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Mhyrion

Mhyrions journey

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Entry 1

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Day 3

So, I decided to start a journal. I've been reading some others journals here, and it was really encouraging. It will also be a great way to keep track of my progress. I also have a lot of time on my hands now I don't game and a lot of time to think. Not sure the latter is a blessing or a curse. It's driving me crazy already.

I think that acknowledging that I am addicted to games is really crucial. I tried -halfheartedly- to quit before, but never called myself an addict. I had the habit of making up silly excuses, but not anymore. Now that I have had some time to think, I feel like I see things much clearer already. There's so many things I need to figure out right now.

I thought about my why's for gaming some more. As I already noted in my introduction post, gaming is the perfect getaway. I struggle with depression, and sometimes suicidal thoughts. Mindlessly playing one game after another really shuts those thoughts up. There's no time to think. But I'm ready to deal with my feelings for real now. But besides escapism, I think I also really like to achieve things. And achieving things in games is so much easier and more recognizable then it is in real life. It feels really important to me to have certain special achievements in games, like shiny icons in League, or one-time-only-achievs in WoW. Besides escapism and achieving things, I think gaming also felt like a sort of purpose. I felt needed in those games, I felt important and relevant. Short queues and/or extra rewards for supportive roles might have emphasized that feeling.

During my first 3 days of not playing games, I've dreamed about playing games and felt really cranky, bored and anxious. But I deleted all my games from my laptop and phone in these first 3 days, also blocked some relevant sites, and that felt like quite an accomplishment. So yay for me. I later thought of also removing my accounts, but I guess unreachable is good enough for now. I feel really attached to my accounts in some odd way.

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Goals for this week:

-Read more journals and watch some youtube video's of Cam to encourage and inform myself
-Make a planning for my study
-Write journals and reflect on my progress and feelings



 

Edited by Mhyrion

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Good job on the 3 days! I didn't experience any dreams like you did, but I really expected to. I feel the journal really helps me, it feels good to self reflect publicly. Keep it up :)

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Entry 2

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Day 4

 

This turned into a very long journal. I hope to have less time for this as my journey advances.

 

Let's start on a positive note: my day started fantastic. My husband had a day off today, so we woke up together. Yesterday evening we talked about my detox. He's really supporting. I'm glad I told him what's going on and that I took the opportunity to apologize for betraying his trust in me. I feel like we're in much clearer water now.

 

After the morning together, I walked to the train station, and I was in a really good mood. I decided to listen to some music. That was a mistake. The music reminded me of League, and then I could not stop thinking about it. So this music now can go on my ban list. I also felt very nostalgic about WoW. If anything in the world, WotLK can make me feel nostalgic at any moment. I've had gaming voice-overs and music stuck in my head for the majority of the day. Imagine(for those familiar with WoW) Lady Deathwhispers line 'Do you yet grasp the futility of your actions?' in your head for a while. Drove me crazy. I guess I have played a LOT just before going cold turkey, so that might be the problem here.

 

When I arrived at the academy, it was very quiet. No big surprise, the day before the holidays. I made use of the peace to make a to-do list for my study. My hopes sank. I do not know if it is realistic to do all I need to do in the amount of time I have left. I decided to go for it the next few weeks anyway, and just see how far I get. (Right now this is year 6, for a study that should last 4 years.) At least the to-do list made things orderly. I find it difficult to make a planning out of my to-list, because I am not sure how long everything is going to take. Maybe a to-do-list is good for now, and I can just spend my time crossing things off of the list. I also got some books and DVD's from the academy library. I hope to replace some internet browsing by reading and watching something a bit more classy then senseless youtube vids.

