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ThatFrenchGuy

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Hello guys! My name is Corentin, 19-year-old student currently studying political science. I’ve had quite an ambiguous relationship with gaming in general. My first encounter was around the age of 11 or 12 (can’t quite remember) where my parents had bought a second hand PS2.

At that time, I also got into flash games with my parents’ PC. I must mention that up to and a few years after that point, I had been quite an outgoing child, doing a lot of sports and often pushed into summer camps by my parents. This was done with my best interests in mind, as I was (unbeknownst to me at that time) what I guess translates as a “gifted” child (high IQ, but social difficulties and other issues thrown in the mix). They wanted me to be able to learn to socialize well from an early age.

Anyhow, I naturally aced everything up to the last two years of high school, without so much as lifting a finger. Then things got difficult, there were lessons where I couldn’t get away with simply using my “brain power” so to speak, coupled with my strong attention in class to carry exams without revising. I had no experience focusing on work and that’s where I began procrastinating.

Back to the gaming aspects however. My relationship with my parents degraded severely at that point, and coupled with the fact that I built myself a desktop - with both legitimate and shady sources of income - , I would frequently lock myself into whatever room the computer was in (they prohibited having any electronics in my room). I would often game a lot and took a liking to game development as a means of killing time and anger, and justifying my absence from the family life.

This clash escalated to the point where I was sent to a boarding school in Paris (I was living in China at the time, so I was literally sent across the world). Ironically there, the boarding house supervisor severely limited my usage of my computer, and even though my grades did not exactly rise, I did spend what is arguably one of the best years of my life: I got a girlfriend (which naturally led to the exploration of sexual aspects at 16), had a very comforting and stable social circle, and had a generally healthy way of life.

I graduated high school the way I did anything school related now: very decent grades which could have top of the line had an ounce of effort been put into preparing the exams. Due to an administrative mess, I ended up studying biotechnology at Sherbrooke University in Canada.

This is where gaming started destroying my life.

I was unprepared for the age gap (I was 17 in a class where the average was 22 and the oldest was 27), and the difficulty of university life. I would often hole down in my room and play Battlefield 4, to the point where I failed my semester in a spectacular nervous breakdown, refusing to attend the exams. Gaming has consumed so much of my time that it affected my sleep/hygiene/social and sexual life.

I was pulled back home in France, and was stuck in the family home for a semester to wait for a new scholarly year to begin anew. There my tensions with my parents escalated (often around computer/gaming related issues) to the point where the police got involved and dragged me to the local hospital – twice. Luckily my parents did not decide to press charges against me.

Both angered and ashamed, I was determined not to let gaming push me into desperate corners anymore, I got into a faculty of political science, where I aced the first semester (both my parents and I refusing to bring the computer to my apartment). Then complacency set in and I finally got my desktop back, and I fell into the same issues again: going to sleep anywhere from 4am to 8am (sometimes, not at all), destroyed social life (constantly making excuses for missed calls, events, responsibilities), and ruined my academic performance.

Like in Canada, I did not attend the second semester’s exam’s because of how crippled the stress made me. They did allow me to pass the backup exams (based upon my excellent academic performance in the first semester), which I passed as before: decent grades which could have been better had there been effort.

And now here I am, second semester of second year, having detox and relapse moments with gaming, trying to get my life under control.

Now that this monolith of a piece of history is over, and please move this post if it isn’t in the right spot, I’m looking for advice.

On one hand, I have so many opportunities to grasp for with very little effort (my academics require only that I work regularly and in a focused manner; I’m good at plenty of sports which would allow me to get fit again – and allow me to relax in a healthy manner; I’m well seen by my friends/colleagues but often procrastinate in nourishing my relationships; all previous relationships with the ladies I’ve had were from them coming to me – I was always to shy to “hunt” on my own).

On the other is gaming, in which I find profound enjoyment and relaxation. It is an escape (for better or worse) from the stress of my daily life. It is my first axis of procrastination. I always viewed game development as an escape, always wondering “Have I gone the wrong way, academically?”.

I have good friends on there with whom I share excellent times. These often nudge me into gaming, and I have attempted the 90-day gaming detox (with little success), which has severely deteriorated my relationship with some of them, and made me feel alone.

I’m therefore stuck in between what makes me feel safe and happy, and what is healthy, right, and good for me in the long run. I guess I’m here looking for arguments in favor of the latter and against the former, and ways in which to get my gaming-fueled procrastination under control. I wish (I think) I could find a compromise where I could game only for healthy amounts, but that just doesnt seem possible. I keep switching "ideologically" between abstinence and addiction, leading me nowhere.

 

Hoping to hear from you guys, best of luck to those going through the same issues.

