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bbt27

Hi, I'm Bryan. I need a little bit of help.

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Hi, i'm Bryan. I'm a college student on medical leave. Ever since high school i suffered from video game addiction without even knowing it. Even when multiple psychiatrists suggested that I had a behavioral addiction I did not want to believe it -- or if I did, I simply didn't care. I thought I had a passion for games without even realizing that it was destroying the reward center in my brain and causing all other aspects of life to feel lackluster. I don't know if gaming contributed to the further mental illness(es) that I developed but it may have well done so, due to lack of healthy social interaction and a semi-abusive relationship with my parents while I was still at home. Currently I have Depression, Anxiety, and (possibly) ADHD (diagnosed once, but without formal testing). I was also misdiagnosed with a bunch of things, including Schizoaffective Disorder and Somatoform Disorder.

I have had an 'all-or-none' attitude towards things for a good portion of my life. I've put all my effort into activities for a short period of time, then dropped them subsequently after getting frustrated with a roadblock (sometimes even minor). I believe this can be attributed to lower frustration tolerance and the need for instant gratification (hence my possible ADHD diagnosis). Recently after discovering Game Quitters and NoFap I have come across the possibility that these tendencies may have been due to addiction. So after quitting both and getting through the initial cravings, I set up activities for me to do on a daily basis. And, as you may expect, I actually have the energy levels to do them now (sort-of, we'll get to that in a bit). I'm on Day 7. Overall I know that my quality of life is improving more and more, day by day.

My issue lies here. 

Capture.thumb.PNG.19f08b77d7e6bf634eb2c6 

The attached file is a calendar/schedule of activities that I must complete each day. I have been forcing myself to complete the scheduled time blocks to the T, with maximum efficiency and minimal breaks. I avoid excuses/reasons to NOT stick to the schedule, as much as possible, even when they are legitimate. When I accidentally ingested soy (which I'm allergic/insensitive to), my gut burned and I felt like I was going to pass out. Yet I still tried to do Differential Equations study for 30 minutes.

When I do force myself I feel like I have done something good and productive. In the past, I made many excuses not to do things and so I'm trying to do the opposite. I also have some level of enjoyment from these activities. It doesn't stop there though --  I also force myself to adjust my habits and urges to do other things - like check my phone while I'm in the middle of a scheduled task, or interrupt my scheduled task for ANYTHING that is not more of a priority, or checking the mirror. I force myself to do the thing that needs to be done in that moment, every single time, even when I want to do something else. I also try to do everything in a way that would delay gratification (or not include instant-gratification) -- I don't eat until I have fully cleaned my cooking materials and dishes, even when I haven't eaten for 14 hrs! I don't check my email until a scheduled time, I don't watch TV, I don't listen to music, etc. etc.

Whenever I make these little micro-resistances I get a sharp bout of anxiety. I do these little adjustments probably 30-40 times a day. And I feel like a better, more productive person - consciously at least. However my body says otherwise - over the last three or four days I've seen things out of the corner of my eye, I've gotten tunnel vision, weird hot sensations in my body, and mental confusion. All symptoms of stress and anxiety.

My question is, what should I do? These manifestations of anxiety are out of control. When I micromanage everything I feel like I am consciously adjusting my behavior, which is good. But why is it too much for me? Is there any other problem I might have? 

Even now, I don't even know how to relax. All I feel like I must do is my scheduled tasks, and anything else is contributing to my prior unproductive behavior.

 

On another note - Cam your guide is really really helpful and your site is amazing. Thanks!!! Sorry if this is in the wrong section -- it was kind of meant as both an introduction and a discussion

Edited by bbt27

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Hi Bryan. I was just about to introduce myself and stumbled on your message (I'm new). I can relate to a number of things you said.

Keep trying and hang in there, as you've been. I've been doing the same. I also have a feeling that this will be a marathon and not a sprint, you know? And I'm seeking help where I can—like on here!

You're not alone. I hope we'll see each other around the forums!

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Hi Bryan, welcome to the community!

I can relate to much of your experiences, as I played video games from the young age of 5. After getting over the main hurdle in my recovery though, thoughts of gaming seem to be getting further away from my mind, so have hope for the future that you'll be able to do the same.

If you haven't already, I'd suggest starting a journal to keep track of your progress, reflect on your daily activities and to get advice and experience regarding quitting games. The daily journals section is the busiest of the forum, so you're guaranteed to get a satisfactory feed of feedback if you ask for it. I have found that keeping a journal online is hugely helpful through the recovery process, as it provides a clean slate from where you can clearly reflect on how you think and act at the end of the day, and receive crucial advice from fellow game quitters.

Perhaps this may give you a little inspiration in how to look at things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36m1o-tM05g

I wish you all the best for your recovery, and look forward to journal posts from you!

