#1 Edited by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

What a crappy title. But I don't know how else to start it but by being blunt about what I want to talk about. Also, fair warning - this is probably going to be a long post and there may be some intense discussion and topics that make a lot of people uncomfortable. If you're OK with that then read on and please, please chip in with your thoughts and questions.

I have some mental health issues. I have been diagnosed with chronic depression and am currently medicated for it and have had psychological treatment. I have also been diagnosed and suffer from issues with OCD and GAD (those acronyms mean Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Generalised Anxiety Disorder, for those unfamiliar). There is an enormous misunderstanding and stigma attached to issues of mental health, which is why there is often so little discussion of it unless it is directly affecting you or someone very close to you. If not then it's fair that your perception of the mentally ill is 'mentals', 'nutters' or an American equivalent of those seemingly incredibly British terms.

People will often say that they are 'depressed' when they are very sad. Which is fine, but is not the clinical definition of depression. Sometimes someone will describe themselves as having OCD when they are merely clean, or organised. As with damn near everything to do with mental health, there is a spectrum to the severity of these conditions but the examples above are not examples of someone with a mental illness. Depression is largely unrelated to the topics I wanted to discuss (although I'm very open as to my experiences if anybody wants to know more), but it's long been the bedrock of my other issues so it bears mentioning that it is not feeling 'sad'. It is a complete and utter emptiness and disconnection from your emotions, motivations and regular thought patterns. It can be utterly debilitating and sometimes the thought (literally the thought, not the action) of leaving your bed can seem an impossible challenge. When it goes on untreated for over a decade - like it did for me - the damage it does to your thinking patterns and general lifestyle is enormous. It takes a long time to come back from that, but I'm working on it. Anyway, moving on...

OCD is exactly what it's name implies. Obsessive behaviours, done Compulsively in a way that makes your thoughts and life Disordered. It's also horrendously debilitating, and the focus of how some of my issues relate to one of my main passions - gaming.

The reason I'm writing this is because of a largely misguided post in which I asked if other people who had preordered the next Assassin's Creed game wanted to join in their Unite program, which incentivises you to team up with three other people who have preordered the game in order to unlock exclusive content. There's the rub. Exclusivity. By it's nature that means that the entire experience isn't 'complete' without the exclusive. That is literally one of the most triggering things to me. Writing it down and reading it back I of course understand the nonsensical amount of emotion placed in something that is meant to be entertainment. But it's there, and it constantly burrows it's way to the surface of my thoughts, until it can be challenged and put back to rest.

This is particularly true of achievements/trophies and multiplayer levels/unlocks as well. There are times where I have gone for a week without being able to sleep or eat properly because my entire life is taken up with the endless cycling question of how to boost the next goal, how to organise a group of total strangers to achieve what I need to stop the incessant nagging feeling of incompleteness that I currently have, because I've not maxed or 'completed' this game or another. My thoughts race endlessly, checking websites that track achievements and trophies, checking, rechecking and then checking again that I understand what needs doing, then panicking because the thought of getting strangers to help me with these specific tasks is nightmarish. So I think and plan more, and then the anxiety becomes more - so I have to plan more... And so on. It's ridiculous but completely paralysing. And frankly quite terrifying when it really gets it claws in.

I'm not writing this as though I'm past all these issue either, I still struggle with them (and many other besides) daily. It's a long and difficult process to rewire your thinking patterns, but it's something that I'm working on and writing my actual thoughts out tends to help objectify them as what they really are - thoughts. These are coping mechanisms that I've built myself so I don't have to deal with the core issues that made me depressed in the first place.

Ok, what a huge rambling stream of conscious post that was. Hopefully there's enough coherence to latch on to that you can at least get the gist of what it's like to suffer from a mental disorder that can be made worse by a hobby that you genuinely love. Please - as said above - sound off with your thoughts, opinions and if you feel able to, your experiences. I think it's important that the reason we're all here in the first place (we love games!) be examined and seen from all angles and be discussed in an open way.

Thanks for your time duders.

#2 Posted by believer258 (12674 posts) -

I know you love video games, but have you ever tried giving them a break? They sound a little unhealthy if they're causing you to be sleepless for a week just because you haven't 100%'d a game.

Sometimes I feel like my "fuck it, I don't care about the ultimate sword/invincible armor/secret weapon" attitude has something to do with me never getting tired of games.

#3 Posted by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

@believer258: Excellent question, and yes I have given them a break. It was part of therapy and is what gave me the insight just to acknowledge that the behaviours I was exhibiting were even obsessive. Up until that point I'd brushed off the accusations of my partner that I was really enjoying the friend of it, that is was rewarding.

Part of that break helped me to get the distance where I can start to see the difference between gaming for pleasure and gaming because I felt compelled to. It's part of why I love this site, it cuts through so much bull and is honest.

As for the attitude you have, power to you. I wish I could feel that way about all of it but there's a genuine pleasure in finding something relatively rare. In my case though I have to be mindful of wether or not it's pleasure from shutting up the nag in me head, or genuine accomplishment - which is something so unique to the medium it's a shame for me to not pursue it a little. One day I hope to make games for a living, for now I'm working offshore to save up for uni. That's a tangent though :)

#5 Posted by Christoffer (2044 posts) -

I'm one of those guilty of thinking I was depressed once. Turns out that the effects of a bad relationship, next to no physical activity, overindulging in caffeine, stress and severe boredom can resemble depression. Fixing most of those things made everything much better for me. But as you say, better to check it up as early as possible and have it be a false alarm, than letting it fester over a longer period.

The little I've heard and read about that rewiring process, it's a pretty fascinating and strange area. To consciously train your brain to behave and respond differently (more positively, I'd guess) sounds like hard task that takes a long time. Don't mean to sound discouraging :) Hope you stick with it and get better soon, buddy.

#6 Posted by I_Stay_Puft (4548 posts) -

Wow from what I've read sounds like achievement hunting is part of your rituals in itself. Is this for every game you play or has this just recently popped up with Unity? While I've never been diagnosed with OCD I remember as a kid I had rituals where I'd have the impulse to touch a door knob even number of times in order in mind to tell myself it's closed. I remember doing this in elementary school and would get teased about it even though I wasn't quite sure how to explain it myself. Eventually I have no idea why but I just stopped doing it one day but I remember the constant panic attacks whenever I couldn't do it the specificied number of times and the constant running feeling in my mind.

#7 Edited by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

@snakevsgiantbomb: Thanks for just reading, if it helps someone to even understand mental health a little more I'd be so happy.

