Alicia, 18 from Cardiff, disagrees that gaming is a lonely activity and believes it’s a community.
This article is part of the Never Give In campaign, where 21 young Cardiffians were commissioned to create a piece of art showing how gaming affects their mental health. This is the story of Alicia, an 18 year-old artist who was part of the project.
How has gaming affected your mental health?
Gaming is a really unique experience. There is a vast majority of games like classic shooters to more indie peaceful ones. I’ve found that behind every game there are countless fan clubs, servers, and various groups of people who follow games. There is a group for absolutely anyone.
Games are a community based activity that allow you to connect but also seclude yourself if you want to. The borders of what one can identify with and/or become are your creativity and the game. I personally have struggled with mental health and identity quite a bit but having video games (Xbox and pc) has helped me express all sides of myself and nurture parts of me that feel suppressed by the outside world.
In video games no one cares what your avatar looks like or dresses. You can be who you want to be completely free of feeling judged or self-conscious. You are protected because people on the game only know the you that you project through your character. On top of this your gender can completely be hidden so you can play whatever game you like and be treated equally.
Video games are a change of environment, a place of community, somewhere you can take self-expression to the next level. Yet it’s simply a game. I’ve found it to be a tool for various types of self-therapy. You learn about yourself as you play through the options you choose or the avatars you tend to choose. They can also uncover things you are really good at such as teamwork, strategy, communication and the list goes on. There are apps such as discord where groups of people join to discuss games and talk to each other. Video gaming is not a lonely activity in the slightest.
Tell us about your piece
My digital piece has 4 entities, the one on the left is an interpretation of the kanji written meaning ‘identity’, on the right an entity being ‘super ego’, in the middle a shadow entity with a smaller form in front, depicting the kanji written above ‘ego’.
The background is a glitchy iridescent space portraying the importance of the ethereal characters.
This is the creation of a character influenced but not necessarily true to the creator, an extension of oneself.
Struggling with your mental health? Check out TheSprout’s Mental Health Information Page where you can find loads of local and national support services.
If you’re sharing our posts from the Never Give In campaign on social media, remember to use the #PositiveMentalGaming hashtag. Feel free to tag us so we can see what you’re sharing!