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Why I Love Streaming (Despite the Challenges) as Someone With Chronic Illness

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I’ve loved gaming since I was a child. We didn’t have the money to get new consoles and games when they were released, so I often got everything used years later when the new versions of consoles had come out and everyone was fixated on those, leaving their old games to gather dust. When I became an adult, I decided I wanted to get back into gaming officially.

When I stopped working back in April, I had no idea what I’d do. Being a freelance writer at my current experience level wasn’t going to pay my bills and I was too ill to work for anyone — remote or in person.

When I decided to start streaming, I didn’t think I was going to make enough money to pay my bills, but whatever extra income it brought was welcomed. It would allow me to immerse myself in my communities, and experience new ones. Streaming forced me out of my comfort zone.

Being autistic, I spent most of my life masking. I always found it hard to communicate with others and present my natural self because it didn’t fit into neurotypical standards of how people show be. Moving through life has always felt like a performance. With streaming, there are so many types of streamers out there that I’ve been able to find a spot and make a space for me and others who enjoy my community. I don’t have to be overly animated when I’m not in the space for it. I don’t have to show my face on days where I’m really sick and if I’m not up to it, I can choose not to stream that day and my community understands.

I play video games that I otherwise never would have and I play co-op with other people, something I’ve sworn against for years because of how hard it was to socialize online. But I’ve met so many wonderful people that I want to play video games with and stream, people who I admire and help me learn and grow.

I’ve been mostly stuck in the house due to my illness and the inaccessibility of the world. Most of my communication with other people is online. Streaming was the perfect way for me to fill my need for socialization, even when I couldn’t physically hang out with my friends and community members.

Streaming is both the most accessible career and activity as well as the most inaccessible. On one hand, I don’t have to leave my house and I can work whenever I’m able to. On the other, there’s so much to manage, so much money to put into it and if you aren’t able to put hours in every single day, your numbers take a huge hit. I built my community around accessibility and transparency and because of that, I’m surrounded by people who don’t hold it against me when I’m too sick to deliver content. That’s an experience I’d never had in traditional work settings.

Streaming has brought me opportunities that were initially out of reach. I’m uncertain what the future holds but the value and quality it has added to my life is immeasurable.

Learn more about Teona and follow their stream and social media here.

Getty image by disobey art.

Originally published: November 11, 2021
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