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Girl Holding Her Knees
Breanna Coon / Her Campus
Wellness > Mental Health

Mental Health + How Video Games Helped Me

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Denison chapter.

I was about eighteen when I realized I had depression. In hindsight, I’ve always had depression, but it wasn’t until very recently where I realized the extent of it. I’ve had a couple of personal issues that have happened in the last year that have really affected me, and I struggled hard to cope with them. My first instinct was to actually not deal with it—I told myself that I wasn’t upset and that I wasn’t stressed but my brain hadn’t really dealt with it. Eventually, it all erupted inside of me and it made me feel like I was spiraling. 

The moment where I realized I needed to ask for help was when I was lying down in bed late at night. My mind felt like it was racing, and I felt paralyzed. I couldn’t seem to move and the thought of standing up seemed like a far-fetched idea. When I picture it in my head, it was as if I was wrapped in this blanket of fog that seemed to suffocate me. It’s like even if I did have this fight in me, it was burrowed away into all these emotions that I allowed to build up over time. 

Going to therapy and talking out my problems was incredibly helpful. My depression still comes and goes but I’m learning how to cope with it. I’ve also found that exercise and yoga was a great release valve. But, overall, on days where I felt completely trapped and aimless, I discovered Firewatch and I wholeheartedly credit that video game in helping me deal with my depression. If you aren’t familiar with it, Firewatch is a first-person adventure game in which players take the role of a fire lookout named Henry who begins to uncover clues about a mystery that occurred there years ago, all while forming a bond with his supervisor, Delilah. 

A nintendo switch displaying mario kart is on a display case in front of  blurry convention scene in the background

    Playing video games makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something and it makes me realize that I still have goals that I want to set for myself, which I believe video games do better at honing in on that experience better than any other medium. People play video games to escape and de-stress from their everyday lives but, through the thick of it all, games exist to fulfill meaning in people’s lives, and that is something that depression can rip away from you. The sense of accomplishment that you can get from video games has always reignited that spark inside of me. 

If you are someone that struggles with depression, it is easy to cave into that paralyzed feeling of worthlessness. Most importantly, it makes it harder to climb out of that hole. But it is through times like those where delving into your hobbies will help you find that satisfaction. Whether it’s through video games or not, everyone has something that they can home in on. Everyone has their own story and everyone’s story will be different. Don’t waste time dwelling on others. It’s more important to take stock into what matters to you.