@christoffer: It's such an easy thing to do, because the habits are so easy to form and fall into they can become all consuming, which feels so close to depression. I'm really glad that things are better for you now though and it's always best to talk to someone - professionally if possible. It's one of the big advantages of living in the UK that I have direct, free access to great mental healthcare. As for the rewriting, my therapy was based around CBT and mindfulness. CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) literally is a system of identifying things that you do in a circular way of thinking, and then gives you the tools to literally rewire the neural pathways so they start a different and more healthy way of thinking. It's a process of practise, time and documenting how you're actually feeling. I'm getting there though and thanks for the message.

@i_stay_puft: Hey there and thanks so much for the message and experience you shared. That sounds very much like OCD, and whatever it is that made you one day stop that behaviour is a great thing as challenging OCD is eventually the only way to stop it. I have ritualistic/compulsive behaviours for as long as I can remember for various things. The first achievement hunting I remember is Halo 3 and some of the online ones, it was pretty much constant for years after that and I only recently started to recognise a lot of the behaviours as compulsive recently. There were plenty of other, more immediately harmful things (self harm, impulse buying, collecting/hoarding) I did before I filled the obsessive/general mental health void with gaming related things.

That panic you described though I can absolutely identify with. It's the thing that keeps you going with compulsions, because you know that if you give in to them you will have at least a little bit of respite from the panic. Even though it comes back even more or as something else very soon after.

#8 Edited by JimiPeppr (510 posts) -

I'm not writing this as though I'm past all these issue either, I still struggle with them (and many other besides) daily. It's a long and difficult process to rewire your thinking patterns, but it's something that I'm working on and writing my actual thoughts out tends to help objectify them as what they really are - thoughts. These are coping mechanisms that I've built myself so I don't have to deal with the core issues that made me depressed in the first place.

Totally. I have also found that writing out my thoughts can give me a very satisfying feeling of relief from anxiety/depression.

While sometimes I feel a little obsessive about things, I'm usually able to convince myself to just move on. It must be very frustrating to have those compulsions as well.

Online
#9 Posted by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

@jimipeppr: Congratulations on being able to force yourself through, being able to log and understand that you're doing that is a big step towards being able to replicate that with more compulsive things (not suggesting you have those, but if you did!) But yes, it is frustrating but it can and will get better. Thanks for your comment duder.

#10 Posted by ViciousReiven (868 posts) -

I'm wondering how many different types of videogame related OCD there are.

Usually when someone brings it up, either in a light hearted sort of way, or in your case where it's truly debilitating, it's usually about things like collectibles and completionism

My personal big videogame OCD is camera inversion, people always argue about which they prefer or what is 'correct', but for me it's not a choice, it's an affliction.

I need a standard X and an inverted Y, I truly can't bring myself to play otherwise, if I move the camera and it turns the opposite way I expect it to I just freeze, my hand and arm get tense to the point of cramping and I have the compulsory need to hit it over and over again as if my brain is trying to understand, it has a way it considers right and for some reason this stimulus is saying it's wrong and it doesn't know what to do, why is this motion not moving the way I know it should?

Even knowing this if I mistakenly use the wrong setting or forget to change them I still go through that process, knowing isn't half the battle, it's nothing.

People say they can just change the way they view it at will and it only takes a few minutes to 'get used to', I can tell myself up=up all day long or practice with a controller, but once the visuals are actually on screen and reacting to what I do it doesn't matter.

This makes trying to play old games a living nightmare, you have no idea how much of relief it is for me when I see old games with substantial control options, or how thankful I am for emulators that you can remap anything with and awesome modders like 'pelvicthrustman' who programmed a remapping tool for the PS2.

The worst thing is finding a new release that doesn't have an invert option and just not being able to play it, I have ZOEHD on ps3, for some reason they didn't include it despite the 360 version allowing it (I think the Xbox profile setting actually overrides the game's controls in this case though) and I'm pretty sure the original PS2 version just had it as an option, if not then I must of played it back when I had my third-party ps2 controller with an invert switch (which is something I wish I had for the PS3).

It's been like 13 or so years since I first realized this was a problem for me, and yet I still deal with games that I can't play because of it and people who put me down as if inversion is some sort of gaming sin.

#11 Posted by spraynardtatum (4038 posts) -

@trueheresy Wow, great post. Thanks for sharing this.

If you don't mind sharing more, how do you react to f2p games that gate achievements and goals behind money or ludicrous grinds? Would paying to unlock everything be something that would help you (barring the amount of money it would take to "unlock everything" is reasonable)?

Have you ever played a game like Minecraft or DayZ where the goals aren't really laid out for you and it's more about making your own entertainment?

#12 Edited by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

@viciousreiven: I think as with everything in mental health there is a broad range of things that can afflict a person and where they lie as to specific conditions varies from case to case. I feel for you though where there is a sense of cognitive dissonance between what you want things to feel like, and then a game gating you from that. I'm not sure that I know of a specific way of improving that situation when it arises, but trying to spend time to sit with the stress and let yourself come to a place where it is lessened may make it possible for you to game in ways that are not comfortable for you yet. Good luck though man.

@spraynardtatum: Thanks for reading, the only reason I was able to work up the courage is because you said you'd be interested in the other thread! I'm absolutely happy to share any and all info, I think it's really important to be honest and open with this kind of thing. So, to answer your question.

f2p is not something that has become a big issue for me as my OCD tends to develop around things that I previously enjoy. So for example, the achievements started as a thing I used to enjoy using as a way to play my favourite games in new ways and be rewarded a little by the developer. Then the disordered part of my thinking would recognise the positive reinforcement and crave it, create heightened situations to make it more of a dopamine hit to 'scratch the itch' of compulsively completing things. It's very cruel in that the things that used to be an escape and enjoyable pastime become the thing that is causing enormous stress further down the line if I'm not careful. So to circle back to the question, f2p hasn't hit me too bad because so far there's no games that particularly interest me in that genre. I tend to be more of a console/handheld gamer than a PC gamer (much as I want a good gaming rig, I use Apple stuff in my day to day life for the sheer convenience of it always working well for me!)

As for Minecraft and DayZ... I played Minecraft for a while back when it was still an Alpha as far as I remember. I enjoyed the open nature up to a point, but once I realised I couldn't ever 'master' it, it started to feel more empty. Whereas I'm sure that's the entire appeal in the first place. DayZ has always fascinated me, and it's something I'd like to play, but my current gaming set-up doesn't really allow for it. I think the stuff I've seen is interesting, but again the lack of an ending or sense of completion may turn me off to it in the end. Conversely, I adore Dark Souls. The challenge was to master it, but I have been so careful to not let myself get utterly obsessed with it and ruin what has been one of my fondest gaming experiences ever.

Sorry for rambling again, but hopefully that answers the questions? Of course if there's anything else you'd like to know ask away and thanks for reading at all, wasn't expecting such a nice amount of responses!

