Animal Crossing and My Mental Health

before he watched this video I just want to give a heads up that it will be going into detail about the topic of mental health and mental illnesses mainly depression I won't be mentioning anything graphic don't worry but I wanted to provide heads up nonetheless because I know

that some people can still find it triggering to listen to stories about the subject matter although it may be a challenge to get through upsetting content like this I do want to encourage people who might be on the fence to give this video a chance because I found

that listening to other people's stories can help me reflect on my own at the end of the day though remember that you can always close the video and have no obligation to watch it from start to finish or even at all so thanks to the disclaimer I just

threw at you you probably already have some sort of ideas to where this video was heading if I'm being honest I didn't really intend to make this video in the first place when I finished my last video Thurid small over the list of games that I have that

I want to make videos about someday and nothing really popped up to me so being in a rut and not knowing what to do I talked to a friend for some advice and he brought up Animal Crossing Animal Crossing is a series that I entered very late compared

to other people with new leaf being my first game and I only got to play a new leaf in the summer of 2015 I never really bothered to go back and play the older games because when I got hooked on new leaf I was hooked I had no

reason to play the game similar to it especially ones that had less they're doing them when it came to capturing footage for this video though I don't have a 3ds capture card and don't want one so I figured that emulate Ella by by I meant by and legally

play the first Animal Crossing on GameCube and up until that point I was just planning on making a video on how Animal Crossing is special and what it does to hook the player and keep them coming back every day and and just make it a typical YouTube video

on video games but when I got to actually playing I began to experience a lot of familiar feelings I'm not even gonna say creeping up on me because that's not what happened they flooded back into my mind and reminded me why I really enjoyed new leaf at all

in the first place and why I inevitably came crawling back to the series my experience with depression mental health is something that not everyone understands a lot of people think that depression is something you can notice that it's just feeling sad every now and then that people who

are diagnosed with depression because yes you can be diagnosed with depression can function normally throughout their day and just hide the pain that you get to choose when to feel depressed and when you don't like there's some sort of off switch that all it takes to fix it

is talking to a friend going to therapy or taking medication because making those decisions is so easy right it's not an in reality in my experience at least none of those will one single cure you can ask any therapist and they'll tell you this talking to a friend

is really not as helpful to a clinically depressed person as a lot of people seem to think it can be helpful I don't mean to sound harsh and say that you shouldn't go to your friends because they can't give you good advice that's not what I'm saying at

all going to your friends for advice feels great because it lets you hear a second opinion and get thing off your chest but it's not a substitute for therapy advice isn't always the answer advice doesn't cure depression when people ask me for advice I always try to help

but given my past experiences and what I've learned during my time as an RA at University you need to know when something is bigger than you there are going to be times when someone comes to you with a problem and really the best thing you can say is

have you considered going to therapy because there are things that only a therapist can help you out with a lot of things telling someone to go to their friend for advice on how to fix their depression is like telling someone use a band-aid instead of getting stitches it

might work if the wound is small enough and stop the bleeding temporarily but you need a better long-term solution and that solution could be therapy but there's a lot people don't realize about it the biggest thing being that it costs money a lot of money on average a

session of therapy cost $200 some people just aren't comfortable with making that commitment especially when you're suffering from depression when you're depressed one of the last things you ever want to do is commit to something like that it feels like you're in a cycle of feeling bad but

not being able to do something about it there's this misconception that depressed people don't want to feel better they just want to feel sad all the time and make sure that people know they are and the messed up thing is is that I've actually met a person who

has admitted to making every small problem that maybe insignificant to them a big deal around other people so that they can keep the attention on them so I do see where that messed up line of thinking stems from but people with depression do want to get better they're

just unable to act upon that desire most of the time and putting the issue of high cost aside you also feel afraid of being vulnerable to a stranger of all things a lot of people don't even feel comfortable reaching out to their friends and family when they suffer

from depression why would they go to a stranger to be clear therapy has helped me and a lot of people I know immensely and I highly recommend it to anyone who knows that they need it I am NOT saying it's a bad choice to make if you're in

a bad position I'm saying it's a hard one and people need to appreciate that that first session with my third therapist because the other two didn't work out with me sitting on the couch while my therapist asked me why I was coming in it was rough there's not

really much I've experienced that's like it having to even just your problem that loud it can really hurt and then there's the classic just take antidepressants line that comes up every now and then medication does not single-handedly cure you of depression if I had a dollar for every

