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Thriving - A Journal


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Day 58-66

The last week or so has been hard. Not for any concrete external reasons, I've just been really craving games. I spent a lot of time last week researching solo TTRPGs, hoping they could fill a void while still encouraging me to be creative and potentially screen-free. Nothing quite fit, though.

I ran my best 10k yesterday (and it was only my second time running 10K without any walking segment, I think) but I feel exhausted today. I realise that exercise is the only area in which I've pushed myself slightly out of my comfort zone in the last month or so. Otherwise, I haven't tried to join any interesting local groups, or initiate any activity with friends, or develop new skills. My sleeping pattern has remained good at least.

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  • 2 weeks later...

After a 73-day streak, I played games.

The first day I played for less than an hour. Then on the second day, I did nothing but play games for 18 hours straight...Yesterday was the third day, and I played for over 12 hours. I didn't want to reinstall Steam so it wasn't even good games, just mindless browser games.

I've been awake for just over an hour today and already it feels like such a struggle to not play. I've felt so restless the last fortnight or so, and all of my good habits (journalling, leaving the house, waking up earlier, eating meals) have mostly fallen by the wayside. I haven't really been using TickTick (my to-do list and habit tracker app) so I can't even be sure what I've done or not done. 

It's really difficult to balance pushing myself vs not feeling ashamed when I don't meet my expectations. Some people talk about just setting low, achievable goals, but even then I feel like I can rebel against basic things. Sometimes I'm in the bathroom at night and I know I could brush my teeth, but I choose not to. Sometimes I get into a bit of a helpless mentality, and when my mood or energy levels seem to shift I think of it as being more like the inevitable change of the seasons, rather than something I can control, to some extent. And so despite recognising that I was deteriorating over the last two(+) weeks and taking some action, I acted like a bystander in my own life.

Part of the problem is, I don't know what action I should take. Other people talk about exercise, but that is still something I mostly have to push myself to do. Over the last few months, journalling has broadly felt easy and almost natural, but for the last couple of weeks, I've struggled. Some of my entries are just dreams, others are just single lines like "Watched The Brothers Sun and napped." because I have felt too apathetic to say anything else.

Perhaps the answer is to reach out to someone, my housemate maybe, and have them help me form some plan of action (go for a walk/jog with them? "Body doubling" with her tidying her room and me journalling?). I guess it just feels...silly. Historically I haven't been good at reaching out to people even when I've been suicidal. While I hope nowadays I'm capable of reaching out when I'm actively miserable, it feels hard when I'm just...bored or apathetic.

It's easy to get bogged down by all my perceived failings, and while I don't have anything positive to say about the last couple of weeks, if I think more broadly about the last three months or so, I can easily see that I've been doing better than last year. My sleeping schedule is mostly better, my eating is mostly better, leaving the house feels a lot less difficult, I'm journalling most days, my jogging is still erratic but my speed and distance have improved, I have some income (although not enough to cover my outgoings at the moment), I'm reading more, and I didn't game for a whole 73 days. I think I've socialised about the same amount this quarter (I love reflecting on quarters rather than months), but I've been initiating things more this year.

I'll end it there. I will try to write up a plan in my private journal for how to get back on track. Sometimes I wonder if creating some sort of emotions flow chart would help ("feel X? Consider these options") - at least it would minimise choice paralysis.

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  • 4 weeks later...

I've continued to play games, and it still dominates my home life, BUT I feel like I'm approaching a slightly more balanced approach to life.

For the first time in my life (mid 30s!) I am capable of feeling engaged with the world, rather than (at best) pushing myself to try things in the mild hope it will put a dent in my apathy. This has been happening slowly over the last year or so, but it feels like my ability to function (as well as feel more peace in life) has skyrocketed since I moved in April: I've gone to new events, solidified friendships, and my mental health is worlds apart from how it was a few years ago. My mood still dips, I'm still not "normal" when it comes to eating or hygiene, and I have no clue what the future brings, but right now this second I'm feeling good.

I don't know if I will try quitting games again. I probably will - I recognise they mostly negatively impact my life. However, I don't think I will return to this forum if I do. It was great for the initial push in September, which was my first proper attempt to quit, but posting here has felt more like a chore this year. I'm going to stick to private journalling and talking things through with friends.


Over and out!

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