How gaming saved my life

In my case it was not a DJ, but a music game nonetheless.

It was 2008. I was let go from my job and I was home 24/7. My mom was in the hospital, as is usual for her once a year in that time. I am home alone. It sucks. I must have eaten something wrong, because my bowels give me hell… for two days. It changed me forever.

I was weak. I lost 3 kilo at least on two days. The physical was nothing compared to the mental.

Mentally I couldn’t go into my bedroom anymore. I slept on the couch from then on. I couldn’t go in the bathroom anymore either, it would give me palpitations going in there. I couldn’t leave the house, because what if my bowels would act up again. I had to conquer every single one of these fears.

It wasn’t all that bad. I just couldn’t leave the house, I coudn’t bath and I slept on the couch. I didn’t take a bath for approximately 3 weeks before I started to conquer my fears.

The game that saved me was Guitar hero 3. At the beginning when I had the most trouble to get my thoughts under control, when I was thinking about my body doing something weird and me making it worse by thinking that it could be my bowels again, I used Guitar hero to focus on something else entirely. I played it a lot. And by a lot I mean 8 hours or more a day, or it felt like that at least. It helped. I had to focus on the game. I was undiagnosed ADHD at the time, but the moving colours and correspondent button press helped me to focus on something else enough so I could get through the day.

Another thing that helped me, besides Guitar hero was standup comedy. Something I grab back to when things get tough, but it was gaming that helped me really single out my focus and became a sort of meditation to get my thoughts lined up enough so that I didn’t spiral down again. It helped me to focus through the worst of my thoughts so that I could climb out of the pit I had fallen into.

Why I write this post is easy: Covid-19. Corona. That bitch. That motherfucker. It. Not to go into detail, but the virus came closer than ever. The extent to how close, I still have to wait for, but my thoughts spiraled back to “Am I feeling sick?” Am I breathing heavier?” “What if?”

And it is this “What if” that is the most fucked up question of all. Once a “what if” got grip, it spiraled me down and would make things worse. I had to control my “what if” questioning. “What if” could get me to get a bowel attack out of sheer stress once I was on a bus. “What if” got me off of a bus once because I became short of breath and had to leave the bus. I had an anxiety attack (and that is the most fucked up thing a person can get).

Anxiety attacks are your own brain fooling you that something is wrong, but it hardly ever is. Your body gives off false flags and you must be strong enough to fight through it or to learn techniques so you don’t let it have a grip on you. Every thought in the process counts. It starts with the bodily signs. “My heart is beating fast. Is something wrong? My breathing is weird? What is happening?” I noticed a little before I started this blogpost that the questions like this happened again. I had to take control like I did and I had learned to.

I have to take control again. It is difficult but I now know how to do it. 2008 was a good learning school for what I need to go through now, with covid-19.

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