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Everything posted by JustTom

  1. My problem with this line of thinking, however, is that there is no way to quantify what constitutes so-called "manipulation". Companies will argue that they are just making their products more pleasurable. There is no logical way to refute this argument unless you challenge that there should be a limit to how pleasurable an activity should be, in which case you're delving into completely unexplored and perhaps even philosophical territory. Here's the thing: Is a restaurant unethical because they make their food so delicious that people keep over-eating? Are car manufacturers unethical because their cars are so convenient we no longer use bikes? Are movie studios unethical because their films are too good and we keep binge-watching them? Are musicians unethical because they make such amazing music that we pump up the volume and create tinnitus? Are social media unethical because they connected the world so much we are unable to disconnect? Are CHAIRS unethical because they're so comfortable that we never stand up and stretch while working? There are just random stream-of-thought examples(so don't cherry-pick the weakest ones in order to make an argument..! 😄 ), but you can see how you could apply this to anything. In the perfect world, we would use our knowledge of how to make things pleasurable in order to hyper-optimize things that make us happy in the longterm as opposed to instant gratification, but that is indeed a utopia, because people will never in a billion years agree on what it is and how it should be done. Some people love video games and they play 20-40 hours on top of their job, family and whatnot, and would argue that it's their source of happiness in life. So because there is no actual logical distinction between making things pleasurable and being manipulative, what the society usually does in these scenarios where you have a scale, is to just draw an arbitrary line and say "this is ok because we said so, and this is not ok because we said so". For example, it is obvious as a day that making hard drugs legal would make them safer, but they are banned because people cannot handle something that is so intensely pleasurable. So the cost of drugs being unsafe is less than the cost of more people doing safer drugs, because they just couldn't handle them and get addicted/overdose. Again, IN THE PERFECT WORLD, I would love for EVERYTHING to be legal and just let the people decide what is good for their lives and what is not, but that is completely delusional and the society cannot function like that. Anyways, I think there indeed should be an arbitrary line drawn because games and audio-visual media, in general, is getting WAY TOO pleasurable. When VR gets better, I can honestly imagine games being more instantly pleasurable than drugs. Neuralink has revealed their initial research and it's mindblowing. Musk says there are going to be human trials in a year(make that two or three, because It's Elon). In 20 years, you can bet your bottom dollar that people are going to be wiring their brains into a VR headset for direct neuron stimulation. Shit is going to be nuts 100% - why? Because it will make a lot of money. This is why it's important to set the boundaries early, now that it's obvious that SO MANY people are getting addicted to games. I don't think it should be nor it is possible to regulate what elements can and cannot be in a game, but putting warnings or links/contacts to institutions/communities that can help when a gamer is having problems is a good start. With the recent acknowledgment of video gaming addiction=disease, we can start getting official data and hopefully enough people will push for some improvement.
  2. Day 46 | Work: 18p | Music: 0p | Misc: sponsor call + doctor 100% productive day. Didn't waste a minute. Went to bed late on sunday so I couldn't really try a morning attempt, but tomorrow I will. Had an hour-long call with my new sponsor, really good stuff. At work, one of my experiments resulted in better accuracy than expected and it also makes sense to me why. This could be huge and a backbone to my research, or at worst, a good thing to analyze and write about in the thesis - very happy about that. Felt really good in general. In the afternoon I had a doctor's appointment so I went outside a bit and wow - it was so beautiful outside. It's really amazing how summer can feel when it's not too hot but still warm and I'm not getting internally destroyed by allergy or depression. Makes me really want to go to work early, so that I can take 1-2 hour break in the afternoon to enjoy the sun(and do a couple approaches hehe). I could start work at 9, take the sun-break and finish 8 hours by 19, leaving me a lot of hours until midnight for extra hustle, music, or a workout. Wow. I seriously want to do this. I could have it all. Could I? Ok... 8:00 - wake up 9:00 - work 13:00 - sun-break 15:00 - work 19:00 - go home 19:30 - dinner + CGAA 20:30 - workout 22:00 - music or talking/chilling 00:00 - sleep 8 hours This is basically #thedream. It has the passion activity, the health activity as well as the social activity, all while finishing my degree. Hmm. Obviously I wouldn't work out every day, so I'd have a few extra work hours there, and I could use the weekend for all chores. The only problem with this is the getting up in the morning issue. I think if I get that one sorted, I can pull this off. Maybe not every day, but most days. Because when I start my morning well, I'm unstoppable - I usually don't procrastinate at all so it would really all be about time management. HMMMMM. Ok, well, it's an aspiration, not an expectation. Tomorrow morning, one day at a time, going to bed at midnight today like a reasonable person.
