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Captain_Pilz

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Everything posted by Captain_Pilz

  1. Day 2: I have made great progress in the month that I was not playing video games or consuming YouTube. For the first time in my life, I am confident that a gaming free life is what I am after. The month sufficed to rediscover a bunch of things that are very important to me. For the most part those are science and music. I also feel like an active social life is much more important to me than I think. Spending a day with my grandpa and going to a festival with my dad were two of the most beautiful moments of the last few weeks. I do not feel ashamed of myself as often, as intensely or as long as I used to. This used to be a huge burden. Furthermore, I discovered a few habits that actually work. The only reason, I don't reap their whole benefits is because I am inconsistent. The two I want to highlight most are scheduling my day and posting on this forum. As for the challenge.... I will stray away from the typical 90 days goal for now and set myself a challenge for the rest of the year. No video games or video game related content on the Internet. Write in this journal every day. Schedule my day on Google Calendar first thing in the morning. Be realistic.
  2. Day 0: Remember me writing, that I got a cold? I was unable to participate in many real life activities for a week. I missed a gig and multiple lectures. Even though, lectures are uploaded online after the fact, I didn't watch them. So I got behind again..... Slowly started watching YouTube again, at some point bought a video game and binged the shit out of it. I don't remember how long it lasted, it must have been 4-5 days. Since then, I have been dealing with the fallout of my slip. I get really anxious, seeing the mountain of work that I have to do to catch up. Anytime, I meet some of my friends and they ask me how things are going, I feel terribly ashamed. Right now, I am just dealing with a crap-ton of negative emotion and feel horrible about myself. The amount of stuff that you have to do to be a functioning person in society is just horrendous. Everyone else's lives look so effortless and I feel like I will never be normal. I am so f***ing angry with myself. I know that some of that is inaccurate but this is genuinely how I FEEL right now. Honestly, just need to vent.
  3. Day 29: Today was fine. I woke up with a cold (luckily not Covid) and had to call in sick. I found time for some tasks in the periphery. For example we had to do a beta-test for a new software. Right now, I am fine. It didn't get worse and I hope I am back on my feet again by tomorrow. I have a few obligations this weekend.
  4. Day 28: I am kind of proud of what I accomplished today. I actually planned out my day from 8:00am to 6:00pm and stuck to it, with the exception of a few minutes here and there. Let me try to do the whole thing again tomorrow. Also, I would like to share some insecurities of mine. First of all, I have struggled with addictive behaviors for all my life. Video games and the Internet are the biggest offenders but I also remember being properly addicted to trading card games in primary school. I do realize that mental illness is fundamentally understood by most people. At the same time, I feel like there is much more of a stigma associated with addictive disorders than there is for most other mental illness, barring to the blatantly misunderstood ones like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline. I think this is due to the general misconception that addicted people have chosen to be addicted to their substance or behavior of choice. Due to this, I feel ashamed of not having my life together and I am always scared that the world finds out. I speak too much. I like talking. Then again, I always feel like I am taking over conversations because I am genuinely never out of ideas. My mind is like the freakin' Niagara Falls. People have reassured me that this is not an issue, and that I generally communicate interesting ideas. Still, I can't help feeling like a total dick once I notice that I am taking over the situation. The fact that I am shit at asking questions also doesn't help - or some people just don't like to talk. I respect that, but me being me, I don't understand it. On top of that, I am not the best at expressing my ideas verbally. When I am writing, I have no issues being lucid. Then I start talking, and I'm just incoherent, ungrammatical and constantly at a loss of words. You listen to one of my voice messages and there are more Uhms than f***ing words! I don't get why talking clearly is so hard for me. I am not stupid or anything. As a result, I am often self-conscious in social situations.
  5. Day 27: I spend most of today procrastinating. Hence, I feel very guilty right now. At these moments, living a structured live seems like a distant fantasy. At least, I took part in my classes at university (most of which do not have mandatory attendance), so I have done the minimum. The last few days have shown me, how important structure actually is. I remember trying out scheduling for the first time a couple of months ago and quitting after 4-5 days. At the time, I thought: "Well, I am not able to follow these plans perfectly. That must mean it doesn't work." How ignorant I was. Obviously, an improvement (even if imperfect) is an improvement. The one thing that all these chaotic days when I got little done had in common, was me not scheduling. Also, on all of these days, I went to bed late the day before. While we're at it....😴
  6. Hey Frank, good to see you back. I can relate very much to your experience. Props, for realizing so quickly that you were slipping back into old patterns. Took me about two years longer. Good luck!😉
  7. Day 26: I didn't right in the last few days. In short, I travelled around a bunch. I was on a birthday party and had rehearsal. Everything was a little chaotic and at times I had a hard time motivation myself to do things. But I am fine. Tomorrow, I will get a few important things done in the morning and have some classes in the afternoon.
