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    • I've always had issues with elevated anxiety. I blame my tendency to always take on too much, then I get overwhelmed and my performance suffers as a result with all my responsibilities. But since losing my home in the Northern CA fires last year and having a son with a heart defect who has needed multiple surgeries and needs constant special care, I now have an intimate working knowledge of PTSD and what severe anxiety truly is.

      Two weeks ago I hit a breaking point. I'm not sure exactly what it was, probably a combination of the entire family getting sick two times in a row, an emergency trip to the ER, and not having as much help with babysitting, but I started feeling a heaviness in my chest. I could feel my heart beating and I knew it wasn't good. I couldn't concentrate on anything or handle the smallest bit of stress without breaking down. After shouldering so much, I had finally hit my limit. I went to the Dr. and sure enough, high blood pressure and elevated heart rate. She got me on anti-anxiety meds right away.

      I know it will be a marathon, not a sprint, to figure out if it will be just the right thing for me. Dosages may need to be tweaked or maybe another med would work better. So I stared looking up what I could do for myself in the meantime to help self mange. I came across this article.

      It makes sense if you think about it. Anxiety flares up when you are overwhelmed and feel out of control. So if you give yourself something to do where you are in complete control, it might work as a sort of therapy. I haven't played The Sims since I was in college. Maybe I should think about taking it up again?

      What do you all think? Has anyone had success using video games to manage anxiety? What else has worked for you?

    • When I was in high school, I had a health class where they had us take a stress inventory like this.

      I don’t know where “having your house burn down” rates on the scale but I’d guess it’s pretty high.

      To answer your question on using video games for stress management, when I was working at a school with frequent lockdowns to deal with violent student behavior, I would often spend time when I got home playing Candy Crush or a half dozen games of Facebook Scrabble simultaneously to disrupt my spiraling thoughts on work. Everyone is different and I don’t know what game would work best for you, the ideal duration and frequency of your play sessions, but I found that playing video games helped me in being able to bring my best self to a challenging, stressful and rewarding work experience.

    • It is surprising how much anxiety most of us have. It seems to get to almost everyone, whether they show it or not. Even if we tell each other how lucky we are and our problems are not nearly as great as many other people, anxiety still seems to creep in and distract us.

      Something that helps me is exhausting exercise. Maybe a hike in the hills for an hour pretty hard, or a run or bike. There is something about burning off excess whatever where my. body just doesn't get as anxious if I've had a hard exercise.

    • I'm doing that right now. I'm having anxiety about taking my great aunt out to see Christmas lights because she's fainted when taken out with me twice before, and even though she's on better medication for it now, I'm still super stressed out about it. I should be doing some art or work, but I'm logged into Overwatch instead.

      However, it's more escapism for me, rather than control. (I kind of do the same thing with reading fanfiction - a slightly cringey hobby, but I read fast and it's free.) Also little victories are important to me - I'm pretty much garbage at Overwatch, but every time I make a play that works, the anxiety lessens a bit. I actually don't get that stressed or anxious about video games in general, except in open-world multiplayer games where people just gank me for harassment.

    • I can't handle playing MMOs for that reason. Too much pressure, and I like to play games to have quiet me time, not to have more social pressures. I just got Parkitect, a theme park builder game. It's been a good Sim game to test whether it is helping, but I'm not sure it is. I just end up getting worried about why I'm losing money. I think I should just go back to FPSs like Wolfenstein and Doom. I grew up playing those and shooting demons or Nazis with shotguns always makes me feel better!