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NEW INTERVIEW: How Pauline Narvas Overcame Gaming Addiction to Become a Programmer and Build an Incredible Life!

LordFederickRamsay

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  1. Have you been watching clips of the game you used to play on YouTube or Twitch? If so, I'd strongly advise you to stop this. You should treat watching clips of games like you treating gaming itself, because watching videos of computer games is extremely triggering. I've relapsed 3 times and every time, in the months leading up to a relapse, I'd watch YouTube videos of Fortnite etc.
  2. Hi guys, I ended up relapsing for 2 months in Summer but I'm attempting to live life game-free once again. So just to clarify; I got home from Uni in May, and played Fortnite for two months straight. Gave games up again, went to University, have been struggling ever since I got here (anxiety, nausea, low mood) and I've had one near relapse since I've been back about a week ago. But I got through it. I feel like that was the final blip for a few reasons. However, at the moment I don't feel myself. My dad is shutting me out because I'm not as open as I once was with him. But I have OCD which means the thoughts that I have are really fucked up and I don't want to tell him about them in fear that they'll pollute his image of me. I had a really fucking weird day today. Holy shit. I was shopping in a supermarket when I got the feeling this guy was watching/following me. He was really jumpy and odd looking and he kept on turning up behind me or in front of me. I was so scared, I made sure I walked out a different exit to him but lo and behold he was standing across the street from me! He must've run around the shop because I saw him leave the opposite exit to me. I decided to walk in the opposite direction of my residence in fear that he would follow me home and find out where I live. So I walked into a crowded area but when I looked over my shoulder, there he was staring at me. I lost him and ordered an Uber. I was so worried at this point that I started coming up with some crazy theories for why he was following me. And the weirder thing, when I got into my Uber, this random guy, not the original dude, claimed that he had the same serial number as my Uber (which is impossible) and proceeded to go to the front of the car and look at the number plate in a position which strongly suggested he was taking pictures of it. It was such a weird day and I had to call like three people to calm myself down. It wasn't very well placed either, I have a lot on my plate at the moment. I feel so clogged up at the moment. Like I can't think straight, I don't really 'think' anymore, I just do. It's really weird. I'm so lost in my own pointless introspection that I leave no room to learn or explore. Actually, I'd say that I'm not as introspective either, it feels like I'm a potato at the moment. I'm missing classes and I've got lots of assignments coming up. I think everything will be better when I leave for the Christmas holidays. I don't think University suits me one bit. I'm constantly anxious here, on edge, vigilant, I just want to chill out but I haven't been able to for a while. I'm seeing my therapist on Thursday, I'll talk to her about all of this. I'm just feeling a bit hopeless at the moment, I don't have the energy to talk about my issues and I seem to be going in circles. I don't feel motivated to do anything, and I'm a part of these huge theatre productions that are emotionally and physically exhausting. I think it was a bad idea to take on so many co-curricular activities because I can't really function at the moment. As I said, I just feel exhausted, on edge, self-critical, unmotivated, scared, nauseous, shameful, guilty (OCD related), deceitful. Man, I wish this would all just leave me alone. I don't even think this post has done me justice I'm just too lazy to put in any real effort. I'm doing exercise at the moment, running and using the rowing machine, I eat homemade food, I socialise etc. I think I could improve these things but I'm still doing them. I'm doing a lot of exercise actually. That's one thing I don't really need to increase. I think I neglect my responsibilities and the sooner I pattern up and get on with the shit I've got to do, the better.
