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iamthemithras

Mithras' Journal

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Officially, I started my 90-day detox of no video games yesterday. (Whatever 'Officially' here means, I don't have anything in writing I just promised silently to myself) However, shortly after I made that decision I got a notification from an MMORPG on my smartphone that I could get a prize for just logging in.

I'm sad to say that I ran the app. I'm even more sad to say that I didn't get the prize. The game has been uninstalled since then.

Although technically, I didn't play, I figure if I don't discipline myself I'm going to keep finding ways to run, or even worse, play games. I hereby declare that this the first day of my 90-day detox experiment, August 16, 2017, and the day of my first journal entry.

Day 0

Starting with Day zero because I want to speak about yesterday first as it will give Day 1 context. This was after I posted my introduction in the forums. I don't know what to expect as I've never really been part of a forum before.

Before the little episode I mentioned in the beginning of this post, I did a 6 minute cardio workout I watched from Athlean X's YouTube Channel. I've decided I want to reduce my body fat percentage so I can at least look at a body I can be proud of in front of the mirror. I got exhausted real quick and made me heaving and sweating for maybe the same time I exercised. This was good, I would most likely be playing a game instead of working out. I also started to study Japanese again. Learning Japanese has been a project of mine for years but I've always been putting it off as soon as I start for a bit. I'm surprised at how focused I suddenly became, and I relearned the basics. It's nothing to brag about, but making this progress got me excited to study again.

Almost immediately I felt the urge to play, but I'm proud to say I resisted the entire day.

Day 1

I went to work more irritable than usual. I had a scowl on my face all day, I noticed I grumbled when I talked and spoke to no one if I could.

Damn, this is just on the first day. If I had any doubt that I'm addicted to video games, I strongly believe this day proves I really am addicted.

I spaced out a lot during work. I keep having day dreams about Deus Ex and Doom while I was on the computer. It was so weird, I suddenly remember being a kid again in school and just waiting for classes to end so I can finally play. It was horrible, I've actually forgotten what that felt like, then after maybe 24 hours of abstinence I'm already getting the shakes!

I can't remember where I read it but Cam was right, you WILL get headaches when you stop. I'm having a headache right NOW, I've been feeling it since the middle of the day. If I just stopped gaming on a whim without discovering Game Quitters first, I wouldn't understand why I have a headache! I'm so thankful that I'm here.

I'm still getting the day dreams and my head is still spinning. Jesus Christ, this really is serious if I'm feeling this way after a day of no gaming.

I'm so scared but at the same time I'm actually relieved. Maybe relieved that I understand why I'm feeling this way and if Cam was right about this, I can easily believe he's right about other things too.

Despite my irritable mood, I actually feel motivated to continue my short term goals. I'm thinking that learning Japanese and working out might be a useless goal, but it's better than nothing and helps me keep my mind off games for a while. I'll probably check out the 60 hobby ideas article I saw somewhere here.

That's it for Day 1. I feel like horrible, but I'm more motivated now. Hopefully, my health improves because this headache is getting annoying.

 

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Gaming dreams happen but will fade as you as stay away from games and thinking about them. I use time to study German...it's not necessarily a life goal but it takes up time, it's fun, and constructive. I use the Duolingo app. Welcome aboard! ?

Edited by Mettermrck

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Day 2

Soon as I woke up, first thing I did was go to the forums and read some introductions and journal entries. After a while, I continued to study Japanese. I planned to do some cardio to see if my body can handle it but I can feel some tendons hurting when I did a few push ups. Not a good day, so will exercise on Day 3 instead. Few hours before work, while studying, I felt my body getting very tired despite having a full rest. Suddenly I'm asleep, and I woke up 30 minutes after my shift started.

7 missed calls from my Team Manager the instant I opened my phone. By chance he called again after a few seconds and I told him I just woke up, told him I'm not feeling well (which is true), apologized and said I'm on my way.