#13 Posted by ptys (2030 posts) -

@trueheresy: I had a pretty challenging time of it in my early twenties, struggled with relationship issues with family, friends and females mostly my doing, but I kind dealt with it internally becoming somewhat of a loner, which worked for me. So I guess I'm one of the cynics who judge whether people who say "I have depression" really have a disorder or they're just being a cop out. Its like the old "food poisoning" excuse that people use all the time. I'm 33 and never in my life (touch wood) have I had food poisoning but there's always that chick at work or guy in the sports team that get it every other week? Personally I believe depression is a thing but I think it relates more to our current state of mind being victims of so many brainwashing and manipulation techniques on the internet and TV. We're being exposed to so much in such a sudden way most just aren't prepared for it, I think even the "Jones's" are struggling nowadays. Thanks for your post, personally I'd recommend any who is starting to feel anxious and insecure about the outside world, get out of your comfort zone. Do the things that make you nervous and it does help see over the fog, its all just smoke and mirrors on the internet.

#14 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1827 posts) -

I understand what you're talking about duder. Unfortunately, I have type I manic-depressive disorder and OCD as well. While my OCD compulsions/rituals don't have to do with 100%ing a game, I do have the "problem" of being over-emotional or too deeply connect to characters/stories to the point where I will just be out of commission, wrought with depression after a game ends for at least a week. But you know, it really is possible to have an illness and live the life you want. I used to be unable to work, or connect with anyone. Now I run a decently successful business. I realize I'm rambling, because mental illness is hard to articulate, but what I am saying is. I know what you're going through, you're not alone.

#15 Posted by spraynardtatum (4038 posts) -

@trueheresy: So, in Dark Souls, how did you make sure not to get obsessed?

#16 Edited by hunterob (153 posts) -

I've been living with depression for a couple years now. Just started on medication last week, though it hasn't improved much - especially when it comes to getting out of bed.

@alwaysbebombing said:

I understand what you're talking about duder. Unfortunately, I have type I manic-depressive disorder and OCD as well. While my OCD compulsions/rituals don't have to do with 100%ing a game, I do have the "problem" of being over-emotional or too deeply connect to characters/stories to the point where I will just be out of commission, wrought with depression after a game ends for at least a week.

I feel like this is how it manifests for me as well. I've never been diagnosed with OCD, but I definitely have repetitive behaviors that interfere with my daily life. When living by myself in a dorm, at the height of it, I got too emotionally involved with Symphony of the Night and the whole Castlevania series. I had to know everything about the characters and the backstory behind it all. I would check wiki pages, play all the games in the franchise I possibly could on the systems I had. That and the whole Ghosts'n Goblins series, including all the spinoff shit with like Demon's Crest and Maximo. I guess I related to the gothic themes in a weird way to my depression, and then also in a nostalgic way to my childhood.

I'm drawn to games with bleak sort of atmospheres... I think because of my depression. I get really immersed in 3D games when they have that, and that's probably why I remember parts of games like Fallout 3 like they're my own memories; and I'll play them until it becomes daytime without noticing. I got really into Demon's Souls for that, but for some reason Dark Souls didn't really click for me, even though it should have by the same logic.

For those that haven't seen it, Danny O'Dwyer did an excellent mini-documentary on a small group of people and the relationship between their depression and video games:

Loading Video...

#17 Posted by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

@ptys: Thanks for the really interesting post. I think a lot of people have times in their life when everything catches up to them, a perfect storm of negative emotions that can seriously drag you under. I also agree with you in that a lot of people use 'depressed' as a flippant expression of unhappiness. One thing I would caution (and feel free to totally ignore this!) is that withdrawing form the problems instead of confronting them can have a long term effect that may not be what you're looking for. But if you're happy, you're happy! Nobody has the right or need to advise you to a change what you're doing if it's working for you!

@alwaysbebombing: First of all, thanks for being so open. I hadn't realised or thought about that aspect of a game affecting you, but it makes perfect sense as to why it could. If you don't mind me asking, is that something that still affects you - or have you found ways to combat it? Also, is it only with certain games that you get that feeling? Finally - congratulations on pulling yourself out of such an adverse situation and creating a life and base for yourself to work from, always amazing to hear that and appreciate the sentiment to myself as well.

@spraynardtatum: With Dark Souls I wasn't actively preventing myself from getting into that obsessive place with it, I was just playing it at a time when I was more stable and was able to pick up on the fact I was getting obsessive before it happened too much. Saying that, I had some pretty horrendous impulse control outside of - but related to - that game. I made this spreadsheet so I could have one of EVERYTHING in the game, and then realised I was losing it and just wanted to enjoy my time with it. So I took a step back and return to it now and again instead every waking moment.

@hunterob: Hey there, thanks for being honest and open about where you're at right now. I'm sure it was explained when you started your medication that it will take time for them to build up to a noticeable level in your body. I didn't start feeling my medication (Citalopram) start taking the edge of my depression for about three weeks. It's also not something that will 'cure' your depression, but it is an incredibly useful tool for supporting you through your recovery. As I said to @alwaysbebombing I hadn't really though of this aspect of gaming affecting someone in that way, but it does make sense. Games allow such a sense of escapism unique to the medium that the characters and worlds we escape to are so important and dear to us. When you're feeling depressed or stuck in one way or another it would be obvious to cling desperately to these forms of escapism as tightly as possible - so researching, learning and experiencing everything about those games that resonate is only to be expected. Thank you also for the link to the doc, I will be watching that when I get a spare minute as I really do think that it's a deep and important topic for discussion. Hang in there duder, let the meds do their job and know there's always someone around to talk to.

#18 Posted by alwaysbebombing (1827 posts) -

@trueheresy: Thank you for all your kind words! I'll be honest, I just embrace the emotions I feel when playing games (or any media) there's just a great feeling that comes with being able to deeply connect with and analyze the emotions of a game (or movie). I work harder to not let it make me comatose for a few days, but still feel those wonderful feels.

And if we're talking about meds. Let me tell you, I wasn't even living in the real world before I started medication. Post medication, it's like this thick fog has been lifted from my mind (persona :3). It's truly amazing what modern medicine can do.

#19 Edited by ProfessorEss (7666 posts) -

I would never claim to have OCD but I definitely fall into the spectrum.

All I can say is try to refocus your efforts because in today's videogame industry the idea of "completion" is disappearing. I was super into "S-Ranking" 360 games until un-purchased DLC started messing up the numbers, I was into collecting 100% of the meaningless collectibles in games until they started creeping into the 1000s, and I always wanted to "Catch 'Em All!" but I JUST COULDN'T DO IT.

