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Gaming the System 005 - The Link Between Gaming and Depression

Roste1

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  1. For web browsing I highly recommend installing ColdTurkey (getcoldturkey.com) because if you set your own parameters strict enough (i.e. don't fool yourself and put in all the websites that you consider as time wasters), it's very hard to beat (unless you completely de-install it). It helps me a lot because I most of those sites (sports pages, youtube, etc...) I go to almost instinctively without being an active choice - ColdTurkey confronts me with that (if banned) or limits the time I can spend on them. For my phone I installed equally time limits on all entertainment or browsing apps. Main effect for me is that it's a first of all a constant confrontation and alert on the time waisted already on a day, second effect is that by blocking out all easy go-to distractions, I'm forcing myself to really do something else, because my go-to's are not available anymore. Will power is great, but there are plenty tools to help a little.
  2. Day-0 The last two weeks I relapsed - bad. The cause is typical: huge workload, that mostly feel like "have-to" instead of "want-to", and then I look for escape. It always starts with hours and hours of Netflix and Youtube, but when that isn't enough anymore to distract myself, the monster pops up: gaming. There isn't one particular game that does it, it's just the gaming. I've had addiction sprees to Boom Beach, Hearthstone, Clash of Clans, Magic The Gathering, World of Tanks Blitz, Gardenscapes, FIFA, and several others. There is no logic, it's usually one game at a time that I will try to play non stop. I'll create time to play, at home, at work, in my car on the parking lot. Anywhere to kill the craving and get the dopamine shots. Completely irrational behavior, completely unacceptable. While writing this, I don't feel shame, because I do feel pride that I finally came out of my addiction closet and write about this stuff on this forum, for people who can relate. But now I also feel extremely anxious, nervous, stressed, worked up, jittery, fighting cravings to get back to gaming. Last Monday I wanted to quit already, because I had been procrastinating my work for the whole three days before that, playing Cuntwars (games AND porn, that's how much dopamine I needed). I turned it off, mad and disappointed in myself, (re-)installed Cold Turkey (it IS the best program), and that was that. Tuesday I found myself wasting my entire afternoon and evening playing Hearthstone, which I downloaded to my computer AND smartphone. Deleted it twice (re-installed it within the hour the first time). Managed to delete it last night and NOT install it again ... but watched Netflix till 3AM. Today rose with fresh courage to work hard, and got of to a good start, but feeling a constant craving to distract myself and found myself debating myself again "lets download it for just a little bit of gaming". Didn't do it, but since my work all happens on computer, found myself googling for "Tetris" (played that for an hour"), or "soccer games" - added half an hour procrastinating like that. But then saw my hotlink to Respawn - and made the call that I really really really need to get better. I've come very far in my addiction: hiding it from my wife, my bosses, my coworkers, losing lots of much needed sleep over it, stopped doing physical activities. I just know that if I keep it up like this, I'll run straight into a full blown burn-out (I'm probably already showing early symptoms, given my difficulty to focus on my work). So this is it, day 0 (one hour in) of NEVER doing any more games. It's my hard drug, and it's destroying me (or at the very least severely limiting my best self). To start, I'm going to journal, maybe even several times a day in the beginning every time I feel a craving, urge, etc... I'll need all the help I can get ... Roste.
  3. The first time I saw Cam's TED talk on game addiction, was also the first time I heard someone use the label "addict" for compulsive and excessive gaming. It immediately resonated, and I want to send a BIG thank you to Cam for having the courage and drive to put yourself out there, share your story, and create a community where other addicts can find help. Now, this was 2017 ... and I'm still an addict. I watched the movies (some), got my copy of Respawn, deleted my games, and stopped gaming ... for a couple weeks ... and then relapsed. Relapsed during summer vacation "because now it's ok", relapsed during business trips "cause what else can I do here", relapsed late evenings "to take a brake from working", relapsed during weekends on when I was home alone because "I feel alone", relapsed because of extreme cravings, relapsed because "I have it under control now and will stop in 30 minutes", ... if you are on this forum you will recognise these excuses. There was not a single relapse that did not end in a total 4AM game binge, and every time I fooled myself I would have it under control and would not get back in bad habits. The ONE thing I didn't do in my two years of on & off quitting and relapsing, is actually come out in public (this Forum is public enough for me) and make the statement "I am an addict", nor start the journal, "because I don't need that" ... Well it's time I stop fooling myself and just face my demons, look in the mirror and state honestly : I am an addict, and I need help. I'm starting my 90 days (again) today, and my goal is to quit forever, fully accepting that for me "one is too many, and a thousand is not enough". My brain needs healing from the years of dopamine abuse, and I know it will be a long and hard road, but I'm willing to do the work now. Roste
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