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ThatFrenchGuy's Field Study


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On 26/02/2018 at 0:29 PM, ThatFrenchGuy said:

I restrict myself from meeting new people, engaging in new activities, going places I haven't been to before because I have this need deep down to appear as a "veteran" or a "guy who's been there before". I have this innate fear of being "the new guy" for some reason, one which I haven't been able to determine as of yet.

Two thoughts:

- You seem to think people only respect those who know it all. Not true. Many times people love to show off their knowledge and help out the new guy who needs help with stuff that they’re experienced in. Maybe you need to see that this idea you have is just that, an idea, not real. Not saying that there aren’t some people like that, but are you going to doom yourself to a lifetime living in a basement because 1/100 people in the world is an arrogant know-it-all? Here’s an extreme example for you (this doesn’t reflect my political leanings either, so don’t take it this way) - how many people said Donald Trump didn’t have the experience to be President? Some VERY vocal people (no doubt many of who wanted someone else to win) but they clearly weren’t the majority, otherwise he wouldn’t be president. As a matter of fact, a lot of people appear to have voted for Trump to stick it to the “experts”.

- Your posts PROVE you do things you’re not expert in. You’re not the head of the UN, but you travelled to America to learn more about how the UN works. So did others. Did others there look down on you because you’re not the expert? Did you look down on them? You know the answer.

- Your posts seem to indicate that you have a fear of failure. You say you’re scared that new people will reject you. You say you procrastinate rather than do the things you need to do. It seems you’re avoiding things/not preparing fully because that way if you fail, you can say, it wasn’t the real you that failed or was rejected, it was the unprepared version. If I had’ve tried harder or been more prepared they would’ve accepted me. So if you don’t try, you can never really fail, it’s only the unprepared version of me that failed. So by not trying/procrastinating you have an inbuilt psychological protection mechanism if things go wrong. Yes, you’ll still feel bad because you failed/got rejected, but you’ll save yourself from worse emotional pain by consoling youself (probably subconsciously) that it was the lesser version of yourself that failed, not the real you. The problem here is your protection mechanism will stop you from giving things your best effort.

I may or may not be on the mark here, but I suggest you do some reading on the subconscious mind. It’s amazing how it operates and also seeks to protect us and how those mechanisms can impact on the things we want to consciously be/achieve.



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Day 36

Got some stuff done, not as much as I’d have hoped, but it’s better than nothing.

Yesterday was the perfect example of how my emotional response works. I’m either euphoric or sinking way down, with very little in betweens, let alone a semblance of regularity. Now that’s been demonstrated to be a notable characteristic of high IQ/low social skill individuals. It is weird at times to rationally realise how exaggerated my emtional response to things are. I feel that reminding myself that I have to capitalise on my highs and rationalise/work around my lows.

And in regards to fear of failure, while I agree that this is definately a major component hindering my social skills and opportunities, I believe the nature of my procrastination doesn’t lie in the fear of failure, at least not as a constant rule.

In the sciences we always attempt to determine the cause of everything. Does laziness have to have a root cause? But then again, when it hinders my life in such a fashion, it has to be unnatural behaviour. I don’t procrastinate on the dishes or the laundry or simple paperwork because of fear of failure...

While I hate my mother’s way of sticking the “high IQ” sticker on me, as if it defined me, it has affected me in the sense that I had previously never had to lift a finger to achieve supreme levels of success in most academic/sports areas. I think this, coupled with the increasing monotony of academic work, has bred into me a spirit of defeatism and an absence of a spirit of effort driven by long term sucess. I am simply unable to work “for the sake of it” or to achieve a long-term goal without instant satisfaction.

I however thoroughly remember my childhood motivation and satisfaction at getting things done. Therefore I believe that I haven’t lost my motivation to get things done - my work ethic and my satisfaction from a job well done. I believe that I’ve simply stranded too long in the mindset that I can achieve things with minimal effort, a mindset which often has no place in university. This mindset being unsuited for university, led to unsatisfcatory results and satisfaction. Now gaming has definately contributed to me ignoring the issue, and wrecking my brain’s reward and satisfaction systems.

In other words, at least academically speaking, and in regards to doing stuff that afult life requires you take care of, I simply need to “Just do it” long enough that I can acquire a new mindset and work ethic. Basically, building a new habit of getting stuff done and learning to take satisfaction from it.

