Introduction to the journal.
Well, to begin with, I never used to have any kind of journals(aside from some work accounting related stuff) nor dairies related to personal thoughts or emotions of mine. So this might be tough but I gotta try my best with it. The reason why I decided to give it a try is the fact that I think this might be a very useful self-tracking tool and also the fact that I read some other people journals yesterday and found some related and useful experience. So that might be useful for someone else and for me of course.
Introduction to the backstory.
First of all, I should say that I am pretty happy and in harmony with my life(not absolute but as much as possible now) and have no regrets whatsoever. So I don't wanna make video games as a scapegoat for some bad things happened in my life even though some of them especially nowadays are clearly done in a way to be addictive. So before we getting started, I would like to mention some good things that happened to me because of video games.
1) Helped me learn English.
2) I found one of my best friends IRL from the video game.
3)Found some really cool music bands.
Well, that's all I guess ?
Backstory(I am not going to mention any titles here to not trigger the nostalgia of a potential reader). The beginning
During my life, I used to play video games a lot on various devices(arcade machines, pc, consoles, mobile devices) and all or almost all genres(yeah even some waifu gacha games facepalm.jpg) but I will try to put it as short as possible. I think its worth writing because the experience of the past might be useful in the future.
I guess my gaming experience began in 2k zero or something like that when I entered the school these were arcade machines. I also remember me playing some consoles of that era. However, at that time my family was short of money so I didn't have any pc at home. In my country in the early 2ks, we used to have the so-called gaming clubs where you could pay an admin and play the video games so usually I and some buddies of mine played 1-2 hours various stuff and that was all. I remember that I played longer sessions sometimes but it was nothing extreme really aside from the fact that one summer we spent like whole summer playing one game via LAN(those were not long sessions but we did it almost every day). Prior to attending those clubs I also had a 16-bit console at my home but I wouldn't say it affected my school studies at that time even tho I remember how I had 2 days weekend gaming marathon once. Here I read that lots of people had parental control in their childhood but that was not my case because I was brought up by mom alone and most of the time she simply had no time to control me and what I am doing whatsoever. First Rig
Later my family managed to get a PC. I guess it was around 2k6 or 7 can't say for sure. It was an average rig, not really gaming related. We didn't have internet at that time so the way to play games was to get pirate bootlegs CDs(so was provincial gaming in Russia lol) or to go with CDS or harddrive to the buddy whose father had internet on his job or something like that and download some stuff. At that time, of course, I started to play way more video games and longer sessions but I was way too busy with outdoor activities(those were some controversial things) but looking back I must say that it was that stuff that helped me to maintain reasonable social living so to say. Later my PC became dated for any modern games and playing old games became stale. Also, thanks to my mom physical activities were not something alienating to me, at that time, I went to the gym and also joined the local soccer club that led to the fact that I was training 7 days a week like a mofo because I was motivated to win the trophy and I did it with my buddies ? .At that time I also had some local powerlifting trophies in my weight and age category.
University time(1-3 years)
So I finished school and entered the university and started to learn exactly what I wanted, the German language cuz why no =). At that time I played games from time to time but not really much and mostly used PC for web-browsing and studies related things. One my first-year of studies I did really well because I was highly motivated to learn German and was the 3rd best student in my group of 9 people(the 1st and 2nd were persons who learned German at school). I also was attending airgun shooting range at that time. So you may think what this dude does on this site he is clearly not an addict well lemme tell you. I guess the reason behind all that was the fact that after school I didn't manage to make many friends IRL.
This happened unexpected one the second year. One dude sent me a video of some very high quality and at that time my pc was so dated that I couldn't play it without lags. That was the final push for me to make myself a new rig( I had thoughts about it a long time but didn't want to spend money). So I made myself a new rig without intentions for gaming but of course, sooner or later my brain came to thoughts (Yo dude you have such a cool rig and there were a lot of games you missed while sitting on dated rig wanna see em). I installed steam. And well that was a moment that fucked me up, fucked me hard. I started to come to the university like a squeezed lemon because I was gaming all night. Sometimes it happened that I was going right to bed after coming home from the university or shooting range and of course, I was not really productive at the lessons nor shooting competitions. At the end of the semester, I was in the 7 place in my group and ruined the German exam that caused me to lose my scholarship (the cash is not worth bothering about but it hit my self-esteem really hard).
