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Thank You, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:22pm 15/09/20 | Comments
No reason, but lots of reason - how Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2 helped me out of a funk...

The thing with mental health, in the debilitating sense, is that it’s dynamic. This isn’t a cold, or Corona or even HIV, it’s just a sneaky enemy -- you never know when he or she will turn up, and you’re not entirely sure what torture you’re in for. But guaranteed, it will knock you around.

"The shortened play-sessions started making me focus. And while gathering the stats isn’t all that hard (I managed it inside 20 minutes), I found myself focused and feeling capable. Over One and Two, in that 20 minutes, I began functioning. My reward: Shane O’Neill’s video part, and it was worth the effort..."




I debated with myself over and over and over and over whether to write this, given I have more pressing deadlines and features and reviews awaiting, but this month, which is ironically RUOK month, is a hard one for me. Five years ago I lost my best friend; my brother from another mother; my son’s faux uncle or, “Uncle Ren”, my business partner my… everything, to suicide.


Yeah hard words to read, but trust me, harder words to write, right now. Please though, stick with me here because words are a forgotten language at the moment and in the world we currently live in, they might as well be gold. They’re that precious.

I won’t detail what happened outside of mental health being a key factor and that he ‘thought’ he was okay after an initial dose of meds, so stopped taking them on the presumption he was now “all good”.

Remember: “it’s dynamic”.



So… he wasn’t and here I am five years later managing PTSD that creeps up every September. The month before my birth month. This year, as I’m about to turn 43, has been the hardest yet. And I don’t know why.

I have a wonderful home-life with a new introduction just a few months ago in the form of a pug (Hulk The Pug), my son is legit the best kid in the world and my partner -- who suffers her own mental health demons and has also just gone through a significant loss -- is a rock.

This morning -- the morning of Tuesday, September 15 -- I managed to get out of bed to take my boy to school, but then went back into it. We’re not in Melbourne, we’re in Sydney so it’s not a COVID thing. My pug helped, but didn’t, by laying with me (service dogs are real, and you need to bank that information). But I simply couldn’t budge. This effect was real and I’ve never fully dealt with it before. My phone was ringing and dinging, but I physically couldn’t move to even reach for it.



Remember: “it’s dynamic”.



My rock; my partner, pulled me out of the bed. And acknowledging her own experiences through years and years of the aforementioned torture I felt compelled to get out, but I still wasn’t feeling great. In an effort to ‘kickstart’ my brain, so to speak, I loaded up Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2. Being goal-driven and baked with soooooo many challenges, I took up the Shane O’Neill Stat Challenge, specifically to unlock his video part but to also, maybe, get into a reasonable gear. And the early goings on were rough. But the game’s time limit is short, which helped.

"I plan on deconstructing in more detail down the track is that it’s super-compartmentalised, which lessens its complication. And that’s sort of a design oxymoron..."



The shortened play-sessions started making me focus. And while gathering the stats isn’t all that hard (I managed it inside 20 minutes), I found myself focused and feeling capable. Over One and Two, in that 20 minutes, I began functioning. My reward: Shane O’Neill’s video part, and it was worth the effort. The thing thing with this game, and something I plan on deconstructing in more detail down the track is that it’s super-compartmentalised, which lessens its complication. And that’s sort of a design oxymoron, but is wholly true. If you catch my drift.



Remember: “it’s dynamic”.



As I write this my legs are doing that manic thing, but I feel embiggened. I’m not OK and have put my hand up to see someone in the very near future, but I felt compelled to put this out there. The very forums that rock this Dune-like expanse once had a post that said “I always thought to myself if I ever got depressed I'd have gaming” (sorry to posterise you, rrrocket -- but you asked a good question and opened up to the responses). It doesn’t work that way, at all, I couldn’t think of any worse experience than getting into a multiplayer game, losing, and becoming more agitated. Equally, an open-world game would be hard to manage in that moment -- I mean, what could be worse than not functioning in the real-world than trying to function in a digital one?

Remember: “it’s dynamic”.



I fell readily into the camp of “games can’t fix me”, largely because games is my job. But, really, they’re designed as an escape in a fictional narrative sense, or as a reason to beat up on someone else with the outcome meaning, maybe, nothing. In essence, games are a distraction. I put almost 1000 hours into The Witcher 3, and that other zero is not a typo, I just lost myself in it, but could I use such a game to self-medicate my PTSD? Nah.

"It gave me immediate purpose and helped me realise goals and the effort to achieve them. I mean, at the end of the day, I wrote this. But wouldn’t have been able to without the game..."



How Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 helped me this morning is that it’s an ever-rewarding experience and you gain from it. That gain and time limit to gain is unique in modern gaming, and stood out. It gave me immediate purpose and helped me realise goals and the effort to achieve them. I mean, at the end of the day, I wrote this. But wouldn’t have been able to without the game.



Remember: “it’s dynamic”.



If you’re suffering at all, please call Helpline on 13 11 14, or contact Beyond Blue.



Latest Comments
517H
Posted 12:33am 17/9/20
Thanks for posting this Steve
tim
Posted 06:13pm 17/9/20
Thanks Steve, life sucks sometimes and it’s great if you can find something or someone to brighten your day.

I’m locked down in Melbourne, 11 weeks and counting, and buying Tony Hawk a couple of weeks ago made things feel fun again. Having something to look forward to doing helps so much.

Just booting the game up and hearing Goldfinger play on the title screen is just awesome.
Steve Farrelly
Posted 02:48pm 18/9/20
Thanks dudes, wasn't easy to write both physically and emotionally. But man, has this game helped me a lot
Roberts
Posted 01:38pm 27/9/20
Thanks Steve, mental health is tough to write about. Hang in there Tim Dan will let you out soon mate.
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