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NEW INTERVIEW: How Pauline Narvas Overcame Gaming Addiction to Become a Programmer and Build an Incredible Life!

MPieterse

90 days to move on in my life

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Day 2

Didn't make a journal on the first day my mistake.

Honestly this is fairly good time for me where my urges aren't that bad. Its Christmas and I have been spending the majority of my time spending it with my family. It helps being preoccupied with other things to keep my mind off games. Spent the first half of the day shopping and getting breakfast. I've spent the rest of the time trying to paint shoes (for the first time) as a gift. There not done yet and they are going to be finished tomorrow. So far there turning out fairly sub par as I didn't thin the paint beforehand. Whoops.

I am constantly worried as I am off for a week longer that I initially thought. I've been trying to reduce/stop games before I joined the program and while I haven't been successful on my own, I have found that constantly keeping busy is the easiest thing to curve my addiction. I'm worried about the relapsing during this time.  

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Being around other people and not neglecting your passions and hobbies is very helpful, and holidays are a great time to do both. 

You can check on our video about "How to avoid gaming during the holidays", right now I can't but I'll paste the link here if I remember later. Merry Christmas! 

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Day 3 (technically 4 as this is 2:32am)

Long day, started the same of the previous. Spent the morning with my family, did a bit of exercise, and continued painting shoes. Watched Game of Thrones with my sister who hasn't seen any of it yet. Then at 8 I got a text from my best friend who lives a few blocks down and he invited me over. I was a bit nervous at first, he's the person who introduced me into gaming and gaming is the thing we bonded over when we were little. We have also been friends since we were little, and this is the first time we have talked in awhile. I was nervous telling him that I was quitting games, as some of my best memories were about us gaming.

Honestly when we met it went completely different then how I would have imagined. We drank a bit and the conversation turned to a multitude of subjects. We talked about the girl I just met, to school when I told him I was taking a serious break from gaming. He told me he experienced the same thing with gaming. He still plays a bit but he talked about his addiction as well, and its really comforting to know that I'm not the only person that I know personally that experienced this problem. We had a chat about life, growing up, and mental health. Its weird but refreshing now to talk about deep emotions that we both knew but didn't know how talk about when we were younger. It meant a lot to me that he understood that I went through a lot of my childhood angry and confused. I've never had anyone tell me anything like that and I feel so glad to have him as a friend.

Merry Christmas every1 goodnight 

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Day 4

Decided to do this slightly earlier tonight as I plan to go to bed early.

Its been a rough Christmas. I had an anxiety attack last night and I fell asleep around 7am. I tried meditating before bed as I normally do but my mind was a mess. Last night when my friend and I were talking and he said I should just fb message that girl. We both agreed that I should do it after Christmas. I remember laying that restless, and anxious. I used to go to bed at these unholy hours of the day staying up gaming all night, but right now it just feels weird. Its not that I am afraid of rejection that killing me, its happened to me before and I've gotten over it. The waiting is what is making me feel like my mind is a concert in the middle of New York.  

This Christmas started two hours later, when my sister woke me up two hours later. I tried going back to bed, but I couldn't. I got up to a minor hangover and sleep deprived So I ended up just getting up and opening presents with the family. Christmas is when I got my first console, and have nostalgia of the one day in the year as a kid that I could play games all day. Gifts and presents don't have that same sway over me as they used too. I ended up falling asleep for two more hours and missing breakfast.

When I woke up, my sister and my dad where going on a hike and I joined them. Its been awhile since I was out in the hills. I didn't talk much to them, I more just walked down the trail. Being outside didn't feel that stimulating, but the air helped put my mind to peace.

Afterwards we picked up my cousin, who came back with us for Christmas dinner. I had to squeeze in a shower, finish painting the shoes that were meant to be a gift for my sister, and cook part of dinner. I ended up overcooking the meat and the sauce wasn't reduced as it should be but it was edible. I found that once we started eating dinner that I wasn't that hungry at all.

Right now my heads spinning and I want to lie down and sleep.

I found that in the past couple days, I've become a bit aggressive towards others as I have snapped out a few times.

Goal for tomorrow: get a picture of myself on the thumbnail.  

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Day 5 

Writing this a bit earlier I feel a bit out of ideas and I figured I should just go to bed

I spent the earlier half of the day cleaning my room and the other half shopping for clothes. Learned about fashion and dressing for men, and realized I've been doing it wrong. 

Spent the rest of the time doing some minor work, drawing, working out, and watching TV. 

I've been finding myself more and more on edge since I last played games. Excersice helps stem it, but I feel the anger from my past coming back too me. I also feel the compulsive need to take a shower.

I tried to get a profile picture of myself on, but there's a file size limit. I could probably find a way around it, but I'm procrastinating.

 

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Day 6

I joined the gym, did the best I could to be busy. Short journal today my minds spinning.