That really pissed me off because I knew that I actually deserve more than I had at that time. But at that time I also was not aware of my addiction and though I started to play video games less I blamed my lack of motivation for it so the reason why I started to play less was simple fact that I started to study harder. That actually led to the fact that I did DaF test really good and went to the summer camp in Germany as an exchange participant and also went on exchange to Latvia for one semester as a participant of another program. So it looked like things went on the right way you may think. Abroad
The trip to Germany was really a good thing to me I passed tests at the local university even better than in my hometown and attended C1\C2 courses(the highest levels possible). I also was living in the hostel with other foreign students because that was my plan to be settled with the foreigners so we will have to speak German to communicate with each other and it worked well. I don't think I played any video games at all at that time because I was traveling a lot and was busy with RL stuff.
The trip to Latvia really fucked me up though. First of all, it began with the fact that I couldn't receive my insurance at the time and because of that I was unable to apply for a VISA at the time. That forced me to go back to Moscow only to find that they lost my scheduled appointment at the embassy so I had to go to the Visa center and they checked all my papers and asked me why didn't I attended the embassy because my appointment was scheduled. Marvelous! That really frustrated me nonetheless (and usually all that paper stuff drives me nuts easily) but I managed to settle my paper troubles and returned to my hometown waiting for the visa. I went to the university and explained them the situation and even attended classes for a couple of days but got bored and decided to go back home play video games that led to the fact that I didn't attend classes at all and made them think that I actually left for Latvia at that moment. In reality, it happened 10 days after it.
In Latvia, I started to play games more due to the fact that at that time I was living in the flat I rented and I really felt isolation because I couldn't speak local language and for some reason I completely lost my motivation because at that time I was doing a nice dough from scholarship and some side-job at Asia-food restaurant so I really felt like I proved anything to myself and teachers from the university who underestimated my abilities.
At the beginning gaming actually led to the fact that I couldn't attend my Tuesday classes at all because on Monday I had classes from 9 am till 6 pm and I played video games after that and was unable to wake my ass up at the morning next day. Somewhat I managed to make myself a sleep regime though and started to go to sleep at 10 pm and waking up at 6. But I guess it was more due to the fact that I attended some basic courses of Spanish and that was the only subject I was really interested and motivated that time.
I did some occasional trips some of them with the dude whos flat I rented. He was really a nice dude and he clearly saw that I am doing not a healthy lifestyle so he tried to drag me with himself whenever he could. In fact, at that time I hated him because of that. I guess it got something to do with the comfort zone and stuff. Somewhat I managed to graduate with decent marks in all subjects aside from one.
University time(4-5 years)
When I returned home things really went down the hill. Because at home I had my gaming rig and also the thing was that I had to undergo my practice at school while also attending the university(normally it is done separately but I was abroad when all other students did it). That meant that I had to go to the university and after that also go to school for my teaching practice. I also had to pass some exams that didn't match with those subjects I studied in Latvia.
That, in fact, stressed me out pretty much and I started to play even more. Because of that, I stopped attending university at those days in which I had my practice because I had to sleep and then prepare my lessons. That also led to the conflict with my curator whom I said that I don't attend classes because I have to prepare my lessons for practice, in reality, I simply needed that time to sleep. Somewhat, somehow I managed to pull it off again but that was really close to the failure so that really made me think about things. I analyzed the situation and realized that my gaming hours tended to be higher when I had to deal with something that I don't like. So shortly I realized that I used gaming the same way as alcoholics use booze. I also started to think that its really a waste of my time. It was the beginning of my awakening but not really it.
The red pill.
