A lot of people might be thinking that people who make a living from something they’re passionate about are genuinely happy and satisfied. But that is not true. Even people who make money by playing video games or hosting video game tournaments are not immune to mental health issues.
Popular esports host Paul “Redeye” Chaloner shared his personal battle against depression on Twitter. Redeye has been hailed as “the voice of esports” and known to be enthusiastic so many were surprised to know. It was last year when he first shared to his supporters that he has been battling mental illness.
I have suffered from mental illness for a very long time. Mostly these days it’s ok and I have great family and friends around me that I can trust and confide in when I’m going through a shitty period (mentally speaking),he shared on his Tweet.
One of the hardest parts for me to understand is this: My life is pretty amazing overall. I have relatively little to grumble about. Sure I wish I was closer to my family, but I understand and accept the sacrifice in order to do something I absolutely love doing, esports. Imagine all of the things in your life you wish were great and providing little stress and that is my life. I’m comfortable and yet I find myself going through periods of self-doubt, feeling helpless and unfulfilled and that I am not worthy of my position and even though perhaps from the outside I can come across as arrogant, I struggle regularly with confidence.
Redeye received many support and words of encouragement from his friends and fans. Some people couldn’t believe he’s been fighting depression due to his enthusiasm on camera. Redeye has started his esports career in 2002. For 17 years, he’s been commentating on esport tournaments including Starcraft, Quake Champions, Counter-Strike, Hearthstone, World of Warcraft, Dota 2, and many others.
How pervasive are mental health issues in esports?
Although in the Dota 2 scene, there aren’t many pros who are known to suffer from depression, some might be just good at hiding it, but we can’t deny the likelihood of it being there. However, in other games, anxiety, and depression are pervasive.
Last year, Justin “Plup” McGrath was a favorite to win at Evolution Championship Series, a Smash Bros Melee event. However, Plup was defeated before even having the chance to battle for the grand finals and ended in third place due to serious panic attack during a tourney set.
I had a panic attack for the first time in my life during evo, and I’ve been a mess ever since. It’s quite disconcerting knowing I could start spazzing out any time I get on stage. It’s one more thing to worry about for tournaments, and just writing this is making my heart race,Plup tweeted few days after the event.
Many other cases happened where even professional video gamers succumb to this serious mental health issue. Fatigue, depression, anxiety, and self-harm, are the dark shadows tied in esports where games are played in a very competitive format followed by the pressure to win. These types of illness are present almost everywhere.
Going back to Redeye’s case, he expressed,
My mental health is important and that I need to treat it just like any other disease or illness. See people in the medical profession that can help when I need to and not be ashamed of it. Take the help offered from friends and family and perhaps hardest of all for me, talk about it openly.
I want to say to those of you who struggle with mental illness in this week of awareness:
– You are NOT alone
– Many people care and love you
– Ask for help
– Lots of people come out of the other side
– It does get better
Please do get help even if, like me, you think you don’t need it. The HELP HELPS.