I never imagined I would need an escape from my day to day life.
At the age of 30 I was married, successful in my career, and mother to two beautiful children. But that year, my world came crashing down. My daughter – just two years old – was forced to fight a devastating bone marrow disorder called Aplastic Anemia. Her bone marrow was unable to produce new blood cells. My husband and I were left helpless and we agonized as our baby girl fought for her life.
The next year was an emotional roller coaster, never knowing whether she was getting better or if the disease was here to stay. I felt like a big rock tumbling around in a dryer, being chipped away with each spin. We were in and out of the hospital. Shortly after she turned 3, my daughter lost her battle and I lost what I quickly realized was my reason for getting through each day.
The rest of 2006 was just an endless cycle of trying to wake up in the morning. I submerged myself in new projects, knowing that if I just kept busy I could postpone the grieving process. I was so tired of crying all the time, all the while knowing my pain was never going to bring her back.
It took a chance gift from my brother to give me something I could really sink my teeth into; a true way to escape. I don’t remember any other gifts I got that year, only his: World of Warcraft. I didn’t think too much of it at first, but I also didn’t really know what I was doing. I leveled my first character – a rogue – to 26 without knowing anything about talent points, battlegrounds, or the auction house. Fortunately my brother had already been playing for a while, and with some coaching I rolled a hunter on his server so we could play together.
The rest of that year was a complete blur to me. Looking at my life was like sitting on the couch with someone else’s photo album. All of these still memories that weren’t mine. They could have meant something, but I wouldn’t know. I just couldn’t remember.
What I do remember was playing WoW on my laptop while my 2 year old son played with his trains on the carpet. Now every time I hear the Thomas and Friends theme song it reminds me of questing on my hunter in Feralas with a guildie while my son watched his DVD on repeat.
It wasn’t until later that I learned I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. In order to compensate for pushing aside the more harmful memories, the brain just decides to place anything that has a remotely similar trigger into a neat little basket that it promptly hides under the coffee table. And because almost everything in my day to day life was a trigger for me, everything got swept into one big haze. Everything except World of Warcraft.
This is Part 1 of a series. Click here for Part 2.