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Everything posted by Lampshade

  1. Day 2 Still committed. Pissed off about it, but still committed. This latest round isn't even really about the game. I don't know how naturally addictive MTGO actually is. Definitely less so relative to other games that I've struggled. There are no daylies to do or anything like that. It's just an easy form of entertainment that holds my attention away from the other things that I am easily distracted from. Maybe I'm at the point where my problems are less external than they used to be, and this isn't really the place to go through them. Regardless, I'm going to try to keep this updated for a 90 day process. At one point gaming was the cause, now it's more the symptom. But we all know about the negative feedback loop that can come from using gaming to get through uncomfortable emotional states so I'm going to use this journal and 90 day detox as a way to prevent myself from getting worse. As long as I don't go back to what I was at when I first started this journal, then I have progressed.
  2. Day 1 Alright, I'm back. I really didn't want to do this but getting back to more responsibilities with work has shown that I have to. I started off alright, but the trend over the past week or so has not been good. Magic: The Gathering Online has been the problem. My success with quitting other games was largely due to each one taking a full day or so to reinstall thanks to my poo-poo internet. MTGO is like 300mb. So I'm experiencing the uninstall-re-install cycle that I've read other people struggle with. It's an enjoyable game and a damn shame to quit if I'm being honest. Unfortunately, the last two days I've played way more Magic than I have worked and that's just not acceptable. Getting back the old feelings of dishonesty, having trouble focusing, etc. I tried moderating it but I don't like how locked into it I get when I play in the evenings when my wife is around. So my nice little addict brain moved the habit to the daytime, and here we are. Obvious answer is that if I don't want to play in the day, and I don't want to play in the night, then I don't want to play. So logging 3-6 hours/day is not what I want. So I probably shouldn't do that. Hoping I caught myself in time to avoid too bad of a detox. Wish me luck friends.
  3. Big life changes. The feeling of freedom though, that's got to be a hopeful one.
  4. Day 68 Been a bit but I've been easing up on myself about doing things that I feel like I have to do, and journaling was one of those things. Mostly I've just been trying to relax and I'd say I'm about 50/50 with how I'm doing. There are some days that are fantastic, those are the days where I do what I feel like and just kind of move from one thing to the other naturally throughout the day. The other days I play more Magic Online than I want to. I'm definitely feeling the old addiction urges and signs: It's the default 'I'm bored' thing, on my mind when I'm away from it, raises my anxiety levels, etc. I'm still trying to quit but I'm not putting as much pressure on myself to stop as I was on Day 1. I think that what's best for my mental health is to use these couple weeks that I have off to focus on destressing before I go back to work in Jan. Yes, not having any games in my life would help with that but the first little bit of cold turkey is rough and I'm not ready for it yet. On top of that, my daily usage is like 2-3 hours during a time when I don't have much else going on, so not awful. Still more than I'd like. On a more positive note I've been spending more time just trying to figure myself out. One of the main problems I was having when I had gaming out was that I was afraid of just being present with myself. The realization that I kept coming back to was that under the things I do to keep myself busy and distracted there's just an uncomfortable feeling of sadness. I'm trying to work on that. I'm doing more meditating, got behavioural therapy workbook, and I'm trying to write down the things that make me feel good in a day. Last couple of days I went outside. Went for a hike and played some basketball outside in the wet. Those things were fun.
  5. Day 63 Had a good therapy session this morning. I'm still uncomfortable in them, especially afterwards when I remember all the things I just said, but I think I'm getting over it. My plan is to just keep going and assume that everything is okay. It's hard to not feel like I'm overburdening someone though. Especially since they get a week or two worth of negative thoughts dumped on them all at once. That's gotta be a difficult job. Other than that, today I'm trying to just be present and work through my emotions. Still not sure if that's the way to describe what I'm trying to do. Basically I feel like there's a bunch of pent up anxiety and stress that just needs to flow through me, and that when I distract myself from those feelings they just continue to build up. I think I need to let them get out. Maybe a little bit of distraction is actually okay, but the right kind. I'm thinking more like a puzzle or a long walk as opposed to a gaming. Something that lets the feelings flow but also provides me with something to focus on so that I don't get bored/distracted when the feelings aren't flowing. Like a more active meditation. This is where winter is hard. I have a bunch of ways to achieve that state outside, but not when it's -20. I'm still struggling with not having goals for the day. It's like I need some kind of evidence that I got through my day well. I wish I had a relax switch.