  3. What sort of workout do you do? Weights? Running?
  4. CBT is great! EMDR is reassuring, have you learnt or read about the simple tapping pattern you can do with your hands to remove yourself from any overwhelming situations i.e. if you're on the cusp of an anxiety attack or experiencing a rapid onslaught of intrusive thoughts? It's pretty dope. You've given me a lot of hope. I have been feeling very low recently and proceeded to have a discussion with my flatmate about buying gaming PCs and from there, it snowballed out of control. I started watching YouTube videos (public enemy NO.1) of Fortnite and I proceeded to contact my old gaming buddy, Jet, to ask if he wanted to join in. Luckily, he said no. I sent a long message to my parents about how they hadn't been taking my addiction seriously (enough) and everything has returned to 'normal'. But my lord! Just from having a conversation about Fortnite, I couldn't sleep for the following four days, my anxiety spiked, my intrusive thoughts returned in full force, I was unable to concentrate on anything (besides Brooklyn 99) etc. It's genuinely insane. The reasons you've given me hope: - The fact that your anxiety and intrusive thoughts have lessened after you quit gaming. You've made me realise that it takes a longer time than I thought to truly conquer this addiction and to rid yourself of the desire to game. The longest time I've spent off games has been seven months (and even then, I was watching Fortnite videos from time to time) - I need and can do better. - The fact that your stimulation and passion for previously enjoyed hobbies (writing and music) has returned. You also seem to have had a very similar reaction to giving up games. The fact your intrusive thoughts & anxiety became worse in the following months after you had given up games resonates with me more than anything I've come across before. It informs me that games are responsible for the exacerbation of these psychological dispositions and if I am to achieve stability, I must stay away from gaming at all costs. I find nothing stimulating either, I really hope this goes away because this is the reason I always relapse. When the novelty of quitting games wares off, I make a hasty return to my old ways. - The fact that we have very similar psychological dispositions and that if you have achieved stability without games, I can too! As this completely disproves my now former belief that I was beyond repair.
  5. Hi Andy, To get you up to speed with me, I quit games for 7 months, relapsed, played for 2 months straight and then quit again, I have now been off games for 3 months. In regards to your suicidal ideation, mental images of hurting yourself and the unwelcome sexual fantasies, I can reassure you that these are most definitely not a reflection of who you are. It sounds to me like 'Pure OCD', which is an internal OCD in which people suffer from intrusive thoughts. The anxiety comes from providing these thoughts with meaning but the thoughts can also be substantiated by your anxiety. So if I, a heterosexual male, was to see a man in public and have an intrusive thought of having sex with him, I might mistake my anxiety for sexual excitement and start to question my sexuality. I implore you to look up about it to see if it resonates with you. If it does, remember that, although relief is comforting, it is a short-term solution to Pure O. With any type of OCD, accepting uncertainty is the way forward. It's about demeaning intrusive thoughts by taking away their power! I do not want you to come away from this message thinking, 'I've got a mental disorder!' because I don't think you do. I don't think I do either. There are a lot of arguments against the use of labels. However, one must use labels when they are useful and I think, from what I've read, that you share some symptoms of Pure O. There are many therapies that can help combat Pure O and intrusive thoughts; Exposure Response Prevention (ERP), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR). There is little public discourse about Pure O and intrusive thoughts but I can assure you that there are many people out there suffering from it. Our mental (or cognitive if you will) reactions to quitting games seem to be almost identical. I too, have extreme anxiety, panic attacks and disassociation. Although less of the latter. I experience anxiety-induced nausea all the time which is very uncomfortable. Even now, as I'm writing this, I feel so anxious and all I want to do is fall back into the comfort of playing computer games. It's the only thing that takes me out of my head. But luckily I've built integrity! I would rather suffer at the cruel hands of sobriety than succumb to the falsity that is gaming. I understand that your panic attacks and ideation have been greatly reduced, well done. It's really impressive that you've done this all on your own. In reference to your disassociation, anxiety and intrusive thoughts, I'd advise seeing a therapist. Therapy gets a bad wrap but all it is is trying to become the best version of yourself and it's never too late! I am not suggesting therapy because I think you need to be 'fixed' or have a 'mental disorder' but because I think, quite simply, you can live your life in greater comfort if you do go and see one! I may have missed the mark entirely with this message. I actually came to the forum today to write a post about how I was feeling. All I want to do is play games although at the same time, that's the last thing I want to do. I don't find anything else remotely stimulating, I have terrible anxiety and I'm having suicidal thoughts at the moment. Anyhow, I hope this message provided an ickle bit of insight.