The headaches came back as soon as I arrived to work. Couldn't focus on the job because of the migraine, my coworkers were noticing that I looked sick. A few asked if I was okay, I told them no. It was weird, I could feel my body being very tired and my head aching at the same time, so that's something.

I noticed this is becoming a trend, I seem to tire easily ever since I quit. Also, I still get day dreams about video games and I've felt nostalgic already. I wanted to play.

A third of the day I took some Ibuprofen from the company clinic and I felt a little better. At the time.

It was around this time that I noticed how lonely I really am. When people passed by my cubicle they were greeting the other guys but not me. I deduced that this is due to my unapproachable exterior. With a resting bitch(bastard?) face, coupled with a lack of interest in other people I'm set up to be a social outcast. I wonder if it's possible to change myself into a more charming person.

End of shift, I went home earlier than some of my teammates (for someone who's sick, I sure got a lot done) a couple of my close acquaintances told me to get better. I gave them a thumbs up. (Is that... normal? Do people still give thumbs ups?)

Got home and ate some Spanish-style sardines. Say what you want about the colonization of the Philippines by Spain, but they brought Spanish sardines to this country and they're amazing.

And here I am, writing this entry.

 

My body felt tired the entire day despite good rest - this may or may not be a withdrawal symptom. I still got day dreams and made me miss gaming, but I didn't game (being at work definitely helped). Right now I'm getting flashbacks on Spore, and weirdly enough Final Fantasy Tactics - I don't know why, it's not like these games were my favorite. Will watch some Game Quitters videos before going to bed. That video about What to do if you become Nostalgic sounds like a good one.

 

These journal entries are pretty toxic! I'm getting exhausted just glimpsing at what I'm writing, how can you people read this mess?

Note to self: Endeavor to write more on the lighter side of the day.

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@Mettermrck I first installed DuoLingo a year ago, I used it to study a little Spanish but I ultimately stopped because I was more interested in learning Japanese (there wasn't any Japanese lessons yet). I took a glance at the app just now and it has Japanese now! It's fun using the app, so it looks like i'll be using it a lot now :D

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It is probably a withdrawal symptom. Many people report exhaustion...I was the opposite, I was sleepless for about two weeks. Actually, I think your journal can be cathartic for you...you get those toxic thoughts out of you and on to the forums. ?

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@Mettermrck thanks for the continued support. While it's certainly relieving to expell all these thoughts onto this journal, maybe I should make an effort of sharing or noticing more of the brighter aspects of my day.

That's very interesting that many people also report exhaustion, and that you felt restless at first. I didn't expect quitting would be this kind of experience!

Despite the withdrawal, I'm very happy that I went through with this. I'm actually getting things done - as in I don't feel lazy stuying or working out. I only wish I started much sooner

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Regarding the slightly negative tone in your latest post, I don't think it's a problem at all. Of course, it is important to be positive sometimes, but I find that writing down my thoughts relieves my mind and gives me a sort of peace. As Mettermrck writes, it can be a great way to get the negativity out of your system, which then makes room for more positive thoughts to pop up. Its hard to focus on the brighter aspects of your day, if your mind already is full with thougths about how hard you day have been. However, different strategies work for different people. Some can easily focus on the positive things, while ignoring the less positive things, I've just never been able to do that. Find out what works for you. It's great that you feel that things are working out. 

I'm very happy that I went through with this. I'm actually getting things done - as in I don't feel lazy stuying or working out. I only wish I started much sooner

Absolutely wonderful to hear. 

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I can relate, iamthemithras, i started having a massive headache one afternoon, i thought it was because i didn't eat so i ate something, made it worse. Then i started feeling nauseous like i was sick so i took some prescription allergy pills and went to bed early. By the next day, i was feeling fine. I guess our bodies reaction to the excessive gameplaying plus the body trying to adjust, just give it time you got this. 

Yep, i also need to thank mettermrck for that advice, i was being negative in my second to last two journals toward myself which probably sent a bad vibe to other posters on here. Srry.

