Author Topic: Testimonials  (Read 12833 times)

Victoria Victrix

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Testimonials
« on: September 10, 2012, 05:17:58 am »
I know that some of you do not feel confident about your letter-writing ability to write to NCSoft--or you feel leery about "exploiting" your problem or a child's. 

Here's your outlet.  Post your story about how the game has helped you or those around you here.  The stories will be anonymous.  Go ahead, be emotional, this is the place to do it.  Make me cry.  You are anonymous here.  No one is getting exploited.

Then I will need a volunteer(s) to aggregate the stories and pop them off to NCSoft and the media outlets that have been sympathetic (like Massively).  Aggregate about 10 at a time, call off when you have done so, so that we don't send multiples of the same story.

Also, if you find a great story elsewhere, post it here, with the link where you got it from.

You can be storytellers.  You ARE heroes.  Go!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 05:23:28 am by Victoria Victrix »
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2012, 06:35:15 am »
This is the story of my eldest son, and how City of Heroes, both the game and the community, helped him rediscover his voice.

In late 2004, a friend introduced me to a new game called City of Heroes. He was having a blast with it, playing a Fire/Fire Blaster, in a supergroup with some of my other close friends. My husband started playing about a month before I did. It took experimenting with the costume creator after watching him play, and then I was hooked. This was May of 2005.

We had a toddler at that time. As first-time parents, we were slow to recognize that he wasn't speaking quite the way he should be. His few words were complex ones, and he couldn't say them properly. When he was about 18 months old, he told us that he couldn't say the words right. And then he stopped speaking. Faced with an uncooperative early intervention program in the state we lived in, we were unable to get speech therapy for him that was covered by our insurance. About six months later, we were still struggling with a nearly non-verbal two year old and a new baby.

He was, however, absolutely fascinated by watching Mommy and Daddy play superheroes. The little boy who wouldn't sit still to be read to, and who wouldn't talk, who sometimes wouldn't meet our eyes and acted like he didn't hear us, would happily sit and watch City of Heroes. He even insisted on "helping" to play by pushing movement buttons and moving the mouse. He pointed at things on the screen, and showed a deep interest in the character creator. We started having him sit on our laps while we talked to him about what our characters were doing and the areas they were flying through.

Slowly, the words started to come. "Tree" "Rock" "House" "Door" "Book". He started counting groups of Skulls and Hellions. I let him take my Scrapper and run around through the city and he started telling us what he saw. My husband and I started DJing on The Cape Radio, and our son was fascinated by hearing us speak to other people through the computer. He said "hello" to people he had never met, who responded with encouragement and praise. He saw them on the screen as brightly colored heroes, and they gave him more reasons to speak. He could talk to real heroes and they talked back to him!

In 2007, he was finally able to count aloud from 1 to 10, with a notable exception. When he counted to ten, he said "One, two, three, four, five, six, Superman, eight, nine, ten." He laughed when he said it, and met our eyes with gleeful happiness. We recorded him counting so he could hear what he sounded like, and he was thrilled. We played it on the Cape, and he heard himself speaking to heroes. A door opened for him. For his heroes, the words came. "Mommy, play Heroes!" "Mommy, play Heroes with me."

He was four years old. Two years later, he was diagnosed with severe ADHD and a speech/language processing disorder. A year after that, he was diagnosed with autism. He will turn nine the month City of Heroes goes dark. He still plays his heroes, with Mommy and Daddy, but less frequently. He's in school now, progressing with his class, at the appropriate grade for his age. He now qualifies for speech therapy, after we moved to a new state.

Without his heroes, he would not have had a reason to start talking again. Without the community City of Heroes has, he would not have been able to hear his own voice speaking to the heroes on the screen, and heard those heroes answering him back. In the City of Heroes, the heroes and the players, helped find a little boy's voice. He has never lost his love for his heroes...and he does not yet know that the City of Heroes will be lost to him forever soon after his birthday. 

