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NEW VIDEO: I Replaced Gaming With Real Life (Nicco Transformation)

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Hello,

My name is George and I've used this forum in the past. I bought Respawn and am following Cam's instructions. I'd like to think of this as starting over. If I could, I'd delete this account and make a new one because I didn't like how I behaved on this forum in the past. In other words, I felt like my contributions lacked consistency and in some cases, I was even a bit rude to other users. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself about it (it wasn't that extreme) but I'd like to at least acknowledge it! I doubt anyone will know what I'm talking about but just for my sake, this is how I wanted to start my introduction. If I could, I would change my username but if I remember correctly, this isn't possible. So yeah, I'd like to be referred to as George if possible! That's my name. 

My name is George. I'm 23 and I live in Wimbledon, London. I'm the youngest of five, and was introduced to the PS2 when I was very young. We used to play as a family and it was quite fun. I remember playing Freedom Fighters, Dynasty Warriors 3: Xtreme Legends. Actually now that I'm remembering, I also played on the PS1. I think there was a game called Toy Soldiers which was really fun. I have quite strong memories of playing these games so clearly they were making an impression on me. I remember in Dynasty Warriors 3, you had to research what boss you had to kill and on what difficulty setting to get the next level of weapon for your specific character. I remember enjoying this a lot and being the first in my family to get the 6th and final weapon for the character I played with. This imbued me with a sense of achievement. 

I also have memories of playing Old School Runescape (OSRS), and thinking about it all the time. I was really young when I played this but again, we played it as a family. My second oldest brother (my eldest brother didn't participate) was the highest level and had the best gear. Then came my third oldest brother and then my sister and then me! I think I was a higher combat level than my sister and third oldest brother but I didn't like doing the quests because I found them hard and boring so I sacrificed having certain privileges like wearing a Rune breastplate. This shows that I was taken with the instant gratification of the game and just mined it for that feeling. 

Then my third eldest brother introduced me to Mount and Blade which he enjoyed. I didn't care too much for it. But then he introduced me to Mount and Blade: Warband that was multiplayer. The game is very moddable and someone called Vornne created a module called Persistent World. I got hooked immediately. And so did some friends at school. It really wasn't like anything else I had encountered but that's not saying too much because I'm not immensely knowledgeable about games for someone whose played as much as I have. I spent thousands of hours playing this module. It's basically where you have to abide by a set of rules and if you don't, you get banned. My friend Ben (high achieving, is now a junior doctor) really took to the mod as well. We played a lot together and I created a number of clans. In 2013, I was made aware of the competitive area of the game. I was immediately attracted to playing competitively because I was always considered quite good for those who played PW (Persistent World - the roleplay mod that was very popular). I didn't realise this didn't mean much and that there was a very extensive competitive history. I already lacked self-esteem at this point. I've always been quite reactive. I've always struggled with intrusive thoughts, feelings, doubts, images etc. And I didn't know how to manage these when I was younger so gaming became a crutch. I also found school hard but I was considered smart (I think). I definitely wasn't considered that smart by my dad at the time because my brothers were very high-achieving.

They all went to a very academic school in Wimbledon that I didn't get into. I remember overhearing my dad say that I was never smart enough to get in to this school even though I had been encouraged to do the entrance exam. Or I think I might've persisted that I do the entrance exam because I felt an unspoken pressure to apply. I didn't get in. I got into a few other good schools and I ended up going to a boys and girls school that was less academic and better suited to me. At first, I performed well and the same thing was always said about me in reports: George is smart but if he would concentrate more he could do really well. At this time, I was playing Mount and Blade: Warband. I was still playing PW but I became involved in the competitive community. It was not great. I think I was too young, lacked too much self-esteem and was too insecure to function in that environment and perform well competitively. I remember feeling rejected by the best and most reputable players in the community. This didn't bode well for my self-esteem. It was almost like I had been rejected in real life and now I was being rejected in the game too. I was young, immature and reactive. I would be rude to other members of the community. I remember writing something really mean to this one guy called Bauglir. I found it exhilarating writing the post. It was a mixture of anticipation for their response, how much my words would affect them, feeling guilty whilst doing it...exciting. But it always left me feeling worse afterwards like I was pursuing some sort of high that had a crashing effect at the end. Impulsive is what I think it was. I remember I would always be embarrassed that I had posted such a thing, and the person I always targeted was someone respected within the community and who would routinely make me look like the fool. Some of them were people I wanted respect from but who didn't give it so this can be seen as an unhealthy way of processing that feeling of rejection or indifference. 

