This has been one of my most challenging summers in terms of anxiety. Living with an anxiety disorder means that I'm going to have really good periods followed by destructive and anxiety-ridden ones. This past summer (and most of 2016 really) has placed itself on my top ten of worst emotional periods.
Battling summer classes, internships, personal relationships, and a full-time job has proven itself to take a toll on my health: both physically and emotionally. This has not only been one of the worst summers but a summer that I've dedicated to trying to become well again.
My anxiety gets worse not in times of stress, no, it gets worse in times of relaxation. The times that I'm supposed to be carefree and relaxed, my mind decides to say "Oh hey! Free time? Let's think intrusive thoughts!" Somehow, during the school year when I have a million things to do, my emotional state is better (although I am very much sleep deprived) but once summer comes and my mind is free to wonder, OCD takes its nasty toll on my well-being.
Then on July 9th, after seeing countless memes and Facebook posts about Pokemon (something I hadn't played since I was like eight years old) I downloaded Pokemon Go. The app seemed stupid at first. I didn't see what the big deal was. You walk around, catch Pokemon and then what? A few days later, I got hooked.
First, my boyfriend and his sister took me to walk around and get Pokemon. The nostalgia of seeing these weird little creatures that I hadn't seen since my pre-pubescent years hit me with a peculiar form of nostalgia-happiness. It's the type of joy in which you say to yourself "Oh crap! I remember that weird looking rat!" or "Damn! That's the starfish that Misty used to have!". It wasn't until my boyfriend, his sister and I chased down a Meowth that I was truly intrigued by this app.
One thing I noticed was that it got me out of the house. It got a couch potato/ video game enthusiast such as myself to get out of her pj's and go outside, and dare I say it- to actually walk.
Making plans with my friends to go to certain spots and walk around and just catch Pokemon (and battle at gyms, go team Mystic!!) took my mind off the severe anxiety I was going through. Even if it was just for a few hours, I was able to distract myself from discomfort and focus on catching virtual Pokemon. It was a different way for me to reunite with people and a different way for me to actually be social for a change.
While my mom may not get the hype and she'll roll her eyes whenever I step out of the house to catch a Dratini, one thing is for certain, my anxiety is a lot better.