Your Stories

The highs, the lows, and the leveling up.
[TRIGGER WARNING: Traumatic experiences/mental health]

"Gaming in general is the idea that you can put all you issues aside for a few minutes/hours and go into this place that is catered to entertain and engage you."
- @draegast

"I often go through stages of feeling incredibly apathetic..."

by @BoyInABarrell

I often go through stages of feeling incredibly apathetic and dulled towards life, which I am loosely aware is one of the many signs of being a possible sufferer of depression. I also do have some levels of social anxiety, though probably not severe enough to be diagnosable or overly crippling. Stress can also mount on me quite quickly and be incredibly detrimental to my emotional state and such.

What Gaming Means To Me

I think it’s the ability for a game to distract you and give you some sense of accomplishment and 'getting things done', and also to socialise with others, so it takes away from that ever-descending pit of negative thought.

"It was gaming that brought us together, and it was gaming that truly let us feel a certain level of closure."

by @stumpt_price

Well, it starts about a month ago when a close friend of mine passed away. It was a pretty traumatic experience (that can be a story for a different time). But, this friend of mine was one that I used to game with, along with a group of friends. We used to meet every now and then to play video games/board games, etc. but we hadn't for a while. So a few weeks passed, we had the service and all of that, and it was alright, but we all still sort of felt down. So, we decided to have a gaming night in celebration of him. We all got together, played a bunch of our favorite games that we used to all play together, and we were able to reminisce really well. In doing so, we could share stories about him and talk about how "Oh man, he would totally have done this!" or such things. Anyway, after that, we all felt so much better, like it gave us a certain level of closure. It was gaming that brought us together, and it was gaming that truly let us feel a certain level of closure. (we've also decided to keep an extra pair of dice sitting at his old seat every time we play, like he's there with us in spirit).

What Gaming Means To Me

Often times I use game as a tool for distraction, so I find that Story Driven games can help to take me out of whatever it is that is troubling me. Other times I use them as a means to calm down if I'm feeling anxious, or unwind after a long day, in which case I prefer the easier pick up and play type games that allow you to jump right in and get some things done (usually, smashing things).

"Sometimes, pure escapism into a world also helps"

by @_jiggsy

My anxiety has been a burden I carried alone for quite a while, until speaking out about it after a particularly bad and ill-timed panic attack. I currently see a psychologist and am working through CBT exercises to alleviate precursor symptoms before panic attacks strike.

What Gaming Means To Me

Character oriented RPG titles ecocide a way for me to work through 'stressful' scenarios, and learn about choice under pressure. There are heroes and heroines who become inspirational to me for what they accomplish and stand for in such times. Sometimes, pure escapism into a world also helps, whether it be a short trip like Journey, or an open world driving game. Characters that I aspire to emulate often make me feel more empowered to change things I dislike about myself, or give me the kick I need to improve a situation. Online gaming has also presented me with a social space where my anxiety doesn't feel ridiculed, and I've met incredibly supportive friends in the industry and its players.

"games can also help people cope with their mental health problems (e. g. they can serve as a "training ground" for people that struggle with anxiety, social anxiety, agoraphobia, various other phobias etc)."
- Katerina

"I wasn't consciously aware of my behaviour being strange or how I was actually depressed until quite a while after"

by @mrbenjammmin, developer of Sky Nations

In my final year of college I suffered very bad depression. Which was caused by a combination of season affective disorder and a large unhappiness with how my college course was being run (grades were lost by tutors and all sorts of other problems). At the time I was not aware that I was depressed but I was very withdrawn, unhappy and lonely and very minor things would sort of spiral me. I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder during this period. But wasn't consciously aware of my behaviour being strange or how I was actually depressed until quite a while after while discussing it with my girlfriend at the time. I still have seasonal affective disorder, but being aware of it makes it more manageable.

"Being able to vent on Twitter also helps sometimes."

by David S Gallant, developer of I Get This Call Every Day

As someone whose sole source of income comes from games (for the past two years), I feel I'm under a lot of pressure to produce something that will be able to financially support me. My financial situation has deteriorated quite badly, which has in turn affected my mental state. I am also a very inexperienced programmer, which tends to bring me down when I fail to grasp things that are simple for others with computer science backgrounds.

What Made A Difference

My Cipralex prescription has helped with the anxiety. Being able to vent on Twitter also helps sometimes.

"I've been struggling with light depression my entire life."

by Anon

I've been struggling with light depression my entire life. I likely always will. I also think I might have a light case of cyclothymia, switching between overdrive and apathy.

Work has both helped and made it worse. On one hand having to get up, get dressed and be a functional person every day helped keep me standing. On the other, my current job has shattered my self-confidence, my view of what I wanted career-wise, and my trust in my peers. Being the only assertive female engineer on the team means I have no one to compare myself to, and as such I don't know why things are not working. Is it me? Is it the culture? Am I being discriminated against or not? Why am I failing to grow? It triggered anxiety attacks, made me lose sleep more than once, and I generally break up in tears at least once a day. My manager has however been very supportive in helping me find an exit, and the company pays for a therapist that helped me a lot. My life is great overall, it's mostly job-related stress left.

What Gaming Means To Me

Depression Quest helped me get out of the hole when I hit rock bottom. You always want to win a game: that one triggered something in me which meant I stopped spending my evenings not eating and staring at the walls.

Casual games in general (Triple Town especially) help me keep my mind off things when my brain won't stop spinning. They make me feel guilty afterwards though, so it's a double-edged sword. Fract OSC reminded me of why I love games and what I eventually want to create.

"During this time I was only able to feel successful or happy in general in video games."

by Anon

I was mobbed for about 3 years in school. My reaction to this was blocking emotions including happy feelings even a little bit after it stopped. During this time I was only able to feel successful or happy in general in video games. This may also be the reason why I prefer logical thinking more than deciding things based on emotions.

What Gaming Means To Me

1. The community of certain games and doing something with friends I can't meet quickly in real life.

2. Having or setting myself a goal to complete and work towards and challenge involved in doing so.

About Pixel

Prescription Pixel is an initiative to provide a space for people who enjoy gaming to learn and talk about mental health.

We believe that video games can be therapeutic for mental wellness, and we support clinical research into this area. On the site you can find gaming and non-gaming based resources for all sorts of emotional and psychological experiences.

In addition, we acknowledge that online gaming addiction can be a serious condition. If you think you may be addicted to online gaming, you will find helpful resources here.

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Celebrity Video Interviews

Professionals in the gaming industry have bravely come forward to talk about their experiences with mental health. To reach out, to help, and to provide resources that anyone can use.

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Reach Out

Prescription Pixel is entirely populated by user suggestions. Your ideas can help each other to find new games, and sharing your experiences can be cathartic.

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Self-Help Resources

The most difficult part of having a mental health issue is arguably admitting you have it, and the next is finding help. Here are some easily accessible resources which you may find useful.

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