  6. No need to apologize I love reading this stuff lol.
  7. For sure. I've been meditating for a couple of years now 10-20 mins per day and it does help, but more like it helps in little spurts rather than a consistent experience. Like there were times where I've been able to catch myself heading down the wrong path mentally and it's saved parts of the day. It's great on the days where I'm like a 5 or higher in terms of my mental health but I haven't found meditation to be particularly helpful on the days where I'm a 3. I can still recognize the feelings as they come, and let them go, but the underlying state is not comfortable like I feel it should be, which causes me to seek out distractions that hold my attention away from that. Honestly though I'm excited to feel like a cognitive superhero, even if it is only for a bit lol. My problem with all the anxiety and depression meds I tried was that the length of time they took to kick in seemed to be just right about the right length of time to experience withdrawls if you tried to quit. It's possible that the 10-20 mins. of meditation/day over two years is just not a long enough timeframe but man, seems like it should be. I know @BryanJaz is at like an hour a day. Bryan, did you find a huge difference once you moved up to that length of time?
  8. Man I don't know about you but I feel ridiculous for hard much I struggle to do nothing. Decided to start the psychiatry process to check out ADD/ADHD stuff. I don't like anxiety and depression meds but maybe aderall will be different
  9. I hit the same problem and you realized it way quicker than I did, grats on that. I'll be interested to hearing how you strike the balance
  10. I appreciated your Friday post. Came at the right time for me. I won't butter you up too much but it's inspiring to see how far you've gone away from games, how you did it, and how content you are with the methods and the results. I do something similar for writing papers. When I read something I underline interesting things. A week or so later I'll write anything I still find interesting on an index card. Index cards are organized by themes and subthemes. Then, when it's time to write, I flip through and dump out the cards, line them up, group similar ideas, make connections, etc. Much easier and fun way to start an outline than a blank word doc. I'm excised and hopeful to see how the new, game-free version of myself gets through the world. Sounds like you are for yourself as well . It's nice to read 🙂
  11. Day 62 Today is going to be a challenging day. My goal for myself right now is to try to get to a more relaxed state of mind. As someone who is easily bored, this is harder than it should be. I try to force myself to do easy things but those easy things don't hold my attention and I start overthinking. The thought is that it's just going to take time to get more used to a slower pace with less pressure. Logically, I know it's okay for me to cut back on my productivity. I do not have a bunch of deadlines looming right now. There are meetings and proposals in late Jan. that I want to be as prepared as possible for because they will basically decide what I work on for the next 4 years. Now that I write that, though, I would much rather enter those meetings in good state than a stressed state. The goal is quiet confidence, contentment, and consistent effort. I know that there will be times in the future where I will need to hustle. I also know that I can do it and have a system that will help me. Despite knowing all those things I still struggle with stillness. I know I'm good at working hard, but I don't know how to not work hard. That's so strange to write, I feel like it doesn't make sense. Reality is though, on my days off I literally don't know how to structure my day. Even that is odd to write since my favorite days are those without structure. This definitely makes no sense lol. What I'm trying to say is that I picture myself on relax days just sitting on the couch and trying really hard to relax but not knowing how to do that. Other than that I don't know what activities fit within it. If it were warmer than -20C outside I could just explore. Inside I'm like 'well, I can read for an hour, workout for an hour.' after that the activities trend more towards either work (there's a project I could be working on that interests me) or things I consider vices (smoke weed, games, porn). It would be nice to get through a day at home sober without planning out each hour and still finding a relaxed sense of enjoyment.