  8. Day 23: Today was quite stressful again. A bunch of issues have occured on the project I am working on at our deparment and for a short while it looked like it would take double the time. Over the last few days, any long-term plans I made for this experiment (which I will write my thesis on next summer) were obliterated faster than I made them - but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel. After I got back from work, I didn't really do anything. I left most of my stuff in my car this morning and I didn't feel like walking through a storm. Right now, I don't necessarily feel positive about myself, my day or my progress. Kind of numb. But I know cognitively that a lot of things are going right. On a positive note, I am somewhat excited for tomorrow. I guess when you spend a bunch of time doing repetitive tasks in a laboratory environment, your mind suddenly likes lectures. It's a strange world but I appreciate it. Keep going, David
  9. Day 22: I am content with today. In the morning, I attended an online lecture. Later, I read a textbook passage that kind of f***ed with my concentration - I hate the way psychology textbooks are written. However, I made some progress in the book I am currently reading on the side. When I got home, I sneaked in half an hour of drumming practice but on my kit this time. I am currently working on Elvin Jones' Solo on Monk's Dream that my teacher gave me. It's horribly challenging, even if you play it at half the tempo!😅 After that, I went to rehearsal. Was a good evening. Cheers, David
  10. Day 21: My morning was absolutely horrible. Woke up late, got lost in trains of thought, masturbation and then I watched about an hour of YouTube. I just jumped from video to video attempting to find some peace, since I have been agitated for the last two days. At some point, I noticed that videos were not going to do that. There was too much guilt. After about an hour of fighting with myself, I packed up my stuff and went out side. I ate lunch and sat down in the library to read a difficult scientific paper that is the basis for the project I am working on. Afterwards, I went home to finish my system for daily planning. Ever since I left school, my days had no schedule at all, which took a toll on my ability to get things done. The fact that Cam advertised scheduling as a way to deal with a lack of direction in your day, convinced me to try it myself. I also cooked again and practiced some drums (sadly still on the pad). On a side note, I noticed that being disciplined is incredibly exhausting when you are basically starting from scratch. I have to be patient and trust the process. In hope, David
  11. Day 20: Today, I woke up and went to the window of my dorm room. To the left, I caught an involuntary glimpse at someone playing a video game at 7:00 in the morning. The fact that I used to do the same thing a few weeks ago makes me somber. Most of my day was pretty productive. In the morning I blocked time periods for important tasks. I remember trying this in the past and being frustrated but now I realize that it doesn't matter if I don't execute my plan fully. One tasks took much longer than I thought it would and towards the evening I was left with little energy. That's fine. Tomorrow, I will do the same and try my best again. In hope, David
  12. Thanks for the AMA and for building this incredible community, Cam. I realize the value of replacement activities like hobbies in the process of quitting video games. However, when I experience cravings, boredom or frustration with myself, I feel genuinely incapable of concentrating on any of them. Do you have personal experiences or tipps on dealing with these emotionally taxing phases? Have a nice day
  13. Welcome HarmonyHaag! It's great to have you here.😄 From what I've seen here, it is possible for all types of games to be incredibly addicting. Admittedly there are certain genres of Online Games that tend to be problematic, namely the competitive ones like League and the MMOs like WoW. But the individual reasons why people become addicted to video games are just that: Individual. Some found a sense of community, some found a sense of accomplishment, some found a way to escape from adversity in their real lives. For some it's all of those or none of those. And our motivations to quit are manifold as well. When played my first video game (Minecraft) I was captivated by it like nothing else. During my teens, long periods of my life solely resolved around the next time I was able to play my favourite games: Minecraft, Ark, Cities Skylines, Hitman, and a few story games. I was never integrated into a gaming community, I never got a sense of accomplishment from the games I played, hell I never even finished anything I started - to my brain video games were simply the epitome of pleasure. I was never able to distance myself from them, even when they stopped being fun during the last 2 years. That was when I realized how compulsive my consumption had become. I now see that I was fortunate to excel in school and my hobbies regardless. When I look at the time I wasted in the last 8 years, I have a lot of regrets. Today, I have a lot of opportunities that I simply refuse to waste. I don't want to feel the same regret when I am 30. As a final thought: If you notice that video games affect your life negatively and you want to get better by quitting, you belong here. Some people here are relatively normal people that notice their gaming getting in the way of their lives, others have or had their life fall apart or have multiple psychiatric diagnoses. We are all in the same boat and here to help each other achieve what might be the hardest for many of us. And if you are in serious distress, make sure to get professional help. Looking forward to updates on your progress! Cheers, David