The turning point was the moment when I played some online MMO game which had two modes(arcade and realistic). And I had a chat with one dude who told me that I am wasting my time playing arcade because realistic is better and more realistic. I told him that I am actually valuing my time because more people play arcade and I am not wasting my time waiting in the queue and moreover me and you both sitting on our ass just pressing buttons so there is no difference. And that phrase of mine was something like a red pill when I really realized the things from that moment the desire to quit started to grow on me. I talked about those things with some buddies of mine but aside from one dude(who also quit games "to live real life") and one friend from real life whom I found in the web, I didn't see much understanding. At that time I had one game preordered which i was really excited about so I decided to play it and then quit gaming once and for all.
I guess it was like the last dose for addicts or something ?
So when the game came out I played the shit out of it. I guess I didn't attend university at all that time like 1-2 weeks. But when I finished it I really got bored. And I quit really cold turkey selling my gaming rig(why would I need it if I don't play games anymore) and my steam(because I knew I might have temptation and why would I need it if I don't have a rig).
At the same time, I got a phone call from my mate from shooting section who wanted to go to the gym and needed a buddy. I knew that this is a good opportunity(buddy is a good thing because he won't let you drop the hobby) and went to the gym. So things were like in their right way.
The wagon made the wrong turn when the time to start writing down my diploma came. That really stressed me out because paperwork is really a thing that makes me nuts and also I had to quit the gym because I needed more time to deal with it. That led to relapse and because I had no steam and not that powerful laptop I started to play one MMO which didn't need steam to play it and got me hooked because it was about the stuff I am actually interested IRL(I didn't know that at that time). I played that game not that much so I didn't ruin my studies but I played it almost every day. After I finished my exams(best marks possible) and got my bachelor degree. I was ready to go for the army but turned out that they had way too much people conscripted so I had to wait till the autumn. That meant I had 3 months of doing nothing waiting for my enlistment. At that time I made a trip to Belarus because I just wanted to relax and change the surroundings that really did me well after all the stress and stuff. I didn't game that time in Belarus but I really have fallen into the loop of retardance pretty much the same way as I did in Latvia because sometimes I even spent days doing nothing sitting in the flat watching TV or youtube vids and ordering food to the flat.
When I returned home I got an invitation to the clan from that game I used to play because I actually played it quite well even tho I didn't bother myself with any competitive things and played just for fun. So I joined it and basically 2 months prior the army I did nothing but only played video games at my home. I managed to man up somewhat last 2 weeks because I knew that it's wrong and went for the army(one of the best decisions in my life actually).
Army and the ultimate demise later.
Well, the time in the army was tough(and it should) but it was a good experience and also a good detox. In fact, I spent the first 4 months with a simple phone without internet not because I couldn't get one but because I didn't want it. I didn't play any games at that time at all the whole year. I used that time to really develop myself as a person especially mentally and more or less understand what I want in my life also read some really awesome books.
However, when I came back home I fucked up everything again and boy or boy I did it hard. I am not going into details but I had problems with my adaptation back to the civilian life and relationships with family and some other people. That led to the fact that I went home and didn't contact anyone at all for a month even in social networks, turned off my phone, that actually caused some people to worry if something happened to me and made the came to me and knock my door literally.
At that time I only played video games because I felt like I can just relax at least a bit like I deserved it or something. That, of course, ruined my sleep pattern and led to some anxiety issues ( i had something like that before from previous experiences but this one was way stronger). After that month I started to look for a job and well actually I didn't have any difficulties finding one in one local company. I went for the job interview and despite the fact that I was not prepared(I played games all night) I did fine. So I started to go to the job and also kept playing video games. It was a simple office job really nothing special but my brain resisted the fact that I am sitting my ass off in front of the pc at home and do the same on that job. I really felt like I can do better. So one day I quit the job. I had a talk with my mom about it and she supported me(because usually, I used to finish things that I started so I felt myself a bit guilty for quitting a job at that time). At that moment i was really sure that I will find a better job.
