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NEW VIDEO: I Quit MMOs and THIS Happened

A lifetime spent online

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Hey everyone 🦀 This is really long, bear with me! 

I've just joined today. I'm 32 years old and from England. I'm autistic and also suffer with chronic depression , social anxiety, and OCD. 

I've been a gamer since the age of 5, when I'd watch my dad play Doom and Flight Simulator on his PC. When I was old enough I had my own CD ROM games (remember those?!) and then when I was 8, my mum's family got a computer in their house, which I would spend hours a day (and into the night) on. When we got the internet, I'd chat online and play 3d online games like Habbo Hotel. I think that was my first addiction - I used to sit at school and just think about what I was going to do online when I got home.  I filled the gaps playing the original Sims game.

When I was 13 my dad got me a computer for my bedroom. This made things a lot worse, as it coincided with the release of the Sims 2, which was the next thing I latched on to. My mental health was getting worse at the time (undiagnosed autism, and transition to secondary school) and I was starting to refuse to go to school and harm myself. At age 14 I discovered Second Life, which I still use to this day (18 years of use). It became the ultimate escapism for me - being able to look how I wanted, interact how i wanted, build my perfect world. It was easier for me to socialise in this world and I made a lot of connections that real life didn't afford me. 

At age 17 I entered a relationship with someone I met in SL who was older than me. They came to visit me in real life for a weekend, and then broke up with me on the way home. I ended up leaving second life for a while and I started to play World of Warcraft. Once again, instantly addicted.

There's a whole lot in between then and now (some wonderful things - now married and live with spouse and cat) but the crux of it is, I still use SL and WoW. 18 years for SL and 15 for WoW. I've tried to pull away a few times, but what I've realised is the real world feels far too painful and loud and overstimulating and confusing for me to live there permanently. Mental healthcare in the UK is very poor and I feel very unsupported. I also just don't know what else to do with myself. I've tried a few hobbies, but nothing feels too fulfilling. I don't know what else my world consists of, if it's not escapism.

In the last two years, I've become very attached to a particular WoW character, and they've helped me through some very difficult times. What's stopping me from uninstalling WoW right now is that they're front and center in the current content, and my FOMO on their new content is really intense. I don't know how to break that connection - it feels like cutting off a real person. I don't feel emotionally able to handle it. 

I want to do other things and experience life outside of my computer and immediate comfort zone. But unfortunately in real life I'm just an awkward weirdo who feels scared walking in public and struggles to communicate, and I don't really know how to navigate that! 

Anyway - if you read this far, thank you 😚 


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