LFD/LFR and Anxiety Disorders

Sunday, December 18, 2011
Blizzard came out with the Looking for Dungeon system back in 3.3.0 which was released on December 8th 2009.  For many people, this was wonderful and amazing.  Letting them play on their terms and on their time schedule.  For me, this gave me heartache and stomach pains.

Anxiety is the 'displeasing feeling of fear and concern' that people feel over many things, from small to large.  However, when that feeling comes all the time and keeps you from doing anything, you have crossed the line into a mental disorder.

Back in 2009, I tried to do LFD runs on my own.  I think I have done a total of 3 runs by myself since the system came out.  The rest of the time, I generally run with somebody from my guild.  However, as time has gone on, my ability to run in anything less then a full guild group has slowly disappeared.  My anxiety has slowly started to rule my entire life.

When I started to hear rumors of the upcoming LFR system, I thought that this was a great idea for the people who work weird schedules or have kids to take care of or just don't have a guild to run with.  However, now that it's out, I'm seeing more and more of my guildies say "Don't forget to run LFR this week and get some upgrades!"

Honestly, this has my heart in a vice grip.  The idea of going into a group where I know (at the most) 4 or 5 people makes me want to scream and then cry.  I have said "I don't want to go, thank you" but now I'm sitting on the side lines watching my best friends and my husband get their "Fall of Deathwing" and it's killing me.  In our raid group, the only person who doesn't have "Fall of Deathwing" is me.

Am I bringing my raid group down because I can't LFR?  If I want to progress, do I need to have a panic attack over a video game?  I don't know.

Also.  Does "Fall of Deathwing" even mean anything?  If you can go get it in LFR which is "more like finishing a heroic dungeon" then a raid?  My husband says that when we do it as a guild, the GUILD will get the achievement.  But ya know.  That's not the same.

I'm sick.  My medication appears to not be working.  I've had a headache since December 1st.  But, you can't see it.  I look fine, if a little tired and a little sad.  I seem quiet in the guild, when I try to be light hearted there is no response.

So, tell me.  Am I doing it wrong?  Do I need to suck it up and just deal with it?  Because by the Earthmother, if I knew how to suck this up I would.


  1. Windsoar said...:

    There is zero reason to do an activity that causes you stress, especially if you're in a position where anxiety is something you're trying to manage in your daily life.

    If you really *want* to run a LFR group, there are also coping mechanisms that could get you through the run. You don't have to deal with voice chat, and I often flip to a different "chat tab" that doesn't include raid chat during random dungeons as I find the negativity annoying.

  1. Erinys said...:

    "I often flip to a different "chat tab" that doesn't include raid chat during random dungeons as I find the negativity annoying."

    This, a thousand times this. I do in battlegrounds, raids and 5 mans, if people start fighting with each other. Luckily my "incoming" macro sends the message to the battleground chat regardless of what I'm looking at.

    I get feelings of panic and I must admit I've never queued solo for anything other than PvP, everything else I need at least one other person holding my hand. I don't have Perky Pug because I hate pugging, I'm terrified people will see through the façade and realise how much I suck.

    So I try and look at it like a bad party, if I hate it, I can just leave.

    I also think, thinking about it can be worse than doing it. After a horrible run or two in TBC, I stopped doing heroics full stop and then late one night, after a few drinks I logged and someone said "come heal X". Without stopping to think, I hit accept and it wasn't too bad. Now I heal them with people I like/trust and the odd random.

    However, bottom line is if it's contributing to the headaches and the illness, then don't do it. Your guildmates should understand.

  1. Tzufit said...:

    During Wrath, my main was my DK tank. I raided on her regularly, she was well beyond geared for heroics, and I was confident with her. One horrible random heroic run, and I would only queue as DPS for months afterward. Being demeaned by a group of strangers is NOT my idea of having fun in a game.

    As Windsoar said above, there's no reason to do it if it's going to make you miserable. If you really want to get in there, turning off chat is a great suggestion, especially if you already know the fights. No one bothers with any kind of assignments in Raid Finder, so you won't be missing much. And as Erinys pointed out, you can certainly leave without feeling guilty if things don't go how you want. People come and go very frequently in Raid Finder and it really doesn't affect the group much.

