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From when i was 13-15, I moved to a new school so my social anxiety was killing me. No friends at school, too anxious, and i really didn't like my life. however, playing an mmorpg actually helped me escape from reality and it was basically my second life. It prevented me from real life depression and helped me cope/survive without any real life friends from SA.

I moved again at age 15 and I stopped playing the mmorpg. I fell into depression and i can't seem to play mmorpgs anymore - i just can't concentrate and get into them. basically, i think mmorpgs saved my 2 years of lonely life..

If only i could get myself addicted again.. maybe i could stop taking prozac.. ;P
 

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I started playing EverQuest when I was 14 or so, then moved to World of Warcraft after I got into the closed beta, all in all 9-10 years of playing MMOs. It is easily one of the biggest mistakes I could have made in terms of dealing with my SA. It improved my depression a lot at the cost of skyrocketting the amount anxiety I felt.

The reason it improved my depression was because it essentially became a substitute for real social interraction. I was much more confident and sociable online and felt better because I was free from most of my anxiety. Unfortunately aside from the people I played games with online, I lost most of my friends. The few that I still knew in real life eventually moved away and stopped playing as they went to college. All this while my anxiety snowballed downhill into full on agoraphobia. I had no motivation to go out and meet new people and even worse, I was essentially justifying it to myself because I still had friends online. I worked online so for a long period of time I barely even left the house.

The worse I felt, the more time I spent playing. The more time I spent playing, the worse my SA got, the worse I felt. Everything went full circle, compounding every lap. When I eventually quit wow a couple months ago my life was at an all time low and I feel as though I have been stagnant the last 9-10 years of my life.

As far as distractions go, MMOs are a gigantic waste of time. When I added up my characters played time and thought about where I would be today if I had dedicated that time to improving my painting... it just makes me sad. I view the vast majority of that time as time lost, not time saved from my depression.

There are much more productive and less detrimental ways to distract yourself.
 

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I played a few MMORPGs growing up, Everquest being the most addictive. It was a nice escape from reality, but I look back on it now and regret all the time I spent playing those. It may have helped my depression at the time, due to moving between houses and a multitude of family issues, but it didn't help me fix any of my issues and it caused me to socially isolate myself for the most part.
 
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