Pokemon ‘virtually remedies’ woman’s PTSD and mental illness

POKEMASTER: Mikayla Rose is a firm advocate for Pokemon Go's physical and mental health benefits.
POKEMASTER: Mikayla Rose is a firm advocate for Pokemon Go's physical and mental health benefits. Molly Glasesy

FOR years, a Warwick woman has battled with the debilitating effects of mental illness but it's the app sweeping the globe that has helped pry her from the grips of depression.

Mikayla Rose said the wildly popular Pokemon GO was more than just a game; it's a lifeline.

The app, which encourages users to head outdoors to search for and "catch" Pokemon with their phones, was helping her to socialise and interact with people, something she struggle to do just weeks ago.

"I have PTSD, major depressive disorder and psychosis, and before Pokemon GO you wouldn't catch me out and about," she said.

Mrs Rose felt trapped by the condition, rarely leaving the house for any reason.

She had enlisted three different counselling services and was admitted to hospital four times for psychiatric episodes.

"The biggest challenges each day were anxiety, dissociation, hallucinations and suicidal thoughts," Mrs Rose said.

"Last year in December, my husband called an ambulance because I disassociated so badly I forgot where I was and left the house.

"I didn't know who he was or other people."



POKEMASTERS: Todd and Mikayla Rose both vouch for the health benefits of Pokemon GO.
POKEMASTERS: Todd and Mikayla Rose both vouch for the health benefits of Pokemon GO. Molly Glassey

Mrs Rose said some days were worse than others, but she found some of her symptoms relieved by playing Pokemon GO.

"I have days where it's complete hallucinations from the time I wake up and till I go to sleep but since the game came out, it's been very different and I think it's because of the exercise," Mrs Rose said.

She said the game became a huge and welcome motivator to leave the house, stretch her legs and get some fresh air all while on the hunt for new Pokemon.

"With PTSD you have hyper vigilance and you are constantly on alert and somewhat paranoid and I don't know but I have relaxed somewhat when I'm out and about with this game; it's like a grounding tool almost," she said.

Mrs Rose said her husband Todd as was also experienced life-changing results because of the game. She said her husband has diabetes and other health issues that that give him muscle pain, sore eyes and "a whole bunch of stuff average people don't deal with"

"He wouldn't go out for walks because it hurts and is physically draining but when Pokemon GO came out he started going out little bits at a time and it was a amazing " Mrs Rose said.

"We have to take a lot breaks and a lot of days off from Pokemon Go but it's getting him exercise."

Mr and Mrs Rose aren't alone in their story, with Research Australia CEO Nadia Levin saying the app came with "immediate health benefits".

Mrs Rose said the game provided a perfect combination of motivation and physical demand .

"The aim of the game is to get to destinations to get certain Pokemon, Pokestops and Gyms," Mrs Rose said.

"Exercise is usually something that doesn't come easy to some people but you add a game and interaction you don't think about the exercise you think about the game, and after awhile you start feeling different because you are getting exercise that you aren't use too."

Today Mrs Rose is off to the doctor for her fortnightly check-up.

"I'm actually going to see my doctor and will be like 'hey (my symptoms) are virtually gone' and I know my doctor will be over the moon," she said.

Topics:  mental health pokemon go

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