I founded some competitive clans in Warband that were always middle-of-the-road, maybe even a little worse than that. I was always the leader or commander and I enjoyed this role. I would get people to listen to me but I never valued this as I was so hard on myself about my lack of understanding for the tactics you needed to command well. In other words, I felt like I presented as someone who knew what they were doing but on the inside, had no clue what they were doing. I never really tried hard enough to understand the tactics of the game and I always found it uncomfortable to command and play at the same time. I played Warband competitively for a very long time. In total I had over 7000-8000 hours in Mount and Blade: Warband. I don't think that's an exaggeration because I used to play on my brother's steam account that wracked up 4K hours, my own steam account that had like 4k, and various others that I used to circumvent bans. 

The most fun I had was probably when I played the Persistent World with my IRL friends. But as time went by, they stopped playing and I continued with people I had met online. All throughout this time, my grades at school got really bad. I was so uninterested in school. I felt really behind and I hid from that feeling by playing computer games. It grew worse and worse. I barely got into my 6th form. My dad tried to install Norton security to stop me from playing too long and focus on schoolwork but this lead to really bad arguments. I remember one time crying and screaming and I was quite old at this point (14 or so). My dad was pretty strong about my gaming habit and it obviously didn't bode well. I used to beg him to play extra. I developed a visceral hatred for Norton security. Whenever I see it now, my heart skips a beat. It was used to manage my playing time but this resulted in me trying to find ways around it, getting upset, and feeling really resentful of my dad and myself. When I was studying for my GCSEs, my parents bought me a small macbook. I told them I would use it for studying. But I secretly downloaded LOTRO (Lord Of The Rings: Online) and spent hours at night playing it with my friend Ben. When he would go off, I would continue on my own. I had developed a complete indifference to revision and schoolwork and my exams. They required so much effort. Playing computer games was consuming and fun. Also, I forgot that when I was 9 or 10, my parents bought me Lord Of The Rings: Online (LOTRO). I got hooked for sure but like with OSRS I didn't care for the bits of the game I found hard and so even though I was a high level, I didn't have access to stuff I definitely should have had access to/understood like 'traits', the understanding of which still eludes me to this day. Although I was very young when I played these games (OSRS and LOTRO). 

I used to get really upset when my parents unplugged my computer when I was playing LOTRO. You'd have to spend hours getting together a fellowship to complete a certain quest to get some special item and they always seemed to want to turn off the computer at the worst times. So inevitably, this got me upset where I would be begging my dad not to turn it off but he would. I definitely, from early on, writing and thinking about it now, showed a vulnerability to computer game addiction. LOTRO I played with my brother and sister but they lost interest and then it was just me. I spent most of my school years feeling so shit about myself, I felt like all my piers and teachers at school judged me (they did - I won the award at the end of school for the most likely to be living with his parents until 30) - I was so behind and I felt like it was too late to make a change. I felt like my GCSE result sealed my fate. Were evidence of my mediocrity, stupidity...validated all the worst opinions I held about myself, my potential and my intelligence. After my GCSEs, I lost all hope for retribution. My GCSE results were a watershed moment. I was naughty at school, acting out, doing anything to get a laugh. I prided myself on getting in trouble with the scariest teachers. Always seeking the validation of people I perceived to be worthy. 

At school, I was so unhappy. Lessons and interactions reinforced the beliefs I had developed about myself. That I was stupid, dull, shallow, a joke, insubstantial. I got bullied a bit in lower 6th (penultimate year to finishing school) which reinforced these beliefs tenfold as you always think somethings wrong with you and not the bully. And was spoken down to by some teachers, people in my year, and people in the year below me. After I graduated from school, I took a gap year. I did a film course that I enjoyed but was only two months. I met a girl there and we had a thing. But I then had this belief that I wanted to be a streamer. But to understand this, we need to go back to the beginning of my gap year when my friend from school who I hadn't really played with before (he liked shooters like CS:GO, COD) introduced me to Fortnite. I played with him and his friend from outside of school and it was so fun. I was a bit unsure at first but the game grew on me. We started playing more often together and his friend stopped playing. We started playing 16 hours a day for 2 months. Maybe a bit less, like 14 hours but it was so much. We got really good and this was the beginning of the end for me. 