  12. Day 61 Big thanks to everybody for the support. You guys/girls are great. Did some good yoga this morning. I've been doing a lot of yoga lately and have been struggling with choosing an outfit lol. Shorts are too chilly first thing in the am. Sweats don't have enough stretch and baggy ones get caught. I haven't found a good pair of mens 3/4 compression shorts that aren't made out of a rough synthetic that is uncomfortable with leg hair. Went for a pair of yoga pants and ...apparently it's impossible to get them for men without spending like $100. I get it, things are visible, but I'm mostly doing it around the house and I've got short shorts I can wear over top if I have to. So I said eff it and got a pair of women's yoga pants with a soft fuzzy interior. They're comfy af, warm, and fantastic for yoga. The length is maybe a couple inches off but otherwise fit fine. Game changers. Zero regrets 🍑
  13. I decided to cut back on it but ....Ruby league beotch. It's fun lol
  14. Don't have my phone with me so let's see how many I can remember: Care for my dogs, strength work or run, stretch, shower and shave, journal, work reading session, work writing session, work data collection/analysis, Bird ID (work skill), Coding (work/personal skill development), French lesson (personal skill development) If I got through most of those things in a day for a consistent time, my productivity was way higher than if I went into a day with less of a plan. Downsides are that it leaves less room for deep work or spontaneous creativity. After this vacation I'm going to try to find a better balance. @codepants I've actually been thinking about what you wrote for a couple days now because it's the same conclusion I came to. Sometimes I feel like our 'figuring out stuff' conversations are lopsided cause of your professional skills but I'm grateful for the help. Let me know if you ever need to design an environmental monitoring program lol. Day 60 Haven't been playing any games since the last time I wrote. Pretty much just been thinking about that giant entry I wrote on Friday. Decided that, as uncomfortable as it is, I need to just somehow get myself to a point where I can relax. This puts me in direct conflict with the idea of 'finding something to replace gaming'. Here's the thing, gaming for me was a form of escapism and when I needed it the length of time that I needed it for cannot be replaced by other hobbies. I understand that part of the point is that you can do the other hobbies for less time and then get back to real life. This plan, however, does not address the underlying mental issues that lead to my addiction. I was gaming because I felt like I couldn't do anything else. Going forward, for at least the next couple weeks or so, I'm going to focus less on filling my time and more on getting to a point where I can comfortably do nothing. This is going to involve a much less rigorous schedule and dropping most of my habits. I'm proud of that routine I developed but I don't need to put myself under that much stress right now. I'm sure there will be times in the future where life will get crazy and I'll need to kick my productivity up again, and it's good to know that I have a schedule already developed that I can implement when that time comes. For now, though, I'm going to do the bare minimum for work and lower my standards on the stuff that I do do. I'm going to keep working out, meditating, and doing yoga regularly. Same with taking care of the dogs. And if something comes up for work that needs to be done I'm not going to ignore it. The time and energy saved from working less hard will be spent trying to get myself into a more relaxed state of mind. From the sounds of it, things are going to get uncomfortable for a bit. My plan is to just live in that uncomfort for a while in the hopes that it is just the barrier to transition into a more stable state-of-mind. Trust the Process.
  15. I learned about that in the book Grit. Super interesting.
  16. @BryanJaz With friendships I think that you're right, but the consequences are tough to deal with. Especially as an adult. I needed a change after high school and traveled for a year, basically cutting out all my friends because I didn't try to reconnect when I got back. It felt good, and helped me become a new person, but man friendships are hard to grow fresh as an adult. I reconnected with that one guy I was talking about because I needed a witness for my courthouse marriage. Honestly it's been nice having someone besides the wife to talk about stuff with. And we do share other interests beyond gaming. I think that having a more concrete 'what we're doing tonight besides gaming' plan would help. It just sucks because I would like a friend who I could just sit around and shoot the shit with. Maybe I just need to admit that that isn't him. But let's talk about BirdID sometime! My work is literally using bird sounds to make ecological conclusions (and I still suck at ID'ing them lol). This is my favorite site for learning them. You can set the region, type of song, whether you want photos or video, and quiz yourself. Here is a more user-friendly but less customizable one. And here is a big set of ID'd sounds. Limit it to nearby species, throw it on shuffle, and away you go. Sorry for the info splurge, I get excited about stuff like this lol @codepants From checking all those boxes I get a feeling, objective evidence, that I am progressing towards all the goals that I feel should matter: physical health, mental health, job progress, self-help, skill development, and personal development. Might be more to it though, I wrote about it some in the gigantic post below. No pressure to read it though, I'm mostly just