When I re-discovered pinball about 4 years ago I thought I was walking back into my childhood, and more so, my childhood dream. It's a feeling many if not all of us have felt. When you realize you can in fact OWN a pinball machine. And not just that but 2, 4, 6, 8, 10! It quick became, as with others, an obsession. So much so that I really started getting in way too far, way too fast. Mods, a podcast, streaming, fixing, buying, selling, trading, talking, living.....and during some period very little playing. I spent so much time IN the pinball world I wasn't actually PLAYING pinball. I still find myself slipping away during a game, only to be snapped back into when my ball comes flying towards the outlane. It's something I'm consonantly working on. Presence of mind. Being IN the moment. Thinking about the game, the ball, and my next step, instead of just drifting off to somewhere deep in my mind.
Shortly before my rediscovery I got married, started a family, and bought a house. All in a very very very short time. This alone would be stressful. But add learning a new skill, heck 100 skills, buying machines, fixing them, breaking them, fixing them again, being consonantly terrified of the machine breaking again, buying, selling, flipping, walking into an unfamiliar house with THOUSANDS of dollars. Driving 5 hours to haul 300 pounds up a set of stairs, and then turn around and drive 5 more hours home. This is insanity!
Let's add to all of this intense feelings of anxiety and depression. Oh yeah and OCD. Shortly after getting married my wife suggested, in part by my desire, to see someone about my drastic mood swings and general feelings of unwell. At first I was diagnosed with OCD. After 3 years of treatment for OCD I come to find out I'm actually suffering from severe Anxiety which leads to depression and OCD as coping mechanisms.
So I turned to pinball to make me feel better. But every machine I got and tried to fix up, but fails, made me feel worse. Every ball that would drain prematurely was devastating.
Couple THAT with a fairly volatile forum community here on Pinside lead me to take multiple breaks. This past one for about 6 months. Both from Pinside and pinball in general.
But what are you going to do. That's life, that's anxiety, depression, and internet forums. I guess I'm writing this to tell people out there like me that it's ok. It's not just you. Have fun and when the fun stops take a break, spend time on yourself, your family, and your other interests.
And with that I'm in the process of cleansing. Selling all my major titles, just about all my machines, and taking a break. Seeing what else is out there. Finding happiness elsewhere. I'll see you in the spring.