  3. Alright, yeah I had the same way of "functioning" during my bachelors. Gaming all the time and then when deadlines arrived, I pushed 24/7 including help from friends/classmates to pass, then game again because the exam/deadline is over. Then in my masters, it got better at first because of the immense motivation of starting the programme as well as meeting and connecting with new people, having a different environment and such, but then it got worse. It really escalated in 2019 when I had 2 months off and then started my thesis - didn't go to the uni to hang out with friends anymore and became a bit more lonely -> my brain went insane on games. Eventually, my supervisors told me that the thesis project can't be completed because of my mental health problems resulting in low productivity -> I was getting fired. And if I was, it would have probably been the end of this degree. This was my rock bottom. This "existential" threat made me snap out of my stupor and think with a tiny bit of clarity. I concluded that everything I tried before, as much as it helps, is not nearly enough for me to recover from this addiction. I concluded that I can only pull off the "one last chance" card if I make huge changes to my lifestyle that would guarantee success, otherwise, I would not ask for it and just let them fire me. None of those "tricks" were going to work anymore. No leaving the laptop at the office, no affirmations, no betting money on getting out of the house by a certain time, no nootropics, no website/app blockers/productivity hacks, no cold showers, no amount of personal development trickery was going to pull me out of this, I've tried. I even thought of one more trick I haven't tried before: throwing away the router and the ethernet cable from my apartment. But I already knew how it would have gone: it'd work for a few days, then I'd start to feel good about myself, feel like I'm recovering and I don't need it anymore, and I'd stop by a shop to buy a new router. Not saying you're the same, this is just my experience. I realized that even though I considered myself an addict, I didn't actually apply strategies for addicts. I applied strategies for people with problematic use. I was treating this whole thing as a problem of discipline, motivation and willpower. This whole "addiction is a disease" spiel is not just wordplay. It means that my brain is physically dysfunctional. My brain's chemicals and structure are incorrect and it's making me behave in this self-destructive way. Therefore, I cannot trust my brain. It will keep finding ways to convince or force my conscious to game and be miserable. I cannot fix this by myself, because in order to do that, I need to use my brain, which is corrupt. Therefore I need a system that will be preventing me from gaming and shifting my state to the desired one constantly. When my brain tries to trick me into relapsing, there is something that pulls me onto to right track without me requiring me to do barely anything. I looked at the core principles of what can make me better and the answer was clear: HOURLY sense of connection with people. I needed someone to live with me. Not as a caretaker, but as a person and a friend. I would never want to show my darkest side to someone else, so just passive presence of another person at all times is enough for me to never relapse. So I invited one of my good friends to live as a roommate, for free. It's a sacrifice in comfort and efficiency, but a miniscule one compared to recovery. Even when I'm home alone, the expectation that my roommate will return eventually and would find me gaming if I relapse, is enough to make me not even consider gaming. The plan was that if I couldn't find anyone who would live with me, I would quit the university and go back home to live with a friend from my hometown. There was just no way I could keep doing the same thing and not fail. If I had a discipline problem, I could motivate myself and use all these schedules and tricks to get better at time management. But this is not a discipline problem, this is an addiction. So on top of getting a roommate, I found CGAA - Computer Gaming Addicts Anonymous. This gave me a sense of identity and most importantly a sense of community. They have online meetings every single day, at two times. On these meetings people essentially take turns to "share" their experience, what they're feeling, what they think or anything related to the addiction. The purpose is not to preach or even give advice at all, the purpose is only to speak out your mind. It's practically free daily group therapy. A part of the "AA"-style recovery is also a sponsor, who is a peer that successfuly recovered and now voluntarily helps other people recover. I have daily checks on how I'm doing, and if I don't check-in on any given day, my sponsor calls me. This is to prevent the major isolation behavior that happens every time I relapse. All of this combined is the system of human connection and structure that (I think) is the deal-breaker and I will recover from this addiction, this time for real. Forever. In my internship/master thesis project - I knew I still had the "just one last chance" card and after it was decided my friend would be moving in, I asked for it with a condition that I have to come every single day(when I was in relapse, I straight up didn't show up) and I've been progressing in my project ever since - day 45 today. I apologize for the huge rant, and also for possible inconsistencies since I wrote it in 2 phases. Consider figuring out how to stop this cycle once and for all, and do everything it takes to execute it, barring in mind that the brain of an addict cannot be trusted. There needs to be something pulling the addict, not the addict trying to "push" with willpower. Consider checking out one of the CGAA meetings every day at 13:30pst(19:30 CEST). This forum is nice and all, but it doesn't even come close to a real-time daily meetings with real voices(sadly not faces, f2f meetings are usually just in MURIKA). That book is really good, although you can just feel from the words that it's decades old. For a modern approach, I recommend 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem or Atomic Habits. Both are absolutely crazy-packed with value.
