be it physical, psychological, or something equally worse, domestic violence can jeopardize lives and affect people’s futures. I have escaped from there, thanks to my partner’s family and our willpower. 

But the trauma remains. Whenever possible, I opt for counselling (it is expensive, so I often cannot do full sessions.) But I have not stopped playing. While my choice of game has changed (Final Fantasy XIV,) my reason for being an avid gamer is still to calm myself down. 

I will never let PTSD or my biological family ruin my current relationships. And truly feel that gaming may be keeping me sane.

So if you are battling something you never saw coming, know this: you will overcome. You will conquer it, and just like my device was gaming, yours could be the same or something equally beautiful! However, remember to never alienate yourself from your friends and people who care for you. And yes, they do love you. You are not a burden. They are trying to help you.

So if you have the urge to cut off contacts, push people off, utilize that feeling to create a wonderful world (yes, even virtual!) and enjoy every bit of it. Who knows, your friends and close ones might love your company there too! Have fun, and keep fighting.

Stay strong, and I hope you find solace in something the same way I found in video games. 

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