I don't know how to tell him this. I hope, with NCSoft's support and understanding, that the City of Heroes will remain open to players past November 30th. I ask that NCSoft hear a little boy's voice and find it a reason to keep City of Heroes an active game. I ask that if they cannot do that, that they make the game available to the community in some form, that we may ourselves find means to keep the City of Heroes an active, functioning game and community.

Please, don't silence my son's heroes. They helped him learn to tell his mother that he loves her. They gave him back his voice.

(Edited - If you need to use a name, use Mrs. K. Lees. That should be fairly anonymous for general use, while sufficient to connect it with the name the paper letter will be signed with. Of course, first we have to fix the printer.)
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 07:17:53 pm by SithRose »
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2012, 06:45:26 am »
 (would post some pictures, but I don't know how.)
My son, lets call him Deekia (His coh toon), is nine years old. Very intelligent with a reading level of 19 year old ( yes, we had him tested.)
His favorite TV show, The Big Bang Theory, I call him Shelly jr., you can guess why.
 He loves space and everything to do with it.
 He can tell you every greek god in mythology and their roman counterpart.
 He is the most empathetic little boy I know. 
He and his sister ( age 3) ( which makes them rare in themselves) have a rare genetic condition called Distalarthrogryposis. (told you it was long)(survival rate 1 in 3000 LIVE Births) . (http://www.amcsupport.org/)( They say genetic but no one in either my or my husbands family have it.)
We found out about Deekia's condition the day he was born. Imagine our shock. Here was our first child, with special needs and we had no clue what to do.
He had his first surgery at 2 (7 more since, with more to come). 
Shriners Hospital St. Louis, Mo ( Oh I can't tell you how much I love them) doctor told me after meeting Deekia that he would walk! With the many surgeries and pure will, that little boy walked one month after his second birthday! 
He spent years in Physical therapy and occupational therapy, learning how to do the things we take for granted.
 We made a deal, he and I. He would work on walking and I work on becoming a writer. He got better at walking.
To keep his mind off pain and other things when he was a year old, I had him on my lap watching me play City of Heroes. Many times he would hit the R ( auto run) key and cause many a team wipe out. Some at very crucial times :) ( Luckily, I played with a great bunch of people) I was told many time I could move auto run to another key, but I never could. He would giggle and clap as he watch the team wipe out.
Around 3, he would take control in the hollows and went to Go. Kil. Skulls. (He was reading by then) Telling me all the while he was "arresting" them. He loved it.
He would fly around randomly buffing and healing Heroes, so they knew they weren't alone.
At 6, he had his own account.   He was brokenhearted when he found out about The Lost.  He couldn't wait to get to the Rikti War Zone. He wanted to get the aliens!
And his allergies  ( life threatening carry epi- pen type)..To ALL dairy ( ice cream), eggs, ALL nuts, cats, dogs. So when his  classmates ( he really doesn't have friends his age.) went to the friendly pizza place ( ya know the one with the mouse) or had birthday parties, it's to dangerous for him to go. SO he made friends with other players who didn't care what he looks like on the other side of his Hero.
Why is this game so important that I am doing everything in my power to help #SaveCOH? He is.
 He will never ride a bike, never play sports, never play tag, but in City of Heroes he can FLY!
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 07:40:12 am by Lilabird »
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2012, 12:33:52 pm »
This is the story of my eldest son, and how City of Heroes, both the game and the community, helped him rediscover his voice.

In late 2004, a friend introduced me to a new game called City of Heroes. He was having a blast with it, playing a Fire/Fire Blaster, in a supergroup with some of my other close friends. My husband started playing about a month before I did. It took experimenting with the costume creator after watching him play, and then I was hooked. This was May of 2005.

