I’m bemused that even thinking about trying to explain this fatigues my poor bipolar brain… ah well. Hopefully I can hit a few of the key points!
Firstly, I’ve been a gamer since I was 3 or 4. I remember waking up before everyone else to play Atari during G.I. Joe (as my parents didn’t permit me to watch it for some reason that I cannot recall). I had a crush on Link as a little girl, and used to tug my ears to try to make them pointier so I could go to Hyrule and adventure with him. I had a Nintendo Power subscription, a Game Boy, the works. It broke my heart when Nintendo moved away from real gamers to casual gamers, because it was not a road I could follow them on anymore (not to denigrate casual gaming; I tried to stay loyal to my first console love and got dumped). PC gaming and I started our love affair in the early 90s with Wolfenstein 3D and the first Civilization, and continues to be a vital part of my daily life.
In short – I love games, and they love me. But I came to a realization lately — they are filling the gap where most people would say… climb mountains and achieve things. That isn’t to lament lost time, ’cause it has been time well spent and well enjoyed. It has helped to keep me sane over the past 17 years of questionable health, both mental (bipolar) and physical (???).
You see, I take commitments very seriously. If I say I am going to do something, I expect myself to do it and do it well. So while there are people who were impressed with me finishing NaNoWriMo, I only even gave it a go because I knew it was within my abilities and spoonage to pull it off… or at least, strongly suspected it was going to be possible, a high enough chance to warrant giving it a go. But for the most part, I cannot and have not been able to count on my brain with its bipolar or my body with its… whatever the hell… to hold together for any meaningful commitment to a task. Gaming, even the open-ended sort I prefer, gives a steady sense of minor accomplishment; I might not get the endorphin buzz off of it, but it’s something to fill my time that feels vaguely productive and vaguely fun.
Anyways, it’s better than drinking and doing drugs, ha ha. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t try to get out of the house and try new things and meet new people. I’m just grateful that it’s something that helps me cope. And as I said yesterday, coping –is– the name of the game.