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: https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2013/04/28/complex-ptsd-is-an-isolating-severe-exhausting-disorder/
"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