Beginning of the End:

Fortnite. A game that has left me with the biggest cravings out of any game I've played. Fortnite is akin to a drug for me! I could think about it for hours. I get triggered so easily and it leads me to playing it. Me and my friend Jet, got really good at the game. I was talented by lacked the emotional security to play competitively. We played wagers, and public matches (back when the only thing you could play was public matches). We would get up, message each other, get on, and play for 14 hours. I remember us giggling with excitement and comfort because even though we weren't together, it was just such a little cove of comfort and fun. He was able to not let gaming affect other areas of his life, at least not to the extent that I let it affect other areas of my life. My interest in other things is greatly reduced when I game. All I do is think about the game and play the game. But man...Fortnite hit different. It is so addictive. I realised that after my gap year, when I went to university, if there was any hope of getting a degree, I needed to stop. So I found Game Quitter's and that's the time that my introduction refers to. My mum bought me a gaming laptop for university but after playing on it, I realised I needed to get away from it so left it at home after I had come back for holidays or reading week. My participation and grades got better but I still felt that gaping hole that Cam talks about. I'm doing Respawn Elite now. I didn't do this before. I just posted an introduction, a journal and replied to other forum users but I'm going to really go that extra mile now. With J (the friend who introduced me to Fortnite), I was introduced to his gamer friends. Competitive CS:GO players. They did not take to me. Especially one. Let's call him A. He was pretty nasty. It always left me feeling shaky when having an argument with someone online because the content of the argument is always so extreme. I didn't know A personally. He didn't know me personally. So our insults are even more personal and nasty and cruel and yeah, it was an experience I won't forget and would like to avoid. So with them, I played CS:GO, PUB G but J and I always returned to Fortnite. Finally J watched some videos of Healthygamergg and decided to move on with his life. He's doing well. I think privately he admitted to himself he might have a bit of an unhealthy relationship with gaming. He abhorred the idea of gaming addiction and always got defensive when I brought it up. We've never really spoken about it explicitly but he sent me a video series by Healthygamergg on YouTube which I watched. But like I said before, I don't think it affected him to the extent it's affected me. Or at least I feel like my psychological struggles have been a bit more pronounced. This is hard to explain but there's a part of me that thinks I've never wanted to play computer games, that even when I was playing with them, I had this feeling in my body that was one of 'What am I doing? I don't want to do this.' In other words, the difference between me and J, between an unhealthy gamer and healthy gamer, is that the unhealthy gamer doesn't want to play deep down? I know that's hard to believe but I like that as a theory of what's going on. Which might explain why I never succeeded competitively. Gaming made me feel terrible about myself. Be competitively successful, you have to feel good about yourself. That's a prerequisite. 

In other words, I've been doing something I don't want to be doing deep down. Do I hate gaming? Anyway, this is a bit theoretical. After I became hooked on Fortnite, I forgot about all other games. I dreamt of Fortnite. I ruminated about Fortnite. I played Fortnite whenever I could. I even relapsed throughout university twice but I was so concerned that if I started playing again, my grades would fail, I forced myself to stop. But the desire has never gone away. I still wanted to play. Everything else felt dull in comparison. I even did things that one would think were the right things to do like auditioning for plays, securing parts, and performing in big theatre productions at university. But I still felt awful so there's clearly something else beyond gaming which I'm working on. But returning to gaming is not what I need to do to move forward. Confronting these feelings and learning to live with them is the way forward. But I need to fill the void. 

After university, I was feeling a bit dissatisfied with life. A feeling that always lead me into the clutches of gaming beforehand. I decided to take an antidepressant called Sertraline. At first I didn't notice any change but then I increased the dosage to 75mg, and I felt a change. I didn't want to lose the feeling so I asked the doctor to increase my dosage. We went up to 100MG. What followed was an experience that feels completely out of place for me. I can't explain it other than this: think of yourself as your life as a flowing river. Computer game addiction, depression, all of the bad stuff and good stuff are in this river. This river is unchanging because this river is you. There's nothing we can do to change this river as this river represents the flow of your life. This isn't like depressing or anything as recovering from gaming addiction or mental health issues might be a part of your river to (hopefully!) But when I had this experience on 100MG of Sertraline it felt like I had transcended this river that was me. Like I was simply someone else. I did some really dramatic things. I cleared my physical and digital history (some people refer to this experience as mania or hypomania). I deleted all my social medias (as if I was deleting records of this person I didn't recognize). I appealed to completely different people than I had before. I was more outspoken, self-confident, funnier but also abrasive, indifferent etc. It was SO strange. After 3 months in this 'other person', I decided to build myself a gaming PC, something I was always afraid of doing before (for good reason). I spent £2700 on a gaming PC + peripherals and built the best gaming set up for Fortnite you could imagine. 

