A few players commented on how the MMORPG environment helped them deal with self-esteem issues, and how the game empowered them.
I have GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), and depression diagnosed. This causes me a lot of trouble 95% of the time. I even had to go to an alternative school because I couldn't handle my other high school due to anxiety levels. Then, I was able to make it through one semester of college. But the second semester fell through. I had more classes that seemed to provoke anxiety, my OCD was getting out of control, which prevented me from going to classes, which in turn ate away at my grades, and everything except the sport I was involved in went on a steep decline. I had to withdraw from college (I plan on doing something online and such...I didn't drop out) and come home.
Still, I am plagued with anxiety since I'm home by myself all day. The game allowed me to be with people, even if we were, in reality, millions of miles away. It also took down my stress level, lessening the anxiety I felt while at home. I'm also a lone wolf sort of person ... a social outcast. I had never fit in before college, and was always being made fun of. I had little to no friends ... and through 12th grade, I had one best friend and two school friends whom I haven't seen or heard from since graduation in the summer of 2002. My best friends are all online friends and live in other states from me now. Playing the game allowed me to become an entirely different person ... it allowed me to start over. I'm not a social outcast in the game. I don't have a single enemy in the game, and I try to make friends with just about everyone (except the monsters). I'm accepted there, and since I get to participate in more conversational things in the game, it actually helped me to understand how I should behave with a group of people in real life. Things I should say, things I shouldn't say ... I'm still learning that.
My parents just got divorced after the process took two years to complete, and are now living in separate houses. They have a ton of arguments, still, which drives me nuts. My father isn't the best of people, either. He's not understanding at all of my disabilities, and before they split apart, my mother was never home to talk to. I have a younger brother (by two years) that isn't going to school either because of depression, and I worry about him a lot of times as well. Playing the game enabled me to forget all my troubles in real life and become the character I created. I would rather spend my time in the game then in real life because of this.
So, once again, the game allows me to become someone else, make a clean start, and interact with others and be who I want to be. I can't protect all the people I want to protect in real life because of how far away we live from one another. But in the game, I can protect others. I can be strong, and I don't have to worry about a disability. I can also see my friends and make new ones. It's a good coping outlet for me while I try to get my life straightened out and put all the pieces back together. Because when I role-play my character, I don't have to worry about anything except for what I'm going to do next in the game. [Other, F, 19]
I did play Underlight for almost 5 years, at the end I pretty much burned out. I am glad what happened in the end for me to realize that I wasn't living a reality. I looked for a game for self esteem and self worth. Games sometimes become addictive not because they are great games, but because we go looking for something that is missing in our lives, because of a feeling that someone in this game is giving you. I feel that people that already have a addictive personality should really stay away from these games because once they suck you in its really hard to be sucked out until something bad happens in RL or in the game itself. I have cried, I have laughed, and I have loved in this game and I will tell you right now I think at that time of my life I just needed to go through it before I could face the world again. [Other, F, 36]
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