Breaking My Identity and Dealing With the Unknown
To set the scene I worked out the gist of this article while sitting in a waiting room, waiting for my umpteenth test to find out what the hell is going on with my bloody body. You see a few months ago I started experiencing abnormal pain in my wrists and my knees and hips began catching and tripping me up on a regular basis. To be honest I didn’t think much of it, just a result of too many sporting injuries as a young fellow. But as the days went by and the pain didn’t go away it became clear there was something else wrong. That was in August. Since that time I have had 4 different lots of blood tests, ultrasounds, X-rays, MRIs and visited 3 different doctors including a Rheumatologist. I am on daily anti-inflammatories and I have been getting remedial massage weekly to help deal with the pain. So there I was in the waiting room, about to go in to see another professional, who, as it turns out, still didn’t have answers for me. I began to let my mind explore a few concepts, a few realities I might have to face and to be honest it scared me.
You see, as I sat there, thinking about the last few months, how my life had changed as a result of this unknown problem, I came to the realisation that video games are inherently linked to my identity and that piece of me was now under threat. I have been playing games since I was a tiny lad and have been writing about them in a serious (well as serious as I ever get) manner for about 12 years. Video games are my stress relief, my wind down, my spare time, my fun with the kids and my relaxing arvo. Writing about them provides me with similar feelings, a creative outlet, a chance to express my weird thoughts and a way to connect with like-minded people. In short, games are a massive part of my life and now, for the first time ever, I am facing a possibility that I might have to leave them all behind.
What a lot of people don’t realise is that with pain comes a whole host of other problems, I know I didn’t. To put it simply pain takes it out of you. I work in an office all day, on a computer and by 230pm my wrist is shot, my legs aching and I am exhausted. I come home and then force myself to work on P2 or play a game I am reviewing, my prior joy has become a chore and not through my lack of interest, but because my body simply can’t do it. I think that this is the most frustrating part of the whole ordeal, I can deal with the pain most days, but I can’t deal with the fact that something I love, something that has given me so much joy, something that has been apart of me for so long is slipping away despite my desire for it to be otherwise.
These thoughts began to consume me, I found myself emotional, a constant state that seemed to be verging on tears. I am, by nature a pretty positive fellow and frankly, I am not equipped to deal with these sorts of emotions because I have never had to face them before. So I am dealing with it in the only way I know how, pushing through and hoping for the best. I am making changes, writing less (yes the fact I am writing this seems counterproductive and inconsistent), seeking more help from my talented editorial team, adjusting my gaming habits (keyboard and mouse out, controller in) and making sure I give my body a chance to rest, so I can still enjoy gaming, just maybe not as frequently.
But the light at the end of the tunnel is still there, it is a little dimmer but it is there. The fact that the P2 Charity Marathon did so well, the continued growth of our reader base and the support I get from my team of writers all help me move forward, help me tough this period of unknown futures out. The hardest part is not knowing what the problem is, so I have no way to move forward. I am in a sort of arthritic purgatory that I can leave only when the doctors figure out what the bloody hell is wrong with me. So I am finding joy in the things I still can do, the tasks that aren’t breaking me even more and I am hoping like hell that this is not the end of my gaming road.
I don’t write this as a sob story and I am not looking for some sort of “Poor Hewso” response. I am not dying and I will go on with my life. This is not me writing for drama’s sake. I am writing this so that others in the same boat know that they aren’t the only ones feeling this way. I am writing this to show everyone, including myself, that there is a way forward. I am writing this to express my thoughts in the only way I know how, on (virtual) paper. Poor me is not the reason for this article, understanding, clarification and empathy for others in the same boat is.
So as I wait for my results, hopeful of finally getting an answer, any answer, I have made a choice. That choice is toughing it out is worth it. For every bad day when my pain stops my plans, there is a day where one of our articles gets read by thousands. For every time I am too exhausted to put anything on the site there is a fellow writer there to pick up the slack. For every long, uncomfortable scan there is a P2 Marathon, PAX co-op drinks or podcast to join in on. The effort is worth it and if the worst-case scenario plays out and I can no longer do that which I love, at least I will know that while I could I made the best of it.
Dad, Gamer, Writer, Husband all rolled into one big ball of random matter.
Editor of Player 2, Matt spends his time yelling at strangers as they walk past, imploring them to visit Player 2. Sadly this tactic hasn’t yielded any significant results but he keeps on trying regardless.