I am sure I have mentioned before that I have Anxiety. Not the anxiety that almost everyone has – that one that reduces unnecessary death through a healthy level of caution and fear, but the unhealthy Anxiety with a capital A.
It is a condition I am well aware of. I’ve watched its notable impact on my father’s life, am keenly aware of how it influences me, and have had both my children diagnosed with it, one who has already had years of ongoing treatment.
It is not an official term, but I probably most comfortably fit into a category of having High-Functioning Social Anxiety. Being a hermit is a little more than just a choice.
One aspect of my Anxiety is that my mind is always racing. To be honest I thought it was normal, but I remember being quite surprised when I first learnt my wife was able to sit with a completely empty mind and think of nothing. I see from the chatter of some of my “alternative’ Facebook acquaintances that having a truly empty mind is a thing. It sounds relaxing.
The problem with an ever-busy anxious mind is that unchecked it can both get very tiring, and run you off in what can become very unhealthy directions. As such you have to make a point of giving your mind downtime, and trying to moderate what fills it.
EVE has long played a role in being part of my self-medicating tool box for Anxiety. I could get caught up in hauling, or trading goods, or running missions, or mining, or trying out new ship fittings – which required enough effort to push out all other thoughts, while not being particularly taxing of themselves. Sure, you had to be careful to avoid the drama at times and be aware of other players, but it wasn’t that difficult. It is not technically having an empty mind, but it worked as such for me.
I understand and accept my reduced interest in EVE. It is just the reality of unchanged mechanics having a finite lifespan for holding your attention. Almost all of us will have a point where the repetitive stops being comfortable and starts to turn unpleasant. I really can’t complain about how long a run I did get from EVE. I, and my Anxiety, are however missing the EVE downtime.
I haven’t really found its replacement as yet. The closest tends to be watching YouTube clips of people sailing around the world.
While I still wait around in the peripheries for game changes to enthuse me, I wonder if EVE will ever truly provide the same sort of mind downtime as it did in the past. The vibe of the game just seems more hostile. CCP might be pleased to hear this, given their conflict focus, but EVE doesn’t feel as relaxed and distracting as it used to. People seem far more inclined to grief, troll, preach. In the old days, I’d regularly notice chatter in local, most of it pleasant. Now, the rare time I see chatter outside of the trade hubs, it is generally unpleasant. A consequence maybe of having so many long term players? Just a reflection of life in general? Maybe I just need to move further away from Jita.