Went out for a drive, nowhere in particular. I'm feeling a lot repressed feelings lately that I suppressed through gaming. I've been looking at the feelings online, trying to find the root of these feelings.

Looks like my anger comes from the insecurities I have about myself. I use to blame others for this but I realize now that I've hated myself for years.

I also discovered that I push away people from my life, because I am afraid of loss. I grew up alone constantly changing schools, with parents that spent most of their time working. I've gotten so used to people moving in and out of my life, that I'm afraid of opening myself up to avoid the pain.

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Dealing with these kind of emotions is so, so important. I am impressed you are so honest with yourself only 6 days into your journal! Way to go! Try to muster some kindness and patience to yourself in this process. I personally found that a little patience and self-love helped a ton with handling feelings I had suppressed for a long time.

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The first days are very challenging, but you have this as an opportunity to discover and connect with yourself. It's going to be hard to develop a good relationship with your deepest feelings after years of neglect (I know it's hard for me as well) but you're doing great. Be brave and be kind with yourself. 

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Day 7,

I had one of the best days I've had in years.

Couldn't sleep the night before feel asleep. I woke up and went to the gym. Walked so it would take longer, plus I've found it to be pretty relaxing. I worked out to a point where I just felt exhausted but at the same time fulfilled. Walked back and spent the next couple of hours trying to find places where I could get a weekend job. I was out for hours, thinking about myself and reflecting and understanding the emotions I felt. For the first time I saw why I acted the why I did, where my anger came from, and why I tend to push people away from me. Came home, watched a bit of TV and read a little bit. Drove my mom around to get something from the supermarket, then came home and ate dinner. My Dad went to go make candles with some of his friends and I joined him. I made one normal candle, then I got bored and made a rocket ship (basically a dildo made out of wax) for shits and giggles. Drove home and here I am. 

The initial feelings of sadness and regret for my addiction are leaving, for the first time in my life I'm starting to love myself. 

I'm a big fan of Lord of the Rings, and there's a quote in the first movie where Boromir says "forgive me I did not see" as he's dying when he realizes that he tried to take the ring from Frodo and was under the Rings control. This quote speaks to me as I am forgiving myself, for not seeing (understanding) myself.

I'm thinking about translating that quote into tengwar then tattooing it on my shoulder.

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Day 8,

Woke up at 9, but I stayed in bed until 10:30 because I have a problems getting out of bed in the morning. Its something that I need to work on. Spent the next hour tidying up my room a bit, eating breakfast, and brushing my teeth. I've found that I spend more time doing these mundane tasks that I was once to lazy to do. I don't even try to finish them quickly either, I just enjoy the time I have with myself.

Had to go to the dentist today, spent the rest of my time driving around with my dad. Got home changed and went to the gym. Changed my voicemail (took an hour b/c I had to reset my password. Read a little bit, cooked dinner, started to prepare to pain another pair of shoes I have.

I haven't thought about games that much in the past two days.

I've found myself eating less in the last two days. I think I used to overeat because it made me feel good.

I put all my emotions in jar covered in thorns, and threw it into the bottom of my soul. I was afraid of it, as I did not understand it, and intended it to be forgotten. I dug myself into a depth-less abyss where I could try to numb the pain. But the dark, cold, depths did not free me from it. The jar keeping piercing and gnawing at me, and at last, tired of digging, I picked it back up. The thorns stung as a I put my hand on the lid, but I released the lid none the less. I looked inside, and to my surprise I saw a mirror. My own face stared back and he spoke "Welcome back brother." He smiled, then his image was swept away into a rainbow of pixel colors swirling around me lighting the pit up around me. They danced around me in a beauty that I had never seen before in all my life. As they danced around me they fell in closer before dissolving into my skin. My skin starts to glow a pure white light, and a warmth grows inside my body. A feeling of love runs through myself, and for the first time, a sense of peace fills my soul.

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Day 9

Went to the gym and hung out with my friend. Spent the evening with some friends that were home for the break.

Felt pretty exhausted all day, but I wanted to spend more time with people so I just pushed through the desire to rest.

I've been taking my time doing things lately and enjoy in the time I spend doing them. It's not efficient I know but I find myself enjoying life a bit more.

Also been rolling with a bit of scruff lately instead of going clean shaven. I like it.

 

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Day 10,

Spent the early part of the day washing clothes and getting ready to hit the gym. I got up at 11 as I went to bed really late last night. Hit the gym came back to a shower and decided to go get some new clothes. I've been reading up a bit about men's fashion and I learned that I had been dressing like a slob for years. I'm not looking to break a budget and its pretty hard to just get some stock clothes for cheap (you have to buy them in packs) and decided to get some online. Not looking of wearing anything fancy, just some basic clothes that fit me. Spent the rest of the day filling out job resumes so I have something to do over the weekends once the semester starts next week. Even though its New Years, I want to go to bed early and start getting on a better sleep pattern so I'm up earlier in the morning.