  14. Day 19: The second half of today was not easy for me emotionally. When cleaning our kitchen, I screwed up resulting in some damage to the sink that might be permanent. Don't get me wrong, the damage is only cosmetic and the sink is functional. Still, I am just ashamed that this happened just because inexperienced me chose the wrong cleaning tool - f***ing ONCE. In the back of my head, my father is scolding me as an idiot right now. Back home, he would always do so when something like this happened because I didn't know any better: "How could you be so stupid. It's so obvious and so logical!" Since all of this happened at noon, I just felt horrible and wasn't able to concentrate much. However, the day started off relatively well. I took a long walk and thought about the life I would like to live. Out of that insight, I created a page-long document. This root-document, as Cal Newport calls it, contains your core values, which are enacted in the big areas of your life. Through this process, you make value-guided decisions about what you do and how you do it. What I like about this idea, is that productivity and good habits will be build around your vision of your best life - not the other way around. I have four areas of my life that I actively want prioritise and that is for specific reasons. That means that certain tasks within that area are more important because they are connected to that reason. Sciene: I have a broad yet specific neuroscientific question in mind. I want to come closer to an answer to that question. Musician: I want to progressively deepen my relationship with my instrument and the music I play. Health: I want to build a mind and body that allow me to deal with the difficulties of life. Community: I want to enrich the lives of the people around me. If you look at my most important values (mastery, focus, fortitude, patience and honesty) you might see how they are connected to the goals above. The reason for this document is to have a home base that I come back to when I plan my actions. It can guide what I actively make space for during the day, what I try to minimize or automate, and what I don't do. Looking at this document, I realize that video games inevitably fall off the list. In short: The person I want to be does not play video games. Tomorrow the new semester starts. I will go to bed now. Cheers, David
  15. Congratulations! Making it 90 days without video games is a tremendous achievement! Since I rejoined a few weeks ago, I really enjoyed reading your daily updates. Plus, the conclusions you took from your group meetings surely helped so many of us. I wish you the best of success for every single step to come on your path. It will not be easy! Make sure to keep us posted about your progess.
  16. Day 18: Inspired by a post by @LostRiver in his journal, I just remembered a beautiful metaphor for life that I thought of a long time ago: Life is a garden; I am its gardener. The progress that we aim to make in this community will never be complete, will never be perfect. That is fine. It is not the task of a gardener to complete a garden. His task is to nourish the plants, so they might blossom, and get rid of weeds that want to drain the plants' energy. For all his life, the gardener must do these things every single day. If he abandons any one of his obligations, the garden will start to decay. However, with enough patience a good gardener will make a masterpiece out of any abandoned, overgrown mess. Just like the gardener, our duty in life lies in taking care of ourselves and others - by nourishing potential and protecting from toxic influences. And regardless of our current state, it is never too late to make a change. Today, I had a decent day. To be honest, most of it was wasted. I struggled a lot with cravings for YouTube and just sat there. I was not able to tolerate the act of doing something productive. That was probably because I was at my parents' place, that is linked to a lot of bad habits. When I got back to my own place, my day significantly improved. I cooked a nice, healthy meal for myself and started contemplating on the ideas of Cal Newport. I will not write on that now because the metaphor above jumped into my head. I'm tired and it's time to go to bed. In hope, David
  17. Welcome! Great to see you embarking on this journey. I wish you all the best!
  18. Day 17: First of all, thank you @LostRiver for your warning. I started noticing a trend where it's very easy for me to not buy unhealthy food while shopping. But once I have it in my flat I just can't resist. I will only buy the food I actually should eat for the next week and see how it goes. Apart from that, I am still stunned by how difficult it is for me to post on this forum regularly. I have to post every day. Reflecting on my own day and resolutions as well as reading the posts of all you wonderful guys really helps me stay on track. Actually, I notice that the worse the day is, the less likely I am to post: So not wanting to post is an indicator of me going downhill and self-sabotaging. For now, let me keep you updated on the good and bad things that happened. Good: I worked in the lab for a few days. Nothing special happened but I feel like I am doing a good job. I also spent a bunch of quality time with good friends on multiple days. This week's highlight was me spending all of today with my grandpa. We have never spent a day just the two of us and I am soooo grateful that I still have the chance to do this - he's turning 85 in a few weeks. Bad: When I was at my parents place, I didn't get a hold of myself at all. The only thing I did was watching Netfilx, eating and sleeping. After these phases it's hard for me not to hate myself. Because of this behavior, I didn't continue practicing the drums over the last few days. Lately I've been getting back into a lot of Cal Newport's ideas. To my mind, he's one of the most important thinkers of our time, even more if you dig deeper into his ideas. He does advocate for radical lifestyle changes (especially around digital media) but only if these changes are grounded in a firm set of values. I always used to ask myself questions like: Habits and productivity and cutting out toxic aspects of you life are great but why should I actually do that? I am currently contemplating on that question and will do a post on it over the course of the weekend. Cal Newport is also the first person in the productivity space I am aware of that talks about the importance of doing less things parallelly. That one hit me like a truck. I think it's elementary for us normal people if we want to do something well. Alright, good night! David
  19. I am confused whether you mean work or games by this. If you mean work, I stand behind your point. If you mean games, I can only refer to what Yan already said. For me, not seeing this challenge through was always a decision I would later hate myself for. Stay strong: Difficulties will ebb and flow but they will never vanish completely.
