Over the years I have been suffering from long bouts of depression which I am being medicated for, sometimes I need a little extra help. Recently I have been using the video game Destiny and its sequel as another crutch to help me through the tougher days. Today I wanted to share my story.
Ever since it first came out in 2014 I fell in love with the game. The overarching story, although limited in its vanilla form, has worked as a mechanism for keeping me going. The core gameplay loop is very repetitive equating to little more than missions in which you must go somewhere, shoot, collect, rinse and repeat. The ease of gameplay kept me coming back for multiple small chunks, whether it was to do one strike or just amble round doing the weekly requirements. It is this repetitive structured loop and playing in short bursts that have given me something to focus on, especially on my worst days. All of it has really helped me to become more confident and driven me to go out of the house consistently.
The main story was over and done within about 8 hours but it takes time to grind to the top levels. Even today I have played for a few hours and managed to level up a couple of light ranks from where I was. Then add to this all the lore the developers (Bungie) have put into the game, the characters and the Grimoire card system (in vanilla and recently put back into Destiny 2) it really becomes something quite special. You start to discover new things about the world being created with each expansion release. There are several YouTube channels purely dedicated to the lore. It was these channels that helped me to flesh out the story in my mind, aiding in keeping my brain off other things going on around me and worked as a means for me to get on with my life.
To go in a bit further on my worst days. I wouldn’t be able to do anything, it would make me feel anxious about going outside but also anxious about spending all day inside. Destiny, while supposed to be a social game, I predominantly played on my own with brief respites of playing with a fire team. At some of my lowest points, I would turn the game on just listening to the sounds and view the beautiful skybox. My mood dropped even further than I thought possible at the death of my uncle, coupled with various other things going on so this was my way of escaping. I kept most of this a secret from everyone, well as much as I could. I had days where people knew something was different so they would tell me to just smile it off but I couldn’t even bring myself to do this. Some days it’s impossible to find the energy to do anything, I disappear off the radar as it becomes increasingly difficult to socialise and even be around friends/strangers. I know that friends have been lost because of this brain chemistry that is going on inside me.
Once again I have been having a bad bout of late, I received some news that knocked me for six and has brought my mind back to the awful place. One of the first things to go is my ability to talk to people like I would normally do and to write which is usually something that comes free flowing.
But like many times before and I been drawn back into the world of Destiny. There is a lot of new content to play which helps, of course, and with all the regular content updates I am now seeing the game as it should have been at launch. The latest story update sees you play what is a modern take on the cowboy on a revenge mission. You must avenge the death of Cayde 6 a character played by Nathan Fillion who I love from such shows as “Firefly” and “Castle” – in fact, the cast of the game contains some fantastic voice acting from amazing people.
During more positive times, I have pushed myself to do some of the raids. I never fully completed the first two Raids (Vault of Glass and Crota’s End), I reached the last boss of each of these raids and I always wanted to get stuck back in to finish them off but never have. They have always been a fantastic test but are very long and usually played with three people I knew and three I didn’t. It was difficult as much of the time I didn’t feel like I could talk, and communication with the fire team is essential as you all need to do certain things at certain points to get through the mission. I haven’t managed any of the raids in Destiny 2 or the Kings Fall Raid yet but I have been told that they are all just as good and intricate.
My love letter with Destiny continues, I can feel my depression lessening with each passing day, almost to the point where I feel comfortable with the social aspect and conversing but I am not quite there yet. Throughout all the awful times I kept jumping back into the world of Destiny even though friends had fallen out of the game, it became a coping mechanism for me. It’s something that I can keep going back to sporadically and leaving it behind when I have a new game to play. I hope that this helps explain to people why I am the way I am and that I struggle with things that most people wouldn’t even know about. It’s not usual for me to talk about my problems and the struggles I face openly. Opting simply to escape into games, if only to defer my problems for a couple of hours.
This might not be the healthiest way to go about things but for me, it works.
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