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 @qwethm987 You're right, it can be challenging to think positive when going through a hard day. At least for me, I've never been one of those people that can easily focus on being positive like some kind of "on" switch. But even I know the value of positive thinking, and I will definitely look into what works for me.

I'm glad to see you're happy about me being much more productive now.

 @ValarMaiar Thanks! Like my favorite rap song keeps saying: Go hard or go home!

Probably not a good example because I want to go home most of the day, but there you go.

 @BigPete247 That must have been horrible, but it's good to hear that it was only for one afternoon. Yeah, it sure is weird isn't it? I'm still amazed, in a way, that I'm going through something like this. I'm pretty clean, I don't smoke, don't drink, and I never imagined I could be addicted to something. Oh how wrong I was. It's good to finally be able to do something about it.

Thanks for the comments everyone, really appreciate it.

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Day 3

Checked the forums first thing in the morning, wrote some comments and read some posts.

Did 4 of 6 minutes of intense cardio from the same AthleanX video I watched the other day. Felt good collapsing on the floor out of exhaustion, but I felt that I recovered too quickly. Either I wasn't as tired as I thought, or my stamina is improving. Either way, will add more length to my next cardio workout. (In case anyone's curious, here's a link for the video)

I'm happy to say that the headaches are gone. However, I'm still exhausted for most of the day. I feel sleepy, and even more unfocused and irritable.

While I wasn't late for work again (thank God) something bad did happen. During my scheduled lunch, I went home to rest (I live nearby, a brisk walk would take about 5 minutes from work to home and I prefer to eat at home) and as soon as I got home, my manager called me on my cell. He asked me where I was, I told him I was home. He asked me what am I doing there if I should be at work?

I glanced at the clock and it was actually an hour too early before my scheduled lunch.

I apologized and hurried back to work.

My manager is a great guy. He didn't chew me out, but he did embarass me by telling the people around me what I did. I guess it's better than I deserve, another manager would have embarass me more by making a scene.

I'm still getting day dreams about games, but they're becoming less frequent. However, I'm acting more like a jerk every passing day.

I'm still scowling - I felt really pissed for no reason - so I tried to avoid eye contact with everyone lest they think I'm pissed at them. Another guy asked if I was feeling well, I told him no. More and more people are getting the idea that I'm sick, but I haven't told anyone that this is withdrawal from video game addiciton.

I wanted to at least tell my closest acquaintance so at least SOMEONE has an idea of what I'm going through, but I couldn't get a chance to. I also feel that she's the only one who would really understand, because I don't think anyone else would take me seriously if I said I was trying to quit video games and I'm getting the shakes which is why I'm acting like an asshole.

That's something to think about, right? How can we explain what we're going through? Nobody really thinks video game addiction is a real thing, is it worth trying to convince someone who doesn't understand? I mean in a social/every day sense. I definitely believe that there should be awareness about video game addiction more than ever, but is it worth the effort explaining things to the guy at the corner raising his eyebrow at you ever since you said "I'm suffering from video game addiction"?

I'm getting really worried about going through with this. Sure I'm getting more productive (even at work, suprisingly enough. For someone who's spacing out every now and then I seem to finish a lot more work early. I hope I'm not doing a crap job though) but I'm alienating everyone around me even more, and I'm already a loner as it is, guys.

There's this chick that's somewhat friendly with me, and although I don't really feel comfortable talking about this sort of thing and I don't want to presume, but I think she's into me. Unfortunately, she's not my type, and it's really creeping me out that whenever I glance at her direction I find that she's always looking at me or something.

We don't really talk much but earlier today she tried to talk to me but I was so exhausted and pissed (and creeped out by the way) that I totally brushed her off and got myself away from her. That was very rude of me. Poor girl. Then again she probably deserves it, what kind of creep stares at someone all day?

When I got home, I went straight to bed.

I woke up, and here I am.

