Games, games, GAAAAAMES, PLEASE!
I may have a problem and I am talking about a video game problem.
One thing you should know about me, is that I love video games.
I grew up with them. The first console my boisterous family of 7 kids had was a Sega Genesis in the 90s then it snowballed to the Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, Gameboys, Gameboy Advanced, Gamecube, Playstation 2, Wii, Wii U, 3DS, Playstation 4, etc. So I ain’t a noob to video games and its lovely world. Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of time defined my childhood and my taste for fantasy games. It was only fate and logical that I would fall head over heels in love with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.
My love for Skyrim knows no bounds, seriously it doesn’t
If you don’t know what the hell I am talking, a quick recap. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is a video game, an “open world action role-playing video game” that received billions of positive reviews and awards according to old trusty Wikipedia. You can customize your character, male or female, race, etc and you are thrown in the middle of a gorgeous Nordic landscape. (This game made me love Beowulf even more when I found load of references in there! I actually took a Viking Literature course, so you can guess how much I was fangirling here and there when I found tons of references over several Nordic Sagas, even the illustrious Ragnar Lodbrok!) Through some prophecy you become the chosen one, the Dragonborn who absorbs the spirits or essences of defeated Dragons (that you personally kill), your mission is to protect the world from the destruction of an ancient dragon called Alduin the World-Eater.
Skyrim is an awesome game and I will be totally biased about it. Please, I bought the game, the soundtrack and artbook!
For its time the graphics were okay and they are still fine for me (I am still playing the older one in potato graphics because the HD SPECIAL EDITION REMAKE one kills my aging computer), but there is something so spellbinding about this game that I always come back to it. I am not sure what it is anymore, maybe the side quests, the poignant stories here and there (like finding a farewell letter to a loved one on a dead body in the Dwemer ruins or more tragically delivering the sad news to living family members of their loved one’s death). I loved the Thieves Guild quest, Astrid is such a badass woman and Lydia…oh Lydia my ever loyal follower who LOVES to carry all my burdens WHO CAN STOP GETTING STUCK IN THE DOORWAY EVERY FUCKING TIME! At least Serana from the DLC is better, she moves aside and lets me through!
Anyway. It was the first time I encountered such an open world game as Skyrim, therefore unsurprisingly I was blown away. The only semi-quasi open world game I know was Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time and even that was quite linear. But as I think more carefully about my attraction to certain games, I notice that I love when a game creates an immersive, believable and atmospheric experience that it almost fools you into believing that the game is more real than life itself. Like Link (the protagonist in the Zelda games) or the Dragonborn, you play someone else that is powerful and free to do whatever the hell they want. Yes, maybe it is escapism, but you cannot deny it is nice to suspend reality just for a little bit to restore your sanity. Or have a stroll through the lovely landscape of Skyrim (rain or shine, snow and blizzard, a stampede of bears, wolves, sabertooth tigers and/or undead Draugrs) with the most heavenly atmospheric soundtrack music (including sounds of nature) whispering through your ears as you gawk at your surroundings.
This blog post is not a review of the game because there is Youtube videos to look at and plenty of professional websites dedicated to dissecting the pros and cons of the game, my post is about how I ultimately used this game to more or less survive the early stages of motherhood and.
I used video games to find myself again
Disclaimer: I gave birth in 2012 on February 9th (and we just celebrated my daughter’s 6th birthday yay!), so as it was long ago, at least from a parent perspective, I will not lie that memories of the early days are fuzzy due to sleep deprivation, hormones and despair at times, but after all that, I would do it again and I love my daughter to death.
Now, I will say that I had a “form” of postpartum depression until 6 months maybe to a year and I realized that YEARS LATER after my daughter was born because I thought being in despair, angry, numb, etc. was normal as new mom. It was not extreme, but it was there that it completely changed who I was and I completely lost interest in many things that I loved (luckily not my baby or my husband), I lost myself.
[Again I am not a professional, but if you need help, please get help, reach out to doctors, friends, family even just TALKING ABOUT IT makes a difference. You are not alone, don’t feel embarrassed. I made the stupid mistake of isolating myself and brushing it off as “baby blues”, so please, even if others brush off your sadness and feelings with “oh that’s normal” or “just be happy” *eyeroll and facepalm*, don’t listen to them, listen to YOUR BODY and YOURSELF. Babycenter is a wonderful websites for new moms and there is a helpline, so I got chu covered guurl. I love you! We can do it! <3]
Additionally, many other external factors contributed to my postpartum depression, because ideally you’d be first settled in and have friends but nah, life was like “sit back honey”. I moved countries to live with my husband and to an extent with his family, my support system was, uhhh, yeahh and I started college soon as I set foot in the U.S.
And… I got pregnant at 22 the first year into college.
So, as someone who was a young twenty something who likes structure, plans and is a perfectionist and who always lacked confidence in social situations, classic introvert, shyness, social anxiety archetype stuff. Nah, life burst through the door with IT’S BRITNEY BITCH! and I had to let go of control, confront the million flaws in my character and overcome my own limitations.
It takes patience
Skyrim arrived at a time in my life when I needed an escape or even a break from the many things I was going through. I played video games to feel better, to feel something, to feel that I could accomplish something as I was adjusting to the new life as a mom with a newborn. As I think back, it is kind of sad, but it was my way of coping, probably this time around in the future I will be better about it. Just imagine, as I was breastfeeding my daughter, I had my headphones on as I sat at the computer and clicked and tapped away as she comfortably and blissfully drank her fill.
Maybe that is why Skyrim has such sentimental value to me, because on one hand it made me so blissfully happy, so enamored with the mystical world of Skyrim and its story and on the other hand, it kept me sane and in tune with dreams and aspirations for my life. It was my therapy, my medicine and my personal joy.
Eventually, with patience and time, life got better, as I found myself again, I did my driver’s license, visited my family in Switzerland with my then 1.5 year old daughter after several years of just talking to them over Skype. Later, I enrolled her at a daycare so that I could finish my university studies. I graduated January 2017 feeling relieved that it was done after feeling gutted and devastated that I had to put my studies on halt for 2 years after my daughters birth. I finally rediscovered my love for writing, wrote fanfictions after taking a lengthy break. I just finished a fanfic on Assassin’s Creed III set in Revolutionary America, where a Marine woman goes back in time in 18th century America and develops a relationship with the protagonist Connor Kenway.
Anyway, to end this blog post (as it is about time), I had to throw in this cheesy quote, because it resonates with me and my ongoing journey as a mother and parent.
Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Thank you for reading.