Video game

My gaming addiction turned me into a living zombie – The Telegraph

If this gaming addiction centre were up and running when I had my problem, I would be at a real university now. 

Not long ago, my life was falling apart. 

In just two years, I spent close to 3,000 hours playing video games, usually for hours at a time without moving.

Today, my knees dislocate when I crouch because of how long I sat at my desk. My muscles have deteriorated because I haven’t used them and I’m winded when I walk for five minutes.

At the peak of my addiction, I’d start playing at 9am every day and I wouldn’t finish until 11pm. I’d sometimes pull all nighters and then fall asleep at my desk. I felt like a zombie. 

Instead of going to school I prioritised gaming. I gamed instead of going to the shower, instead of eating. I even held out from going to the bathroom for as long as I possibly could so that I could play games.

My addiction to gaming started after as a way to copy with my autism and anorexia. My attendance at school dropped  80pc to 20pc in a matter of months after I was a diagnosed.

But school had no idea that there was anything wrong with me. They simply thought I had lost interest.

None of my teachers helped me with my gaming addiction. I feel ashamed to say that there have been times when I saw my peers go to university and I felt so angry at them, so bitter.

When I was failing everything, I clung onto games because they made me feel smart.  It was a shallow sense of achievement. When I completed a level in a game, I would get a boost of adrenaline, but then almost instantly I would remember how empty my life was. I thought, I can’t do anything in real life, but I can do this.

After I turned 18 , I was dropped by the child mental health services and it took well over a year for me to be re-referred to a psychologist. I felt even worse because I had the answers but couldn’t fix what was happening to me. I attempted to end my life a handful of times before they got me an appointment.

Sometimes I thought of myself like Rapunzel, I felt like I was stuck in my room. But no one was trapping me there except me. 

I don’t think I actually reached a Eureka moment. I reapplied for the same course and since then my life has improved and it’s so much better.

I’m still here, in the same bedroom I have been in since I was two. 

We cannot blame the game for the addiction, it’s not the game’s fault. It’s the environment. Videogames are art, this is someone’s creation. Just because someone like me got stressed out by other crap and decided to pinpoint on their games doesn’t mean they deserve the blame.

There is so much ignorance about videogames and that’s an important reason why it was so laughed at when before it was classed as an addiction. Videogames are viewed as trivial, which simply isn’t the case.

Imagine how lost other kids are without the self-awareness that I have? It breaks my heart that there are thousands of children that aren’t able to get away from their computer screen.

I’m doing social sciences at Open University. I would like to set myself the task of being a psychologist.

As told to Natasha Bernal


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