Easier said than done. That’s where my ex would have come in handy to gently bash me over the head. Unfortunately I’m alone right now, and apart from someone constantly being over my head, I don’t know how to remind myself (breaking bad habits) to “just do things” long enough for it to beckme a new habit.

That’s it for today

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1 hour ago, Cam Adair said:

One of these books would be helpful for you:

The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

Mastery by George Leonard

I don’t know those books but I add another suggestion that may or may not fit you needs, although I think it would be very educational for you as it was for me: “The culture of narcissism” by C. Lasch (1979 iirc)

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14 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

In the sciences we always attempt to determine the cause of everything. Does laziness have to have a root cause? But then again, when it hinders my life in such a fashion, it has to be unnatural behaviour. I don’t procrastinate on the dishes or the laundry or simple paperwork because of fear of failure...

Good point about the dishes and the laundry. Nope, I doubt procrastinating on those is due to fear of failure lol. 

I’d say there’s normally a cause for our behaviours. I couldn’t think of an example where there’s not. The challenge is that science is revealing more and more how much our subconscious mind drives our behaviours, and that can make it difficult to understand why we do things.

I’d say yes, laziness does have to have a root cause. Even if it’s as simple as the body wanting to conserve energy, or you see chores as unrewarding, it’s still a reason. Heck, I don’t want to do the dishes, but if I was told I’d get a million dollars if I did them for a year straight, I’d be pretty motivated to do it!

Point is, your reasons are your reasons. Others can only point out possibilities for your behaviours. Ultimately, you’re the best placed person to understand yourself. I think posting on these forums is a way to think things over, explore possibilities and consider new ideas, but in the end you need to make the decisions.



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Day 37-39

Haven't posted in a bit due to to a visit to the parents and me switching to Mac. I've had a few issues with transferring my password cache from chrome to safari which led to me being locked out of my account repeatedly - fixed now.

Thank you both for the reading propositions. Currently reading a book written by French WW1 soldiers (not exactly the most joyful book out there), but "40 ways to be miserable" is next on my list (it's a book explaining bad habits people have but don't necessarily realise which often leave people miserable - it's a nice concept), as is "The power of now" (less sure about that one, I had it recommended off the internet). I'll be sure to add those to my reading list, although the time I spend reading leaves a lot to be desired given the time I spend procrastinating instead of gaming.

Day 37

Anyways, took two days off to go visit my father down in Paris, and get a new laptop. Previous one's motherboard died harder than my motivation during exams. Side note, Jesus Christ it's hard to find a QWERTY laptop in France. Anyways, I had figured that regardless of me usually not being bothered to go places during the holidays, I'd take a train down to Paris. Picked up some pastries for my father on the way there, since he's quite obsessed with work and usually thinks only about that. Seemed to have made him quite happy when I got there. I don't know why, but it felt kind of weird, like I barely knew him. Things are always a bit more understated when my extroverted, slightly eccentric mother isn't there. It kind of just hit me that he was just another person moving alone in life, with his own desires, emotions, thoughts, pains... He just happened to be my father. Again, I don't know why I felt like that, but it make him look a lot older in my eyes, and I felt a lot more responsible for him than I usually did. We had a good time though, and he was as kind as always. I guess I mention that because it's an example of the spikes in mood I get every so often, out of the blue. Right then I just felt extremely subdued and dull, moments like that usually kill my inner engine and desire to churn through the day. I guess it's just moments that remind you "life ain't all sunshine and rainbows".

Day 38

Had an excellent night's sleep, spent a lot of the morning and the afternoon migrating data and cache from soon-to-be ex laptop to the Mac. There was a healthy dose of time wasted and procrastination though, nothing's ever perfect. Took the train back home with a bit of a heavy heart. I don't know what people did to deserve parents which care for you through thick and thin, but honestly if not for me, I should at least get a move on with my life for them. Although my mother often makes me reconsider that.

Went to sleep late, as I spent a bit of time with the Mac in bed figuring out stuff which used to be muscle memory for a decade-long windows user. Oh well, that's alright I guess. What made me less happy was the time I spent in bed after waking up looking at youtube. I really need to stop saying I'll do something about it and actually do what I say I'll do.

Day 39

Woke up after the aforementioned procrastination in bed and got some stuff done, not a perfect day by any means, dishes are still in the sink, but hey. I got up, checked some stuff off my list, actually went to the university library to work with minimal distractions. Again, while it wasn't the most productive day ever, it was nice enough. Friends invited me over for dinner to catch up on me since we hadn't seen each other during the holidays, or even before because of my trip to the US and the subsequent catastrophic hiatus. It was nice being with people and getting out of the apartment, regardless of how cozy and relaxing it is, it always ends up feeling depressing because it becomes my "cave of failure" at times.

