“Having fun is fantastic, and I never want to lose a sense of that.”
Don’t Feel Guilty For Looking After Yourself
Look. I don’t have to tell you about what is going on in the world right now. For a lot of countries out there the current situation can be described as “shit show”. People are stuck in their homes while their (typically) older relations or friends are under real danger of dying unaccompanied. It doesn’t help matters that a lot of the governments of our countries response has been the uncaring “take it on the chin” or the frankly absurd “inject disinfectants“. But I digress.
I talk fairly openly on here about my mental health issues and it’s probably fairly obvious that the current pandemic is taking its toll and people with mental health issues (like myself). I am constantly worrying about my friends and loved ones (especially the older ones) and of course it grinds you down.
But it’s obviously taking its toll on the general public as well which is why seeing an endless string of people on Twitter (and other social media) saying that they feel like shit for being so unproductive during all this makes me feel sad.
I can see the chain of logic (ish), people are being furloughed and so are stuck home with lots of spare time so they are thinking they should use this time to do “something”. And while I can really appreciate that attitude, it’s the follow up attitude that really gets to me.
I have seen loads of people playing the new Animal Crossing game, playing through old classics like the Mass Effect trilogy (my partner and housemate are doing this) or generally enjoying video games more during this difficult time. But I see some of these people complaining that playing these games is them being “unproductive” and I’m here to say that they’re wrong.
Video games and “time wasting” have often found themselves in the same conversations, even making some headlines like this study from the WHO about how video games are bad for your mental health. But we all know that escapism is good for you, especially during a time of crisis.
Obviously there is a line that is crossed when it does become a problem, but playing Animal Crossing for a couple of hours a day isn’t bad for you. Video games are a great outlet for anxiety, depression and a whole range of mental health issues. I personally find video games a great way to deal with my anxiety and PTSD.
But it’s not just me saying that, here is an article where the WHO talks about how video games are good for you during this outbreak!
Yeh the WHO (and others) have had a stony relationship with video games but I’m not here to talk about that today.
The point is using video games, books, movies, drawing, writing, music or just some good old fashioned masturbating to escape from the current state of affairs for a few hours is a good thing. You are not wasting your time while you look after your mental health.
I have been told for years that using video games (escapism) to deal with my bad bouts with PTSD is a good thing. So why is it ok for me to do it but not you? Just because I have four letters as a diagnosis? That doesn’t sit well with me, it’s a tad insulting to me and quite frankly really fucking insulting to the everyday masses. I can play games cos I cry a lot but those without PTSD can’t because what, it’s embarrassing for them to want to cry? It’s wrong for them to feel that life gets a bit much?
This mindset is simply toxic and will only serve to make people feel worse for wanting to entertain themselves. It is important now, perhaps more than ever, to keep an eye on your general mental health and you must must must not feel guilty for doing so. There is nothing unproductive about looking after yourself, you are a human being with limits and there is no shame in that.
(I apologise for being a bit more aggressive in my language in this post but this is something that really matters to me.)
Thanks for reading! Until next time, remember to take care of yourselves. Peace!
An internet classic.