My Life Story Part 2: Growing Up with Two ill Parents and the Escape into Gaming

In the previous part, I shared about my anxious childhood and the severe bullying I faced in middle school. During that time, something significant happened: my father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and could hardly work anymore. At the same time, my mother started showing the first signs of her bipolar disorder. Sometimes she was very happy, but then suddenly deeply sad, refusing to leave her bed and seeing no point in living.

I still remember the helplessness I felt during my mother’s depressive episodes. It was heartbreaking to see my parents struggle with their own issues while trying to raise us. Fortunately, we had our nanny, who became like a second mother to me. She was my safety net during those difficult times. The problems at home, combined with the bullying I endured at school, meant that the sense of safety and security I had always felt as a child slowly faded away. Home was no longer the haven of peace and understanding it once was. At school, I felt isolated and excluded, which eroded my self-confidence. These feelings of loneliness and sadness drove me into the world of gaming.

Gaming offered me an escape; a place where I could avoid my daily problems and the painful reality. In games, I could be whoever I wanted to be, without the judgment and rejection I so often faced in real life. It became a refuge where I found comfort and distraction, though it was only a temporary solution to underlying issues.

In elementary school, I discovered the world of Habbo Hotel, where I quickly became one of the richest players under the username ‘Vene!’. This virtual success gave me a sense of pride and popularity, a welcome change from my daily reality. In Habbo Hotel, I felt valued and recognized, feelings I often missed in real life where I was bullied. It was a world where I could escape the loneliness and misunderstanding I experienced at school and home.

In my final year of high school, the home situation became unbearable when my mother attempted suicide. This traumatic experience, where mom locked herself in her room and threatened to end her life while we, as children, watched helplessly and full of fear, left an indelible mark on me. The memory of that day, the confusion and panic, still fuels my fears. It was incomprehensible and heartbreaking for me to see my mom, whom I loved and needed so much, no longer wanting to live. I struggled with unanswered questions and a deep sense of loss, not only of my mother as she once was but also of the feeling of security in our family.

From that critical moment, I felt too burdened to ask for my parents’ attention. With all they were already going through, my need for support and understanding seemed insignificant. I began to retreat more into my own world, a world where I had control and could lose myself in gaming. Besides Habbo Hotel, I also discovered Call of Duty, a game where I could vent my frustrations and feelings of powerlessness. As I immersed myself in this virtual reality, I fervently hoped the situation at home would improve. Unfortunately, it only got worse.

In my next blog, I will delve deeper into a tumultuous period of my life, including my parents’ divorce, my mother’s admissions to the clinic, her new partner she met in a support group for bipolar disorders, and the escalation of my gaming addiction to serious drug use. This next chapter marks a critical turning point in my life, filled with significant loss and valuable life lessons. Stay tuned!

The next story I’ll share again on my Threads account >

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Floris Meulensteen
Floris Meulensteen
Articles: 75

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