We had a toddler at that time. As first-time parents, we were slow to recognize that he wasn't speaking quite the way he should be. His few words were complex ones, and he couldn't say them properly. When he was about 18 months old, he told us that he couldn't say the words right. And then he stopped speaking. Faced with an uncooperative early intervention program in the state we lived in, we were unable to get speech therapy for him that was covered by our insurance. About six months later, we were still struggling with a nearly non-verbal two year old and a new baby.

He was, however, absolutely fascinated by watching Mommy and Daddy play superheroes. The little boy who wouldn't sit still to be read to, and who wouldn't talk, who sometimes wouldn't meet our eyes and acted like he didn't hear us, would happily sit and watch City of Heroes. He even insisted on "helping" to play by pushing movement buttons and moving the mouse. He pointed at things on the screen, and showed a deep interest in the character creator. We started having him sit on our laps while we talked to him about what our characters were doing and the areas they were flying through.

Slowly, the words started to come. "Tree" "Rock" "House" "Door" "Book". He started counting groups of Skulls and Hellions. I let him take my Scrapper and run around through the city and he started telling us what he saw. My husband and I started DJing on The Cape Radio, and our son was fascinated by hearing us speak to other people through the computer. He said "hello" to people he had never met, who responded with encouragement and praise. He saw them on the screen as brightly colored heroes, and they gave him more reasons to speak. He could talk to real heroes and they talked back to him!

In 2007, he was finally able to count aloud from 1 to 10, with a notable exception. When he counted to ten, he said "One, two, three, four, five, six, Superman, eight, nine, ten." He laughed when he said it, and met our eyes with gleeful happiness. We recorded him counting so he could hear what he sounded like, and he was thrilled. We played it on the Cape, and he heard himself speaking to heroes. A door opened for him. For his heroes, the words came. "Mommy, play Heroes!" "Mommy, play Heroes with me."

He was four years old. Two years later, he was diagnosed with severe ADHD and a speech/language processing disorder. A year after that, he was diagnosed with autism. He will turn nine the month City of Heroes goes dark. He still plays his heroes, with Mommy and Daddy, but less frequently. He's in school now, progressing with his class, at the appropriate grade for his age. He now qualifies for speech therapy, after we moved to a new state.

Without his heroes, he would not have had a reason to start talking again. Without the community City of Heroes has, he would not have been able to hear his own voice speaking to the heroes on the screen, and heard those heroes answering him back. In the City of Heroes, the heroes and the players, helped find a little boy's voice. He has never lost his love for his heroes...and he does not yet know that the City of Heroes will be lost to him forever soon after his birthday. 

I don't know how to tell him this. I hope, with NCSoft's support and understanding, that the City of Heroes will remain open to players past November 30th. I ask that NCSoft hear a little boy's voice and find it a reason to keep City of Heroes an active game. I ask that if they cannot do that, that they make the game available to the community in some form, that we may ourselves find means to keep the City of Heroes an active, functioning game and community.

Please, don't silence my son's heroes. They helped him learn to tell his mother that he loves her. They gave him back his voice.

What a way to start a Monday...with tears.

A beautiful story, needless to say. Thank you for sharing it.

As an elementary school teacher, I know first-hand how challenging it is to get some students to speak. We've even had students with selective mutism.

I'm hoping you wrote a letter and sent it in, conveying how NCSoft's game was a blessing to your son... if they have hearts, they'll be moved.

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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2012, 01:29:04 pm »
When I was 17 years old and at college, I met a guy. Friend of a friend. He had feelings for me. I didn't have any for him. We never even dated, let alone anything else.
No big deal.

Except that he's been stalking me. Has been for the last 12 years. I've got a restraining order against him. He's been to jail. He's had some sort of court ordered therapy. The latest breach of the restraining order has been going through the courts since January 2010. I got a conviction in May this year, but now he's appealing that. We're back in court on Friday for the appeal. After that, well, whatever happens, I'm pretty sure we'll be off to the high court. Then the court of European Human Rights, or something. He won't stop. He's never stopped. The only way it will stop is if one or the other of us is dead.

