19-year-old Llian shares how for her, the virtual gaming world is so much brighter than the real world.
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 Llian, a 19-year-old artist who was part of the project.
How has gaming affected your mental health?
Gaming helped bring my sense of control back during tough times in my life, especially over the COVID pandemic when everything felt as if it were falling apart.
It’s always been a blessing to play with friends on Fortnite and have a laugh when I’m not feeling too good in the real world. When I was kept away from my friends for so long, it was great to feel as if I was running around with them again when gaming.
Gaming helps me focus on tactics and notice my surroundings and how to overcome obstacles, whereas I normally zone out and sit in silence. There are always cool challenges, new areas and new game modes to look forward to every couple of months which gives me something to look forward to. Levelling up to complete the battle pass gives me some type of purpose meaning I have a reason to stay.
What inspired you to create this artwork?
My artwork was inspired by my past and current struggles with mental health and how gaming has helped connect me to happiness.
The left side of the project reflects the struggles and intensity of the darkness of mental health, highlighting key points such as greyscale and screaming for help. The work then “glitches” into a gaming realm filled with characters and bright colours streaming from the controller to portray the vibrancy of gaming. It shows how the virtual world is so much brighter than the real world and how you can escape your struggles.
The main message behind my work is that when you are gaming, you can distance yourself from the real world and be part of something you can make your own. The virtual world is yours to do as you please and you can be supported by so many friends whilst playing.
What message would you give to someone who is struggling with their mental health?
There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel. You may feel as if no one wants to help but, I promise you, we’d rather listen to your thoughts and feelings than listen to your eulogy.
Life may be hard but it’s okay to feel this way. You have to believe that your dark feelings are valid too and learn to understand and overcome them.
You have a place in this world, why else would you be here? Believe in yourself, happiness is waiting for you. There’s a future, and in it, you are alive.
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!