Gaming and Depression

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#1 Posted by croznad (5 posts) -

While I’m sure threads like this have existed in previous years, I’m fairly new to Giant Bomb and these topics are always good to discuss (I think)

Recently I was diagnosed with depression. I’ve recently finalized my divorce and moved a thousand miles from home, leaving my family behind. I’ve always relied on games to get me through life’s drama, but lately I don’t have the desire to pick up a controller.

My question to my GB friends is what do you play when you are feeling depressed? Do you still play games or do you try to do other things? Would love to gain advice from a great community

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#2 Posted by FinalDasa (3241 posts) -

It depends. Sometimes focusing on a game is what I need to take my mind off things. Other times I don't have the energy to keep up with a game.

But really whatever makes you feel better.

Not too long ago I moved and for the first time I was alone, in a town with very few friends, and trying to get my life together. I found that sinking into FF9 for the first time gave myself an excuse to switch off and just be absorbed into a new game. It also forced me to set up my PC, unpack my spare 360 USB controller, and eventually set up my desk. Little tasks that made my new apartment more mine.

But really, anything that makes you feel more at ease and more like you is all it takes. For myself that can be a Youtube series, old Giant Bomb streams or videos, or an old nostalgic game.

Feel better soon, you'll be just fine, change is always jarring.

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#3 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1434 posts) -

Hey, welcome to the community!

I've found that games like Diablo or Left 4 Dead can be relaxing to play when nothing else seems exciting. Anything sort of simple, that lets you turn your mind off for a bit but still provides a lot of repetitive and simple satisfaction.

It's important to remember that feeling less motivated to do things that you normally do for fun is a very common symptom of depression. I've had this happen to myself several times over the years. Go for a walk. Read a book. Try doing something creative--writing, drawing, making music, anything really. Get out of the house. Treat yourself to something nice. I recently decided to pick up some Warhammer models to put together. It allows me to do something with my hands and mind that's engaging in a different way than video games.

Remember that a diagnosis of depression is like a diagnosis of any other illness. If you're taking meds for it, tell your doctor how the meds make you feel, and be honest about it. It can take a few tries before you find the right meds. It's a process, but it's worth the process. And remember that you're not alone.

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#4 Posted by cikame (2947 posts) -

When i was a depressed kid i used to just listen to sad music and dwell in it, the only thing that got me out was a friend.
I don't think i'll ever be as depressed as i was back then, but if i don't feel like playing games or doing much else these days i watch Youtube videos, i have an extensive list of hilarious videos to perk me up again.
Here's one for free.

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#5 Posted by Sahalarious (802 posts) -

Im clinically depressed as well, and have found that my gaming habits vary wildly. When im at a particularly low point, nothing but something truly special can get me playing, but those games become all the more important as a result. Hollow Knight, Breath of the Wild, and Red Dead 2 all got me through extremely hard times, but cookie cutter games (i.e. anything Ubisoft, most EA stuff) is too mechanical for me to give a shit about.

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#6 Posted by Haz (434 posts) -

I don’t suffer from depression so I cannot completely relate, however I find that games in general are a good escape from life stresses. I’ve definitely looked to video games when I’ve been through dreadful times throughout my life.

Actually, @dannyodwyer made a video about 5 years ago on GameSpot’s The Point that has still stuck with me to this day. While it’s not entirely related to depression, it’s here if you’re interested.

In terms of games I‘d play when I’m really down in the dumps, I’d say Breath of the Wild is probably one of my favourite go-tos. It got me through a really tough part of my life. I‘m finding Fire Emblem: Three Houses to be the same type of thing currently, as I generally like playing games that are extremely deep in their worlds or characters, so that I’m completely distracted from my real life shit. Rocket League is also a good one to just turn my brain off and de-stress.

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#7 Edited by Tom_omb (1087 posts) -

I'm in a very similar situation. It varies between games. Some games hook me and I'm into them for a while, other times I find I need to force myself to play a game or even to turn on my console. Lately I'm just wallowing in the indecision of what I should play next. I often end up getting distracted by social media or lying around and doing nothing at all. Games are a good escape that provide goals that are rewarding and can improve my mood. It's okay to vary things up too. I've been enjoying the fun, breezy Ash vs. The Evil Dead on Netflix or getting out for walks and reading too.

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#8 Posted by psmgamer (128 posts) -

If i am depressed I'll find something else to do like listen to music or watch Youtube videos. Gaming really on if I am force to play a game or am having fun being lost in the game. You don't really want to have to force yourself to game if you don't want to. It's good to take a break from gaming and do something else.

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#9 Edited by OurSin_360 (6226 posts) -

I honestly hate to chime in on depression as it seems to be different for other people than it was for myself. I found that cutting games out,television and news(especially) helped me out a lot. However it was reframing how I saw things that really helped me, I started to not beat myself up over anything but at the same time taking full responsibility for my life and everything that happens to it. Positive self talk, affirmations (all the cheesy stuff), and reading a ton of self help and business books helped me out a lot while also setting goals and sticking to a morning routine. I think distancing myself from any negativity and constantly bombarding my brain with positive thought and videos are the main thing that helped. It didn't happen overnight but constant shifting in the way I saw the world helped.

I don't know if that would help you, but it helped me a lot. But I had to completely rewrite who I was internally and I'm not sure if it will work for everybody(or if everybody wants to do it).

I think the best bet is to not play around with depression and go seek counseling, I am one of the few who got away with not doing this but I don't recommend it.

I've recently gotten back into light gaming though and I find that a lot of games are just too dark for me. Although I am having fun playing the Warhammer 40K ARPG (it is dark but it's still fun lol)

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#10 Posted by someoneproud (668 posts) -

It's always worth talking about duder. I can be pretty similar I think in that a lot of times games can really help but sometimes I just can't muster up the enthusiasm to play. Games that often help me through my funk are games like Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon, lots of little goals to aim for all the time and I lose myself in them.

If games aren't doing it then listening to music can often work for me personally but by far the best thing is going to my local pub and meeting/seeing people. I have a habit towards being unsociable and it grinds me down after a while but once I get out there I inevitably feel much better.

Of course this is all subjective and stuff that has helped me but if you find something you enjoy doing and talk to someone (whether that be a professional, friend, duder or anyone really) when you're feeling down, I think you're on the right track.