I still play games in an obsessive-compulsive manner, it's just what I do, deriving entertainment out of repetition, monotony and tedium (see: Don't Starve, Far Cry 3, Terraria, Rogue Legacy, Assassin's Creed Shanties, etc.) but I've established my work as the dominant feeder of my OCD-like tendencies and accepted the fact that videogames are no longer designed in such a way that they can satisfy these types of urges.

Easier said then done I know, but at some point the OCD-minded may be forced to accept it as the very idea of "100%" becomes an unachievable goal.

#20 Posted by ptys (2030 posts) -

@ptys: Thanks for the really interesting post. I think a lot of people have times in their life when everything catches up to them, a perfect storm of negative emotions that can seriously drag you under. I also agree with you in that a lot of people use 'depressed' as a flippant expression of unhappiness. One thing I would caution (and feel free to totally ignore this!) is that withdrawing form the problems instead of confronting them can have a long term effect that may not be what you're looking for. But if you're happy, you're happy! Nobody has the right or need to advise you to a change what you're doing if it's working for you!

Yeah thanks. I'd definitely say I have resolved what was causing the down time, I think the older you get the easier life becomes. I'm sure there is a lot of people who suffer from depression with much more painful conflicts like abuse, loss or addiction so perhaps those wounds will never really fully heal.

#21 Posted by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

@alwaysbebombing: Sorry for taking so long to reply. But yes, pharmacology is incredible and completely different to 'zombie' thing that the media likes to play out so much. It has truly improved my life and I'm glad it helped you too. I'm also glad that the issues haven't stopped you from experiencing what it is you love about games and their worlds/characters in the first place. Good feelings duder.

@professoress: I think that's a really true point, and I've started to try and focus my OCD and challenge to accept the fact that out's more for me about experiencing what I can and what I want from a game. That may be more than the average person, but it doesn't need to be compulsive to be rewarding. I'm also trying to focus in on learning and working - currently studying programming as one day I hope to make games. Thanks for the message though and keep on keeping on duder.

@ptys: It is so encouraging to hear the stories of people who have improved their lot and are moving on, it makes it feel like a real and achievable goal. But, as to the second point - everyone's problems are real and huge and scary to them, even if they feel like they should be more manageable compared to someone else's - the truth is it just doesn't work that way. There's always a 'sadder' more 'painful' story, but that doesn't mean that anybody else has is easy! Thanks for the messages though, they are really though provoking in a great way.

#22 Edited by bartok (2636 posts) -

I actually have the opposite problem as you. I too suffer from depression that went untreated for nearly a decade but I don't suffer from OCD. I had a hard time enjoying things that I normally love like video games, movies, reading, and even spending time with friends.

When I would play video games or read books I would start to get bummed out when I was nearing the end because that meant I would have to find something else to take my mind off my problems and I would eventually bail on the game/book and immediately start on something new. I think I still have a PS2 memory card that is nothing but saves right before the final boss fight.

Jesus, I can't even imagine what kind of living hell it is trying to game with OCD especially with achievements and the number of collectibles a lot of games seem to have these days. When I played Pokemon as a kid I wanted to catch every monster but having something in your brain chemistry telling you that you need to catch them all or it will just eat away at you seems awful.

#23 Edited by Cranzor (15 posts) -

I just wanted to tell you thank you for writing your post. I think it's important to keep in mind how people with all kinds of backgrounds will react to video games, or any entertainment really. I've had compulsive feelings before, but they never really applied to video games -- at least not in a way that stands out to me. Weirdly enough, those feelings resolved on their own after a while. I'm happy about that but I feel sad that others like you have to struggle with them on a daily basis. I hope things are going all right.

#24 Edited by Jeust (11369 posts) -

Personally I use games as a distraction from my life, and that reflects in the kind of games I like: slow paced dark and dingy games. Like exploring an empty house, or a forest, its quiet and relaxing, and while there are enemies, they can be beaten with a little bit of cunning. It's therapeutic.

@trueheresy: From what you said, I can relate to some of the things, and like you said it's all about copping mechanisms to avoid dealing with the real problems. Like Carl Jung said:

"The foundation of all mental illness is the avoidance of legitimate suffering."

#25 Posted by mithical (369 posts) -

I don't have OCD, which is the core of what your post is about, but I have been dealing with Depression for about 8 years now. There was a thread on GIant Bomb about mental health I keep bookmarked as a sort of reminder that I'm far from alone in my illness. If I recall there is a little less understanding than is on display here (which is beautiful to see btw), but maybe it's something you'd like to read if you haven't already.

The main reason I wanted to respond is because it sounds like you've really come a long way in your recovery. I recently hit a snag in mine when I realized that despite all I had learned, despite all the work I put in, I was still vulnerable to falling into the same traps I did when I had just started. Sure, I was able to recognize what was happening and it took far less time to recover, but it was discouraging all the same. I had (distorted) thoughts like "I should be past this by now, shouldn't I?". I always knew recovery was a lifelong process but I hadn't really internalized what that meant until recently. Judging from your post, you've got the right mindset. You're learning and you're growing. You're a student of mental health and of yourself. I just wanted to encourage you to do your best to maintain that mindset over the years, even when it feels like your progress is slowing, as it will continue to serve you well.

Keep up the great work!

#26 Posted by Deckard42 (147 posts) -

Thanks for sharing your story. While I haven't been diagnosed with OCD I totally agree with your bit about exclusivity. They make it difficult to get everything in the game, be it pre-order, console specific, or retailer specific exclusives.

#27 Edited by PopeAnonymous (50 posts) -

I've never been diagnosed with anything, but I definitely have some pretty serious mental health/depression issues. As far as how it manifests in my gaming... I constantly sell and rebuy game consoles and software. Compulsively, and every time I do it I swear I won't do it again, then one day I wake up, pack up my shit, and turn it all in for something else. When I had all the major game consoles of a particular generation I would trade them all in and their games for cash and get into retro gaming for brief stints, before selling that stuff and jumping back forward.

It's a weird thing that has cost me many thousands (and thousands) of dollars going back to when I got out of HS and got a job, and gained access to money. Though now that I think about it, I did swap systems with friends a lot too, so it really goes back further than that. This is humiliating to admit, but I feel like I can speak more freely here than other places… this gen I've already owned three Xbox Ones, I'm on my third PS4 now, and I've had four Wii U's. It drives me nuts to think about it. Granted I'm not buying them all new over and over, a lot of times the store credit takes care of most of the hardware costs, but the rebuying of software is insane and really adds up.

