“Video games lead to depression.” This is an assumption that is witnessed all around the world with no regards to the reasons behind it. When a horrible crime is committed, it is not uncommon to hear that the assailant played video games and that they were depressed and that this depression led them to commit violence. What you tend not to hear though, is that over 70% of the human population on Earth, plays video games. Now granted, they may not incorporate games into their lives as heavily as some do, but whether you play Angry Birds on the train into work, slice a few fruits on your tablet while you are in the waiting room at the dentist, or spend 8 hours a day perfecting whatever game it is you enjoy, we are all gamers. It isn’t fair to fit every single one of us into this huge mold and then berate us but media outlets do it anyways for their own motives.
Regardless, that is not what i want to talk about. I am a gamer. I have been playing video games since i can remember. I was born in 1992 and i remember my first gaming system being the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES). And like, i would assume, most kids of my generation, Super Mario Kart was the first game i remember playing. The colors were vibrant, the music made me want to dance, and the characters made me want to believe. I wanted to believe there was a little mushroom man racing around on a rainbow track somewhere. I wanted to believe that Mario and his buddies were having a great time. I wanted to BE one of his buddies. That sense of belonging, I believe, is where the link between depression and gaming is made.
I have struggled with depression for a very, very long time. My parents divorced before i could remember, my father struggles with epilepsy and the seizures that accompany it, and my mother and her husband at the time thought that physical abuse was a good way of parenting. I have been overweight for quite a while as well which combined with all those other things led me to develop a very low self esteem. The kind that people notice without you having to say a word.
All of this is to say that my depression lead me to my love of video games. Video games did NOT make me depressed, or increase the severity of it. I actually believe that gaming has combated the depression to a level that is not detrimental to my well-being.
Did depression have or continue to have an impact on your life? Do you think gaming help or hurt your battle with it?