If I sat here typing this ten years ago, I couldn't tell you where I'd be, how I'd feel, and what I'd want to feel. It's a reality that 2.6% (roughly 5.6 million people) of the American Population a year - must face every waking minute once they crawl out of bed. It's a disorder that isn't easily taken care of unless medicated to an extent that even medication may not help without some guidance from doctor. It's also a reality I live with. One I've been living with for nearly sixteen years out of my thirty - going on thirty one years of life. There's times where waking up feels like walking through a tar pit while dealing with a monsoon at the same time. It's one that can easily be calmed when grabbing onto a PlayStation 4 controller or even an Xbox One controller.
Depression - as much as one may think - isn't always at the forefront. Like any normal person I have my highs, my lows, and even my in-between's, which can be nice for a change. Coping mechanisms such as painting, writing, reading, listening to music, and simply getting out with friends tends to help. However, there's always a however as well as a catch, that's not always the case. There's times when hiding under a blanket and pillow can be deemed a worthy contender on how to handle those moments of despair. For some of us; that's how it feels.
As I've grown into finding ways to cope with the highs, the lows, and the in-between moments there's always a way to overcome the odds. For many they will take to activities such as dancing, singing, acting, writing, painting, drawing, spending time with family, driving, and or any mixture of their hobbies that may not be listed. For some even things as small as playing a video game is distracting enough to help the brain reset, for many, this is acceptable as it lets us socialize without physical presence and human connectivity. It's a 'cure' - a coping mechanism - that should be explored by psychiatrists.
One of the most common "Depression Traps" there is - is the exclusion from social interactions. These interactions may include things such as social withdrawal, rumination (dwelling on loss, failure or other depression triggers), and negative thinking. All of these are three of the common six traps and or pitfalls that people suffering depression will fall into. However, there is a cure for this that your average every-day person may not take to: Gaming.
When gaming, it's not uncommon for us to become absorbed by what we are doing, it encourages the brain to become distracted; this distraction allows for the person suffering depression to become unfocused on the cause of their depression. This distraction also may encourage social interaction(s) that may not always be available. This could be due to cooperative games, online multiplayer components, and or even just the general nature of jumping into a party chat if available.
Each of these natural tendencies that happen with gamers, they will find themselves immersed within the games they are normally attracted to. For me, as an example, I find myself commonly drawn to two titles that fixate my attention span: Warframe and Battlefield. Playing these titles requires an attention to detail when it comes to exploring and moving across maps. For EA published title Battlefield - the common things my brain focuses on are typical responses you would expect for a game of its massive size, "where is the enemy," "does anyone have a medkit," "what capture point is my team focusing on," and basic team communication that may correlate with the current situation.
On the other hand you have Digital Extremes' free-to-play title Warframe. A game that is based on high-based action that infuses sword and gun-play at the front of its massive speed-based mechanics. Let alone does it play as an action game, at its core, Warframe is a loot-hunting title, one that comes with resources, and crafting items. If that doesn't ring a bell as a mechanic, think games like Too Human, Diablo, Sacred, and Torchlight. While playing Warframe it's hard not to get lost in the massive amounts of things to do relating to modding weapons, warframes, and companions; to even going as far as choosing load-outs, crafting items only to end up in the hunt for materials while massacring the enemies presented to the player.
Each of these activities don't just allow a distraction, each of these activities also require some form of social connection be it through voice chat, text chat, and or even as simple as playing with others. Each of them requires a form of social connection, forcing those suffering from depression to have the inability to become socially withdrawn, ruminating, and or even dwelling on their negative thoughts.
With lighthearted titles such as Blizzard Entertainments smash hit Overwatch - a critically acclaimed smash hit - which promotes teamwork and self-worth, it's hard for a form of negativity to present itself. While games such as Warframe and Battlefield may keep one busy, titles like Overwatch are meant to be fast, fun, and enjoyable with a massive amount of distractions available.
If you know someone suffering depression, video games may not be the cure for them - it may not be what they need. Remember, depression is not always a single-occurrence for those suffering from it. If you think you or a loved one may be suffering depression, it's still advised to see a medical profession and see about getting them some help. For those of you who've found your happy-place in gaming, what games do you suggest for those suffering? What games help you cope and why? Feel free to speak out in the comments below.