We’ve all heard the stories and statistics; over 50 percent of all people who die from suicide suffer from major depression, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death fro adults between the ages of 15 and 64 years in the U.S., depressions affects nearly 5 to 8 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year.
After the recent passing of a loved one I found myself dancing the line of depression and suicidal thoughts, I couldn’t be bothered to do anything productive much less get out of bed. When I did muster the will to leave my room it was to continue my progression in Dragon Age: Inquisition, I had played around 10 to 12 hours and was halfway through the campaign. Normally I tire out after a few hours of gaming and move on to something else but this time was different.
For the first time since my loss I wasn’t fixated on the time or worried about other responsibilities, nor was I thinking about my stated of mind. I was completely focused on what characters could make my party more rounded, how to progress romantic relationships and finishing quests to receive that glorious loot. For the entire day all I could think about was the game and all the responsibilities my character held within it. I submerged myself into a digital world to get my mind off real world problems, when in turn it actually cleared my thoughts and help me think properly.
Did my horrible thoughts disappear instantly ? Of course not, they still resided and I was still hopeless. But I had a way of coping, a means of escape to deal with the thoughts and self-loathing. I started a new save on InFamous: Second Son, a game I had beaten a handful of times. Nothing was new to me in this universe; the characters, city and powers were all routine.
I played it for the pure enjoyment of gameplay, soaring over Seattle all the while blasting enemies with super powers was extremely therapeutic. All was good until I reached the part where (SPOILERS !) Delson’s brother dies. I couldn’t help but shed a few tears as I found my life connected to Delson’s through more than just a controller. I had total control over this make belief character’s life in the palm of my hands, and I did everything I could to set it right.
That was the night things started looking up. I realized I still had control over my life and it was up to me to set it right. I was still saddened by my loss but I had a new way to deal with it. I’m not here to tell you Video Games are the answer to depression because they are not. What they are is an escape from the real world to clear your thoughts and un-scramble your head. Video games didn’t beat the negativity and sorrow I was going through, but they gave the super powers to.