I'm not even mentioning the last two gens. I'm trying really hard to stop, but I'm usually just one bad day away from doing it all over again. (and I have a lot of bad days)

#28 Edited by MikaelBoogart (104 posts) -

I know this feel and have dysthymia (chronic depression) and OCD myself. When I was told, after lengthy testing, that OCD was one of the diagnoses I was being given, i didn't believe it. "Bullshit!" said i. But the fact was I did not know what OCD actually was. My concept of OCD at the time was the pop-culture one, which is perhaps the most misunderstood and misrepresented mental disorder there is, as far as pop culture representation is involved. Schizophrenia being the other, and autism spectrum as well. For misrepresentation and or misunderstanding.

Thankfully my manifestation of the disorder is not video game related. Mine is all about safety fears and behaviours I go through to make myself feel safe. The good news is that cognitive behavioural therapy and medication do help. They help a lot. And my life is now easier than it used to be. Neither or the combination is a cure, but they both help just that little bit to where your life isn't controlled by the issues.

#29 Posted by SupberUber (329 posts) -

I am past 30, and just recently found what I think is the perpetrator to what I think has been my problem for at least the past 15 years.

You see, I haven't been able to stay with one thing for more than maybe a year; School, work (hah! still haven't dared trying that one) - anything that required my participation on a daily basis.
The harder I tried to stay on the course, the more I would isolate myself afterwards.

I blamed myself for being lazy, tried to find routines, searched for the high points - the periods where everything seemed to go well -- hoping to find some kind of routine that worked for me. At the end of it all, it always ended with the first one; blaming myself.

It always ends the same way; I exhaust myself, resulting in me not getting out of bed, further resulting in shame for not being able to man up and take responsibility over my own life, which only adds to worse mornings. You get the idea. It’s my own internal war, and I always lose at one point.

As years went on, my ambitions sank to a dream of having a job - any job - as long as it was mine and that it covered my basic needs.

Anyway, I’m rambling.

Turns out I may have periodic depression, and it makes a world of sense to me as I backtrace my failures.

Just having a name means the world to me, because now I can take measures to handle it.

It dawned on me this summer, having finished - just barely - another year of studies - and I hope this will be it.

#30 Posted by Gruebacca (651 posts) -

One of my psychology courses had a day where we listened to a speaker talk about his experiences with OCD. One of those was about his experience going to a 49ers game. While he was walking to the stadium, he kept having second thoughts about the condition of his car such as whether or not it was locked, or the windows were all the way up, or etcetera. He was so compulsive with these thoughts that he ended up walking back to his car about four times and missed almost half of the game.

It's really heartbreaking to think that of all of his experiences, the one that doesn't involve anything serious or life-threatening hit me the hardest because then I could imagine a range of scenarios where his compulsions could prevent him from functioning in daily, ordinary tasks.

And that's just one mental health problem. There's a whole bunch of other ways people's minds could be dysfunctional, and all these stories I've read and listened to over the years make me really glad that I don't have any serious mental health issues.

So, thanks for sharing your story. It's easier for people who don't suffer from this to empathize when stories like this are shared.

#31 Posted by porousshield (60 posts) -

I don't have any diagnosed disorders but certain games set off unhealthy obsessive thoughts for me to the point where it is difficult to think about anything else and makes it impossible to sleep. I've replayed huge portions of games because I couldn't quite remember what a character said and the only way to see exactly what they said was to replay the game. Other times I'll be laying in bed and replaying a section over and over again in my head until I got up and replayed the section which could take who knows how many hours. All this for one sentence, and usually not a meaningful sentence with regards to the story. For example with Phoenix Wright, I'd get quite a ways into one of the turnabouts (cases) and then replay all of it up to that point to see what the last sentence was; sometimes I do this three or four times in a row. It's the same with books too which is why I enjoy reading them on a device so I can use the search feature to quickly find a sentence. I also use game play videos from Youtube to quickly find the portion of the game I'm obsessing over and put an end to it.

When I start get obsessive over something (it's not just games and reading that causes it) I always try and distract myself and force my concentration on something else but the entire time it is a fight not to fall back into the obsessive thoughts. Over the years I've gotten better at it and come up with strategies to deal with it but it's still a constant I live with and I try my best not to provoke it.

#32 Posted by biospank (699 posts) -

I have a minor disorder called schizoid personality disorder with generalized anxiety, so I have a weird and dark world view compared to other people.

I am glad for having a minor personality disorder compared to lets say schizophrenia.

#33 Edited by MikaelBoogart (104 posts) -

@gruebacca said:

One of my psychology courses had a day where we listened to a speaker talk about his experiences with OCD. One of those was about his experience going to a 49ers game. While he was walking to the stadium, he kept having second thoughts about the condition of his car such as whether or not it was locked, or the windows were all the way up, or etcetera. He was so compulsive with these thoughts that he ended up walking back to his car about four times and missed almost half of the game.

It's really heartbreaking to think that of all of his experiences, the one that doesn't involve anything serious or life-threatening hit me the hardest because then I could imagine a range of scenarios where his compulsions could prevent him from functioning in daily, ordinary tasks.

And that's just one mental health problem. There's a whole bunch of other ways people's minds could be dysfunctional, and all these stories I've read and listened to over the years make me really glad that I don't have any serious mental health issues.

So, thanks for sharing your story. It's easier for people who don't suffer from this to empathize when stories like this are shared.

Boy i could write a book filled with similar anecdotes. The question my psychiatrist asked me initially that really hit home was, "have you ever missed an appointment or been late to work because you had to go double/triple/quadruple check something?" Very much an oh shit moment for me as the answer was yes yes yes and yes.

In the interest of describing a little better what OCD actually is in the thread here, I can share a short factoid about myself. One of my hangups is dental hygiene. I worry about cavities. Tooth decay. To this day, I MUST chew a stick of gum to "clean" my teeth after I eat or drink anything other than water. If I do not have my gum, i must go buy some immediately. If I cannot do either, I will start to have anxiety which will build exponentially until the matter is addressed. I may panic. I also worry about running out of gum... Anyway. The gum is the positive alternative to what I used to do. I was fanatical about brushing and flossing. Several times a day. Way overboard. There were occasions when I brushed so hard my gums bled profusely and I still kept going. And brushed some more a couple hours later. I have a badly receding gum line now because of all of that.

So i do the gum. And I time myself when I brush so that I don't do too much. Two minutes not a second more. These are healthy things I learned to do with cognitive behavioural therapy. The dental thing is one of many many similar issues I deal with. But it's better now. As I wrote earlier, meds and therapy help a lot. Life doesn't have to be the way that it was. I thought nothing could change. I was wrong.