 

I was wondering about one more why. Why is this time different? I think a lot led up to this point of quitting again. One of my fellow students chose game-addiction as a subject for his research. I talked a lot with him. Maybe this was a start of some self-reflection. I also realized a big part of my brain is stuffed with game related knowledge. I read a story online about someone lying to his parents to support his gaming habits. This suddenly hit me. I was lying too, and I didn't even realize it till that point. Then I watched an Dutch TV program about addiction. I saw in this episode a guy named Victor, addicted to gaming. This guy was so recognizable. I tried to create a distance between him and me. He was worse then me, I wasn't that far gone. But it didn't hold true. No I did not lose a girlfriend, or in my case boyfriend, over games. But I did lose other important social relationships and damaged others. And his appearance was so striking. Pale skin, hair not taken care of. He looked a bit like a ghost. It was confronting. Then I decided just to google 'how to quit gaming', and I got here. I no longer felt alone. And I feel strengthened in that. Then there's also the fact that I screwed up my Go/NoGo moment for my graduation of my study again. I got orange, just like last year, which means that you can continue, but they have sincere doubts whether you would make it. I did not improve since last year. I did not spend more time on my study like I wanted to. I felt like a complete failure. So everything together was my wake-up call. I'm awake. I'm ready. And I'm doing this.

 

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More goals:

-Read books

-Watch less youtube videos without a purpose

-Plan social activities with friends and family

-Put in a lot of hours in my study

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Great progress so far! Glad that you picked up the quitting again. One suggestion though: Be gentle on your early goals. "Read books" kinda was one of my first goals as well. But early in the detox, I had to struggle with focusing a lot, since gaming was on my mind. So, low goals are easier to achieve in the beginning and grant experience and a feeling of success.
So, instead of "Read books", set a daily or weekly goal like "Read 2 pages today" or "Read 20 pages a week". Same goes for the studies. This way you have 2 advantages: First, you will make easy progress even on days when you feel HORRIBLE. And second, you can actually measure your progress. If you wanted to read 2 pages a day and you actually got up to 6 pages, that is measurable progress. And when this is too easy, raise the stakes. But be gentle with yourself. ;)

Alright, you got it under control here.

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Entry 3

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Day 5

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Thanks for the replies, I really appreciate it and feel supported!

Great progress so far! Glad that you picked up the quitting again. One suggestion though: Be gentle on your early goals. "Read books" kinda was one of my first goals as well. But early in the detox, I had to struggle with focusing a lot, since gaming was on my mind. So, low goals are easier to achieve in the beginning and grant experience and a feeling of success.
So, instead of "Read books", set a daily or weekly goal like "Read 2 pages today" or "Read 20 pages a week". Same goes for the studies. This way you have 2 advantages: First, you will make easy progress even on days when you feel HORRIBLE. And second, you can actually measure your progress. If you wanted to read 2 pages a day and you actually got up to 6 pages, that is measurable progress. And when this is too easy, raise the stakes. But be gentle with yourself. ;)

Alright, you got it under control here.

That's a really good idea, I updated my goals!
 

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There are so many hours in a day if you don't spend half or more of it gaming. Amazing. I did so much.

 

I cooked and washed the dishes.

I did some grocery shopping and laundry.

I watched an informative yt vid of Cam and read an inspiring journal.

I organized my desk and some stuff around it (how many different coloured pencils and fineliners do you need, woman!). I have so much stuff. I'm going to throw away some things I found which I have not used for years. Good riddance. It also feels very symbolic and cleansing. It gave a great sense of satisfaction. I like that feeling.

I did some very tedious but very necessary work for my study. 

I made an assessment of our expenses per month for the next year. There's going to change a lot for us this year. My husband just landed his first job. We're looking for an apartment. He insisted we talked about money. He is a smart man. In the spirit of being a responsible adult, I also made an overview of my money spend and earned the past year. I spend a godawful amount on junk food. I'm thinking if I cut out the expenses on junk food and games, I might have enough money to join a sport. Now I only need to find something I like. I never liked exercising, so this might be challenging.

I started reading the book 'Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture'. I think the translation to Dutch is really lacklustre, and it's also a bit old (2005). But the info is good (historical facts do not change) and I'm interested now, so I think I am going to finish the book anyway. I'm learning a lot about feminism and notions about female sexuality. I always like to learn how we got to where we are now and as added bonus it also keeps my mind busy a bit. After this book I plan on reading 'What are you looking at? which is an easy to read introduction on modern art.

