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Video Games Saved My Life

by Jvstyce | U.S. Navy Veteran

It's hard sometimes to turn to ourselves, look into our own eyes, and come to terms with the things that truly scare us. The darkness, demons, monsters, whatever you call them can sometimes be the most in-front-of-your-face things, but they’re so close you never notice them. That’s what it was like for me, and man, I have been through a lot. Growing up as a kid from the ages 3-8, I was physically abused by my mom’s second husband, beaten with his fists and anything he could get his hands on. These times were some of the darkest in my life. Imagine being 4, 5, 6 years old, and you are thinking about not being anymore. It brings me to tears and hate in my heart today. How am I here today, though? In the simplest of answers, video games.

Gaming saved my life as a child, literally. No matter what happened to me, there was always the Nintendo, N64, Sega, or PlayStation, I never had all these at one time, but throughout the years. From Mario to Zelda to Streets of Rage, to Spyro, Crash, and Sports games. These are what brought me through the dark to the light. When I was 8, my mom and her husband were arrested, and I went to live with my dad; he knew how I played games and had an N64 with Ocarina of Time. This is still my favorite game because it was the game I latched on to and equated with no more pain.

As the years went by, I didn’t have to worry about it much. I grew into a respectable teenager who did a lot of things and lived life. I was in the Boy Scouts and even made Life Scout, I started too late to make Eagle. I played football throughout high school and was even part of my senior play and helped choreograph it. I decided to join the Navy as a medic in my senior year. I met some of the best people in the world during my time, but I also met some villains. You go through classes while in bootcamp, and they warn about traumas that aren’t combat related and how it can happen to men too. I was 18. I laughed and said I wish someone would try; well, I should’ve been quiet and paid attention. When I was 19 and drunk at a party, I found myself in one of these traumas that we were warned about. I told no one, and it ate me alive inside to the point where I got separated with an Honorable discharge for fighting.

I turned to video games hard. That’s all I had, to disappear into these worlds. This time, I had a PS3, so I had Batman, Uncharted, and all these amazing single-player games, even COD. I spent so many hours my wife would yell at me. The trauma, plus how I was living life, led us to divorce. I was spiraling and falling down a hole. A year later, I tried twice to end my life. My friends stayed with me to make sure I didn’t try again, and we played video games, and we played for hours and days. Me and my friend played Zombies, trying to see how far we could get. We got to round 38 on Kino der Toten, and man; it was the best fun I had in a LONG time.

Video games have always been part of my life. No matter what I was doing or going through, they were the best friends who would listen and never judge. I started streaming in 2020, just before the pandemic, and started making new friends, people who were always there and had my back. For the first time in a really long time, I had real people I could talk to and not be alone. Streaming and playing video games allowed me to find homies, places I could call home, and become part of a team that would make sure I never went down those dark paths ever again. Without video games, there is no Jvstyce.

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