    Oddly, going into Raid Finder as a healer is probably the safest way to do it. I've yet to see a healer get yelled at for anything. Tanks, obviously, take the most slack and the DPS like to point out anyone's spec or reforging that isn't ideal. Healers seem to be relatively immune.

    Best of luck to you, whatever you decide. Don't feel obligated to go in there if you don't want to - it's certainly not for everyone, and especially not for those of us without thick skin.

  1. Anonymous said...:

    I saw your post linked on Jaded Alt and it jumped out at me for very personal reasons. I wrote about this very thing several months back. I don't have any answers for you, but maybe it would help to know you're not alone. You can read my post here, if you like: http://heavywoolbandage.wordpress.com/2011/04/06/social-anxiety-and-group-effort/

    I'd love to raid. LFR would take care of one of my problems. I have slow reaction times and can be overwhelmed by things due to cognitive dysfunction from a neurological disease. What a lot of people say is "too easy" in LFR would be just enough challenge for me that I'd have to work, but not a roadblock that would prevent me from succeeding. I haven't made it past the anxiety, though. I'm hoping I can get to the point of doing some alt night raids with my guild. They know I have a hearing problem and can't use Vent, so some of that is dependent on whether or not we can all work around that issue. But I'm still not okay with doing things in groups with all of them. That's nothing against them. The fact that I'm finally in a guild and actually interact with them shows a lot of progress on my part, and it wouldn't have happened if they weren't great folks. I'm just not okay with raiding yet.

  1. Imakulata said...:

    I think people consider gear more important than it is; if it really was, Gevlon's group wouldn't progress through DS with his "no boss farming" group.

    The bad news is, I find it helping with getting an actual experience with the encounters - sure, the damage is much lower, the stuff that kills you in normal mode doesn't and the mechanics that require coordination are missing but it helped me to realize the damage taken "flow" so I know how to heal at the moments.

    The good news is, there is a lot of video and written guides, there are forums you can discuss the encounters on with other raiders (if your anxiety doesn't stop you from doing that) so you can prepare that way. Also, as far as experience goes, there is nothing that gives you so much experience as playing the encounter on the difficulty you're trying to beat.

  1. Here's the way I look at it, with regards to your raid team and lfr. Fall of Deathwing means absolutely nothing. The standards are so low in lfr that anyone can get it. It means as much as the level 85 achievement does. So don't get yourself down on not having it from lfr.

    As for picking up gear from lfr, I don't know your character, I don't know how many legit upgrades you have in there. If your raid leader expects the raiders to hit lfr, then you should probably at least make the effort. However, if your raid leader is expecting you to run lfr, he can't mandate that you have to run it alone. Talk to the other raiders, see when they plan on getting their runs in. Having one person in there with you gives you a rail to hold on to. Having 4, 5, 7 of your fellow raiders with you makes it almost a communal experience. Think of it like a trip to the circus, laugh at the morlocks stumbling around blindly. It's lfr, with a few competent raiders, it's impossible to wipe much, so everything there is loot and entertainment, nothing more. You don't have to worry about letting people down, because the bar's so low in there.

    As for LFD? I know this is going to sound a little crazy, but have you considered tanking? A feral druid is the simplest tank to pick up, and does a fine job in 5 man content. The advantage that it gives you is an unassailable position above the rest of the group. Things that are normally a crippling flaw for other roles can simply be shrugged off by a tank. Got a group of jerks that you don't want to stay with, but you dread wasting all that time you spent waiting in the queue? As a tank, there are no queues, there's no time to waste. Got a group with weak DPS? If you play well, you can carry them to freedom. Weak healer? A well geared bear tank can run many early cata heroics with no healer. You're in control.

    When I first got back from Iraq, I was a bit of a wreck, and that was a bit of an understatement. Being able to seize onto that element of control, even in a tiny setting such as a five man in an online game, did wonders for letting me take back control of successively larger aspects of my life. It didn't get rid of my concerns, but it did do more than its share to make them manageable.

  1. Saif said...:

    DS is tuned for normal Firelands gear.

    I honestly don't think anyone needs to run LFR unless you're pushing for realm first heroics or something and you're in a hardcore guild and even then the only thing you need to run LFR for is the 4-piece bonus (assuming your class has a good one.)

