I still remember when Fortnite first came out with its battle royale mode, I was so excited to play it. But I only played it for a while before switching to PUBG.
PUBG was more realistic and it was all the sensation back then. And I was all over the game.
However, after playing several games, I noticed something different about myself and my behavior. I was more anxious than I was before.
I had anxiety and depression since childhood but after I started playing PUBG, my anxiety felt amplified.
Whenever I get into a one-on-one shootout with another player or when I make it to the top 10 in a match, my hands started shaking a little bit. And I felt my heart racing.
I ignored this for a while. I thought this was just my anxiety acting up and thought I will get used to it. But it took a turn for the worst after a few weeks.
I started getting stress hives. Stress hives are like rashes that you get on your chest or back of your neck when you’re too stressed. Of course, at the time I had no idea what’s going on or what these rashes are. It took me a few months to figure it out. But I knew one thing, that my anxiety is getting worse because of PUBG.
Even though I really enjoyed the game, I decided to stop playing it.
This was a long time ago. Back when Fortnite wasn’t even popular. A few months passed. And I was feeling much better. I haven’t had anxiety attacks or shakes for a while. And I felt like I was ready to try playing PUBG again.
Well, I was wrong. It didn’t take long before I get the usual shakes.
I tried going back to Fortnite. Thinking its cartoony and kid-friendly environment would make me feel less stressed. But it was just as bad as PUBG.
I stopped playing BR games altogether.
But I loved playing competitive multiplayer games. So I went searching for something more comfortable to play.
I tried R6 Siege. The battles were too intense in that game and my anxiety went through the roof. Then I tried CS:GO. I was shaking when I was in a 1V1 situation and diffusing bombs.
So I gave up. And once I’ve stopped playing these competitive games, I started to feel great. I was doing so great that I totally forget how bad I felt playing multiplayer games.
So, like the idiot I was, I wanted to try it out again. This time, I tried Apex Legends.
I did pretty well in this game. Since it was squad-based (or trios), I didn’t feel all the anxiety I used to get from BR games.
My hands weren’t shaking at all. But there were times during 1V1 situations when I could feel like my heart was about to pop out of my chest.
I played the game for a couple of weeks. And I was doing great and really enjoying the game.
Then the stress rashes started to appear again.
I had to uninstall Apex.
I had to make a decision. No more BR and intense competitive games for me.
At the time of this writing, the stress rashes are slowly disappearing. And I’m starting to feel like my normal self again.
I felt sad, ashamed, and disappointed in myself when I knew I could never play a battle royale game again. But, after searching for this on forums, I learned that I’m not alone. Many others have been experiencing gaming anxiety.
Gaming Anxiety is real!
The main reason I wrote this is to remind myself and to share my story with others to show that you’re not alone. If you’re also experience gaming anxiety, don’t be ashamed or sad.
Your health always comes first. And there are so many other games you can play instead.
I still play multiplayer games. But avoid battle royale and competitive PVP games. I also found that games with Deathmatch modes don’t affect my condition. Since it’s just purely a fun game mode with run and gun gameplay, there was no anxiety in playing deathmatch game modes.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to play BR games again. But for now, I’m going to focus on my health and stick with PVE looter-shooters instead.