 

Right now, I've used all of my concentration and energy. But I don't want to stand still and give my brain a chance to think about games. It's really hard. I also feel like I'm unable to feel what I really feel. If that makes any sense. I have so many emotions. I am at a loss what to do with all them. Maybe if I keep busy, I can't think about it all too much. Although that does not seem like the healthiest way to go about it.

 

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Goals:

-Read a chapter a day from either of the 2 books

-Watch less youtube videos without a purpose

-Plan social activities with friends and family

-Work on crossing things of my to-do list for my study

 

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Entry 4

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Day 6 (ish)

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Since I can't sleep anyway, I might as well try and organize my thoughts and life some more. This writing really helps.


For me gaming is like any other drug. If you apply it in moderation, everything is fine. You get a short fun period, and then go back to normal things again. I'm not very good in using these kind of things in moderation. I can not game in moderation, I have trouble drinking in moderation (I have the rule that I do not drink while being alone), I do not watch series in moderation. I'm not sure what this means, maybe I'm very sensitive to addictions. Maybe it's just the depression messing with things in my head.

 

I got extremely bored last evening. I got grumpy and started to tidy things up again. I now have 2 bags with trash that can go away, and 1 bag of clothes to donate. I really have been neglecting cleaning and organizing. I guess I just really didn't care about these things. I also finally did something about the mold in the window. Yep, ignored that too. For months. It is good to take back control and care about these things. Writing about this right now, I feel like I ignored and neglected a lot of things in my life, if not everything. The longer I am in this detox, the more I realize what a complete mess I'm in. It feels very overwhelming.

 

I feel less occupied with games then the first few days. But I also experienced very little satisfaction. I feel disconnected, not only from games, but in general. I feel like my body and brain are giving mixed signals. I'm tired, but I can't sleep. I'm hungry, but nothing seems appetizing enough. I feel like connecting with my husband, but I create distance.

 

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Welcome to my world... :( 

This is our emotions learning to balance.  They swing one way then the other.  The swings will get smaller.  Our bodies are also adjusting from not eating.  I was not eating right for a long time.  Now I am eating.  So my bowel movements have changed.  My muscles are weak.  My breathing is bad from sitting and smoking all the time.  My sleep patterns are adjusting.

Time takes time.

 

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Entry 5

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Day 6

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Today was a good day. I worked hard and I was fairly content. Every day I am not gaming, I am improving myself and my life. So I feel like I've already improved my life 6 times. Yes.

This morning I made a to-do list for today. It was a bit too ambitious. It made me stress a little halfway through the day, but then I realized this was just a list and I can only do so much in one day. So I calmed myself down. I was in control. I also succeeded in planning some social activities with friends and family. Maybe I should set reminders for these sort of things, since contacting people doesn't come naturally to me.

The evenings I feel are still difficult. I don't know what the heck I'm supposed to do with myself. I'm too tired to do much anymore, I'm not tired enough to go to sleep. So there's this empty gap. I made a list of why I don't want to play LoL or WoW anymore, the two games that are most addictive to me. Maybe when I feel tempted in the evenings, this list can help me focus on why it's a bad idea to get back to those games.

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Greetings from Mad Pharmacist!

I'm glad that you're becoming more organised each and every day!

You're gonna make it not matter what! You've got my support

Have you tried D3 vitamin to feel more healthy? It's especially important during winter and lack of sunlight/going outside!

Greetings again, Mad Pharmacist

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Entry 6

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Day 7

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Thanks for the replies!

@hycniejsy I already take some vitamins. But like most things in my life right now, I'm not really consistent with them.

@WorkInProgress Thanks for the tip. I like watching Ted talks myself.

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Today I woke up with a headache. I have caught the cold my husband has had for a week. I felt sorry for myself but decided that would get me nowhere. So I worked from 8 to 18. I spend the morning on my study, the midday on cleaning. I forgot to take breaks and drinks after lunch, I only noticed when I felt really fatigued. Dinner solved that. In the evening I supervised my husband so he would organize his stuff as well. We now have clear sight of the floor again. We celebrated this and the fact that I am now 1 week game free with a bottle of wine. I wonder how I will feel when I have no more goals with this very visible kind of progress. Right now I can literally count how much floor space we cleared and how much stuff I could throw away/sell/donate. Perhaps that's also what's so appealing about reading a chapter of a book a day.