#34 Posted by medacris (711 posts) -

@trueheresy: I can relate to a lot of your post, being both a Psych student and someone who has lived with depression for about ten years now. There are a lot of misconceptions about OCD, depression, anxiety, autism, and other issues experienced by either me or some of my friends, and at some point, I will make a post detailing the differences between what people have misunderstood the problem to be, and what the reality of the situation is. (I.E. OCD isn't just "I can tell when things have not been done consistently," and depression isn't just "Someone close to me passed away, so I'm kind of sad right now." Although grief as its own separate thing is apparently listed in the DSM-V, the current guidebook to diagnosing disorders, which is...really weird.)

Depression and anxiety are displayed in my gaming habits in two ways:

  1. Apologizing a lot to teammates when I mess up, or when I suspect I've messed up.
  2. Avoiding "hard" games for the most part. I worry that I'm bad even at simple things, or things most people find ridiculously easy, so I've never even considered playing Dark Souls, or games of that nature. I suspect I'm putting too much pressure on myself, and I don't notice that other people mess up on the same things I mess up on, just as much as I do.

Sometimes, identifying the problem is the first step to accepting that you have one. Good luck.

#35 Edited by napalmtrees (85 posts) -

I just recently (past two months) started therapy for OCD after dealing with it for years. This post makes me feel less alone about the whole thing.

Since I started exposure therapy, addressing my compulsions head on, I've felt really low. Having to confront my absurd behavior makes me feel embarrassed, stupid, and crazy. It's just kinda nice to know that there are others out there, even on my favorite video game site.

<3 you guys.

#36 Edited by WSGEXE (139 posts) -

I'm considering buying a PS3 because you can actually format your drive. Unlike on the 360 where format means "delete everything installed" and actually remembers your settings in every game you've ever played.

I'm fixated on keeping hard drives "clean." I wish there were a way to properly wipe your hard drive on 360.

This is my dumb hangup that genuinely keeps me up at night.

#37 Posted by SharkMan (728 posts) -

I have OCD but its not a keeping things clean thing, I tend to have more obsessive thoughts than anything else. and video games help distract me from thinking.

#38 Posted by SupberUber (329 posts) -

@porousshield: That sounds terrible, to me :/

Have you considered seeking help to get rid of it/minimise it?

I just recently (past two months) started therapy for OCD after dealing with it for years. This post makes me feel less alone about the whole thing.

Since I started exposure therapy, addressing my compulsions head on, I've felt really low. Having to confront my absurd behavior makes me feel embarrassed, stupid, and crazy. It's just kinda nice to know that there are others out there, even on my favorite video game site.

<3 you guys.

Daww ^_^

I hope it works out for you! Best of luck, dood <3

#39 Posted by Draugen (752 posts) -

Given what you said about the Unity stuff, how then would you handle a situation like the Watch_Dogs pre-order debacle, where there is not practical way for one person to get it all, or the "complete" version of the game?

#40 Edited by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

I thought this topic had died, only just seen the wealth of responses so I'll take a bit of time to go through and answer them individually. Until then though thank you to all of you for posting - wether it's personal, inquires or just a comment it's amazing to have such a response!

EDIT to apologise for the MOSTER follow up comment with all the personal replies. I just don't feel right if I don't individually reply, you've all been good enough to comment so I want to be good enough to read and respond!

#41 Posted by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

@bartok: Sorry to hear that your depression was untreated for so long - if you don't mind me asking, are you getting any help with it now? As to the unfinished games I can understand not wanting to feel like the escapisms that you have enjoyed are going to be taken away, but maybe there will be an unexpected joy in the closure of seeing something you've loved through to the end? As to the OCD and Pokémon, for the longest time I avoided that franchise because I knew I wouldn't be able to enjoy it without "catching 'em all." However, I finally took the plunge with X and I've just been enjoying the game as is, and actually enjoying it! As for trophies and achievements, they have been the source of some terrible times for me. Trying to get a party together at 7am after 24hours because I was in a different time zone and then boosting for 8 more hours AFTER that, hellish is indeed the word. But as with all things mental health and can and does get better with time and effort. Thanks for the comment and for reviving the thread duder, hang in there and if you need anything post a comment or feel free to PM me :)

@cranzor: As someone who has had some issues yourself you know that while they can be very painful and difficult to live with, they don't have to always be the epicentre of everything and I certainly have found so many more positive and good things in my life now that I have been through treatment and am working to apply that stuff every day going forward. But I totally agree that there is such a broad spectrum of ways people react to all kinds of media that scrutinising those reactions from different demographics can help us to understand the art forms we love even further. Yea, I said art there :).

@jeust: I am interested in what it is in life that the games are distracting you from (if you don't mind me asking) as that can often be a huge insight into how life in general feels for you when you work out what it is that you don't want to examine. I wish I had head that quote before because it is utterly insightful, not surprising considering it's from Jung but nonetheless thank you for sharing it. I will be keeping that one for future use!

@mithical: I certainly appreciate the wide range of very positive comments in this thread and although the other thread has some really interesting point I really do like what we have going on here :). Thanks so much for linking to it though, whatever the reassurance that there are others out there who have and are going through the things you are, it always helps. Relapses are a very cruel and very real part of all recovery, although I don't agree with the stance that some people have that you can never get better - there is certainly a much higher chance of falling into an unhealthy pattern if it's been something you're already so used to doing previously. I've had this kind of thing recently where a brand new OCD behaviour came out of nowhere and I've wasted a lot of money and time on it, now I've recognised it and am moving ahead again, but I know it happens and to not punish myself for being human and making a step back. I can (and so can anyone) step forward again. Thank you for the encouragement and know that it is absolutely returned, let me know in a PM or comment if there's anything I can do to help keep things going. Stay strong duder!

@deckard42: Thanks for reading! Wether or not you have some issues locking content - however trivial - from some people and not others is always crappy in my opinion.

@popeanonymous: Have you got any access to any kind of professional help with mental health issues? This honestly sounds like a pretty serious set of behaviours that are taking up a lot of your time and resources. I can understand a reluctance to deal with them because on the days where it's not so bad you can believe that the last time was the 'last time'. Then a bad day comes along, throws everything to hell and you're straight back to the destructive/unhelpful behaviour. While you're in the midst of that the last thing you'll be thinking of is getting help I'd imagine, it's just a case of satisfying the need to do whatever it is that triggers that. Please, if you can talk to someone and try to get this sorted. If it's causing such an unhelpful behaviour now, leaving it will only make it worse. Feel free to PM if there's anything I can do. People can and are willing to help make this something you don't feel youhave to do forever.