Not that much is going on in my head right now. I'm mostly just filling my time with planning for the immediate future. I thought up the idea that I wanted to own a bar in the future. A bit of different kind of bar, where you go in solo in a round table with five chairs. The idea would be it would be a place to meet new people and make new friends, which is something that I am going to have to do in the future if I end up moving away. I asked my friend what he thought of the idea, and he said it sounded like speed dating, can't disagree. It's not something I'm set on yet, but I personally like the idea.

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Day 11,

Not much happened today, I can't claim that I did anything amazing or outstanding, but I've just been keeping myself busy. Lately I've been spending a fair amount of time just walking around from place to place. I don't mind it, even though it's a bit cold to walking around in just a t-shirt I enjoy the simplicity sometimes as I walk to the gym every day. I've been reading "Improving Your Social Skills" by Patrick King, and I reached the conclusion this morning. It's a fairly short book that's straightforward guide in interacting with people that's pretty interesting. It always felt like it was the innate gift that people seemed to be born with and is just plain common sense, but reading the book shows how very little people actually know about it.

I feel a lot happier now, and I'm excited for whats to come. I've been crying daily but its a good thing, and I'm glad that I'm finally doing it.

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Day 12,

I feel weird and a bit shook up today.

I had anxiety attacks today. About my future, how I could fall into a another tar pit of despair. How I could be stuck in some dead-end job just trying to make cash and feel depressed, and turn to gaming again. The feeling of being stuck in a giant machine and isolation from the world. It's happened before, and if my memory serves, it's around the time I really started to go on gaming binges. I have made a few rough drafts on what I want to do, but the feeling still sticks inside, and it's one the feelings that I've been running from for a long time. The failure of seeing what I want in life, living day by day for something meaningless. The fear of being in a dark room unable to see the way out. I screamed out loud twice the feeling got so bad, and I feel miserable about it.

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Day 13

Lately, I've found myself wandering around, distracting myself with tidbits of different projects to fill the time. I want to set up some goals so I can be a bit more productive, but I'm having trouble thinking of what exactly. I've been stuck on the 4th chapter of the course about picking new hobbies. I have some but not enough to finish it. I don't hold myself to any "mandatory" amounts of anything, just a rough baseline of what I want to do each day. So far, it has kept me busy, but not as productive as I could be. I'm more just getting by until the 8th and the next semester starts. Started reading a new book today, it is called "The Science of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone" by Peter Hollins. I've gotten through the first two chapters, and it takes about the basics of what the comfort zone is and certain mindsets you can use to ease your way out of it. So far it is pretty interesting.

So far my day plan includes the following:

  • Meditate at least for 10 minutes before bed 
  • Go to the gym for at least 30 minutes
  • Draw/Make something
  • Read a little bit every day

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Hey!

Just came to say hello. Congrats on having the courage to start the journal.

If I may, a piece of advice.

Creating a new habit is hard.

So you wrote 4 options:

13 minutes ago, MPieterse said:

So far my day plan includes the following:

  • Meditate at least for 10 minutes before bed 
  • Go to the gym for at least 30 minutes
  • Draw/Make something
  • Read a little bit every day

Why don't you start just with one and keep it constant for 10 days. Then add another one.

Cheers!

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Day 14

Spent the first part of the day taking and waiting for important phone calls. Did a bit of drawing during this time as I was sitting around for a couple hours. Afterwards went to my friend's house before he went back to Santa Cruz. We got some lunch, smoked some weed, then packed his car. Went back afterward and watched youtube for a bit. I lost track of time during this period, when at about 4:30 or so I went to the gym. Saw an old classmate there which was a nice change of pace. Got back at around six, took a shower, drew a little bit, ate dinner, and listened to Bob's Burgers while I was working. I have to get up a bit earlier tomorrow so I'm going to try to go to bed a bit earlier today. 

I feel a bit weird drawing again. I find sometimes I'll mess around with different idea's that are in my head, that I don't spend forever trying to complete, or just rush to finish them. I haven't devoted myself to any one thing, I think it's because I am insecure that it would turn out poorly. 

I've also decided that once my detox is over I will only play games with other people, in the same room, and never by myself. Having sleepovers as a kid, and playing mariokart is still one of my best memories of my childhood. Or trying to play Super Mario World with a friend arguing over (slightly drunk) whos the best princess in the mushroom kingdom is (it's Peach end of discussion, Rosalina is a fake). These or moments I still enjoy the most, and I would still like to have. I know that I can't go back to playing games by myself, even though I get an urge now and then.

@indie_rok those are the current habits that I always do now (I missed one day of med, and I've only been going to the gym for a week), it's more that I feel like I can add something to my habits, but I don't know what.