 

Thanks to the fuckups, today was pretty eventful. I learned that my exhaustion is getting worse, but at least I didn't get a lot of cravings today. This is however at the cost of what passes as my social life.

 

Damn. I said I was going to try to be more positive, but sorry guys. I can't do that yet. But based on the support you're giving me it sounds like this is just the worst of it and things will get better, I just have to go through with this.

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You're going great, mithras. I know it sounds pat just telling you to stick with it and wait out the withdrawal symptoms but that is a big part of it. You do sound pretty busy with work and exercise and that's good keeping you away from gaming.

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Don't worry about being positive. At least here you should be honest with yourself and us. I find your entries amusing, you seem like a person with a great sense of humor. How about telling people you are trying some new diet without carbs/meat/coffee? I guess that is more common and might be easily accepted. Or just tell them you have family problems and hopefully you won't be bothered too much. It's not a lie: you are on a "no gaming" diet and you do have problems with yourself (in a way you are a part of your family ;) ). And I get that you are angry and maybe a little bit scared as well. I'm not going to tell you that you can do this and that things will get better and easy. I think sometimes we fall into this "flowers&sunshine&happy thoughts" trap and then we put even more pressure on someone that is trying to make a change. It's going to be hard as hell, that's what I'm telling you. Stick to it. And keep writing! Maybe others will disagree but I've listened to dr. Lisle a lot, he deals with all sorts of addicts. And he said that he always tells people, you are going to fail. And that's ok. It keeps expectations on a normal level, you are already hard on yourself. Hope it helps.

I feel kind of bad for this girl. Maybe she noticed that you are a bit different and tried to be nice. Maybe get a date out of it. Next time just say to her: Don't you have work to do, why are you staring at me? Just kidding, of course, please don't take the last part seriously.

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I just say that I struggle with gaming compulsion to some people who I can be more open with. Not a lot of people take gaming addiction seriously, but some others do know that gaming compulsion is a thing. They just assume that I have a procrastination problem due to gaming and understand it that way. To others, I just say that life is busy recently. Or that I'm doing other things during downtime. It's just a quick way to answer difficult questions like "why don't you play games these days?"

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That's something to think about, right? How can we explain what we're going through? Nobody really thinks video game addiction is a real thing, is it worth trying to convince someone who doesn't understand?

A lot of people find it hard to relate, if they themselves don't play videogames. However, most people know how hard it is to change fundamental parts of your life. I find, that most people tend to be more understanding, if I explain that I am quitting a hobby which I held very dear. (Even though compulsive gaming is so much more than a hobby, and that missing a hobby in no way compares with the actual redrawal symptoms of quitting gaming.). Though it is not in any way the same as making them understand why quitting gaming i so extremely hard, it might help them understand why you seem a little tense.
On top of that, it is completely legitimate to feel tired/exhausted/annoyed from time to time. Even though it is most likely redrawal symptoms in your case, most will probably be understanding if you just say you're going through a rough time or something like that, when they ask if you're ok.

 

We don't really talk much but earlier today she tried to talk to me but I was so exhausted and pissed (and creeped out by the way) that I totally brushed her off and got myself away from her. That was very rude of me. Poor girl. Then again she probably deserves it, what kind of creep stares at someone all day?

One thing you can be certain of is: She is almost 100% surely not staring at you to annoy you. You might not have the excess energy to talk to her, but in my opinion you should try your best to be polite and not rude. I understand that can be hard for you right now, since you have a lot on your mind. 

Damn. I said I was going to try to be more positive, but sorry guys. I can't do that yet. But based on the support you're giving me it sounds like this is just the worst of it and things will get better, I just have to go through with this.

As long as you keep writing, you're doing progress. No matter if you are positive or negative. And with a couple of bad days like this, things can almost only get better ;-) 

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 @Zala I guess being honest is more important, what's the point of keeping a journal if you're not honest with yourself, right? I'm flattered that you think I have a great sense of humor. I suppose my attempts to amuse myself in writing works for other people too.