@supberuber: I've been through (and honestly still go through) those same patterns and they are very indicative of some form of mental health issue. It's so easy to feel like you're being 'lazy' or just 'not trying hard enough' but you feel like you're working at your limit, and you are. That's what depression did to me, it made my boundaries and possibilities so limited that the everyday life of normal working/studying hours felt completely impossible. Please don't feel like the past has been failures, it's not your fault if you don't know what's been making life so hard for you and you really have been struggling against those odds. Fortunately things really can improve with time, effort and help to deal with the underlying issues and then get into a routine of life that makes you feel fulfilled. It's a long and difficult process, but anything is better than the horror of continuing that current cycle of constant feelings of inadequacy and general ennui. Good luck and if you need anyone to talk to about this stuff feel free to comment here or send a PM.

@gruebacca: I'm really glad I could help give you a different angle of insight on this issue. I think it's so important for people who suffer to talk to others if they can, and for those who don't I'm always grateful when they listen openly and are ready to hear a state of mind that isn't there own - so thank you for that, it's a great sign of you being successful in psychology as not many people are able to empathise so well.

@porousshield: I have done EXACTLY the same thing. I've also felt the need to play with subtitles since I started with this behaviour so I can quickly read the lines ahead and then enjoy them being said and know I've not missed anything. I've also done the whole watching a let's play to find that line of dialogue, so really I understand where you're coming from. I don't have any specific strategies to combat that, but I would say that distraction techniques only work for so long. They are not fixing the problem and until you find a place or a way to do that you will face these kind of thoughts and over time they only become more and more demanding. I'm happy to talk anytime so feel free to leave a comment here or PM if there's anything I can do, but know that you are absolutely not alone with those exact behaviours and thought patterns.

@biospank: I try really hard not to compare how bad or severe mine or anyone else's problems are in relation to any other. If it's affecting you it's something that's important. However if you feel it's relatively minor and non serious then that's only a good thing, just make sure you don't downplay it if it really is affecting you. Thanks for the comment duder.

@mikaelboogart: First of all congratulations. You've clearly worked incredibly hard to challenge a very deep and destructive behaviour. I can only imagine how tough that was and the fact you've made such progress is a huge testament to your character and commitment to improving things in your life. I think everyone has that moment of realisation as to the thoughts/feelings/behaviours that have been plaguing them and realising it's actually a case of mental illness - I certainly had that with depression and the diagnosis of it. I flat out refused to believe it for the longest time, but acceptance really is that huge step that can lead to all the others of recovery. Anyway, congratulations again duder and keep on trucking.

@medacris: There are absolutely SO many misconceptions out there, it's pretty upsetting when you hear the same tired stereotypes trotted out again and again in relation to mental health - it's no wonder a huge amount of people have no understanding of how they can actually affect the day to day lives of those who suffer. I would very much like to read that post so please link it whenever it's done! As to the stuff you have dealt with in relation to games, it's behaviours I can either recognise in myself or certainly empathise with. The avoidance of 'hard' games is really interesting to me, I would have thought from the perfectionists streak in my OCD that I'd feel the same way, but it almost makes those kind of games seem like a challenge I have to beat just because they're there. Whereas the reality I'm sure is in the middle, they're things millions of people have played and enjoyed which are challenging but not that hard! If only we could convince our minds to be rational about this kind of stuff easily... Hang in there duder and good luck with the studies.

@napalmtrees: So much about your post is familiar to me, so please never feel like you're on your own with any of this stuff. I'd also encourage you to not feel about your behaviours that have been challenging in a way that makes you feel negatively towards yourself, there will have been a reason why those behaviours started and that's OK. You're doing the hardest thing of starting to identify and work on those issues, so you're going in the right direction! Keep at it and if you ever want to talk more feel free to post here or send me a PM.

@wsgexe: The fact that it keeps you up at night means it's obsessive and is probably pretty unhealthy. Any thought that can intrude when you'd rather be relaxing/sleeping is one that you can do without and the only way to challenge that is with decent strategies and/or professional help - wether that's pharmacological or psychological or both would be up to you. Until then though, just keep going forward and trying to understand what it is that makes you feel the need for that stuff to be 'clean', writing it down and picking it apart can help to make it seem less absolutely necessary. It helps to fixate less on the how to alleviate the obsession by giving into it and more on how to understand why it's powerful and work on that instead.

@sharkman: I totally understand the appeal of games as a kind of psychological opiate. They can absolutely serve that purpose but be careful to not ignore the core issue for too long, it will come around and bite you in the ass eventually!

@draugen: For me specifically the Watch Dogs thing happened at a stage where I was stronger in my challenging of my OCD issues so I was able to just get the standard edition. However, after the fact and during a lapse (the one which started the Unity thing!) I purchased a copy of the Ded_Sec edition. More for the physical 'swag' than anything in game particularly. It depends on the franchise honestly as to how strong the obsessive stuff is.

#42 Posted by MikaelBoogart (104 posts) -

@trueheresy: Thanks, TH! Best of luck to you as well. :)

#43 Posted by citizenarcane (14 posts) -

Thought I'd jump in and share my experiences. I've had OCD for well over a decade but after years of meds and therapy I've had it almost totally under control for a couple of years now.

I never felt the completionist urges that you're talking about, but my OCD revolved around relationship issues and occasionally games would trigger intrusive thoughts with the most random turns of phrase or images. Thankfully when it was at its worst I was able to find solace in games that had little to no human drama, where I could focus entirely on mechanics and distract myself. When I wasn't playing games I was ruminating endlessly or trying desperately to fall asleep so that I could stop my thoughts.

Thank god for games and a supportive girlfriend (now fiancee!). They kept me sane enough through the really low points so that I was able to get through the hell that is CBT.

Anybody with OCD who hasn't given CBT a shot -- specifically Exposure and Response Prevention -- please consider it. It's the hardest thing you'll ever do in your life but oh my god it works. The same intrusive thoughts that used to cripple me became toothless annoyances within a couple of months, and within a year the thoughts were reduced by probably 90%. Now when something "triggers" me, my reaction is more like "Geez, that kind of thing used to absolutely destroy me," and then I move on.

#44 Edited by SupberUber (329 posts) -

@trueheresy: Thanks!

I often like to describe the situation I’m in as being this green dude watching all these people around me build a life for themselves, while I just stand there, at square one.
It’s an isolating feeling, and it does take off a bit of that weight when I know that others are dealing with the same.

#45 Edited by MikaelBoogart (104 posts) -

@citizenarcane said:

Thank god for games and a supportive girlfriend (now fiancee!). They kept me sane enough through the really low points so that I was able to get through the hell that is CBT.

Anybody with OCD who hasn't given CBT a shot -- specifically Exposure and Response Prevention -- please consider it. It's the hardest thing you'll ever do in your life but oh my god it works. The same intrusive thoughts that used to cripple me became toothless annoyances within a couple of months, and within a year the thoughts were reduced by probably 90%. Now when something "triggers" me, my reaction is more like "Geez, that kind of thing used to absolutely destroy me," and then I move on.

