I've been going through a really rough patch in my life. I've had almost no social interactions for just under a year, apart from short conversations with a couple of dysfunctional family members. I used to be kinda social and was part of a couple large friend groups, but after going through some hard times I realized that those friends weren't really my friends, nor were they people I wanted/enjoyed being associated with. Around this time, I dropped out of my program and went on a downward spiral of isolation and daily drug abuse. Since my career allows me to stay at home with no interaction, there was nothing stopping me from heading down that path of loneliness. As someone already diagnosed with severe anxiety and depression, this period of not interacting/addiction made these problems much worse.
Around February I quit all substances and started attempting to better myself physically and mentally. One day, I decided to boot up Overwatch for fun after years of not playing it. I'm embarrassed to say that voice chat was very scary for me and I couldn't bring myself to even make small callouts, despite these interactions being inconsequential. This was another huge wake-up call for me.
Since I've been trying to better myself, I decided to face my fears. The experience I've had in facing those fears has brought me here. For the most part, my teammates have been great. I've not had one personal attack made towards me because of anything I've said, despite the many awkward fuckups in conversation I've made. Over time, I've been slowly becoming socialized again from just interacting and making small talk.
It's gotten to the point where if someone is toxic on my team, I can actually be assertive and tell them off. A few months ago, I couldn't even imagine talking to anybody, let alone being confrontational. I've literally been going through de-escalation training in most ranked matches. When the situation calls for it, I'm even able to go on a coherent and witty rant about why they're wrong and personally flawed for acting out the way they are.
I doubt many will read this or care, but man. This game has helped me so much and I wanted to spread that positivity. If you struggle with anxiety, start talking in voice chat. That exposure to both friendly and toxic people can really help you build up confidence while improving your social skills. You know what they say, practice makes perfect!
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