 

I was very emotional throughout the whole day. I had to switch of the radio at some point because there was a sad song playing. I cried when I watched a Star Trek episode during dinner. It was not really an dramatic episode. I'm not sure what to think of this, I feel weird about it.

 

I decided to read over my goals just now, and I've done all of them except the more long term ones. So I need new goals.

 

Goals:

-read a chapter a day till I'm through the two books I have

-take good care of myself:

    -take breakfast, lunch and dinner

    -take sensible breaks

    -go outside everyday

-clean out and organize all of my closets and boxes with stuff

-complete the first 8 points of my to-do list for my study before Saturday

-search for an appealing sport/exercises

Edited by Mhyrion

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Great work so far, Mhyrion. I feel I can relate in that I have problems with moderation as well, not just with gaming, but with other things - such as you said, with drinking. I've never considered that I drank too much until I had to go to the hospital one day, they asked "How many drinks do you have in a week?" I usually had 2+ per day, sometimes 3 or 4. When I said this, they were surprised, I also got surprised. The reason they asked was to make sure that I didn't have any withdrawl symptoms during my stay in the hospital since obviously, I shouldn't be drinking.

After they seemed shocked at the amount, I did some reading and my wife and I have tried to limit our drinking together. We use a system we call the "Coin" system, we are allotted an amount of drinks per month that are a stack of coins. I get 40 drinks a month, my wife I think is at 36. We've been on the coin system for a while now, and I can say it's really helping us. Each time I have a drink I put a coin in a bowl, it kind of makes me think more about having the drink when I do this. Sometimes I still have 3 or 4 drinks in a day, which is fine, you'll just need to realize that having more drinks in one day will limit you another day.

I would say that exercise has helped my mood the most in quitting gaming. Even just going out for a walk feels good, but having a more difficult exercise helps release endorphins that just generally help when gaming doesn't fulfill that void.

Keep it up!

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Entry 7

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Day 8

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The longer I'm in this detox, the more I think I should've started this a long, long time ago. 90 days are not very much compared with a habit of 10 years of gaming. I really hope I can reset my brain. I'm not sure if I ever should play games again though. I never played in moderation. Every game that got my interest I've played for hours and days and weeks. I was talking with my husband a few days ago, and almost every game I played, he recommended. So I should listen to my hubby less, lol. Anyway, let's first do the 90 days and think ahead by then.

 

I was very tired throughout the whole day. I worked all day anyway, which made me a bit proud. I'm really glad I have a big deadline for my study after the these holidays, it helps keeping me busy. I had some random nostalgic thoughts of games today, but overall I was too busy with other stuff to really think about it. I also spend more time on my study then on cleaning and organizing, which is a good thing. My father-in-law was here today to dig out a tree to replant, that was a nice distraction. I know now that a pear tree fits into a horse trailer if you try hard enough. I'm really wondering if the tree survives though, it was not exactly handled with care.

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The longer I'm in this detox, the more I think I should've started this a long, long time ago. 90 days are not very much compared with a habit of 10 years of gaming.

It's always easy to look back and wish you made certain changes sooner... but the key is to remember that you will look back on you making this change now and be thankful that you did! so keep going! :D 

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Hi

Great job you are over 1 week in your detox. About playing games in moderation:

First of all you must discern what draws you to games. Are they being used to fill a void that could be filled otherwise- particularly by real life means? Or perhaps you are drawn to the fantasy and art that is put forth by some of these awesome masterpieces. Well I was always a fan of single player fantasy RPGs like Skyrim, The Witcher series, Shadow Of Mordor and Dark souls 2. I always found with these games I would be utterly infatuated with them for a while and then put them down and stop. However, what I did straight after that was find another game. And I would go from game to game to game and eventually i would have no games to play and I would feel depressed and lost. These games do also have an element of mastery to them though, particularly ds2, and this could be harmful.