  6. Gaming was at the epicentre of our lives, we'd invest lots of time, consciously (dream) think about it, unconsciously think about it etc. So giving up gaming is a huge achievement for people like us. But it is also a process. When I stopped the first time, I began doing what you're doing, filling my time with equally as vacuous hobbies as gaming. But...we both know that watching TV and web browsing is not nearly as detrimental as playing games. However, this doesn't excuse it. Clearly, you've gained foresight because you can see that watching TV and web browsing is not what you want to spend your time doing. But treat yourself with compassion by reminding yourself of what you've achieved (giving up games in the first place). Now to address the problem at hand, I've recently had a revelation. You do not need to entertain every urge, thought or feeling in regards to whatever, it may be; gaming, wanking, watching TV, web-browsing etc. These things are non-reflective of your (moral) principles, opinions and self. Personally, I created a few rules regarding hobbies such as TV and web-browsing to ensure I wasn't wasting my time. These included only watching TV shows that are the following; educational, interesting (to me), informative etc. The same goes for web-browsing. The moment I feel myself falling down the all too familiar rabbit hole of looking at memes, I step away from my thoughts and apply objectivity. To suggest more immediate, practical anecdotes to your problem, I'd suggest downloading 'Block Site' and adding your most visited sites to it. It's kind of a flawed application because you're in complete control of what websites you can or can't visit. But, I believe that someone who is as strong-willed as you (proven by your strength in giving up gaming), will be able to resist the temptation of visiting 'banned' sites.
  7. I started playing computer games at 12. The following took place between 12-19. I argued with my dad throughout puberty about playing computer-games. He installed Norton security to limit my time playing games. It did not work. We had screaming fits at one another, I hated him so much. It was really sad. I was super insecure and anxious at the time so I used computer games as a way to hide from my (normal teenage) problems. Neglecting issues such as these means they grow, mutate and solidify. I wish my parents had taken my computer away. But my dad said to me recently when I told him I'd never let my kids play computer games, 'everything must be done in moderation, if you stop them from playing they'll want to play more.' It can also create a permanent rift between you and your child. I am lucky that I realised how addicted I was half a year ago (with the help of Cam's videos on YouTube ((maybe show him one of these?)) Personally, I'd remove everything game-related from the house i.e. his computer, monitor, mouse mat, mouse, all games, cleanse the computer, sell it, tell him it's never coming back, he will be upset but will eventually forgive you. I don't know what the right thing to do is but that's because I'm 19 and and not a dad. My advice to you if the above seems too extreme; engage him in things outside the house. Take him to beautiful parks and ponds, join a fitness class together (?), make him join an art class, a karate class - anything to get him out the house. Something he must attend weekly, which is social, fun and educative. Then hopefully, he can naturally lose interest in games (albeit this is very hard). Computer games are partly responsible for my lack of cognitive skills. I played games for seven years straight and I thought about games all the time. I didn't experience a normal adolescence. Nor did I experience an abnormal one. Just nothing. So much time gone that I could have used to develop interests, intelligence and personality. I feel dead inside the whole time and all I think about (even after 6 months of not playing games) is how boring everything else is. That reminds me; if you remove everything, you must block sites like Twitch and YouTube. I may have managed not to relapse but I do watch the occasional video that renews that burning desire to play games. Do not let him watch videos (at least within your house). I became so accustomed to gaming life i.e. takeaways, lack of responsibilities - I now do not know how to operate in real life. A point that must be made; I have a loving family, my parents are together, I'm (luckily) privileged, I was privately educated, I had all the opportunities and options that one could hope for but even then, games took over. The main game I was/am in part addicted to is Fortnite. It's one of the worst in my opinion, evident in how many young people play it. They're all consumed (including me) by this idea of playing it competitively but you must communicate with your son that the likelihood of him becoming a professional player is equal to the odds of winning the lottery. I am assuming he plays competitively because he plays on a computer and as you've stated, he plays all the time. Epic Games have utilised the prospect of e-Sports to coerce (mostly) young boys into thinking they have a chance of playing competitively - this is untrue, corrupt and manipulative.
