Hey, Gamers! This week, I want to talk about something pretty serious that happens to a lot of gamers: burnout. I’m sure some people suffer from this more than others, and there are a lot of contributing factors such as mental illness, neurotype and so on. I want to talk about why burnout in something like gaming hurts so much, what it might look like if you haven’t identified it and how you could help yourself or others. Before we get into it, I want to warn you that this post will likely talk about mental illness, which is obviously a very serious topic. I did a list of self-care tips that could be helpful to gamers with mental illness, as a gamer with mental illness myself. Here is the link:
So, I think we can all agree that burnout sucks. Like, really sucks. What it might look like in regards to gaming might be different compared to other aspects of life? Honestly, it can look and feel very similar to depression.
When you get burnt out in gaming, you can no longer enjoy the things you are so used to bringing you joy. The games that once brought back that spark in your eyes now make you feel nothing. And if you can’t enjoy the things that have been making you feel joy for months or years, what else could possibly bring you joy?
I’m not writing about this to upset anyone, or even to make a point. I’m writing this to bring awareness to it because I feel like no one talks about this. It’s such an isolating problem, especially if you typically game with other people because they’re all still enjoying the game that you used to be able to enjoy. This can lead to serious issues with isolation, lack of motivation and yes, it can lead to depression.
What can cause burnout? Well, a lot of things. Playing a game over and over again might not ‘be enough’ for some people, but it also might be enough to make someone burn out. I guess, from using my own experience, it depends on how much you care about the game, how much time and energy you’re putting into it, and how it’s making you feel when you play it.
I’m going to use my own example here because it’s something I’m still thinking about a lot and coming to terms with. My favourite thing in the entire universe used to be Persona 5. I played it so, so much. I loved it with every fibre of my being. Hell, I even wanted to get a Persona 5 tattoo sleeve. I was completely fine playing Persona 5 over and over again. It wasn’t until I was doing a challenge run that I started to get burnt out. The story no longer made me feel things, because I was so busy worrying about how I was going to do a particular fight. If you read my blog a lot, you know there’s been a few times in my monthly gaming progress reports that I’ve just glossed over my AI P5R run because I’ve “been sick” or Josh has been streaming a lot, or I’ve just not felt okay. All of those things are true, but I do think it’s been difficult for me and my mental illnesses to just do this run. I love this game, even now when I’ve found something I love more, I still adore this game. But if I have to sit silently through more dialogue because my brain is thinking about the boss fight three palaces ahead, I might have to uninstall it.
For me, in this instance, burnout looked like not wanting to play the PlayStation. It looked like finding comfort in Nintendo games. It looked like losing track of time on days I’m meant to stream. It looked like not showering so I can’t stream. It looked like not wanting to talk about something I loved because thinking about it was too stressful for me.
Coming to terms with the fact that you’re burnt out is sometimes extremely difficult. I know it took me… a really, incredibly long time. During that time, you’re in denial. It’s awful. You try over and over again to make yourself feel how you usually feel, but the passion is gone.
So, what can you do if you are burnt out?
Rest. And I don’t just mean to sleep all day. Take a break from that game. If you can, take a break from the console. I know for me, my saving grace was my Switch. Make sure you’re looking after yourself (and you can use the link above for some suggestions on that). Just take some time to yourself to remember who you are and why the game meant so much to you. Work on yourself, work on other things. It’s nice having other people around you who have been through a similar thing, so maybe reach out to some gamer friends.
Most importantly, if you do feel like your burnout is turning into a depression of any kind, please reach out to your doctor. If you can’t do that, try to stay in contact with people you can trust. People you can be open and honest with, who won’t judge you and make you or your issues feel small. Remember that your feelings are worth feeling, even if they’re difficult.
So, that’s it for this post, Gamers. It’s a bit more emotional and less upbeat than my usual posts, but I feel like talking about this stuff really helps. I hope you are all having a wonderful day, and remember that you are worthy of happiness and love. See you next post, Gamers!