Whether it's threats to kill my family in front of me and rape me, or taking overdoses on my doorstep, or turning up with a tattoo of my name and the words 'hatred and vengeance forever', I've been scared for the last 12 years. I can't go out, it makes me nervous. I can't make new friends, because I'm paranoid they might know him, or he might've set them up to it.  And even if I /do/ somehow meet people that I get along with, I end up feeling isolated because there's no way they can ever understand what it's like to try and live your life in someone else's shadow. There's not a day that goes past that I'm not scared he's going to do something terrible, to me, to my family.. god, I'm even worried about my stupid cat in case he does something to him.

An online friend bought me CoX as a birthday present. He was an RPer, so he talked me into rolling a character and joining his SG. The first time I saw people RPing I was embarrassed for the people doing it.  But.. I stuck it out. I like writing, and it was like writing, except I didn't have to do all the work. Nearly 8 years later, I'm still here, still RPing. I've made more friends than I ever have in the real world, and I haven't had to put myself at risk by leaving work, or my home - the safe environments - to get them.

City of Heroes is the only place I'm not afraid. It's the only part of my life that I feel like I have control over. Whatever happens to my character is up to me. She can live a miserable, terrible existence of angst and misery, or she can be happy, have a billionaire boyfriend and an island all of her own. I'm nice to my characters, so she has a good life. My villain does pretty well for herself, too.

There's no court cases, whenever someone threatens my main, they usually get a bone spike or a blade in an unfortunate place. They don't have panic buttons and rape alarms, they have bonespikes and a healing factor, or blades and ninja reflexes.  When I'm playing CoX, when I'm RPing with my friends, all I think about is whatever is happening right at that moment. I don't think about him, I don't think about court cases, I don't feel paranoid or isolated or frightened. It's like reading a book, and losing yourself in the storyline, except the story never ends.

CoX is a safe place for me. My friends there have been like my family, my SG are some of the nicest, kindest people I've ever met. The last couple of weeks, I've come to realise that it's not JUST my SG. That the wider community are just as special, too. Its helped me realise that there /are/ good people out there. That means a hell of a lot for me. I can't see that being replicated anywhere else. Not like this.
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2012, 02:03:38 pm »
I have been wanting to write this information in a letter to NCSoft, but I stumble terribly over the words and wind up rambling or getting lost in tears. This also happens on these forums, especially when I read the stories parents write of their children, and more especially those with disabilities and other issues, and how the game has helped them. I know I will get lost in tears again here. I am sure I will stumble over words. But I am sure the thread of my meaning can be pulled from it, and you may use it as you see fit.


Unlike many stories I have read, where parents speak of what this game has meant to their children, this is instead the story of 'me'.

I am a 39 year old woman. I suffer various 'invisible disabilities', mostly of the autoimmune-related variety, and primarily Multiple Sclerosis. I am not truly handicapped at this time, but my issues cause me to be primarily housebound. I fight against it, and always will, but the fight often takes a lot out of me. I might go days- weeks, even- living a semblance of 'normality', but it always comes crashing down.

And then I find myself without the strength to do more than sit in my computer chair, wasted, drained, and feeling trapped.

But even in my chair, I can still win battles. I can fight against evil. I can save the day. I can be a hero. AND I CAN FLY.

In City of Heroes, no one has to know that I might be having difficulty seeing. No one has to know that I might be having difficulty speaking. No one has to know that I might be having difficulty walking. No one has to know any of this, or that I am trapped in my house, fighting at least one disease  that I will never win against.

City of Heroes is a game I began playing when it was in Beta. It is a game I had once moved on from, but when I was going through the testing that would lead to my original diagnosis, and words were being thrown around such as 'tumor' and 'cancer' and 'MS', I dove back into it. I needed the strength of a hero, and CoH let me be one. CoH gave me the strength to face my problems while also giving me the ability to leave my problems behind for a time. It might sound melodramatic, but I honestly feel like CoH saved my life. I am afraid of what I would have lost myself to without the strength and the release the game gave me, and continues to give me.

