Pictured: gaming machines from the EGX convention in London

I went to the EGX convention in London and it was hard

So, it’s been a minute but that’s because I went to London for one of my best friends’ thirtieth birthday. I was a foolish optimist and I thought I’d be able to write and blog while I was there. My naivety was outstanding.

A looong weekend

Not only did I struggle with my general depressive lows, but I also caught a cold right before our departure. Needless to say, the entire trip was a struggle.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m very grateful to have been able to celebrate my best friend’s thirtieth in a way that mattered to him. I’m also very proud of myself for not backing out, even though I knew it would be tough on me. But still, it was a long weekend, both emotionally and literally.

A non-gamer goes to the EGX convention

We went to London specifically for a video game convention that he had been hoping to attend for years. This year it just so happened to take place on his birthday. It’s also more or less the year anniversary since he took up his side gig as a video game journalist. I’m so proud of how far he’s come, so this London trip really was the perfect way to mark the occasion.

Just in case anyone’s wondering, I am the most non-gamery that a person can be. I’ve actively tried to get into gaming but I just don’t get joy from them the way other people do. I wish I did. It’s another avenue for consuming stories, after all, and the least passive way to do so. But I guess I like my passive storytelling, for some reason.

Nevertheless, I went. I went and I had some real highs and lows. It was a day-long event with us arriving at 10AM and leaving the premises at 8PM. For a non-gamer, and one who’s battling depression as well as a cold as well as general travel fatigue, it was a challenge. But it was also a triumph, because I managed to stay for the whole day and I even managed to enjoy a good 55% of it.

Included, but just enough

Sure, my feet ached and my energy was low, but there were a few stalls I went to that made me feel very included. I bought presents for my brother, my godson, my cousin, and I even bought myself a pair of earrings. I picked up business cards for some really talented artists and I even got chatting to some of them and they really made me feel more at home than I expected. For a few rare moments, I wasn’t a gaming imposter. I was someone who was equally welcome and shared the same enthusiasm for the Pokémon, Harry Potter and D&D crafts.

We also went to a panel on accessibility in gaming, which is a fascinating aspect of gaming that even my non-gaming self can appreciate. As someone who has lived with an Epilepsy diagnosis for most of my life, it was reassuring to hear from experts on how those with additional needs are catered for in gaming.

After that, I was fairly spent so my friends very kindly allowed me to plonk myself in a beanbag and read for several hours while they wandered. Sure, I wasn’t taking in the convention, but I was doing London my way.

We went to a D&D panel at 6PM that brought us up to the time we left, and it was hilarious. It turned out to the highlight of the trip for me, and now I’m going through the archives of the group’s YouTube channel. I’m a fully-converted fan now. We watched six episodes of their content over the rest of the trip, although I was tempted to watch more the day after the convention when I made the decision to stay at the Airbnb while Cat and Ben did some of your typical London sight-seeing. Much as I wished I could join them, I definitely had some recovery to do.

In fact, I'm still recovering post-London

The busy weekend combined with travel combined with my intense cold meant that yesterday was a full-blown sick day. Today, mercifully, I woke up feeling better… but that was at 2PM. So I’m still a bit off from normal, but I’m getting there.

Tomorrow I have to drive to Dublin to deposit some presents with loved ones and visit my grandmother. She had a fall right before I left for London and has only just been released from the hospital, so I’m eager to see her. I’ve also told a friend I’ll pop by for tea, so if I can conquer all of the above, I’ll consider tomorrow a success.

I also have to do my accounts. I’m working away on them so that I can apply for disability allowance but it’s kinda hard to go through years’ worth of bank statements on a tragically slow laptop. I’ll do it though. So long as I have it done by the end of this week, I’ll consider it a win. I know it’s not much, but I need to bring in money somehow while I’m doing this mental recovery.

I think I can I think I can I think I can.

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