  4. Day 45 | Work: 0p | Music: 26p | Misc: I really enjoyed myself this weekend. Though I didn't do anything social, anything "exciting", it was very chill, I felt good and could fully focus on learning music production. I'm still kind of learning the ropes of the new software and also libraries, so it's been a lot of documentation-reading, tutorials, re-organizing files back-and-forth, but also a lot of production. Currently, I'm doing a cover of a very old game soundtrack. I thought it was easy, but actually, it's not easy at all - neither musically, nor technically. Getting the melodies to not intervene with the harmony is super complex because of so many short but frequent articulations from different instruments. It's a good ear-training exercise that's for sure. There are a few questions I should summarize for an expert on music theory. The technical side is also much harder than I thought - it just doesn't sound right. Granted, I'm trying re-create a live-orchestra recording with samples, but still.. We'll see next week when I get to mixing. Nevertheless, I learned a TON. And there's many more TONS to learn. I'm enjoying every moment. Honestly wish I could do this forever. But alas, a new week awaits and I need to finish my master thesis. Just a few more months, I got this. All I need to do is get better at getting up in the morning, that's it. Attempt #1 tomorrow. Just now writing this update I realized I haven't thought about games a single time.
  5. I think you're on the right path, you're gonna make it. Keep believing. I will join you in this "quit your job to follow your passion" thing in a few months.
  6. Day 44 | Work: 0p | Music: 22p | Misc: CGAA + call A nice, chill saturday. @info-gatherer That's exactly right. Tonny Robbins calls it rituals, though I haven't even developed a habit yet, so I'm far from a ritual. By the way, I was going to reply to your response a few days ago, but I started writing this massive wall of text and didn't finish it, so I'll post it sometime later eventualy^^
  7. JustTom

    Quoting bug

    It happens consistently when you edit anything in the quote, just tried it: No edits: Edits:
  8. Oh. What instrument are you playing? Feel free to share a recording by the way 😛 Tinder used to be the shit a few years ago, but it has transitioned from the shit to just shit. I think I'd only use it in asian cities, where being white automatically attracts locals(and also it's not as overused as in the west). I took my time to optimize my profile, I took 2 other friends who were in, we borrowed a pro camera and took a bunch of high-quality pics in different places, different clothes etc, and in general optimized what I could, given my average looks, but it just doesn't work in western cities anymore imho. Decent-looking girls have such abundance that tinder is the last place they would go to look for either casual and serious relationships. Cold approach is where it's at. Or instagram. But instagram is its own kind of game - can be extremely powerful but needs the lifestyle for it to showcase. Just my 2 cents^^
  9. Day 43 | Work: 14p | Music: 0p | Misc: Chores Slowly but surely, I'm getting my life in order. Some things are obvious and trivial for healthy people, but I'm not a healthy person. I'm a hardcore addict in recovery and during my depression, even trivial tasks become extremely straining on willpower, such as brushing my teeth. I am now starting to recover some of these essential self-care habits. I've had very good dental hygiene in the past 2 weeks - brushing twice per day, toothpick twice per day as well as applying a gel I got 'prescribed'. I'm also eating better - I'm cutting out sugar and not binge eating anymore. I started being a little bit more mindful about my posture while working - not a lot, but it's a start. I re-started my dream journal in order to increase dream recall, already recorded two dreams! Little things like this, are starting to compound. The evening/morning rituals are the hardest. Next week I will practice it more. Stats-wise the day looks unproductive, but actually I've been on my feet the whole time. Barely any procrastination. Just got unlucky a bit so I had to commute a lot, spoke with some people, shopped, cooked etc. No games, no subreddit checks. Let's go.
