Ah, Minecraft! One of the most popular, addictive and yet despised video games ever created. The time was mid-2012 and I was just starting to try and cope with my anxiety. What originally helped me was watching Minecraft videos on youtube. Youtube was rife with people using Fraps and Minecraft to record little series and wait for the viewers to find them.
After watching a handful of youtubers playing the game, I decided to give it a try myself. The problem was that I was only playing the free version; the old, extremely outdated, free version. After sending some videos to a friend of mine, knowing he would find it as interesting as I did, he actually bought us both a registration ticket for Minecraft. Sweet!
Now I wasn't just wasting hours on watching people playing Minecraft, I too was playing it! The constant element of exploration, the ability to go anywhere, see anything, battle, build and spelunk kept the majority of my anxiety at bay, at least while I was wrapped up in the world of Minecraft. My anxiety disorder was in no way healed or cured, but this was a major contributor to helping me keep my mind off the insanity that was going on inside my head, and inside my head alone.
I dreaded leaving the world of Minecraft, not out of OCD, although that may have been part of the reason, but because when I left my anxiety came tearing down the door of sanity, much the way a Zombie would in Minecraft. My anxiety would just creep up behind me and explode, much the way a Creeper would in Minecraft. All the hissing, negativity, jumping back and forth, coming and going as it pleases, only fighting back when I truly wanted to face my fears and be free, much the same way as the Enderman.
The countless hours turned into a giant man-made island kingdom out in the middle of the sea. It's taken many years, which throughout those years have helps me keep my mind off my anxiety disorder. Building, mining, creating, adventuring, collection and everything else that Minecraft encompasses, it all helped my anxiety, if only for the time I spent playing it. Again, Minecraft is in no way a cure for anything, but it did help me break the tension of anxiety, as well as taking me out of anxiety enough to help me realize this is an internal struggle, not the struggle that anxiety wants me to believe it is. It's a battle with calming the thoughts that anxiety feeds me, rather than believing them and allowing myself to fall into a downward spiral of anxiety.