venting. Day 57 I had a really interesting therapy session yesterday that made a lot of sense to me. We were talking about general anxiety levels and a 1-10 scale, and as they were describing it I was thinking to myself "Yeah, I'm probably at an 8-9 most times". Before I said anything, they went on to talk about how people who are at an 8-9 for a long time can enter a new level beyond 10 where they go beyond the 'fight-of-flight' reactions. Often they have a system of coping strategies to keep them high functioning while they are at that level and to distract themselves from the fact that anything is wrong. To come back down, however, they have to go back through the stages of high anxiety where the fight-or-flight instinct kicks in. I figured it was something like building a tolerance to cortisol levels. This so perfectly described what I feel like I'm going through that it was kind of shocking. Thinking back, I've been at high stress levels for probably a decade or more. In my early 20's I worked 60-80 hours/week at a job I was not trained to do well at, with no support. Mid 20's was undergrad while working 20 hours/week and not being used to school after 5 years of labour jobs. Then was my Msc and the only way I could get funding for the MSc. that I wanted to do was to do it in 1-year instead of 2, I was also working 20-hours during that. Then all the Covid stuff. I had some time off during Covid where I suspect I started to come back down, but that was where I got hit with the anxiety of ...I don't know what to call it, stress from relaxing? I remember talking about it with a friend before learning all this. I'd say how the weekends and vacation times were actually my hardest times because I felt stressed. During the week I had a system to keep me going; any breaks meant that I was left alone with my uncomfortable mind. We joked about how I could be the only person who gets stressed trying to relax, but I remember during those jokes thinking "Man, this is my life though, and it sucks". I expect that's one of the reasons I went back so hard into gaming. To avoid that stress of coming back down when I had fewer expectations on me during the first Covid quarantine. Once I quit gaming that's where I came up with this list of 12 things that I try to do most days. Everybody who looks at it says it's a lot. My counter-point is that these are the things that always come up when I research how to be a happy, whole person. The things I've got on there are to address physical health, mental health, self-improvement, career progress, relationship health. I've got smart goals for them all. Truth is though, everybody is right. Whenever I look at that list of things to do in a day I am instantly overwhelmed and just want to stop existing. I think I've been using it as a way to keep myself at an 11 for anxiety. Then, as I've started slacking on it a bit, I've been left with my mind. Fight-or-flight has kicked in, it's an uncomfortable feeling and difficult for those around me (tense, impatient, angry, snappy, unfocused, uncompassionate) and I went for a way to escape it. This week I've played MTGO for hours every day. I spent like $50 that I don't have entering day tournaments. It got to the classic point where I wasn't even having fun. Just trying to avoid the fact that I have a giant list of things to do that I don't want to, and no freedom. Sad thing is that it's entirely self-imposed. So my two states are either stupidly high anxiety levels but high functioning with lots of productive distractions, or decreasing anxiety levels that are perceived at a higher level that makes them feel worse. I don't know how to fix this problem. It's a shame because the quality of the work I was producing at the '11 state' as I'm calling it is just much better than anything I've done before. I'm also the most athletic I've probably ever been and hit new streaks for meditation. It's just not sustainably healthy though. I'm thinking I'm just going to have to work my way back down through the stress levels. 1.) Cut back on the things I expect myself to do in a day 2.) Understand and expect that this is going to cause its own form of stress 3.) ???? 4.) Profit. Probably just a time thing. I've got a stay-cation planned for the week after next that I'm terrified for
  17. No way you've experienced everything in life. Maybe you need new challenges? A vacation or adventure? Some kind of change? I get what you're saying about your therapist though, I think. What does a person do when they've taken care of all the obvious stuff and the problem remains?
  18. Day 55 Wife is having a hard time at work. Friend is having a hard time at school. I'm having a hard time just getting through days. Because my problems are more internal I find I usually end up playing the supportive role. It's hard. Slacked off today. I keep feeling like 'tomorrow is the day!' but I start off the morning with coffee to get myself going, and then I end up just chasing one distraction after another. My sleep schedule is also all over the place. Bed times last little bit were 3am, 9pm, midnight, 2am, 10pm. I'd like to be a midnight to about 7am for sleep, I think. I've felt best when I pull off the 5-530am wakeups but I just don't think that's a realistic goal for me at this point. Another thing I need to keep in mind is that I usually get depressed in the winter so if I can maintain myself than that really is progress over previous years. So hard to not latch onto those moments during odd days where I feel good and set goals that the other 80% of the time I would've admitted were too hard. Admitting something is too hard is challenging. Especially when it's shit that I'm told over and over 'do this to be successful!'
