How to be a video game fan with OCD – Reader’s Feature
One reader explains how gaming has helped him cope with OCD, but also how the disease has interfered with his favorite hobby.
Ever since I was nine (I’m now 28) I was diagnosed with a mental disorder called OCD also known as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. To this day I struggle greatly with OCD, so much so that it has affected my life to such an extent that I have anxiety and depression on top of it. Contrary to the unfortunate misrepresentation of OCD, it is not as simple as being a “tidy freak” and it takes many different forms and complicated ways of affecting you. I really wouldn’t have the space to list every single way OCD has manifested for me over the years, but believe me, they are not pleasant.
So… after all these years, having gone through so many different varieties of OCD and still doing it to this day, how have I stayed relatively sane? Well, one of the biggest factors has been my love for games!
When I was younger, I was lucky enough to have a PS1 followed by a PlayStation 2 and a Xbox, PlayStation 1 and 2 are the consoles I played the most at the time. Crash Bandicoot, Speed Freaks, FIFA, TimeSplitters and the series of SmackDown! wrestling is among some of my favorites. Despite my enjoyment of playing these games, along with many others, the OCD was still there, lingering, trying to infiltrate to ruin my early gaming experiences. Fortunately, it wasn’t that strong then, and although it did interfere at times, it wasn’t as big a problem as it eventually developed into.
After that it was on the Xbox 360, which my dad surprised me and my brother with when I was about a teenager. I have fond memories of many games, such as immersing myself in the universe and story of one of my favorite games ever in Mass Effect 2; hiding in a cabin with my friend, in the Tall Trees area, while being attacked by a swarm of cougars in Red Dead Redemption; completing Halo: ODST on Legendary with a friend one day after being “sick” from school; and trying to improve my Kill/Death ratio with friends on the iconic Call Of Duty 4.
However, around the end of the Xbox 360 era, and the early Xbox One and PlayStation 4 era, is when OCD really started to kick in and hamper my gaming time. It would make me go in and out of games and apps over and over again, sometimes for hours on end.
It made me change my Xbox gamertag over and over again. It would make me worry about games I could and couldn’t play. What if games had “trigger” moments in them? (Moments that would lend themselves to OCD making me feel more anxious). What if I got “stuck”? (Feel trapped in having to do something to cancel it). What if someone sent me an offensive message? What if I got hacked? What if my console stops working?
I don’t say all this for sympathy. I say all this to hopefully bring some much needed respect and attention to OCD, mental illness as a whole, and to show how beneficial gaming is in helping people. I want people to also realize that if this is something you struggle with, you are not alone and it can get better.
Of course it’s sad that it can ruin something you love, like playing video games, but at the same time, thank goodness for gaming, because I don’t know where I’d be without it.
By reader Tanis
For support with obsessive-compulsive disorder
If you need support with OCD, you can contact CALM on 0800 58 58 58.
The reader’s feature does not necessarily represent the views of GameCentral or Metro.
You can submit your own 500 to 600 word reader feature at any time, which if used will be published in the next appropriate weekend slot. Just contact us at [email protected] or use our Submit Stuff page and there’s no need to send an email.
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