A little over 12 years ago, I was a very shy and secluded 17 year old girl with no friends. By the time I graduated high school I had moved 9 times because of my mother’s job. As you can imagine it was very hard for me to make long-lasting friendships. The stress and anxiety from constantly moving was very hard on my mental health. I dove into a deep depression. I spent most of my time playing Counter Strike. In fact, I probably spent way too much time on this game. I met my best friend Anabella when I joined her clan, Destiny. She ran 3 servers. We had a lot in common. We even had the same birthday. Anabella really understood me. We chatted everyday on AIM. I remember waking up earlier than usual every Saturday just to play with my clan the entire day. They were always there for me. Anabella and a few other CS friends ended up going to the same college as me. We played a lot of Counter Strike. Sometimes we would just hang out. Go for dinner, watch a movie, play volleyball. For the first time in my life I had meaningful friendships with people I could really relate too. After college we all parted ways. We made a promise to each other to keep in touch. We played Source and GO whenever we could. This lasted for years, and we became even closer friends. We even got together a few times after college. Eventually, people started to have kids and get married. As time went on we played less and less.
Last Saturday was Anabella and I’s 30th birthday. Unfortunately, upon calling I found out she had committed suicide the night before. I feel extremely guilty. Anabella wasn’t afraid to ask us about stresses in our personal lives. She helped me through some of the darkest times of my life. She was like a mother figure to our CS clan. She was an advocate for mental health. She always wanted us to be the happiest version of ourselves. She gave so much of herself to us, and never asked for anything in return. I just wish I knew how bad she was hurting when she was at the end of her road.
Over the past week I have been thinking about all the great people and endless memories I have because of Counter Strike. Counter Strike brought us all together when we were just kids and I will forever be grateful. Years have passed since I have talked to some of you and I just wanted to say that I miss you and hope you are alive and well.
You never realize in the moment but some of these nights playing games with your friends are the best memories you’ll ever have. I wish I could go back. Thank you Counter Strike for giving us these great memories.