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It seems to me that maybe you are too harsh on yourself, you stopped playing games but you do need some form of entertainment and relaxing activities, so you do not have to cut listening to music or tv from your life. I guess you are too focused on completing your tasks and doing everything in the order you have decided upon before, it looks like a hard work and no wonder you are stressed, you have put yourself under too much pressure, not eating when you are very hungry because you have not completed your tasks is definitely not a good option. I would not be surprised if you return to games quickly, since you removed all kinds of joy and fun from your life, under stress you may be very tempted to go back to gaming. I love reading books so I can recommend them as a great relaxing activity, if you are learning a foreign language and are an advanced learner, you can try reading books in this language, it would be a pleasure and at the same time you would not feel as if you are wasting time since it would be also very educational.

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It seems to me that maybe you are too harsh on yourself, you stopped playing games but you do need some form of entertainment and relaxing activities, so you do not have to cut listening to music or tv from your life. I guess you are too focused on completing your tasks and doing everything in the order you have decided upon before, it looks like a hard work and no wonder you are stressed, you have put yourself under too much pressure, not eating when you are very hungry because you have not completed your tasks is definitely not a good option. I would not be surprised if you return to games quickly, since you removed all kinds of joy and fun from your life, under stress you may be very tempted to go back to gaming. I love reading books so I can recommend them as a great relaxing activity, if you are learning a foreign language and are an advanced learner, you can try reading books in this language, it would be a pleasure and at the same time you would not feel as if you are wasting time since it would be also very educational.

Hi Primmulla,

Now that you mention it, I had perfectionism issues from a very young age. I think now that because I have cut out gaming and fapping -- 'drugs', if you will, that distracted me from my perfectionism, now my perfectionism is back with a vengeance. You are right, I may be too hard on myself. But I don't know how to be any less demanding -- I feel like if I am I will end up failing to do what I set out to do. 

I cut out music because I read it triggers a dopamine response in the same way that games and masturbation does (but to a lesser extent, i think). It was one of my main activities for the last 4 years -- finding new music, listening to new music, etc. I realized that, in fact, my primary, most consistent sources of relaxation and entertainment for the past year have been gaming, music, and fapping (once or twice a day, 20 min). I just wanted to maximize my recovery by cutting it out.

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Hi Bryan. I was just about to introduce myself and stumbled on your message (I'm new). I can relate to a number of things you said.

Keep trying and hang in there, as you've been. I've been doing the same. I also have a feeling that this will be a marathon and not a sprint, you know? And I'm seeking help where I can—like on here!

You're not alone. I hope we'll see each other around the forums!

Hi Bryan, welcome to the community!

I can relate to much of your experiences, as I played video games from the young age of 5. After getting over the main hurdle in my recovery though, thoughts of gaming seem to be getting further away from my mind, so have hope for the future that you'll be able to do the same.

If you haven't already, I'd suggest starting a journal to keep track of your progress, reflect on your daily activities and to get advice and experience regarding quitting games. The daily journals section is the busiest of the forum, so you're guaranteed to get a satisfactory feed of feedback if you ask for it. I have found that keeping a journal online is hugely helpful through the recovery process, as it provides a clean slate from where you can clearly reflect on how you think and act at the end of the day, and receive crucial advice from fellow game quitters.

Perhaps this may give you a little inspiration in how to look at things: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36m1o-tM05g

I wish you all the best for your recovery, and look forward to journal posts from you!

Hello! Thanks for the warm welcomes. I hope we will all get through this.

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Hey Bryan!

Awesome to have you join us here and thanks for purchasing Respawn. I have a few thoughts for you.

The first is that I would highly encourage you to start meditating for 10 minutes on a daily basis. I like to do it first thing in the morning as soon as I wake up. Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety.

Next, as someone who has struggled with perfectionism a lot throughout my life, I got a lot of value out of reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

Finally, if you read through your post you will see the word force a lot. Now I understand you are forcing yourself because these things don't come naturally, and that is ok, I have to "force" myself to do many things as well. The mindset shift I would encourage you to think about ("meditate" on this), is what if all of this didn't have to be hard, and instead it was easy.

I know that sounds simple, but just feel that in your body for a second. Instead of you having to "force" yourself all the time, what if you did everything just the same, but instead of it being hard (ie: you losing energy every time you do something), you approached it with ease and enjoyed it.

I'm not sure from your post but something I'd also encourage you to think about is to celebrate yourself. When you complete one of your tasks, do you take a minute to feel good about it? Do you take a minute to recognize yourself for the fact that you are taking action to do the things you say you want to do? Although this is simple, it's powerful because it builds a positive feedback loop, and if you get into the habit of feeling good about yourself when you do the things you say you want to do, it's easier to do them in the future because feeling good feels good.