I don't think I want to go with the family problems route. At the risk of offending some people, I don't think too highly of people that share or admit that their family problems are affecting their work performance. Unless it's something like a death in the family or something alarming like a parent having a stroke, brother being in a vehicular accident, etc. Otherwise, it's best to leave your problems at home where it should belong. I understand what you're saying though, and make no mistake I really appreciate the advice.

Besides, I already told people I'm sick. Though, I'm having a hard time explaining what exactly I'm sick of.

This Dr. Lisle sounds interesting, I think I'm gonna look into him. I think I can agree with keeping things in perspective, that way when you do fail it won't be as devastating and you'll be able to recover swiftly, at least more so. I am worried about this making the person complacent, or making the addict expect to fail so when does relapse he gives up because he's going to fail anyway and him being an addict is just the way things are. Or, when this person fails, he does get up but because he's expecting to fail again he doesn't take the initiative or much initiative to prevent himself from relapsing again. I don't know, it's not so simple to wrap my head into.

I still feel bad about what I did, but I noticed she stopped staring at me so I guess it's a win. Turns out that's all I wanted.

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 @Skaliq I suppose I was too pessimistic to think that most people wouldn't understand at all. I just told one long-time friend of mine about my decision about quitting gaming, and she did understood - especially when I told her about my withdrawals. She said she was proud of me, and such.

 @qwethm987 Thank you for sharing your perspective, that helped me think about things. I don't know though, I'm really not a fan of sharing my problems to everybody (SAYS THE GUY WHO KEEPS AN ONLINE JOURNAL ABOUT HIS SUFFERING FROM WITHDRAWAL) but really though, I'd rather that most people at work think I'm sick for some reason than getting more personal about it. I find that when I'm vague about something, almost noone is insistent about finding me out. Most just let it slide, why try to find out so much about some guy at work, right? Besides, it's not like i'm actually close with anyone. I'm pretty reserved, and I think everyone is used to me that way.

Regarding the girl, you're right. It was probably too much to make a joke about it here either. I hope I don't lose my cool again.

Thanks for staying with me, I really appreciate it. I want to spend more time on the forums and read more of other people's journals but I find that I'm too exhausted to do it. If writing wasn't fun for me, I'd consider this a real chore.

 @BigPete247 Thanks Pete.

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Day 4

My sleep was interrupted by my sister. Shortly after that we had a fight.

When we were shouting at each other, I had the sudden urge to slap her face across the room. It took all I can to restrain myself before she stormed out of our apartment.

While me and my sister are not very close, and verbal disputes do happen, the last time I hit my sister was back when we were kids. As an adult, you tend to not want to actually harm people especially your family, but there I visualized slamming my palm with her face to shut her up.

It took a while to let go of the rage boiling inside me - I needed to punch something, I needed to fuck something up. I took a look at the mattress I was sleeping in and pounded the non-living shit out of it. I felt the metal springs inside the cushion reverberating to my bones, I punched until I felt the nerves on my arm exploding. Exhaustion finally took me over and I collapsed on the bed. Nobody at home talked to me the rest of the day.

I'm beginning to think quitting video games is doing more harm than good. I am seriously contemplating about putting all this behind me.

It could be that I have deep seated emotional issues that playing video games are actually numbing. I don't really know what to think except I'm turning into a dangerous person.

At work, even more people are asking me if I'm okay. I politely told them I'm not okay, saying nothing more hoping they would just leave me alone. They said I'm starting to look pale, I just gave them a nod and nothing more. One guy told me to stop with the angry face I'm making all day, I apologize and said I couldn't help it. One of my teammates looked really worried about me and told me to go to the company clinic, I made a face that made it look that I don't think the clinic will help and told her not to worry and that I can still do my job.

I was still very exhausted the whole day but interestingly, no cravings today.