    If your raid is deliberately benching you for not running LFR regardless of your performance, when you're in FL gear, then they're doing you a dis-service.

    Honestly, if I were in your position and got benched for not running LFR, I'd have a serious conversation with my raid lead, and let them know that you're feeling singled out and explain to them your perspective.

    Also: if your raid leader wants everyone in LFR gear then he needs to coordinate runs of LFR himself, and get as many guildies into the group as possible to minimize issues.

    In the worst case, just remember that there are a billion guilds out there all hungry for good players who might be a lot more understanding of your perspective. You hold the cards when it comes to dealing with guilds these days.

    Good luck. :)

  1. Anonymous said...:

    Its your $15...play as you wish. The LFR is not intended for you. You have a solid raid group, and do not NEED those upgrades to get 10 man DS completed. LFR is designed for the millions of players who will never get past the first boss in DS for a variety of reasons.

    I know players often think the various titles, achievements, and such are some badge of honor for the elite; or designed to act as a gold, silver, or bronze medal of some kind. Its not!

    The game is a product. They are SELLING it. They want EVERYONE to get these things. They want everyone to have access to them.

    Just play as you enjoy it. Again...its your $15 :)


  1. maka said...:

    Get in there now LFR is ideal to learn a bit about Boss strats before running normal with a Guild, longer you leave it peeps have run multiple time before you so they expect everyone to be at same standard, usually someone in group leads to a reasonable level just follow instructions. Why worry about 25 faceless people or there comments the experiance helps you when you eventually run with your Guild ( the ones you actually care about)Thick skin should be the new defence stat for dealin with nabs in LFR, If you learn from doin it its worthwhile. So you are ultimate winner.

  1. Karegina said...:

    Holy crap. The one thing I did not expect when I posted this was to get any kind of traffic to my blog.

    So, wow. Just wow.

    I just have a couple things to say.

    Thank you for the suggestions about how to LFR with less stress. This actually is something I never thought of. Hiding the chat box? I can totally do that! I won't say "I'm totally going in there this week" but I think I will be more open to it now, provided I can go with a good chunk of my guildies.

    As for learning strategies, I'm not too worried about that. I pick things up really well through the written strats that are out there as well as the videos. Plus, I do have the husband (who is my raid leader) to help me out there.

    Also, I've not been benched due to my not wanting to LFR. I am a good healer, not on par with 25 man heroics though, but I hold my own and kick ass while doing it. (My husband says I'm a druid diva! Whatever husband.) When I said I was watching them, they were in LFR and I was sitting in Org.

    I appreciate that people have read this. This post has gotten 115 views as of right now (9:22am Pacific time on 12/20/2011) which is more than any DAY I've ever had.

    Thank you for all your comments!

  1. Littlebyt said...:

    Hi! I came to your site via MMOmeltingpot. I saw their verbage about this blog, specifically this article and had to read it. Thank you! Though I dont have the same conditions, I have similar and experience the same feeling when looking for dungeons and raids to where I dont do anything unless there are 2 to 3 other guild members with me. I play a rogue and a scatter-brained hunter. Best of luck! And Happy Holidays.

  1. Ophelie said...:

    I'm a bit late coming onto this and I probably don't have a whole lot to add that hasn't already said, but I just wanted to say that I totally hear you. I was pretty terrified of jumping into LFR myself. I never would have done it if I hadn't decided that I needed gear to move to another guild.

    In the end, it turned out to be way less scary than 5 man pugs. In 5 mans, the spotlight is on you. In LFR, especially as a healer, you just blend in with the crowd. After my first run, I was hooked and I've been running LFR compulsively ever since, even after I'm locked out of loot for the week.

    But like everyone is saying, if it makes you uncomfortable, there's no point in forcing yourself. The game is supposed to be for FUN.

    That said, if you're feeling like you're left out, you can try joining with your guildies, and just leave if things get too overwhelming. People enter and leave LFR groups constantly, so no one will think anything of it.

    I hope everything works out! It seems like your guildies are understanding and won't give you a hard time for not feeling comfortable with LFR. (And really, unless your guild is competing for top server spots, there's no point in making LFR mandatory) But if they do, just be honest with them. They're far more likely to empathize if they know what's going on. *hugs*

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