Complex PTSD sufferer; struggling to replace the soothing power of Second Life with something else, but it's quite tough.

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LifeIsCalling's picture
Last seen: 2 years 2 weeks ago
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Joined: 05/31/2014 - 11:16pm
Complex PTSD sufferer; struggling to replace the soothing power of Second Life with something else, but it's quite tough.

Well, hello! My case is probably going to be one of the more tough ones. Please go gentle on me. This is difficult, but I promise myself that I'll be as painfully honest as I can be in this supportive space. Otherwise, there is no hope of healing. I'll even share things, in my posts or in my future blog, that are teetering at the edge of my consciousness, hoping they'll be forgotten and not spoken of.

To make it as short as I can:

My current situation: I'm 36, female, highly sensitive person, unemployed, and unable to function due to the Complex post traumatic stress "disorder" born out of childhood abuse at the hands of my parents. :/ :( :( :( For me this means occasional agoraphobia (inability to leave the house), depression, anxiety, emotional flashbacks, and difficulty self-regulating. I have had good therapy, though I'm in-between therapy right now. It is due to my healing progress so far, that I feel more ready to embrace life. (And I -have- started reading Gabor Mate's book about addiction).

Gaming history: Gaming, on and off, since I'm 13; that's when I was abused... it's what pretty much saved me. At 15 I discovered virtual worlds and fell in love. Gaming is also what kept me sane and going during years of marital emotional and verbal abuse, when I became completely dysfunctional... gaming each day in MMO's is all that I could manage. It gave me a sense of routine, a sense of purpose, and of progress; provided me with social interaction, a common goal, and a "safe place". Every day, for hours, for 4 years. For a while, my life improved and irl social interactions, work, and college helped not to relapse. That was just a wave, because another one brought me to a burned out, insanely stressed, further traumatized place, and I fell victim to relapsing again. (Perhaps I'm prone to relapsing during periods when I desperately need a solid support system (doctors, therapists, etc), but do not have it?)

Gaming situation now: The disgust I feel upon logging out of online games and feeling harrowingly empty, is at peak levels, and I've severed connections to all of them, including MUDs. They make me feel too sick to be able to even look at them. However, one game remains, and that is Second Life. My reasons for loving Second Life are sort of different than that of many players (in which I feel alienated from most of them). But because these reasons are deep, my mind justifies my 12 years of still sticking around (and not deleting my account) by reminding me of how fascinating, educational, supportive, and interesting that world can be. I mean, it's homo sapiens' first attempt at a metaverse. My reasons are emotionally intelligent, too. I keep envisioning myself running a support group or two, or having a place that offers resources for the hurting, and continuing my blog in which I look for places off the beaten path, places of substance... and to give this world healing beauty. To unite it, somehow. Last week, when I deleted all games, I was sure I was ready to permanently leave SL. I donated my in-game money to a kind player who runs a place to help older and disabled players (these sort of kindnesses also make it hard for me to leave), and requested that my account be permanently deleted. Some days later, while my request was "pending", I decided to cancel it. I decided I wanted to rent a small plot of land that would be like a new safe place for me, and for other people who need support. Today, I stumbled upon an 12 steps "Anonymous" sort of group for mental health issues, and though I felt relieved and listened to, when I finally logged out and went for a walk outside, I felt creeped out. All of the glistening leaves and flowers in the park felt artificial, as though my sensitivity to real nature was dampened, and this scared me.

The fact that I can't escape is: that it's a game. After all that it is, it's just a game.

My intuition is powerful, and I keep intuiting that I can't truly join the real world and have the life I've always dreamed of, until I let go of this dead, withered one. When I bought a three month premium membership by mistake (and got a refund the next day, pleading for it), I felt something die in me. Something trapped me and wouldn't let me go. I had great trouble sleeping that night. When I got my refund, I stood taller, I walked with pride and purpose.

I may love something and be of true value to something, but it's wise to let go when it in no tangible, positive way serves me. Yes... my heart tells me this. But my C-PTSD just doesn't know how to cope with the painfully uncomfortable, confusing knot of feelings and emotions, without wanting to "chill out" in the soothing space of Second Life.

How scary C-PTSD is:


"Most, if not all, addictions arise out of a painful [childhood] experience." - "In The Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addictions" by Gabor Mate

Polga's picture
Last seen: 1 day 6 hours ago
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Joined: 02/17/2014 - 11:33am
Hi Svetlana

Hi Svetlana

Thanks for sharing your experience here. I hope you find some help here from other's experiences too.



Parent's online meeting THURSDAY 9pmEST/EDT click here

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Last seen: 2 years 11 months ago
OLGA memberOLGA moderator
Joined: 04/21/2014 - 3:03pm

Hi Svetlana!  The best thing I found was to give up all of the games.  The first couple of weeks is tough but it gets easier.  Going to the online meetings here with other addicts helped the most.  Hang in there.

Hugs, Lisa Video game free since 4/17/2014

Last seen: 1 day 10 hours ago
OLGA member
Joined: 06/04/2015 - 3:09pm

Welcome Svetlana.  Glad you found us here, because you'll find a lot of others who come from a similar place, both with gaming and with stress disorders.  The best way to meet them and find out what worked to turn their lives around is to go to the meetings.  It's fine to just show up and listen.  Here's the schedule:

Last seen: 3 years 6 months ago
OLGA member
Joined: 12/07/2014 - 12:59am
Welcome! I've struggled with

Welcome! I've struggled with depression and ptsd as well. When I quit games, things definitely got worse before they got better. But they have gotten much better since then. The meetings and getting to know people and build a community outside the gaming world helped a lot. You're not alone.

Last seen: 2 months 1 week ago
OLGA member
Joined: 03/19/2017 - 5:05pm
I have self diagnosed CPTSD

I have self diagnosed CPTSD after a neglectful childhood and I too became addicted to SL. I am like you in the way that when I was alone I found it incredibly soothing. When I let myself socialise though, it was hell, and it gave me even more trauma on top of trauma. I didn't need that.
I have occasionally thought since I left that maybe I should log on and make a safe space for people. Like you.
But then I realised that if I want it enough I can help people in real life. A helping area in SL would only keep me sucked in anyway.

I think all the while you were doing what you knew worked best - Gaming was your escape. But that person who found those resources was you. And you have it all in you to be your own soothing safe space without the need for games to be part of it.

Good luck with your journey to peace and happiness!

wazzapp's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
OLGA memberOLGA moderator
Joined: 01/04/2015 - 10:59am
Thanks for sharing and

Thanks for sharing and welcome to olga <3

Never alone, go to meetings <3 Mumble voice meetings on cgaa are great, see you there <3


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