Seconded!

To those who aren't aware of what Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) entails; rest assured that it is not like counseling style talk therapy. You may have seen tv show In Treatment, that is the sort of thing I mean by talk therapy. I was very hesitant about doing therapy because I didn't think it would help. I thought that because I didn't know what CBT actually involves.

So! CBT is largely problem specific. Let's say for example, you have a major phobia. Of bees. Getting stung by swarms of bees. You are so phobic of them that you have anxiety every time you go outside, and it rises sharply if you happen to see a bee. Over the course of a number of CBT sessions, your therapist will talk with you about a number of aspects of this phobia. Why you have it. What you think will actually happen if your fear comes true. Why this phobia prevents you from living a normal life. Your therapist will then work with you on exposure. Looking at a picture of a bee. Are you okay with this? Having a bee contained inside a glass jar outside the room. Okay? How about inside the room? Anxious? The idea is to get your anxiety up to about a 7 out of 10 severity (10 being panic attack), then calm you down, then back up, then down, the up again, and down over the course of as many sessions as required. The goal is to bring your anxiety level down, not to zero, but to, say, a 3 or a 4 out of 10.

You do that with a few of your major problems. You can then carry the lessons learned from this over to your minor problems on your own time. And it works. And I am a much stronger person, psychologically, now for having done it.

It is hard. And you'll probably reconsider signing on for it a number of times throughout. If your therapist is good, they'll balance your mental state right around that 7/10 anxiety level. They don't ever want to push you to panic, as that is counter productive to the process.

#46 Posted by Jeust (11369 posts) -

@jeust: I am interested in what it is in life that the games are distracting you from (if you don't mind me asking) as that can often be a huge insight into how life in general feels for you when you work out what it is that you don't want to examine. I wish I had head that quote before because it is utterly insightful, not surprising considering it's from Jung but nonetheless thank you for sharing it. I will be keeping that one for future use!

Do you know what? I know what I'm trying to distract myself from, and funny enough it relates to your issues and the way to deal with them. The way to end those circular thinking patterns is by will and understanding, understanding that you have thought enough about the issues that plagues your mind and holds you hostage, and having the unwielding will to stop them, and direct your thoughts. I have experienced that first hand and grew from it. I say it is my knack to know the human mind, and overcome my mental limitations: fears, limiting patterns and unnaceptable ideas. Fears that paralyse me, limiting patterns that make me less than I want to be and ideas I have a varying degree of trouble accepting. Acceptance is how I deal with them: acceptance of the idea that paralyses me, acceptance of my feelings, of the ideas that limit me and the ones I have trouble accepting, and changing my behaviour with the consciousness of them to the one I want. But all this comes at a heavy cost: it tires me to the point that sometimes I have difficulty remaining balanced, and focused on what I really want. Video games allow me to focus on something else besides myself, it is an artificial mechanism that enables me to relax when it hard for me to consciously will it, like drinking can drive a man to alchoholism. it's a copping mechanism. Although sometimes I abuse it because it's easy.

#47 Posted by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

@jeust: Have you done all the redirecting and restructuring of your thoughts yourself (as in without support?) If so it's no wonder that you'd find it tiring and have coping mechanisms to just give yourself a break from the constant struggle of getting those kinds of thoughts out of your head. Do you find that you're just blocking the thoughts out because you find them unacceptable or are you trying to understand there roots and why they are intruding when they do? Anyway, thanks for the details and keep staying as strong as you can. You're doing well man.

#48 Edited by Jeust (11369 posts) -

@trueheresy: I do. I came to understand my thoughts well, and got an idea of their structure too. I came to the idea that the mind is a rational structure, and there is a logical connection between each thought. And through its logic comes the thought patterns. My idea is not so much to get the thoughts out of my head but to accept them and move past them. But sometimes with so many accepted ideas it is hard to focus on the ones I really want, because I'm tired. I'm trying to understand their roots and why they are intruding when they do, but also the idea that they hold, so I can really understand my thought proccess, and the reason why I act the way I do. It's a hard battle, scary and uncompromising in thought.

Also I'm doing this almost by myself, having started it at fifteen years old. It's awesome, and intimidating at times.

I also feel OCD about my thoughts, feeling obsessed to know them in their more intimate nature. I got the book about OCD called The Man Who Couldn't Stop. Here is an article about it:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/apr/16/man-who-couldnt-stop-ocd-david-adam-review

#49 Edited by dekkadekkadekka (766 posts) -

It must be a sign that this post popped up..

I've been diagnosed with (at least) depression and general anxiety, and stupidly turned down CBT in favour of pills, and didn't take them. My main concern is my health, so basically I'm a hypochondriac who doesn't trust the results. Go me. I should be starting CBT soonish, as I still don't want to take the pills. Somewhat ironically, thinking about taking them is causing some level of anxiety in me.

As for how this relates to games? It doesn't really, in that I haven't felt like playing anything for months. This might be related to the fact that my first panic attack happened during a conversation with a friend while I was playing Broken Sword 5...

Everyone: Thank you for sharing and posting that video from Danny, your experiences and insights have helped me realise that I'm definitely not alone.

#50 Edited by TrueHeresy (56 posts) -

@jeust: Seems like an interesting if not internally contradictory (at times) book. I always find pop-psychology books an interesting dynamic between relate-ability and harrowing accuracy. One of the best books to strike that balance in regards to mental health is Wasted by Marya Hornbacher, although that verges on the side of harrowing more than anything else... Anyway, I have huge respect for what you're trying to do and seem to be achieving but as you said at the end, there is the danger of the analysis becoming an unhelpful cycle itself in the end. But again noting it is a start to improving it, I just worry it'll lead to another cycle of noting it and overanalysing and starting all over again. I really do appreciate your insight and experience as it's honestly not something I've ever come across before. It's a shame it's such a battle always, but I trust there is always calmer times ahead.

@dekkadekkadekka: I'm so glad that you've come to some form of realisation that you're not on your own with these kinds of issues and that CBT can be a very viable option, particularly if the pills are making you even more stressed! Thank you for being so honest about it, even that can be a huge thing to do in and of itself. My partner has emetophobia (a fear of being sick) which means that almost all medication is terrifying to her because of potential side effects so I can really sympathise with your situation.

I really hope the CBT helps - it is an incredible treatment but it does require effort to identify the things that are making your life difficult, but it's worked wonders for me in such a short period of time. I'm sure there are plenty of people here and elsewhere that would be glad to try and help you through that process if you need support - and by all means get in touch here or with a PM. Good luck and keep going duder.