I have found no other place where I can feel as free as I do in the skies of Paragon City. Believe me, I have looked, because it would be nice to also find, elsewhere, the strength and freedom I find in CoH, and I do know that nothing lasts forever, and I know that my disabilities -and handicaps- will only get worse over time. But it didn't even feel like 'the end' was anywhere close. It didn't feel like there was any possibility I would lose the freedom this game gives me anytime soon.

Please, NCSoft, don't shut the doors on me. Don't leave me trapped here. Please.

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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2012, 02:49:31 pm »
Wow, I have to see that after reading these wonderful, heart-wrenching stories, I am more convinced than ever that our City must be saved. I believe it is a great idea collecting these testimonials in this thread and then sending them several at a time so that the actual authors can be sure that their identities remain protected.

Maybe each author should put the name they want this submitted as on top of the text - at least if they are not happy for their forum name to be used

Zos

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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2012, 04:06:35 pm »
Dear Mr (NCSoft CEO)
  Hi, my name is Jeff and I wanted to take the time to tell you about my experience playing City of Heroes.  I am married with 2 kids.  I used to play this game day and night.  I work 3rd shift, a strict 4 on 4 off.  On my days off my wife would pick up shifts where she works.  She works late 2nd shift as a bartender.  Now I'll admit there were nights I didn't read 2 books to my 3 year old at night instead of 1 so I could hurry up and join a team on CoH.  About a year ago, I let my VIP account expire for the first time since the Freedom launch.  I found myself glued to my TV watching ESPN and following the NFL season.  My wife (rightfully so) would give me a hard time that I was spending more time in front of the TV instead of spending time with my son.  At some point while glued to the TV, my wife introduced my son to www.disneychannel.com where little kids can log on and play video games with a disney theme.  As the NFL season ended, I found myself competing with the computer for my son's attention.  Now, you have got to understand my son.  He is named Parker after Spiderman.  He has superhero stickers on his wall, hero bedsheets, and hero action figures.  One day I plan to share my comic book collection with him.  After a depressing season put on by my team, the Indianapolis Colts, and a major upset by my and my dad's other favorite team, the Green Bay Packers, I decided football wasn't worth the gap between my son and I.  One day I sat down in front of the computer and said to my son, "Do you wanna see something neat?"  I logged into my City of Heroes account and started showing him my heroes.  He loved it!  Pretty soon, I upgraded my account back to VIP and started getting back into the game with my son watching on.  I would return home from work often to find my son at the door saying, "Dad, wanna pway heewoes?"  The past few months have been the highlight of my life so far, playing games with my son.  He is 3 and I have thought about the day I might get to play on a team with him.  Enclosed are pictures of my son and I playing City of Heroes.  Please don't discard them.  Enjoy them as much as I have.

Sincerely,
Jeff

Enclosures

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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2012, 06:34:51 pm »
Wow, I have to see that after reading these wonderful, heart-wrenching stories, I am more convinced than ever that our City must be saved. I believe it is a great idea collecting these testimonials in this thread and then sending them several at a time so that the actual authors can be sure that their identities remain protected.

Maybe each author should put the name they want this submitted as on top of the text - at least if they are not happy for their forum name to be used

Zos
I feel the same way.  Thanks everyone, I know this can be difficult to 'use' sometimes.

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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2012, 07:06:58 pm »
Wow, I have to see that after reading these wonderful, heart-wrenching stories, I am more convinced than ever that our City must be saved. I believe it is a great idea collecting these testimonials in this thread and then sending them several at a time so that the actual authors can be sure that their identities remain protected.

