Our Nerdly Hobbies: From Therapy to Escapism.

geek culture 0 comments

If you follow me on Twitter or know me IRL, you may have picked up that I spend a ton of money monthly on health care. Mental health care, specifically. For the sake of mild activism, I try to be “out” about my disability: I am on the severe end of the Bipolar Spectrum with a ton of comorbid disorders. For those that don’t know, BPS is genetic and can be seen on PET scans, and has high correlation to other debilitating disorders such as epilepsy (don’t have that), migraines (got that), and PTSD (yep). I think it’s important to be out, and I work very hard to maintain a high level of functionality: if you met me in person, there’s a really good chance that you wouldn’t guess how sick I am. Also, I’m tired of passing: it’s exhausting to pretend to be something I’m not, and it’s selfish when it comes not only to other mentally interesting people but also those neurotypicals who know little about mood and brain disorders. People should understand that there is much that can be overcome, and despairingly much that can’t.

To understand, and be understood, is to be free.

I’m not saying any of this to get sympathy, any more than someone living in a wheelchair probably would. Very few disabled people like to feel like victims. We’d rather just be people. One of the best things about my “family” here at Causality is that everyone treats me as a fully-functional person and I can be honest with them when I’m having a challenging time with my illness. (I’m also privileged enough to be able to set my own schedule, to a degree.) They’re incredibly supportive, and my work on this tiny little scifi show gives me a kind of hope and drive that I wouldn’t otherwise have. It gives me a goal, and the knowledge that people rely on me for their own hopes and dreams. It gives me a reason to go on, in the hard, dark times, when my brain, the very organ that a human needs the greatest, tells me the biggest lie of all: that I am ready to die.

…your journey can be a lonely and difficult one where you feel overwhelmed by the world, but upon admitting you need the help of others, you can summon the help of people willing to offer a hand, and whilst they may not remain in your world, they make the journey a lot easier for the time being.

So, all this is a prologue to a great article that I read on The Border House recently about depression and gaming by Jordan Salari. Yes, I am a gamer. I don’t call myself a geek, but it’s probably the geekiest thing that I do with any frequency. I think there are things in his article that cross over into any geekery: the fine line between dangerously addictive escapism and the freedom that imagination and hope give those who live with challenging mental and emotional conditions.

Gaming helped me realize that for all the varying forms of reality they had to offer, they all had something in common; they offered purpose, something which I’d lost in my life, and worried that I’d never find again.

Go read it. I’m betting that more than a few of you will find something in there to relate to.

Posted by   @   January 26, 2012 0 comments
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