I resolved to win the Fortnite world cup. My family were in disbelief. They were alarmed at my behavior but also supportive of my endeavor because they don't understanding gaming addiction and because I was so passionate and determined about achieving this goal. In 2022, I played from March to September (I came off the 100MG to 0MG in June) for 16 hours a day, every day. I got nowhere. And after I became my river again, I broke down, and stopped playing. I stopped playing for 4-5 months and had the worst hangover from the drugs ever. I had suicidal thoughts. I was depressed out of my mind. So insecure, anxious, scared. I was self-harming. It wasn't good. And then I finally, only recently and after a lot of therapy, have recovered my self a bit. I now feel exactly like I did when I was in school but a bit better. I have a better understanding of what I must do in order to break out of this vicious cycle I've been caught up in for more than a decade. Respawn is a part of this. 

My current predicament: Lots of free time. The best gaming set up ever sitting in the other room. Cravings going wild (followed Cam's advice, went for a 8.5km run - kind of helped but got shin splints). I was going to sell the Gaming PC but it's just so beautiful it's hard to. I use it currently for video editing. If I moved out, I wouldn't take it with me. I'd leave it where it is (in the centre of my kitchen). 

I want to quit games for life because I think they're an unhealthy avoidance strategy / crutch. They postpone my development and can even make me feel worse in the long-term. I don't know what my main goal is now but I'm going to complete Respawn Elite (maybe this is one of my goals) and try and follow Cam's advice. I want to prioritize my well-being and keep busy. It's really hard though. I wrote this introduction because Cam says it's the first thing to do on Respawn. 

If you've read this far, I really appreciate it! Feel free to leave a comment!

Edited by LordFederickRamsay
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On 4/28/2023 at 7:00 AM, LordFederickRamsay said:

And after I became my river again, I broke down, and stopped playing. I stopped playing for 4-5 months and had the worst hangover from the drugs ever. I had suicidal thoughts. I was depressed out of my mind. So insecure, anxious, scared. I was self-harming. It wasn't good. And then I finally, only recently and after a lot of therapy, have recovered my self a bit. I now feel exactly like I did when I was in school but a bit better. I have a better understanding of what I must do in order to break out of this vicious cycle I've been caught up in for more than a decade. Respawn is a part of this. 

How did I miss your intro? I wish I had words, but I want to acknowledge O have a lump in my throat reading this. 

 

On 4/28/2023 at 7:00 AM, LordFederickRamsay said:

I don't know what my main goal is now but I'm going to complete Respawn Elite (maybe this is one of my goals) and try and follow Cam's advice. I want to prioritize my well-being and keep busy

I’m not really allowing myself to set sold goals until I have 30 days without gaming. I’ll set some daily or weekly intentions…but not goals yet…too much pressure. 

 

Im really glad I read this. Thank you for sharing @LordFederickRamsay

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17 hours ago, Zoe said:

How did I miss your intro? I wish I had words, but I want to acknowledge O have a lump in my throat reading this. 

Thanks Zoe. 

 

17 hours ago, Zoe said:

I’m not really allowing myself to set sold goals until I have 30 days without gaming. I’ll set some daily or weekly intentions…but not goals yet…too much pressure. 

I think that's a good idea. Again, whatever suits you. I have always been sceptical of having goals. I'm not sure why. I can see why having goals would appeal to ex-gamer's because they are always trying to achieve a goal within the game (maybe for MMORPGs but then again, the same is sort of true if you're playing a game competitively like Fortnite, you're trying to achieve the goal of qualifying for a finals). I guess for me goals are a bit spiritless or souless to me. But I really haven't thought a lot on my intuitive aversion to setting myself goals so!

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On 5/12/2023 at 3:05 PM, LordFederickRamsay said:

I guess for me goals are a bit spiritless or souless to me. But I really haven't thought a lot on my intuitive aversion to setting myself goals so!

@LordFederickRamsayMy aversion is the dark hole I sink into when I don't achieve them.  Hopefully I will figure out how to make small attainable goals to get the momentum doing. 

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Wow, before reading this, I really had no idea how much you've been through. I'm aboutta cry right now, I just... Whew. Okay. Alright, I'm good.

 

Thank you so much for sharing your story, George. I want you to know that you are smart, and you are a good person.

And I'm right here with ya, starting over. "Respawning." "Breaking out of brain jail." However ya wanna put it.

You got this.

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