So make sure you celebrate the small wins. Also, you're on day 7 so keep going. As you get closer to the 90 day mark you'll find your energy levels have improved that much more. You don't have to ease back too much, but be kinder on yourself, you're doing well and you don't need to be so stressed out about the process. Try and enjoy it! :)

 

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Hey Bryan!

Awesome to have you join us here and thanks for purchasing Respawn. I have a few thoughts for you.

The first is that I would highly encourage you to start meditating for 10 minutes on a daily basis. I like to do it first thing in the morning as soon as I wake up. Meditation is scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety.

Next, as someone who has struggled with perfectionism a lot throughout my life, I got a lot of value out of reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown.

Finally, if you read through your post you will see the word force a lot. Now I understand you are forcing yourself because these things don't come naturally, and that is ok, I have to "force" myself to do many things as well. The mindset shift I would encourage you to think about ("meditate" on this), is what if all of this didn't have to be hard, and instead it was easy.

I know that sounds simple, but just feel that in your body for a second. Instead of you having to "force" yourself all the time, what if you did everything just the same, but instead of it being hard (ie: you losing energy every time you do something), you approached it with ease and enjoyed it.

I'm not sure from your post but something I'd also encourage you to think about is to celebrate yourself. When you complete one of your tasks, do you take a minute to feel good about it? Do you take a minute to recognize yourself for the fact that you are taking action to do the things you say you want to do? Although this is simple, it's powerful because it builds a positive feedback loop, and if you get into the habit of feeling good about yourself when you do the things you say you want to do, it's easier to do them in the future because feeling good feels good.

So make sure you celebrate the small wins. Also, you're on day 7 so keep going. As you get closer to the 90 day mark you'll find your energy levels have improved that much more. You don't have to ease back too much, but be kinder on yourself, you're doing well and you don't need to be so stressed out about the process. Try and enjoy it! :)

 

Hi Cam, thanks for the lengthy and informative post.

I will be certain to read the book. As for the mindset shift you suggested, I feel like that may work to a certain extent, but I tried doing it with my activities and it doesn't really sustain very long. For example if I try to do ghosting exercises for drawing for 2 hrs I don't really want to do it, and trying to feel like I will enjoy it doesn't make me want to sustain that activity like it's natural.

I feel good overall that I am actually doing the things that I need to be doing in order to better my life, but the process is really straining and that makes it less enjoyable. Today I had two mental breakdowns. I had tunnel vision, I saw things out of the corners of my eyes, I started getting pain all over my body, I couldn't think straight and I felt like I was in a fugue. They were so bad that I ended up trying the whole day to ease the anxiety. It feels like I'm doing the right thing at the expense of my energy. Maybe it's because I'm trying for too much in a short period of time? The small decisions I have to make to 'correct' my behavior actually are more than 30-40 -- that number probably covers only 2-3 hrs. Plus, it feels like when I set a goal for myself I try to pass that goal and push myself even further than I'm supposed to -- right now I'm trying to abstain from anything that may give me some sort of dopamine high, or at least limit the enjoyment of that activity. This includes music, food, hot showers, etc. etc.

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Bryan,

Has music felt like a problem for you in the past? Is there an addiction aspect in your case? I'm not an addiction expert (yet!), but in my own experience there's a certain feeling in the back of my mind when I know something's got an addictive hold on me. Sometimes it's hard to tell depending on my clarity of thought, or maybe I choose not to be honest with myself, but a pattern emerges over time. In addition, I feel like games are a net negative for me from a time/enrichment standpoint—in other words games hurt my ability to meet the goals I set for myself while providing very little meaningful enrichment in return.

That's games. I'm also a music lover. In my case, music has never had those addictive qualities for me and it's never caused a problem. I don't abuse music like I do games and other things. Plus, I've never really felt guilty about music. Again, that's only my case.

My reason for saying all this is that you should probably consider finding something to provide yourself with some enjoyment, while being careful not to pick up some replacement habit that is as bad or worse than the habits you're trying to change. If music is threatening for you in that way, I can understand your caution there. Overall, I'll echo the comments here by saying I'm a little worried that your methods here seem like they could be difficult to sustain in the medium- to long-term.

Oh, and I say all this as someone who can relate to your impulse for pushing so hard with all this. I nodded my head in understanding when I saw your calendar—can you believe I had the same schedule packed to the brim, but mine was color-coded? Is that made with Apple's Calendar app? Honest to god I felt like you grabbed that file off my computer!

(Last thing. I won't get into this at length right now, but have you considered talking to someone IRL? There have been a few times in my life when I felt like I needed help, so I sought someone to listen. Like a professional. I'm doing it right now, tbh. Just a thought, and the only reason I bring it up is the physical symptoms you mentioned. Again, that's only my perspective and people have different thoughts on that kind of thing. EDIT: Rereading your OP, I can see that you have. Sorry for overlooking! I can relate. I had to try a few different professionals before I found the right fit for me. It's a process.)

Edited by Kyle

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