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How Video Games Saved My Life

Mental health. For me, this topic is intensely complex, and tied in with both gaming and all aspects of my life and journey.

As a streamer, we put ourselves in the public eye so many times, and it can be very hard to talk about such personal pieces of us. But I think also, us talking about our journey more in a public setting, can normalize that many of us go through similar issues, and destigmatize our struggles with mental health. This is my story.

For those who don’t know me, my name is Bolinbear on Twitch, and I am a variety streamer.

Growing up, games have been such an ingrained part of my life. Heck, I remember playing Super Mario Brothers 3 during a Thanksgiving dinner when I was 5. My earliest and fondest memories were taking on the challenges of Sonic Adventure, Battletoads, MMO’s with my friends, and more! Little did I know that the games I loved and enjoyed, would save my life.

I’ll make the trauma short, but I experienced neglect, SA, childhood trauma, domestic violence, and drug abuse very young in my childhood, mostly from my parents and the people close to me. It’s caused me to repress and internalize much of the self-esteem issues I had growing up, and having a strong fear of rejection, of not being wanted, because my parents instilled that in me. Much more so, when I came out to my family in my early 20s.

I pretty much had to go no contact with my family to save what little shreds of mental health I had left.

Fast forward to about 3 years ago during the pandemic. I was at the lowest part of my life. I spent so long trying to please others, and neglecting myself, and I hated what I looked like; felt like; and sounded like. The world would be better off without me. So I attempted to commit suicide, and I had a note and everything. But my online friends stopped me; the gaming community pulled me back from the brink of despair. Because of this, I’m still here today.

So now in 2023, I want to be that safe space and that person who can be there and understand how complex mental health can be. Both having a strong LGBT+ community, a strong gaming community, and seeing those worlds fuse together has brought me much joy! I am so glad that I am still here, and I hope gaming can do the same for many of you. Having that escape really brought me escape from the worst of times, and connected me with some of the best people in my life. I want to say, you are loved, valued, and deserve the absolute best. Hugs from me to you if you are struggling, and just know it will not always be this way.

Things truly do get better.

Written by Bolinbear