Maybe each author should put the name they want this submitted as on top of the text - at least if they are not happy for their forum name to be used

Zos
if you do choose to use mine, please don't use my forum or any of my character names. Other than that, you can call me Susan, for all I care :)
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2012, 07:38:26 pm »
Hiya. We had a thread started in the Projects subforum for these kinds of stories, so I split everyone's stories off and merged them with the original thread: http://www.cohtitan.com/forum/index.php/topic,4907.new.html

Keep bringing your stories forward! Just use that thread for it. ;)

Edit:  Since that thread isn't visible to most people, I've moved most of the posts back to this thread. - Eabrace
« Last Edit: September 10, 2012, 09:24:41 pm by eabrace »
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2012, 07:55:24 pm »
I don't seem to have access to that thread? Might just be newbie me,  though.
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2012, 07:56:44 pm »
FYI, I've also got a "An error has occured !" when trying to follow your link Aggel.

Main screen turn on ?
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2012, 08:10:10 pm »
Hiya. We had a thread started in the Projects subforum for these kinds of stories, so I split everyone's stories off and merged them with the original thread: http://www.cohtitan.com/forum/index.php/topic,4907.new.html

Keep bringing your stories forward! Just use that thread for it. ;)
*cough* I don't think everyone has access to that subforum, Agge. *cough*
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2012, 08:36:56 pm »
My post is lost and scared in a forum!  Poor thing. 
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2012, 08:39:32 pm »
Will be stepping into the operating room to begin surgery in a moment.  Wish me luck!
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2012, 08:44:36 pm »
Will be stepping into the operating room to begin surgery in a moment.  Wish me luck!
just pull the post back in here, in a public area, maybe ? Or did the host post house more sensitive subjects ?
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2012, 08:57:03 pm »
just pull the post back in here, in a public area, maybe ? Or did the host post house more sensitive subjects ?
I don't know that I'd call any of it sensitive, but it was more of a discussion between coordinators about coordination, not so much submitting personal stories.
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2012, 08:59:21 pm »
OK, I think we've got that all straightened out now - except that any existing links to the thread will be off since the thread's numeric ID appears to have been changed.
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Re: Testimonials
« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2012, 09:09:46 pm »
Since that thread isn't available to me, I'll post here.

I've been playing CoH for 6 years.  I used to work at NASA, and was involved in gaming and in crafting hobbies.  I was sharp enough that I was co-guild leader for a very prolific RP guild for several of those years (I compiled the stories one year and in one year we wrote more words than Harry Potter : Goblet of Fire), and I continue to write with my best friend since high school.  We're up to thousands of pages of story, (none of which we can publish since it's in CoH's world).

Why does this matter?

Because I developed chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.  I can't work.  I can't RP.  I can at least write in email, but it's a very slow process (but one my doctor supports wholeheartedly to keep my brain from degrading faster).  I can't do even a fraction of the things that used to define my life.

What I can do?  At least, sometimes?

I can fly.  I can nuke.  I can function.

I can feel like my disability disappears for a while.

I have made friends in CoH that have been nothing but supportive of me.

Most people with Chronic Fatigue have a fairly poor support group.  Very few understand when you were doing fine then 5 minutes later you have to go lie down, or quit all of a sudden.  Or why you can no longer get together with your friends for a fun dinner and a movie.  Most people with chronic fatigue count themselves lucky to have two people who understand.

I have two SGs worth.

At almost any time of day, I can find *someone* who can help me through the emotional crash of "I can't do what I used to do".  I have five or six friends who remind me to take the shots that I have to take weekly -- which hurt and leave bruises.  It took me a year of their support and cheering on in order to get to where it doesn't take me over an hour to psyche up to take them any more.  I don't think I would have kept up with my medication if it hadn't been for their support.

Even if I can't play CoH nearly as much as I used to, *wanting* to play, to continue to be a part of that community, helps me to keep pushing and not give up on myself and on life.  In fact, playing and roleplaying the hero mentality has developed a mental precedent that helps me deal with the stress involved with going from being a computer programmer at NASA to barely being able to figure out how to do keybinds.

Has CoH changed my life?

Definitely.