So, after my detox i am going to make an experiment. I will make a blog post about this too and I encourage you to read it. In my experiment I will play the games I listed above and analyse my behaviour then draw some conclusions. It would be cool if other people tried it out on a similar premise too.

Edited by Schwing

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Entry 8

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Day 9

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Thanks for the replies!

@phpsmith Thanks for sharing! Sounds like a good system, but not for me. My problem is not that I drink a lot every day. But when I do open a bottle of wine, I will drink it in a very short amount of time. I also drink for wrong reasons, like feeling depressed.

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I couldn't sleep again last night. I watched the documentary from Louis Theroux about Scientology, to kill the time. It made me feel glad that at least I am not making such bad decisions and my life is not that much in ruins compared to those people in the doc. I'm sure it's totally wrong to feel superior like this. Decided to watch some YouTube vids after that. Came across LoL footage. I felt triggered. I had an adrenaline rush of some sorts, felt very excited. I paused the video. Then let it play again. It made me annoyed and unsettled. My chest felt like being pressed together like a ball and then getting ripped apart again.

 

This morning I was really moody, cranky and irrational. I got so grumpy that even I didn't want to be around myself anymore. Every little noise, every smell, every task seemed so completely overwhelming and at the same time annoying and/or futile. One of my housemates was making tea or something in the kitchen, I was in the room next to it. The sound of the boiling water, her slippers scratching on the stone floor, every noise was so loud and annoying. I couldn't focus on doing the tasks I planned for myself today. I let things fall out of my hands, got distracted.

 

I decided I had to snap out of my bad mood. So I took my bicycle and angrily started cycling. My husband offered to go with me, but I declined. If I can't be friendly to myself, I sure as hell won't be a pleasure to be around for others. I tried to enjoy nature during my ride, but I was so agitated. I saw some birds though, which oddly enough soothed me just a bit. Halfway on my route I felt like if I could just lay down and die, that would be fine. When I got home I was a bit more calm. I tried hugging the cat, but he is stressed out from all the fireworks (and perhaps the neighbours dog that will not stop barking all day when it's alone), so that really didn't work out. Then I sat down with my husband for lunch.

 

My husband has to clean and organize his stuff or there'll be trouble with his father, also the owner of the house. My hubby occupied a room which we do not rent (it's complicated), but his stuff needs to go now. I don't know what went wrong with my hubby and cleaning and organizing, but he has 0 skill for it and has developed none since I married him. I tried helping him, got some boxes, labels, made categories. Through the years I've patiently sat beside him for hours while he was organizing, because otherwise he will just not do it. He will get distracted by everything, and for example start reading some old notes he made, and not continue organizing afterwards. I do feel like I can organize and clean pretty well, if I get to it (and I'm not too busy gaming for months and ignoring my life). I don't understand his struggle. He also can not throw anything away. I throw things away very easily, I might even end up regretting or having to rebuy things. He really likes to hoard things. To be honest, sometimes stuff he kept for years did come in handy. But for me it's just not worth it to have it lying around for all that time, occupying precious space. It's hard to get on the same page because of it.

 

So when I set down with my husband, after the cycling, I was still cranky. We started a conversation. It got to the subject of cleaning and organizing. A fight happened. I am not too subtle normally, let alone in the state of mind I was in. Although we made our apologies shortly after, it still left a bitter taste in my mouth. I chased it away with chocolate. I feel like there should be a short animated intermezzo here, with dancing cheerleaders with pompons, and then in the middle shiny lights and confetti and the following text: 'Another healthy habit in the life of Mhyrion!'

