If you read my post about where I’ve been, you’ll know that I had some mental health issues recently. In fact, if you’ve followed me for any amount of time you’ll know that I have quite problematic anxiety issues, but the recent issues have led to me finding a local therapist. Initially we are working on my anxiety about being out and about alone, along with some other things, and that is where Pokemon Go comes in.
You may think of it as a fun game, or maybe even a stupid game, but for me it is an amazing distraction tactic that is allowing me to walk, alone, in public.
Up to now I have done two, twenty minute walks around my local town. One down some very quiet back streets, and one along the main road! Maybe not a big deal to you, but to me, huge!
Keep in mind that, in the 5 years I’ve lived here, I have never been out alone. In two weeks, I have now been out on three walks, on my own, voluntarily! The third was an hour of walking just near my house, but I did bump into a farmer and even said “bonjour” to him.
I know the ultimate aim is for me to be able to walk around, anxiety-free, without needing a distraction, but for the moment, this is a huge deal for me, and something I want to celebrate! So hooray for me! And hooray for my therapist for empowering me to even try!
So to all those people out there who are knocking and slating Pokemon Go, complaining that it’s silly, telling people it’s a waste of time, that it’s a fad. Maybe you’re right, maybe to you it is those things, but to me it’s a life changing game. Even if it is a fad, I hope it lasts long enough for me to have moved past needing it by the time it fades!
Not only am I out walking alone now, I even joined a local Facebook group for Pokemon Go players in my area, allowing me to pseudo-socialise with people my age, in my area, in French. I’m not the most active person in the group right now, but I joined it, and that took courage. I actually thought about joining one of the Pokewalks that were organised. I didn’t, but they got cancelled in the end anyway, but I thought about it. This is all new and amazing for me. I am making huge strides of progress with my anxiety and slowly beginning to believe that I really can change my life.
I still feel like it’s unfair that it’s not a one click fix; that first walk I did on my own doesn’t make me ‘better,’ I have to keep doing it, keep doing it, keep doing it, until it’s not an issue any more, but it’s happening. Slowly but surely, my life is changing, my attitude is changing, my beliefs are changing.
Imagine what I could be doing this time next year! If it’s taken two weeks for me to start walking alone for 20 minutes in town, maybe by next year I could be doing it in cities. That thought makes me feel a little sick at the moment, but still hopeful. I struggle to see myself, in the future, not afraid, not anxious, at all the things that I’m anxious about right now, but at the same time I can see the changes I’m making now, and I can imagine that they will slowly change my mindset, and that means one day I could be better. One day, I could be walking down the street alone, happily, and all that anxiety and pain in the past could all be just a bad memory!