After shift, my manager was about to round everyone up for an announcement but he let me go home ahead of everyone. I thanked him and I went my way. Pissed again for no reason, I was listening to Snowgoons - Global Domination in full blast with my headset, jogged my way home and crossed incoming traffic hoping to relieve the angst. When I got home, I did my cardio to full exhaustion. When I could breath again, I did another set of it.

Now I'm calm, and now I'm here writing this entry.

 

Today, I learned that an expensive mattress can take a hell of a beating, and that this Journal is about less of me resisting video games and more about me trying to keep my sanity.

 

I don't know what I hope to achieve, writing down every minutiae of my day. Maybe I think it's important. I don't really know what to think, I just felt that I had to write this down for some reason.

I have no sass in me today. Damn, I'm so messed up.

 

Saturdays and Sundays are my rest days, so it'll be interesting to see how my mood and body will act on a day with no work. That's something to look forward to, at least.

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This sounds a bit worrying. Why are you angry? Do you mind telling us how old you are (maybe I missed it)? If I understand correctly you are living at home? Is it a big household? What was the fight with your sister really about?

I'm not sure if I understand everything Lisle says. But I think what he is saying is not that failure is not a big deal, or that it has to happen. I've seen people on this forum that managed to go 90 days without problems or relapses. And maybe even after that, who really knows. And it might be the same for you, of course that would be ideal!! But it makes sense to plan for the worst. Not that you accept it or expect it, but if it does happen, know that you are not a failure and that it doesn't mean that you are an awful person, that can never get out of this trap. So if you fail for a day, don't throw everything away and for example game for a couple of months, because you are such a loser. It's like if you have a flat tire. You don't slash all the other tires, brake the windows and use a wrench on everything else. You just say "Fuck it" and try again. This approach might not work for you, I'm a bit sorry for forcing this theory. It's a suggestion, you should definitely take only what helps you personally!! What Lisle is saying helps me, because I know I can never feel like I'm done with this. It's a life-time project.

I don't think you should go back to gaming. Are you angry because you told yourself that you are not allowed to game? Are you feeling like you took something that you loved out of your life and got nothing in return? Or are you angry because your life doesn't look as good as you would expect? Maybe you should write down again, why did you decide to quit gaming. I'm pretty sure problems were already there. If anything they were on a pause or masked by gaming. For example I'm not good with new people. It doesn't go away if I'm staying at home watching youtube. But at that time I don't have to deal with new people and it might look like I don't have a problem. Again there are people that have great life right after they quit gaming. Sunshine&roses and disney princesses after that. But if you are not like one of them, then quitting gaming will be like moving a painting, that was standing in front of an old closer. And with opening that closet all messy, disgusting, smelly stuff will come out. And yes, it's good that you deal with it.

Plan something for the weekend! This will be your first weekend after quitting right? Try to meet with someone! Go out, do sports, anything!!

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@iamthemithras Bro, you're doing fine. We all have different coping mechanisms: some turn to self-pity, some turn to lethargy, some turn to anger. It's perfectly ok, that you didn't expect the withdrawal symptoms, that just probably means that you didn't have other significant addictions you have quit. It's a good thing, I guess. You do have a good sense of humor , it can be a good coping mechanism as well.

I like your stated attitude of not bringing personal issues to the office. As an employer I give my employees checklists, those come in handy especially if and when my workers go through turbulence at home. If they stick to their checklists during their hard times they are way less likely to fuck up and risk losing their jobs due to bad/unstable performance. Maybe you can create such a checklist for yourself? Also if you come up with specific KPIs to measure your performance and discuss those with your manager, you'll be way more likely to have an upper hand in future promotion/pay raise negotiations and will be regarded professional and productive. Sorry, if I bored you xD.

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I encourage you to stick with it. You're still in your first week and by removing gaming, you're experiencing emotions that were always there but just masked by the gaming. You'll want to let these feelings vent out and then sit with them and figure out constructive ways to handle them going forward. It will serve you well in the long run. You're strong for doing this! ?

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