I’m On The GO!

Picture: Pokemon - PikachuYes, this a Pokemon GO post. So, if you have no interest in this topic, it’s best to step away right now and catch my next post. Heehee! ^_^v

There are so many negative or complaining posts about this Pokemon craze/hype/phenomenon out there on the interwebs. However, I feel compelled to share a positive and honest post about what this game means to me. We all have our opinions and that’s fine, but this is my turn to share something really profound and a bit personal.

I suffer from severe anxiety (agoraphobia) and PTSD. This is not a new confession for those who regularly follow my blogs, but I figured that I should mention it for the sake of context for those who may be passing through or new followers.
Hi, there! And welcome to my rambling blog! ♪( ・ェ・)ツ彡

The truth of the matter is, I rarely leave my home, except for attending therapy sessions or doctor’s appointments – mostly back and forth to Mayo to check the status of my recent corneal transplant. Which, by the way, is healing extraordinarily well and is a complete success! And I visit the local hair salon once a month. On average, I leave my house three times a month, for no longer than two hours or much less. This is due to a crippling fear of being outside and around other people.

So… I began to see Pokemon GO showing up EVERYWHERE on every YouTube channel that I follow, all over Twitter and Facebook, and then featured segments on my local news station “Kare11”. Even my favorite science channel, SciShow, did a video about the science behind Pokemon GO: How to Make Pokemon GO. I am a huge fan of Hank Green (the host of SciShow and Crash Course, director, screenwriter, cinematographer, musician, etc.) and it is beyond awesome that he loves the game as well! ^o^

I don’t own a smartphone, never had a need to own one, and I pretty much felt that having one was a waste of money. After all, I had owned a basic cell phone and used it to make phone calls and the occasional texting. So, I was left out when the Pokemon craze first started, until my sister offered that I could try the game on her smartphone.

The first thing that I had noticed was that I was reaching for my black Converse high-tops and eagerly asking my sister to come outside with me, along with her dog named Apollo, as I was marching towards the door of the house with the willingness to go outside around 10pm at night. I haven’t been that brave and willing to do such a thing since age 14 (I’m currently age 35), back in Philadelphia! I was determined that I wanted to catch a Pikachu that was said to be wandering around my neighborhood, yet we never found it.

However, the end result was that I had fun trying, I was OUTSIDE, and I didn’t have a panic attack. Most of all, I wanted to do it again and felt a little disappointed returning back to the house, which is the complete opposite of what I usually feel when I return home – a sense of relief and thoughts of, “I don’t ever want to leave this safety zone!!!”. The following night, while borrowing my sister’s smartphone,  I put on my shoes and went out hunting again, as I was hoping for a Pikachu. I didn’t find one, but I’ll never give up!

Picture: Death Note - L with cell phone.This weekend, for the very first time in my life, I bought a smartphone. And I went on a “drive-by” to further away Pokestops with my sister and roommate, in order to collect a nice haul of Pokemon and items. I was near a Gym and joined team blue, Team Mystic, and I still dream of catching a Pikachu. Normally, when my sister and roommate choose to go out someplace, rarely do I tag along. My mental issues are crippling and I usually start gaining a panic attack just thinking about going outside. But now, I think I can tag along more often.

I bought this phenomenon to the attention of my therapist, who’s a VERY good therapist and I have been a patient of hers for the past three years. Because of her treatment and my hard efforts, I no longer suffer from crippling depression and low self-esteem, however fighting my anxiety has been a real bear for the both of us. Her response was, “I’ve been trying for years to get you to agree to go outside, unsuccessfully. And now you’re leaving the house because of Pokemon GO. Oh, my god, this makes me look bad! Don’t tell anyone!”

LOL! I guess I’m telling people, but I’m strongly arguing that this has no reflection on her skills whatsoever. The issue is, the motivation to simply go out for a walk just for the sake of it, was not motivating enough against my deep-seated fears. Gaining exercise was always a prize on the table and twice we had made the goal that I would have morning walks or runs. And twice, that goal was not met. I love to walk and run, a LOT, I miss doing it as I had done it often in my youth before the anxiety showed up and began flipping tables on me.

I don’t know how to explain it, but with Pokemon GO, I completely put aside all fears long enough for the promise of a Pikachu or some other pocket-monster. Walks and runs seem possible for me now. Yes, granted, that I will stop in the middle of exercise every now and then, to heed the call that I’ve come across another Pokemon to catch. Let’s not split hairs, shall we? o_O

Yes, I am aware these are digital animations that aren’t real nor exist in the real world. I am aware that it’s just a video game, with an addictive hook of “Gotta Catch ‘Em All”. I am aware that we’re just specks on a speck, orbiting specks, among more specks, in an endless sea of specklessness (aka, billions and billions of universes in the grand scheme of life itself).

That said, the game is fun, it encourages me to get outside, and it’s a handy tool along with therapy to help break my long battle with severe anxiety. I fail to see the negative within my particular case. Without this game, I would be all too willing to return back to my hermit lifestyle and continue to struggle to find the motivation or excuse to brave the outside world.

It’s okay if others hate the game or do not have an interest in Pokemon. I don’t care nor mind that at all. It’s okay if others wish to complain about the bugginess of the game – which I will only remind everyone that this a very new “beta” type game, that wasn’t supposed to be released this soon. So, with all beta and alpha games, you have to realize that developers are still working on it and this is not the final product! However, I understand the frustrations, because it’s a cool game and we all want it to work at our convenience. Patience, grasshoppers! ^_-

What I take real issue with is those who choose to make fun of/mock/bully those who are enjoying the game or wish to destroy others’ fun. I think Jacksepticeye said it best in his Pokemon GO video, so I’ll leave his speech here: INTO THE WILD | Pokemon GO #2 (Jacksepticeye).

Bottom line is, DON’T be an asshole. Let people like what they like. Be kind to each other!

And for the players; do be safe out there and use common sense, don’t go into dangerous situations. That Pikachu is not worth it if it means wandering into the middle of the street, onto live train tracks, or getting stuck in trees! Be smart!

Picture: Ash and Pikachu.

Today’s song is: All The Way – Jacksepticeye Songify Remix by Schmoyoho. I think it’s a great song for Pokemon GO hunting! Hahaha! (*≧▽≦)ノシ))
And much love to Jack, he’s beyond awesome!

Thanks for reading, as always, dear readers! Good luck in your hunts! And for those not on the GO, good luck in all of your endeavors today, as well! ^_^v

-D

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