  20. Day 11: Today was ok. I overslept, which didn't matter because it's Saturday but still cost me almost the entire morning. At noon, I talked to a friend over the phone, who is now starting to study medicine after two years of waiting. I am really happy for her. Later, I also managed to continue learning some math, more specifically linear algebra. That knowledge might come in handy when working with machine learning and the big datasets that we have in neuroscience/psychology. I've been using Gilbert Strang's 18.06 lecture videos on MIT Opencourseware and it's been a really good experience so far. Also, I finally managed to practice some technique on the drumpad. That has been something I wanted to start doing for two weeks now, ever since I found a great teacher in my area. He showed me a bunch of exercises and really sent me back to the basics after 14 years of playing, which is a truly amazing experience. The only thing I am worried about is my sugar consumption. I've never been a particulary healthy eater and chronically underweight. Ever since I stopped distracting myself with games or videos I notice eating starting to take their place. It happens in these moments when you just can't stand the boredom you are in and need stimulation: Sugar is currently the easiest way. For now, I will try to minimize my sugar intake as far as possible by sheer willpower. So far, I have no sweets within reach. However, I always get weak when shopping for groceries and end up regretting it.
  21. Since the original post turned out hidden for some reason, I will have to append some things to this post hoc. (I think it was the recording, I appended) I watched two YouTube videos today, which I document as a relapse. As addicts we want to be brutaly honest with ourselves when it comes to the things we are addicted to. At the same time, I think I haven't used YouTube this productively for a long time: One video was 5 minutes long and literally helped me fix my printer. The other one is a live recording of a piece, I will play at an upcoming competition. I used it to finish a transcription that my co-musicians can work with. I am on the right path: I believe that cutting out as many videos as possible is the best way to sustainable, controlled and productive usage of YouTube. Therefore, I will be adamant in pursuing the challenge further from now on. If you want to know my reasons for not resetting my counter let me know. I will explain.
  22. Day 10: Heey! We're in the two decimals!!! In the meantime, I completely forgot to write here. This week was pretty busy and I have a lot to tell. Let me give you short summaries of my days. Tuesday: Well.... not so busy.😅 Spent a bunch of time fantasizing about pretty much everything. Damn, I really didn't get anything done. Wednesday: That's what I'm talkin' about! Finally, got accepted for my second internship at an amazing institute and spent a lot of time in the lab working with the pigeons. In the evening, me and my parents had a reunion with a good friend from India (dad's work-pal) and went to a new Indian restaurant in the vicinity. I had never had South Indian food before (Dosa) and it was absolutely f***ing delicious. Thursday: Spent a bunch of time doing paperwork. Played some drums at home but still didn't manage to get back into practicing. Friday (today): Finally got an appointment at the lung specialist (you know how their time plans are). Did some tests and even though we will be waiting for the bloodwork until next week, I got an indication for mild asthma. It's really funny how you can be so excited about a diagnosis! It's just that I've had these mild symptoms for such a long time but always chalked them up to something else (mainly due to my parents). You get so used to this state that only when they give you an inhaler for the first time you realize what you've been missing out on. And they absolutely maltreated my arm.🙃 Apart from that I've been at the lab.... again - business as usual.
  23. Just found your journal: Great to have you here! 😄 You are doing really well. Handling multiple mental health issues at the same time is not a joke. Finishing a draft of your first short story is also something to be very proud of. Don't sweat about the quality of your writing. Nobody writes good stories from the get-go. You'll get there. By the way: I also sold my console when I first quit... Really good decision!!!
  24. It's great to see you making so much progress! 14% of a 350 hour course is definitely nothing to sneeze at. I also love how you allow your productivity to fluctuate for the sake of making steady progress, instead of burning out in a week. That's a great example all of us in this forum. Keep it up!
  25. Day 6: My perfectionistic mind is not satisfied with the work I did today. But I actually did much better than yesterday. The lab protocol is almost finished, I just gotta make it look a little nicer tomorrow morning. Also, I continued working on lectures from last semester and started planning a few things in my calender, which has been empty ever since I got a new phone. The highlight of the day was probably the fact that I cooked for myself for the first time in weeks! So overall, great progress. I was at home for the last three days. It's quite hard to deal with cravings if there is a national holiday and the campus is a freakin' gost town. Tomorrow, I will actually get outside and meet some people (at least at work). Maybe that will make some things better. I am grateful for the day I had. It's a step in the right direction. Cheers, David