Turned out it wasn't that easy. That led to the fact that I stuck in moms home unemployed for a couple of months and developed a crippling depression. My sleep was fucked up, I had mood swings, and feeling like by my sheer existence I am bringing shame and dishonor on my mom, and all relatives. I had days when I woke up in the bed with my laptop and didn't leave it like at all. I even ate in the bed with my laptop. The thing was that I knew I have to find the job and do something for it but because of the all above mentioned I couldn't even apply for it not talking about the interview and that drove me nuts even more. I couldn't stay inside the house because it drove me nuts, but also couldn't go outside because the fact that I saw all people being busy with their job or other activities also drove me nuts because my aimless wondering made me feel really out of place( I felt myself like the Taxi-driver protagonist). That, of course, led to the suicidal thoughts. I had experience with depression before once(not as severe as this one though) so I knew that my brain is fucked up and playing tricks on me and tried to grab all my will to not being sucked into the whirlwind of feels. Oh I should mention that at that time gaming also didn't help to deal with all that stuff, in fact it made things even worse because I was just drifting from one game to another aimlessly and it made me even sadder because I knew that it doesn't work and doesn't make me happy(this gotta do something with dopamines and stuff I guess). Rehab
I was also wondering how just in 3 months I went from army-men scheduled disciplined lifestyle to the grabastic piece of amphibian shit who is unable to leave his bed laying in his tears(sometimes literally, sweat and misery).
First of all, I made a talk with my mom that my brain is pretty fucked but I am working on it. I just wanted that she didn't think like I am doing nothing and not even planning to move on. Actually, she understood and supported me, that was good. How I fixed it? Well.
I had no better idea than to copy my army schedule(its hard to have an order inside the brain if there is a disorder outside). That meant I forced myself to make my bed every time I woke up(this was very important ritual) after that I did mandatory physical exercises, and after that, I was leaving my home because in my mind I made wandering around not an aimless thing but activity. I also started to eat to the schedule. It was not that easy to fix my sleep(probably that was the hardest thing) because sometimes I had felt like I am going nuts while trying to sleep, I had sudden awakenings during the night but little by little I managed to fix it. Sleep is actually a very important part because if you can't sleep in a proper way you feel exhausted and its hard to fix your brain. I had a person at that time whom i was reporting my sleeping hours progress that really helped me. In a couple of months i fixed the mess my life was, found the place I wanted to relocate to and the job and moved on.
Relocation n stuff.
After I relocated I got acquainted with some new people. Got employed. Later I even went for the better job and later even for even better one. I also met many awesome people because of the WC in that town and found the girl I fell in love with. So everything was going nice. What could possibly go wrong you will ask. Well, it turned out that she was addicted to gaming (what an irony). I was really enthusiastic though and decided to give it a try because well I guess that is how love works but also because I overestimated my charisma and influence over people I think.
Long story short. I was unable to drag her out of her comfort zone because she was in complete denial and aside from the time when she was with me her life was a mess. It broke my heart but I had to break these unhealthy relationships and I executed it. Because I knew if I let it continue it will drag me back where I came from. I should mention that at that time I used to play some games because I accompanied her in them but was not really much into it so it didn't interfere with my life. The thing was that on the same day I broke my relationships I was phone called by my friend who told me that the dude from our childhood we knew committed suicide. These two events really shook me and at that time I had not really much to do because I was waiting for some papers considering my job. Because of that, I spent a week playing some games on my tablet pc. It wasn't that extreme and I had my awareness on so I stopped after that.
After that, I had to return to my hometown to prepare myself for another relocation. I didn't play games much at that time but it happened occasionally I guess but mostly I was busy with my job. After that, I had a trip to Moscow for my medical examination(which I passed well) and got acquainted with many nice people. The thing that kinda ruined me was the fact that I caught a cold on the train back home and didn't sleep well because of that I was ill and ruined my sleep schedule I couldn't go workout and the weather was quite bad outside so I started to play 1-2 video games just to pass time. And so that was the moment when I went into this site and forum and decided to end it once and for all. And guess what at the moment I registered myself I got a message from one dude I haven't seen like for ages who asked me if I wanna play one game.
I said to him "Nah man. I am not interested I got better things to do with my real life". And guess what? That felt really cool.