Today, for the first time all week, I feel vaguely human. Chirpy even. So I figured I’d take the opportunity to write a little about hobbies and how they change when you have M.E. I’d love to hear about your new hobbies in the comments.
Everyone who knows me knows that I used to love to sing. I loved to dance, to listen to rave music at the gym or on my rower at home. I also loved to be outside on the weekends, preferably up the hills or somewhere along the Water of Leith wit…h a picnic and the Saturday cryptic crossword.
These are the things that in my darkest days I miss, bitterly. I can see “Route 1” up the scree between the Pentland Hills from my living room window and every summer I bore Mr M.E. to death going on about how much I miss it and how damned unfair it all is!
But over the years new hobbies creep into your life and you find new ways to have fun. My favourite hobby at 43 years old is gaming. It’s grown on me so much and Mr M.E. says I’m officially an actual gamer now. I have my own PS4 and last night I bravely used my acquired skills to complete the final story mission on Watch Dogs 2! No mean feat. If you’d have said to me five years ago that I’d be a middle aged girl gamer with some serious skills, I’d have laughed at you, but here we are.
I’ve found its helped in improving my concentration, which can be a real problem sometimes. It’s helped with focusing my eyes and with hand eye coordination and even with spatial awareness. In short my new hobby has been helping me keep control of a whole set of my crappy symptoms. Who knew? Well apparently science knows! Completely separately to me and my need to find something else to do, scientists have been using simple computer games to help dementia and alzheimers patients. You can Google that…I know right? I was surprised too.
I noticed something else too, well my brother noticed it really. We were talking about the kinds of games we like and what we like to do so I shared how much I loved Grant Theft Auto 5, Mad Max and other similar games. He and the Welsh Wonder Woman that he lives with both much prefer Battlefront and games of that nature when he said to me “you just love these open world, exploration games don’t you?”
“Yes!” I said, “I love them! I love that you can go hiking up mountains and along rivers. I love the scenery and the sunsets and the puzzles and the collectibles and the sense of achievement of doing trophies or 100% checklists”…. and that’s when it hit me; the things I love to do in the virtual world are the exact same things that I used to love to do in the real world plus, you know, if I’m really pissed off I can shoot someone in the face whilst I’m at it.