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Day 15

Took my driving test again for the fifth fucking time and failed it again. Just made one critical error by mistake, and that fucked up my whole test again. I've been trying to pass it for the last three years, but I never took it fucking seriously until know. I spent the past month practicing, I would have passed if I didn't make one fucking error. I got angry afterward, before calming myself down somewhat. It's not that I'm angry that I failed, I'm angry that I have to wait another fucking month to take it again.   

Got home, and spent the next hour pacing around the backyard trying to calm me down. In the end, I decided to get that tattoo I wanted. It wasn't that bad if I had to describe it's like going to the dentist on your arm. Unfortunately, you can't go on a heavy workout, for a little bit, which is what I need right now. Had to get some supplies afterward to help the skin heal.  

I've always had issues with anger with anger in the past, and while I'm better at controlling it now, some part of me still remains angry. It's just a feeling of aggressiveness and confidence at the same time. Wierd. I used gaming in the past to deal with the anger, but right now this journal *rant* is helping me calm down, even though part of me just wants to smash something.

 

IMG_20180105_195552428.jpg

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Day 16

Woke up with a massive anxiety attack, tried to calm down for hours. Tried writing it down, and it calmed me down a bit. I don't even know what I had anxiety about, but it was just knawing at me man. This whole day is a bit hazy, I spent almost all of it on my computer trying to set some stuff up, messing around in digital art since I got a new stylus, and on reddit/youtube. Also finished painting another pair of shoes, which I have totally not been on-offing for the past week. The semester starts Monday, and I scheduled a therapy session in the morning. I already filled out the form, and they actually had internet/gaming addiction on the form. It's nice to feel not so alone on this issue that I have.

I've had some urges to play again, they're not that bad, but I have found myself going to some game's subreddit for a few seconds in the past couple days. I think I just need to get out more and be around people more often. 

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I know how you're feeling  right now ( I'm talking about the driving test). I've got my drivers licence like three weeks ago so I still know how it feels to fail the test and wait more than a month to take it again. It's a pain in the ass, especially when you do some stupid shit. Like wtf. I failed to fully stop near a stop line once... I was so pissed than I wanted to stop the car and just leave it lol. The best part is that it wasn't even a real test, it was a mock test... ( In Lithuania you have to pass the mock test in order to take the real one). It took me 4 attempts to pass the mock test and 2 for the real one. God, those were the days... Even worse, I've got into a car accident while learning how to drive with my parents like two weeks before my actual driving test... My confidence dropped significantly... I had to learn how to be confident behind the wheel again. But somehow I did it. So you can do it too. All you need is practice. :) 

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Day 17

I honestly forget how many days since I started, and the journals the only way I remember.

Don't know where the day went. Woke up late (around 10), and then went to get eat breakfast. Since I've quit I find myself eating a lot less, and for the past week, I've only eaten a slice of whole grain toast. But I ate all the bread so I had this corn tortilla that I put in the toaster oven for a minute before getting bored and just eating it. Spent the next part of the day reading a book, binge-watching youtube, then I challenged myself to a meditation-a-thon. I meditated for a half an hour and then had to try to wake up my legs. Went to the gym for about 40 minutes before heading back. Came home took a shower, then started preparing for tomorrow. Eventually had to go to the grocery store. Went I got back I started preparing food for the week, so I wouldn't have to spend that much time cooking next week. During this time I was also doing the laundry. Got an email from my dance "professor" with the basic class syllabus. We have to get a 100$ textbook for a 1 credit class. Fun.   

I am pretty sure I got everything prepared but we will see tomorrow. Have to get up early for a ride since it's gonna rain tomorrow and I really don't want to bike through that. I'm glad that the campus is open now, as I can spend time out of the house. While I usually get social anxiety when I'm in a large group/crowd but I hate being alone more.

I've also started learning about using autodesk sketchbook, and it's a weird leap for me. I always drew just with graphite pencils, and I'm trying to incorporate color in for the first time. I'm really excited about what I can do, but I also have no real clue what to do.  

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Day 18

Doing this early, just wanted to get it done with today.

Busy day, the first day of the semester. Had to get to campus early for therapy. I can't even describe the feeling of being able to talk to someone about all the shit I had to grow through as a kid. Constantly changing schools, feeling that I had to fit into a different setting all the time, using video games to cope, having people move in and out of my life, my trust issues, poor family life, feeling dead inside for years, being reliant only to myself. And she called me "strong". "strong". Nobodies called me that before. Nobody. I felt better afterward, took a break. Had dance class afterward, and it was really fast-paced. Then had a short amount of time to eat lunch before going to stats. Got done and proceeded to try to finish some work that's due tomorrow. Met up with some old classmates and then got one the bus came home, ate dinner, and here I am now.    

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