As @Newbie17 mentioned, yeah: I just have to keep in mind that all this typing means nothing if I don't take action based on the thoughts I prop up here.


On 3/1/2018 at 2:19 PM, Regular Robert said:

Corentin, do you feel that you lack willpower? Like the willpower to do basic things? And if so, are you happy in your current career path?

Yes, yes, and eh.

Yes, I feel like I definitely lack willpower. In tasks where there is no guarantee of instant satisfaction, or where passion is not involved, willpower is supposed to take over and say: "Right, I have to do this because 'x'. So let's do it." I sometimes have that thought, rarely the action to back it up.

And yes, it occurs for even the most basic things: dishes, trash, turning class notes into revision sheets, staying up to date on course work and compulsory readings.

And here's the tricky one. Yes, I think I'm in the right career path, for several reasons. The first being that no other field of study sustains my attention and my curiosity for extended periods of time. I've had "bursts" when I wanted to branch to cinema studies or game development, but never sustained that enthusiasm long enough to make dedicated studies in these fields justifiable. Moreover, the job market there is less interesting, and definitely more risky. I think I just have a creative branch which needs to express itself every once in a while. Back on track though, there's not other subject that has me reading/watching about world history, especially military history, diplomacy, international relations on such a regular and enthusiastic basis. While it might just be the medium which is inherently more captivating (documentaries about epic military conflicts > C# assembly tutorials imo), I genuinely believe the career path I have chosen is the one which checks the most boxes and gives me the least sense of regret. It's also the one where, in more formal terms, I can truly emphasise my international experience, language skills, and personal centres of interest.

While I am happy with my career path in terms of topic/genre of studies, I am unhappy with my career path in terms of what I have achieved in the road which was available to me. I'm late on getting internships, to the point where there is now a real danger that my degree might get denied due to not fulfilling internship requirements (irony in procrastination, because my inner self is begging for "field work" rather than endless theory right now). I also put minimum effort into the day-to-day student work: showing up for classes, turning course notes into revision sheets, compulsory readings, reading and studying beyond what is required of me, properly preparing exams in advance, etc.

So yes, I am happy with my path (even though the road itself is bumpy and boring at times - classes are particularly boring and teachers particularly lacklustre this semester, their attendance is worse than mine for some), just not with the way I'm trodding down said path.

Again, I just wish there was a "magic trick" that would allow me to get things done, study appropriately, and explore potential career opportunities (entrepreneurship and community projects for instance).

That's it for tonight I guess.

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The thing about willpower is that it is limited. You can only force yourself to do stuff you don't enjoy doing for a certain amount of time until you go postal. Exaggerated but you get the idea. So, I believe it might be helpful to find out what drains so much willpower from you that you have none left to even do the basic stuff in your life.

On the other hand, not being able to do the most basic things in life could be an indicator for a depression. And depression is probably, simply put, mental pain that does not go away because the source of the pain prevails.
In either case it will be useful to you to find out what it is that drains all your willpower. That is why I asked about your career. Your reply showed a tendency, but at the same time, something was odd.

12 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

[...] I genuinely believe the career path I have chosen is the one which checks the most boxes and gives me the least sense of regret.

"Checks the most boxes" and especially "least sense of regret". That is what kinda struck me. I mean, sometimes we have to decide on a basis of "least amount of damage" or "least sense of regret", but I was expecting that you would say that you "enjoy" the courses and the work. I know that life is not all sunshine and rainbows and butterflies and fairy tales, but choosing a career path because it deliver the least sense of regret compared to other paths is odd.
If you ask me how I feel and I reply, that I do not feel completely horrible, would you get the idea that I try to avoid saying that I feel bad. At least, I would be far from "good", right? Just a thought.

If you ever have a couple of moments in silence and peace, try to think about the question again and try to answer it for yourself in a way that does deliver a definitive decision.

12 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

Back on track though, there's not other subject that has me reading/watching about world history, especially military history, diplomacy, international relations on such a regular and enthusiastic basis.