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Welcome! You took the first step already by joining this forum, so that is a good thing, because it (most likely) means that you really want to get rid of your gaming addiction. Another great thing you can do on this forum is starting a journal. You can write about your battle against this addiction and also about the problems you encounter in your battle.

The first thing I can tell you to do, is to uninstall everything that have to do with video games. I know that it will be a hard thing to do, since I had to do that myself. If you don't have the strength yet to keep those games uninstalled, then make another account on your desktop, which isn't allowed to install any programs and use that account from now on. If you still want to go to that other account, change the password to: I won't play video games. Maybe it will help you no to play video games. 

Try to replace playing video games with an other (more productive) hobby. Go read self development books, start working out or go work out more, start drawing, anything that you might like which will help you not to relapse.

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Welcome, @ThatFrenchGuy!

There's a long answer right away, but the short answer would be: "Dude, are you me?"

Of course every experience is different, but as an also gifted (with all the circumstances that this "condition" brings), also high school master procrastinator, also not so healthy relationship with parents, also emotion control issues, even also aspiring political sciences graduate, I think I can safely say that I get as close as it can get to "I know how you feel". 

The expectatives of others man, get rid of them. I'm 23 and I'm struggling like hell with this, when I was 19 it would have been a suicide mission, but this is the way. Let me guess, either if your parents have a professional preference for you or not, there is an implicit agreement that you must be the best in whatever you undertake. Probably you also have this agreement with yourself, because it was a learned behavior or because heck, being smart makes you ambitious. Anyway, if this happens to you, it is bullshit and won't serve you. For me it used to be (and sadly still is sometimes) the whole point of existing, doing something and acing it. 

No no, the point is taking that sentence you have probably heard all your life "You can do whatever you want" and make it real, take it to the next level. Do what you want because it's what you want, no matter the others, or your expectatives of "What you should be doing". You should be doing what you want to do. 

And of course there are several kinds of want. You want to play games because they are satisfying, they provide instant gratification. The short-term good emotions of entertainment and relaxation are necessary, and you have a lot of alternatives to get the dopamine, that's what hobbies in general are for, including gaming. The problem with gaming is that it's sabotaging your longer-term goals, and that's when it becomes a problem. 

My suggestion is, take 30 to 90 days without gaming, and in the meantime look for alternatives to cope with the anxiety. Learn about the reasons why you play and observe yourself out of the fog of video games. It can be a learning experience and you can always take back gaming afterwards.

[I'll probably expand this later with {stuff}.]

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Welcome French Guy, thanks for sharing

I can relate to a lot of what you’ve said.  I wouldn’t say academics in high school was easy for me (I certainly put in the time and effort), but I did well, and it was obviously a lot less of a struggle for me than it was for most other kids.  I was in classes with kids 2-3 years older than me.  But once I got to college, I totally bombed.  It was a lack of structure and not having my Mom nearby to support and  push me.  I struggled to be independent.  I knew how to study, but I just didn’t do it.  I’d rather isolate and be comfortable, and I skipped many classes and exams for that reason.  My social skills were very poor and I felt uncomfortable around other people.  Video games provided the perfect escape, where I could be totally comfortable, challenged, and as in academics, have a sense of achievement.

I think you’re making one step already by coming here and posting. 

When you say you have some opportunities, it sounds like you’ve already got a leg up on some people, who aren’t even sure where to start.  For example, if you’re good at sports, there’s bound to be something in your area where you can connect and get involved.  And in sports, you knock out 2 needs at once – they’re both social and the give you exercise.

I have tried to game in doses, but it never worked out for me.  Not to say it can’t be done, but from what I’m hearing about your story, it may be better to detox for 90 days and see how you feel then. 

Good luck brother

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Thanks for the warm welcome guys!

As with many things, I've procrastinated answering in the forums (although I haven't been much of a forum dweller/redditor to begin with).

As @KevinV1990 stated, I do plan on making a journal, to keep a history of what's happened, help structure my day, and potentially help others.

I must say that I've quite enjoyed and been inspired by @MPieterse in his journal's regularity. I think taking a moment each day to sit down and do something is a nice way to slowly learn to structure you day and maintain commitments, and hopefully that will spill over to other things.

And @Hitaru, I have a feeling we'll be seeing each other in this forum again then! I've believed most of my life that my parents put no pressure on me (as compared to other parents) and a a year or two ago I would have disagreed with your guess. But nowadays, I would say that while indirect, parental pressure is definately there, and has simply been been nuanced by my perfectionist nature. Realising I was unhealthily perfectionist (I highly recommend having a psychiatrist/person you feel comfortable talking to as a way to open up and discover things about yourself), allowed me to understand I was pushing unhealthy expectations in many areas.

I'll probably bump this thread one more time when I get the journal started with a link to it.

Edited by ThatFrenchGuy
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