  19. Yeah man I'm right there with you. I try to explain it to people but they don't understand, or think I'm joking. The reason I'm always going is because underneath everything is just depression and anxiety. Games cover it up. I feel like a person should be able to just get through life without needing to distract themselves from their mind/emotions and be content. That's not me, though, and it doesn't sound like it's you either. Maybe we're just built different. It's hard to maintain hope for a change after decades. The problem with moderating gaming for me was that eventually, when something tough came up, I would binge and it would affect my ability to do anything else. Like the default state for weekends and evenings (then eventually daytime) became just gaming any chance I could get. That led to external factors confounding internal depression and creating a feedback loop. Rooting for you (I don't know if I used rooting right, or if that's even a thing people say in other places. It looks ridiculous lol. I should've just deleted it and put 'cheering' and avoided this whole nonsense, but here we are)
  20. Thanks @Pochatok. I've found removing triggers to help a bunch for the day-to-day cravings. The longer term, more sporadic and sudden ones are new to me. Like this one came from visiting my friend. This is going to be one of the biggest challenges for me I think. I'm not willing to cut out my only friend, and may just have to accept that once every month or so I'm going to end up playing a game for an evening. Day 53 I'm grateful that I have my list of productivity habits. Whenever I'm feeling lost, frustrated, apathetic, or whatever I know that I can just anger-grind my way through that list and I will continue being an effective person. The downside is that people see that and think that I have my shit under control. I can tell people that I meditate, work out, work, etc. nearly every day and they praise me. In reality I'm jealous of the person who can enjoy their life without doing all that stuff. I do it because if I'm not continuously moving I'm left alone with my depression and anxiety. Anyways, went for a run today in the snow for the first time. That was cool, and not as bad as I thought it would be. I ran 4k, walked back, and got some good thinking done on the walk. I feel much better after than I did before. To keep my habits from getting too boring I assigned myself a challenge for each of them for December. Running is to do another 10k. Meditation is to do 2x 20 min/day over 3 days. Yoga is to do the 1.5 hour ashtanga primary sequence. There are more but you get the idea. It's helping motivate me to keep doing them so that I am good to hit the challenges over the holiday break.
  21. Day 52 - Relapse1 Well it was never going to be perfect. In a way I'm kind of glad for the relapse because it took some of the pressure off and served as a reminder. Went to visit my friend on Friday night. He's my only friend, and we've known each other for nearly 20 years now. Gaming is one of the main things we did together. He was the one who got me back into WoW. I went over a couple weeks ago and we ended up just playing crib with his roommate and I had a great time. This time we ended up smoking weed and playing NBA2k. We also reminisced about WoW and he told me he would play again if he had an external HD for his laptop. WoW is absolutely the line for me. I will not go back to that game. I'm still subbed to r/wow and it's the same old shit. Same old grind and frustrations, year after year. He's doing his undergrad and I think he's at the point in the term where things get crazy so he games and he is not looking to quit as hard as I am. I was looking for a way to get out of the house and he made himself available, but I think that all he does in the evenings when not doing school work is smoke and game. That's where he's at so I don't blame him for exposing me to it when I went over to his place. However, it threw my weekend into a funk I was up until 3am Friday night. Saturday was spent pretty much in bed all day with my laptop playing MTG:online. Sunday I don't really remember but I did some chores and housework. This morning (Monday) I didn't do shit. However, I got myself together around noon and grinded my way through my productive habits list. It's now 11:45pm and I just finished.
  22. Day 49 @BooksandTrees@codepants@TheNewMe2.0@BryanJaz @dasviraand anyone else reading this. If you have time could I get some feedback on the below graphs? No pressure. A description is below. Spent some time working with Loop, my habit tracking app. Below is my cumulative number of times I've completed certain habits during the last two weeks of November. First is just a count, following that is a graph of loops 'Score' metric, which is a kinda like a running average but also accounts for the fact that some of the habits I have set for only 3 times/week rather than daily. I'm not sure the score metric leads to a very nice looking graph. Actually both of the graphs are a little ugly but I just did them with a pivot table in Excel as a trial. Next month I'll do it in R so I can prettify it a little better. I'm going to try to do something like this every month. There's some interesting trends to explore. One that I had a feeling about that is nice to see confirmed, is my tendency to either be really high or really low. Some weeks I get everything done, other weeks I get nothing done. Obviously I do other things than what's on here, but I've identified these 10-or-so habits to be things that, if taken care of, put me on a good productivity track. It's also worth mentioning that I don't consider self-improvement to be solely about productivity, so it'll be interesting to put some thought into how I can incorporate how I'm feeling into the graph. Maybe a daily 1-10 'how you doing today?' type of question. Or a weekly set of ten more specific questions? In the meantime I can look back at my journal dates the correspond to the declines in habit check-off accumulations to see if I see anything. One thing I'm interested in is whether my mood declines before the habits, or if the habits decline before the mood.
  23. This was a big things I noticed from quitting. I was never around for the small casual moments. They're often the things I find myself remembering most. When gaming, there was never the time or patience for them to come up organically.