Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Keeping Your Chin Up

Is it just me, or does it seem like everyone is being diagnosed with depression at the moment? Understandable with the current economic climate I suppose. I've been lucky enough to escape being stricken by the depression bug, but it does make me curious about the link between WoW and this dehabilitating illness. Are people depressed because they play WoW, or do they play WoW because they are depressed? It's an age-old chicken v. egg condundrum.

Researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois found that 21% of gamers who played Everquest II infrequently were depressed, but with those who admitted to playing "all the time" the depressed total went up to 30% (source LA Times 2009). Not a massive difference, but I think you'll agree it's significant.

My personal view is that the depression came before the gaming, and that MMORPGs provide a sense of escapism for those suffering from depression, a sense of power, of control and of achievement that may be lacking in their real life. But I'm really interested to hear other people's thoughts on this! Do you know WoW addicts (former or current) who suffer from clinical depression? Do you think the game is to blame?

When you finally come full circle with that whole "sense of achievement" thing and stop feeling rewarded by the next ding or the next piece of gear, that's when real life rewards start to regain their meaning. It's taken me a while to feel that again, but I'm really pleased with how my little fledgling homemade jewellery business is going. This is the kind of stuff I make:

If you could stop by Facebook and share a like on my page it would mean so much to get your support: www.facebook.com/candyislanduk 


  1. I know WoW was the perfect vehicle for my gaming tastes and growing depression when I was around 15 (shortly after Vanilla's release). I was raised and forced to play a sport I did not love by my drug addicted, borderline abusive father and slowly coming to the realization that I was gay. Thanks to WoW I was able to put those issues aside and ignore them.

    It was when I first "quit" WoW my freshman year in college that I had to truly face my inner demons and did I have depression bad. I became suicidal over the next couple years and had to seek professional help to overcome my self-loathing born from the years of hate speech about homosexuality and confront the anger I had toward my father while dealing with my bouts of quitting and returning to the game sprinkled in.

    To this day I occasionally return to the game and immensely enjoy my time in game but each return is shorter than the one before and the times between re-subbing longer. My most recent return was after a five month break for about 3 days before uninstalling.

    Part of it is that I honestly enjoy the game. But I also know my desire to go back is when I'm feeling the most stress in my life or not wanting to deal with the next hurdle in my life. There's a familiarity every time I log in to the game, hearing that clanging sound when I hit "Enter World" that takes me back to my safe place I'd so often run to as a teen.

    Personally, I'd agree with the question you're asking but I can't speak for anyone else. Thanks for making this blog and good luck to you!

  2. When I first played, I csn say that yes, I was probably depressed, and wow allowed me to experience escape and fulfillment. Nowadays, I am much happier. I am married, a father, have a decent job, and am well on my way to getting a degree in something I'm passionate about (music!). Do I still play WoW? Yes. Am I depressed? Absolutely not. Even with those statistics, 70% of EQ2 gamers were not depressed. That's a good majority. I think that it's not only possible to have happiness and a real life outside of WoW: It's what most WoW players do.