  8. This post has helped me so much. I've been game-free for 5 months and only recently have I experienced the most intense cravings yet. What Cam said applies to my situation like a key slotting into a key-hole. I have an exam on the 14th May, a project due on the 7th, and I've written and directed a play about game addiction that is being performed on the 7th May. So applying Cam and James' logic, it is now clear to me that my cravings have appeared purely as a coping mechanism to the stress/pressure. So thank you. I was worried because I didn't think there was anyone else who had been game-free for as long as me, and suffering from a sudden ambush of life-debilitating cravings. I want to reemphasise a point I've made before because it is particularly poignant in cases such as these; Watching gaming-clips as a form of appeasement does not work. It is effective in the short-term (a couple of hours) but exacerbates the cravings 10 fold in the long-term. I was so fucking close to relapsing this week, but I persevered. My gaming-friend Jet epitomises the worst type of gaming-friend. He's highly manipulative and persuasive and I've experienced the full brunt of his attempts to woo me into relapsing. If you have someone trying their best to get you to play games with them, who is fully aware of how its ruining your life, remember that they're probably feeling sad that they don't have the strength to quit. Maybe this is a little extreme, but I'd suggest cutting them out for a while by blocking them on social media. It's so advanced these days you can block people without them having the faintest clue.
  9. @James Good I needed someone who hadn't played games for a long time to relate to me, so thank you James. I'm having very strong cravings at the moment and it is very hard to think coherently. Therefore, I'm going back to university sooner than expected. I'll keep you guys updated if things get bad again. It's been up and down this past month but this forum has helped in preventing me from relapsing. Cheers, George
  10. I've been watching Fortnite videos all day.
  11. @Splitstep How long has it been since you've played games? Update on me -> The cravings are coming and going but they are still very strong (?) I'm having vivid dreams of playing games and have watched one or two Fortnite YouTube videos to appease myself (I know this doesn't work, it only maintains the addiction). I want to play more than I ever have before. And it has been such a long time since I gave up so this is understandably demoralising. There are a few simple reasons as to why I'm having such strong cravings; - I'm currently at home which is where I used to play games, so my computer is a couple of feet away from me - I'm in a revision period for university exams so I am very bored - I don't have anything to consistently do, i.e. a job (because I am only at home for a few more days before I return to university) - The cravings have been very strong since I returned home (so for three weeks they've been addling me) I've creating a word document listing all the reasons why I gave up games. That has helped a little bit.
  12. Thanks for the replies. I managed not to relapse. I'll revert to reading these replies if my cravings ever return (which I'm sure they will). To be honest (although I'm trying to remain optimistic), my cravings at the moment are constant i.e I am experiencing them right now. I think it comes from being bored, unoccupied and living at home where my computer is. @Catherine17 What good things come from gaming?
  13. I didn't relapse. It's been four-five months since I gave up, and my brother said something worrying to me the other day. He's a clinical psychologist, 'there is a possibility that the cravings won't ever go away.' That is a good point - about feeling more empty once you've relapsed - I'll keep that in mind.
  14. Hi, I haven't gamed or watched any game-related videos or adverts for FIVE months...I'm experiencing the worst of it right now. I just want to game so fucking badly. It's insane. I'm like moments away from touching my computer (although I sold my mouse, mouse mat and uninstalled/deleted games and computer accounts). I need some reassuring words or maybe some advice. I don't understand what is going on. I thought I was supposed to be over it by now. I have ADHD and some mental health issues so take that into consideration if you're planning on replying to this topic. I'm super frustrated, sexually, socially - I don't get the same feeling from ANYTHING that I did from games. I was so good at games as well (like semi-pro at Fortnite) and I played it with my best friend that doubled the fun.. I need to remember the shit bits of gaming - the lack of sleep, the unconscious regret, the lack of socialising, bad mental health, embarrassed, sad, addicted. Another thing you should take into consideration is I suffer from intrusive thoughts (psychological condition to do with OCD) so this emphasises why I played games so much and why I want to play them again because the thoughts are relentless and horrible to live through and like 50% of my thoughts are I.T. Please for the love of god, someone help.
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