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Starcraft & Mental Health

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A blog post I wrote at TL that I thought I'd share with you guys - since you know me better

I was planning to start my blog here with a post about my stream http://twitch.tv/logan_ps and a little bit about myself and what brought me to TL.net. However, I've now mentioned my stream and the reason i'm here is pretty obvious - I share a love of Starcraft and gaming generally. Other than that, I'm pretty devoted to gaming,having founded Coltsplayground.net (now closed) and my current community http://playstuff.net .

Instead I'll focus on why Starcraft has come to mean so much to me. I read a couple of great posts, this one in particularhttp://www.teamliquid.net/forum/view...opic_id=297029 dealing with Ladder Anxiety.

I have recently been diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder with associated anxieties, including agoraphobia. I'd had a 15 year career in a stressful job and had a mental breakdown a couple of years ago - I'm still recovering and have only just managed to get the right help. I have been put on meds that really feel like they slow my brain down. I was an FPS gamer - CS:S and TF2 to a good level. Since my meds, I've started playing Starcraft II. I love it. A friend linked me to a Day9 Daily and I was hooked.

I've played alot - the main reason being it's the only thing that makes my brain work - wakes me up, so to speak. It feels like my tool against the dullness these meds bring with them. All was well for 2 seasons of Ladder. However, although I've practiced daily, hugely improved my macro and learned alot of 'theory-craft', I remain stuck in Bronze league.

It started to become so important to me to prove to myself I could advance. After all, I'm a halfway decent chess player and long time Civ / AoE gamer. With need to improve came higher expectations - and increased anxiety.

I'm sitting here now knowing the only chance I'll have of enjoying a wakeful brain today is if I can get on ladder and start playing - I know it will be fine afterwards. I am definitely going to press the Find Match button when I finish typing this, but more importantly, I'm going to apply the same approach to my entire days. That first step , when I usually feel fear, could, I feel, legitimately be described as adrenaline based elation - I'm just not reading it right and feel fear. It applies, for me, to going out for a walk in the woods, as much as to SC2. I guess I'll be told all this stuff when I finally get passed the Psychiatry stage and onto Psychotherapy then CBT (which is apparently the order I do this all in)....

Without wishing to be a total emo, SC2 feels like a life saver for me. The community is great and I feel surrounded by people who share a nerdy background, enjoying something with the same vigour of a Baseball fan. I guess ultimately that's why I want to get better; peer respect (or rather, a lack of feeling like a derp bronzie)....

All I need to do now is press 'That Button'; and ironically, the same can be said for pretty much every other element of my life at the moment. If I can beat Ladder anxiety, I can beat - or learn to live with - mental illness. I'm sure of it.

By the way, if anyone wants a mentalist practice partner i'm Logan 729 on EU and Logan 1443 on US.Last edit: 2012-01-03 09:06:20

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  1. Sloth's Avatar
    I think the good folks over at http://www.gamessavedmylife.com/ would probably like a post about your experiences, Colt. Good luck with the Silver League (which I assume comes after Bronze, right?).

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