  10. JustTom

    Quoting bug

    Page 6 of my journal, the very top post when using a spoiler, or page 7 day 41 when quoting. I've seen weird artifacts from other people's quotes too. I'm using chrome on windows 10, ubuntu 18 and android - it looks the same on each. https://forum.gamequitters.com/index.php?/topic/7053-justtoms-journal-3/page/6/#comments
  11. Day 42 | Work: 17p | Music: 2p | Misc: Getting better, bit by bit.
  12. That was crazy haha. Are you watching star wars the movies or the animated show? Also.. tinder is dead. But maybe you're super handsome, who knows 😎
  13. a ton of vegetables(an omelette with filling or salads that I eat daily) such as carrots, broccoli, paprika, cucumber, black olives, corn, 2-3 types of salad, and then feta cheese, a lot of tuna, regular cheese, eggs, peanuts, occasional toast and too-frequently-than-I-would-like I eat apple pie. While I was gaming I gained some weight due to eating A LOT of sweets and constantly drinking soda. I'm not overweight but also not ideal by my standards. I mean in the end it's about not eating more energy than we spend + getting enough micros. There are many ways to do that. I think most millennials in the west eat quite healthy, the rate of smokers went down significantly and except for some deficiencies such as no one getting enough vitamin D, we're doing pretty good on this front.
  14. Why? Do you have a reason for quitting? If so, tell them the truth. If they can't accept it, it's time to find new friends.
  15. Do you also have some ethical/environmental concerns with meat? Because avoiding meat just for weight loss seems so strange to me, I guess as you said you can't eat burgers and such, but in general, the nutritional values of meat are perfect for a low-carb diet. Binging on pasta or fruits can skyrocket weight. I've been eating 99% vegetarian for half a year and have since gained weight 😄 Though of course that's because of gaming in winter/spring and general neglect. Personally, I do have both ethical and environmental concerns with meat, but not nutritional ones, so it's like the reverse of yours^^
  16. JustTom

    Quoting bug

    This happens all the time, seen it for other people too. If there's something else in the quote other than plain text, all hell breaks loose.
  17. Day 41 | Work: 10p | Music: 3p | Misc: CGAA + doctor The struggle for a morning routine continues. Yesterday I got up at 7:45, ate breakfast, watied for roommate to leave, then sat on the couch watching videos(JunkieXL) and eventually fell asleep. Another try tomorrow. On another note - aspirine makes your blood thinner WTF?? I had slight fever so I was taking 1-2 pills per day in order to function more or less normally. I didn't even take one today specifically because I was going to the dentist and thought it miiiiight mess with the anesthetic in case I need one. But even though I didn't take it for 24+ hours, my gums were apparently bleeding so much that the dentist couldn't proceed with the repair. Now I gotta wait 2 more weeks while the bacteria in the tooth festers. Just fantastic, really. It should be written all over that pill that it will make you bleed like Malfoy. (watching this scene, I remember in the book it was much more brutal - bleeding from the eyes and shit but anyways) Other than that, I felt better today, physically and mentally. Didn't even check any gaming subreddit. Yeah, this is what "one day at a time" comes down to. In CGAA it is encouraged to ask yourself the question "Can I hold on until the next meeting"? Because meetings are every day, it is usually only a few hours away so the answer is usually yes. Then we reconnect with the community and cravings go away.