person I met who saw that I was on antidepressants and followed up by asking so do those just make you super happy when you take them or why do you even need those you seem fine I probably only have seven dollars but you get what I mean medication

when you finally actually find the right medication only levels the playing field they're not miracle drugs they don't just make you instantly happy they balance the neurotransmitters in your brain to not make you sad a all the time that's what they do it only gives you back control

for a lack of a better way of putting it what you do with that control whether it be go to therapy to try and break out of your nasty habits or continuing those habits and not actually taking your medication as frequently as you're told is just more of

a choice for you to make now and all of this all of this is why I almost never talk about mental health and my experiences with it publicly I sometimes even regret talking to individual people about it there are so many misconceptions out there and I know that

by not talking about it and being an advocate for ending the stigma that I am a part of the problem it's an endless cycle people not understanding because people like me don't want to help them understand because people don't understand and make assumptions because people like me don't

help you you get it so what does any of this have to do with animal crossing for a lot of people nothing for me everything animal crossing was the game that I played during the summer of the year that I learned I had depression I would also later

go on to find out that I suffer from a form of OCD as well but that won't be too relevant for this video and let me tell you that here was a goddamn struggle it wasn't because I would cry or anything like that that's not how it went

down it was more like like the smallest things would bug me more than they should I didn't want to go outside because I was tired but also didn't want to stay indoors because I was contributing to my own depression I felt like I was wasting my life playing

video games but also didn't want to do anything else I wanted to eat a lot of comfort food but would shame myself because it would mean that I would gain weight just a ton of like that there's really no winning when you just let yourself stay in that

mental state and when you can't help but keep yourself in that mental state one of the things I mentioned was my video gaming habits and when I look back that was probably what got to me the most I've always played video games for as long as I can

remember but this summer for the first time I had felt like an actual addict I was relying on them like some sort of drug that would make me feel better except it didn't it just helped pass the time and without a job friends who had the free time

to make plans with or school to focus on time was just there to indicate when it was time to sleep this may sound overly dramatic to some but this is really how a lot of people feel and have felt to this day it just goes ignored because it's

not easy to spot sometimes I play games like Fire Emblem awakening and Kid Icarus Uprising into the night just hoping to feel at least a bit accomplished when I beat them but that feeling never came I just checked the games off my backlog and moved on then I

came across Animal Crossing looking back I actually don't really know what got me to buy the game I watched a few Let's Plays in live streams of it I guess I just didn't have anything else to play and it seemed like it would be worth the money because

of how long the game can last and it helped a lot the rest of this video is gonna sound really really really really really cheesy but this game made me more self-aware and helped me get to a place where I realized what I was doing was unhealthy I

needed to find a way to end my bad habits and it sounds so stupid but this game helped me get there how first off it gave me something to do something to look forward to every day when you're in that state of mind that depression puts you in

you don't really have that by default you don't have something to look forward to each and every day you go to sleep not thinking of what you're gonna do tomorrow you go to sleep because it's nighttime or in worst cases because you crashed because you were up too

late doing whatever it was you were doing animal crossing changed this for me it told me to keep coming back the next day for more features to be unlocked to prevent villagers more to build more public works projects to participate in monthly events like the summer solstice or

fourth of July events to expand my fishing and bug collection to help the city expand Animal Crossing by no means was a proper substitute for having things to do in real life like having a job going to school or working on side projects like YouTube or whatever else

but at the time when I needed it too it filled that hole that was present the hole that I was too depressed to fill myself by going out being proactive and I'll get back to that in a bit secondly it gave me people to interact with I was

in my room almost all the time if I wasn't in my room I was in the kitchen or the living room and if through some act of god I left the house it was for dinner or shopping the family I didn't have new interactions with people or even

regular interactions with friends as often as I would have liked animal crossing introduced me to villagers with different personalities and has more and more of them move in after you begin the game then some move out and others take their place and the cycle continues and yeah I

know that there are predetermined personality types that the villagers all have which makes them extremely similar to other villagers with the same personality type but the favors I performed in interactions I had with every villager felt different because they were different as in different villagers I found myself

talking to some more than others some would ask for more favours others would ask you to do things like play hide-and-seek at a time where I wasn't really meeting up with people that often because of my mental health issues Animal Crossing again filled that small void that needed

to be filled and I will say it again for anyone who may be misinterpreting this video games are not a proper substitute for real-life duties responsibilities or needs but when you're depressed or going through a rough time it's hard to see clearly you need a slight shove in

