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I’ve always had anxiety - and resultant stomach problems - but it manifested first when I was a kid; I don’t remember what age, just that it was a young one. A girl in my circumstance really didn’t have anything legitimate to be anxious about, but anxiety is inherently illogical, and, apparently, doesn’t always discriminate as far as age is concerned.
My anxiety was set off by a variety of absurd childhood concerns, not all of which I remember. The one persistent instigator, however, was a fear of nausea and throwing up after eating. It got to the point where I wouldn’t eat, because every time I took a bite of food I was convinced that I would vomit, which was, for some reason, a terrifying prospect for me. The knowledge that some girls would intentionally instigate it was totally bananas to me.
I know now that what I perceived to be nausea was actually anxiety-induced stomach pains cooking up a nice environment for an ulcer, but the classification didn’t really matter; it was debilitating and life-halting. The only thing that would help me, that would take my mind off of it, was playing Harvest Moon 64.
Whenever I would feel that pain coming on, I would immediately run into Anthony’s room where we kept the N64 and play Harvest Moon. Maybe the repetitiveness of the gameplay was calming, maybe its very light-hearted nature helped - I’m not quite sure. All I know is that it was seemingly the only thing that helped soothe me, and I like to imagine that, without it, my stomach would have suffered much more than it did. This is the reason that, no matter how many new iterations of HM come out, and no matter how redundant or bad they might empirically be, you will never hear me speak a poor word about the franchise.
I’m heading back to Phoenix soon to gather stuff for my permanent move to Los Angeles, and the thing I’m most excited about is retrieving my N64 and copy of Harvest Moon so that I can take it with me. Some people have security blankets - I have a farming simulator.
How has a gaming experience helped you get through a difficult time? I encourage you to post about it on your own tumblr, and then comment on this post with a link to it. I would love to read your experiences.