  18. How was your gaming period? Was it bad or did you manage to somehow stay functional and keep up with studies etc.?
  19. Day 40 | Work: 16p | Music: 2p | Misc: Taking it a bit more chill at work because of the sickness, but I'm quite proud of myself that I'm able to keep up despite of it. I've relapsed many times around days 40-45 and I'm starting to see some patterns emerge. Maybe it's because of the extra anxiety and just general unwellness, but I've been checking the cyberpunk2077 subreddit ~2 times per day. I've also watched quite a long chunk of day9 playing MTG on youtube when I was feeling really horrible on sunday evening and I couldn't think of anything else to watch. I watched about 20 more minutes of it today during dinner before my roommate got home lol. I don't feel any cravings, but I know that my addict can be very sneaky and this is his way of avoiding my conscious barriers to start the triggers going. So despite forgetting about gaming more and more as the days go by, I've been now reminded of them. I've seen the visuals, heard the sounds, seen the gameplay, seen the personalities. I need to cut it out and get back on the forgetting process. This is a chapter of the past in my life, there is no longer space for it. I am no longer a person who watches gaming videos during lunch. I will be putting on Alex Moukala again, even though it's not very exciting at times. Or JunkieXL's studio time series. Those are pretty damn exciting all the time actually. Going to sleep at 0:30 and shooting for getting up at 7:30. I need to do this, start building up those habits. The structure and connection to people is the thing that will hold me back from relapsing when willpower gets exhausted. I'm still vulnerable because my habits are shit, so wish me luck tomorrow morning 🤞
  20. Day 39 | Work: 16p | Music: 1p | Misc: CGAA + talks Still sick, but somehow I managed to work for 8 hours. One hour at a time. Again, because I spend the evenings doing chores, procrastinating a bit and talking to my roommate, there isn't any time left for music again. But, I'm going to bed early for once, so that's nice. I want to match his early morning schedule. Not because I think it's better, but because I haven't been able to get up on my own without a threat of getting fired for years. I think this might be a rare chance at getting the habit sorted. Going to bed at 1, and then tomorrow midnight, which should be enough sleep to get up at 7. Anyways. I've been having a pretty boring life this month to be honest. I guess there was the wedding, but other than that I'm not meeting any people, not working out, not doing anything exciting. Just going to work, coming home and trying to learn a hobby, but not quite managing to do so because of sickness. And watching the entire season 3 of stranger things last week, of course. That was a big reason too 😄 Patience.
  21. Day 37 & 38 I got sick on friday, probably because of having to bike in cold rain while my immunity is weaker during allergy season. So I spent the weekend sick, feeling like absolute crap, slight fever, did maybe 5 pomodoros of music and coocked food. That's literally all I've been able to do. It makes me really sad that I wasn't able to enjoy almost any music making during the entire last week, but I have to be patient. At least my thesis project is progressing. If all goes well, I might graduate this year, that gives me hope. Patience.
  22. If you feel considerable depersonalization and/or depression, I highly suggest to get a proper blood testing done - it could be a simple medical issue. There's a youtube guy "bignoknow" who had very severe depersonalization for a very long time, highly suicidal, was hospitalized at times etc. In the end it was found through a blood test that he had dangerously low levels of testosterone, started a therapy for it and recovered.
  23. Day 36 | Work: 16p | Music: 0p | Misc: talks Despite sleeping for 9 hours, I was completely groggy in the morning, barely got up to go to my job on time. While I was biking, a huge rain also started so that was fun. Worked for 8 hours and now I'm going home. Research is progressing so that's fine. I'd like to work a bit during the weekend as well, but if I won't feel like it, I won't do it. No cravings or dangerous patterns, but I did have a dream last night that I played cyberpunk2077. It was literally first-person, like I was a character in the game. It was the second gaming dream this week, so strange.
  24. Popping in here real quick to say I strongly disagree with Cammy's sentiment. Do what you feel is right for you. I'm a huge fan of changing and growing your personality, but change should be motivated by internal consideration. Never change just because someone said they don't like something. ESPECIALLY from strangers on the internet. DOUBLE-SPECIALLY in your own journal. TRIPPLE-SPECIALLY when it's something as petty as not liking you writing "hehe". I mean come on.
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