the right direction whether that shove is from a friend or random conversation you have both a stranger along talk with a family member therapy or in this case a video game about living in a town of animals it's ultimately what gets the ball rolling and helps you get

back up on your feet third the game balanced things out when life didn't there were a lot of nice things that were happening around me in the game I met my neighbors every interaction with Isabel was pleasant I got to furnish my own place but there were also

some obstacles in the way I had to pay off my debt to nook I had to gain the affection of citizens I just met to become mayor and I had to gain trust from NPCs like sable meanwhile real life consisted of a bunch of smaller obstacles all stemming

from one big one being my depression getting out of bed was a burden eating anything made me feel guilty not eating made me feel tired some nights I just couldn't go to sleep so I'd stay up until sunrise other nights I would crash just because I left the

house for an hour or two which was exhausting for me at the time mentally I didn't have a lot of wins at the time and it's not like I was asking for all wins I just wanted balance something animal crossing delivered a bit of the good a bit

of the bed but in the end you are the one in control of how everything goes to me at the time that was something I couldn't even imagine having in real life finally in this may sound darker than I mean for it to be it bought me time

every rough patch ends but knowing that isn't really enough in most cases as sad as it may sound the game bought time for me by giving me daily tasks and things to look forward to every day I had something to look forward to every day that's not something

I had in real life at the time I cannot emphasize enough how much that time sucked and I'm lucky that it only lasted one summer could I have made it easier by talking to the people around me about it yes but I didn't even know that I was

depressed at the time the feeling was so foreign to me it wasn't sadness it was depression the two are so different one is an emotion that leaves you after a while the other is a state of mind that's as hard to get out of as a twenty-foot hole

that you feel like you've dug for yourself I ended up blaming the board of my experience from not going out more often for how I felt I blamed my mixed-up sleep schedule I blamed the people around me I didn't get that moment of oh wait I have depression

that's it like you would if you had a cold or food poisoning because that's not how it works in the end playing Animal Crossing yeah there's no way to avoid how cheesy the sounds in the end playing animal crossing helped me transition back to the person that I

used to and want it to be it got me to a point where I figured I don't need this game anymore I realized that I could be as efficient and productive as I was in the game in real life I could be out and about just doing my

own thing not having to rely on anyone and accomplishing my own goals in this spare time I had so I took a break from the game and did just that I took the initiative to get back to working on my old and now deleted youtube channel I took

the initiative to make plans with friends rather than waiting for them to ask me to do something when they were bored I took the initiative to start going back to therapy I took the initiative to get back on my medication which I had stopped taking without permission from

my doctor which by the way don't do that if you're on antidepressants it is one of the worst things you can do it may work for some people but for a lot of people it doesn't it sounds dumb but I went around playing Pokemon go for an hour

a day just walking around my neighborhood and having fun and when I did come back to Animal Crossing it wasn't because I felt back into my old depressed habits it was because I wanted to use it as a crutch in the process of helping me recover it was

the first tool I used to help myself in a time where I was really struggling and I wanted to continue using it to keep me on track and I will repeat myself once more video games are not a substitute for therapy medication or even reaching out to a

friend or family member for help I got lucky things could have and in other situations have ended up so much worse for me because I didn't want to get help please don't take this video as me telling you to rely on video games or whatever else you find

comfort in all this is just me sharing a story a story about a video game that helped me in a really rough time of my life so yeah when people ask me why Animal Crossing is special to me I of course go on about how it's the first

game of its kind that I ever connected with and how having it on 3s was just so convenient for me because I could pick it up and put it down at any time but behind all that this was the main thing that brought me in and got me

to stick taught me to stick until finally the game was no longer something I needed to help myself from my mental illness but it was just a game I could sit down and relax with for 30 minutes a day in between other things I needed to get done

if you've made it this far into the video thank you I know what may have come off as a bit rambley it's just I find it hard to articulate sometimes when I'm telling a personal story rather than how I feel about a video game or book or movie

or whatever really this video was more for me than anyone else if I'm being honest with myself I felt like I needed to get this story off my chest somehow and I figured this would be the most appropriate way to do that I appreciate that the interest in

a video like this probably wouldn't be as high as something like a 15 minute video on Sonic the Hedgehog but I wanted to talk about the game and my journey with it nonetheless as far as the possibility of a video that actually goes into Animal Crossing and one

specifically I find to be good about the game that I want to save for whenever the newer one comes out if I did one before that I wouldn't want to do it on any game other than new leaf which I have way to get footage of so all

that said thank you very much for watching and I will see you all next time take care

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