 

I want to pursue a more positive attitude, but I'm not sure how to make a decent goal out of it. 'Go be more positive' is not really a concrete thing to work on. Normally, on a day like today, I would've played the shit out of games. I'm glad I didn't, I can still work on some of my tasks and actually have just completed task 1 out of 8 of my to-do list for my study for this week. As for my other goals; I tried to look for something to exercise, or at least a more active activity. I have no money for any sport right now, so this makes things a bit harder. I think archery and rock climbing look pretty bad ass. I might go for that when I'm in a bit of a better financial position. I always liked climbing things and getting to the top of the wall/rock. I once got the opportunity to try out shooting with a airgun(?) too, that was really fun as well. Right now, I'll have to do with the means at my disposal. I could cycle more, I can use my skipping rope, I can go for walks.

Edited by Mhyrion

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I want to pursue a more positive attitude, but I'm not sure how to make a decent goal out of it.

Start with a gratitude journal. Write down 3-10 things you're grateful for at the beginning of each day. You can do it at the end of your day as well.

Also, you did the right thing by going for a bike ride when you were in a cranky mood, and next time you can also try meditation or a gratitude journal as well. Developing a positive attitude is all about focusing on the good that exists now, regardless of circumstance, and making a conscious choice through mindfulness next time you're feeling a way you don't want to be feeling.

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I was very emotional throughout the whole day. I had to switch of the radio at some point because there was a sad song playing. I cried when I watched a Star Trek episode during dinner. It was not really an dramatic episode. I'm not sure what to think of this, I feel weird about it.

You know, back in the days when you played games, your actual feelings were suppressed. When I quit gaming, there were so many moments, when I wanted to cry. No sad talk, no drama, just a simple phrase could have triggered me. It still happens sometimes. I mean, when you actually "review" the person you were when you drowned in games, you will realize, there wasn't much human about this person. Even when I was gaming and people showed me broadcasts of tournaments, I would always say and wonder "these kids that are playing, they do not show any emotion, they are similar to the machine that they and operating". My gamer friends often got offended by this statement. I got called names. People said, I am like the "reapers" from "Mass Effect", demonizing every technology. But once you witness a person operating a computer, you will see that the emotions seem to be strange. Nietzsche wrote: "And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee." I feel the same goes for computers. If you operate the computer, the computer will operate you.

Now, that you are free of this burden, your actual feelings arise. All those who were suppressed come up and want out. But don't worry, you will find a balance at some point. Right now, you are influenced by the withdrawal. Hang in there, you are not alone!

 

 

This morning I was really moody, cranky and irrational. I got so grumpy that even I didn't want to be around myself anymore. Every little noise, every smell, every task seemed so completely overwhelming and at the same time annoying and/or futile. One of my housemates was making tea or something in the kitchen, I was in the room next to it. The sound of the boiling water, her slippers scratching on the stone floor, every noise was so loud and annoying. I couldn't focus on doing the tasks I planned for myself today. I let things fall out of my hands, got distracted.

Symptoms of the withdrawal as well. Also, actual feelings. When playing a game with your headphones on your ears, you blind out the entire world around you. Now, you have to perceive the world around you. And right now, you are still a little sensitive. This will also find its balance at some point.

 

I want to pursue a more positive attitude, but I'm not sure how to make a decent goal out of it. 

Just like Cam said, nourish your mind with positive things. Implement things that you like into your schedule. We are what we consume. If we consume a lot of negativity, we will become bitter. The same goes for the opposite. Do positive stuff, NOTICE positive things and your mind will be positive. When you catch yourself having unnecessary negative thoughts about somethings, reset and try again. This time, from a beneficial point of view.

Also, implement a routine, like Cam said, where you can be grateful for what you have. Like, right now: Set a goal for tomorrow evening. It could look like "Reflect your local environment". Then, walk around in your living place and reflect what has changed. Like the floor. You said, it was messy. Now it is neat. Reflect that, witness it and be grateful for it. And give yourself credit for it. You made that! YOU made THAT! This is a product, a result, of your new way of life. Always try to remind yourself of the things that have changed for good. It is so easy to just sit there and think "everything is bad, I am bad, my place is bad". But when you compare it to the condition that you lived in before, you will see that you made progress. In not-so-modern times, people would pray and be grateful for the things they have. You don't need to pray, but you need to remind yourself of what is and what was. And then you will notice the sunshine in your mind.

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