Reading and watching stuff is basically entertainment if it does not deliver real information. Information that you have no use for is simply data. A lot of people have certain interests and get joy from consuming certain content, but that does not mean they would like this certain career path. Another thing that came to my mind is: Next time you watch or read something about history, military history, diplomacy and so on, try to ask yourself if you are reading this stuff right here, right now because you need the information it offers to progress in your courses and career or... because it is another, well rationalized way to procrastinate/entertain yourself. You see, there is a trap door there. If you consume this stuff, but it does not deliver anything useful to you, it might just be entertainment for the sake of procrastination.

12 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

Had an excellent night's sleep, spent a lot of the morning and the afternoon migrating data and cache from soon-to-be ex laptop to the Mac.

Be careful that this does not become/is not a trick of your mind to rationalize procrastination. Sometimes, we avoid doing the real task by working around it to generate a feeling that we actually worked on it. We were busy the whole time, which grants us some pseudo-gratification, but in reality, we avoided the true task. Just be careful, that is all I want to say.

I don't try to push you, but deep down in your mind and heart, there is an unresolved issue. An issue that remains untouched. A thing that strikes me is that your detox does not really seem to be too effective. Like you said, you are compensating gaming with procrastinating in different ways. From the journals I have read, people that are close to the middle of their detox had a basic system that kept on going. They had a foundation, basic structure. Again, not trying to diminish your progress, but I feel that you cannot really progress like this. Try to honestly evaluate how much of what you do is compensation.
Like, what kinds of new hobbies did you manage to find and start? What do you do to get some recreational time? What do you do to generate energy? And than, some measurable goals would be beneficial to you. "I got out of bed and managed to do some stuff" is nice, but a goal that, on fulfillment, will generate gratification and satisfaction will boost your confidence and sovereignty. Because than, you would force yourself to not only do the required minimum, but do what is necessary to reach your goal.

There is something underneath all that behavior. Something untouched. Something, that makes you do the minimum every day and mostly in the last possible moment to not fail completely. You gotta be entirely, brutally honest with yourself and dig up what is buried there.

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Day 40-41

TL;DR for this post is I'm very frustrated, and frankly, feeling quite lost.

Good news is that for now, even with DLC, plenty of good games coming out, and I'm not feeling any cravings at all for nearly two weeks. Bad news is youtube has pretty much eaten up a lot of the time I would spend gaming, although I am moderately more lucid and somewhat aware of the incoming pain as I watch videos. Day 40 (Saturday) was a complete mess of good thoughts in the morning, slowly easing into the comfort of taking my time, then diving into procrastination, and going to sleep at 6:30am to wake up on Day 41 (Sunday) at noon, with a memo do write and hand in at 6:00pm. I finished it and handed it in at 5:58pm. I had procrastinated the entire day and night of day 40 out of sheer paralysing terror and anxiety. Now this was a memo, but I had failed to attend two sets of finals exams over the years for these exact same reasons. I panic because I simply cannot make the first step that will let me know: "Hey this isn't too bad after all!"

Very frustrating, I feel like I'm not in control, that I'm a passenger to my own body.


On 3/3/2018 at 1:02 PM, Regular Robert said:

could be an indicator for a depression

I don't know how I feel about this. I was cleared off some pretty heavy antidepressants about 2 years ago because it was deemed that I was not showing any clinical signs of depression, and that the previous psychiatrist I had was a byproduct of the American school of psychiatry (a.k.a hammer it with drugs without reading into psychological factors. Medical professionals are very light-handed when it comes to medication in France. I later learned I was on the legal limit for adult doses of Lexapro at age 16). My current psychologist seems to confirm that view, saying that given the people he sees on a daily basis (who sometimes have deep clinical issues), I certainly did not appear as showing signs of depression. His unofficial/informal conclusion is that I simply set the bar too high for myself - yet I can't even get the bare minimum done, and it feels I'm having the same conversation every time I go there.

Again, very frustrating, and very lonely once you leave that door. You're alone to figure yourself out.


On 3/3/2018 at 1:02 PM, Regular Robert said:

I was expecting that you would say that you "enjoy" the courses and the work

Here's the thing. I think I enjoy the courses (to some extent, as stated, this semester is particularly harsh), but I think may way of life, and more importantly here my work ethic has polluted my academic life so much with procrastination that anything I do is under a time constraint or intense pressure of some kind. Nothing can be enjoyed if fighting against the clock and myself becomes the norm. I remember a few semesters back, I had a flawless week of getting stuff done in advance, in an organised fashion - it felt amazing. And I also remember my first semester here in Lille, I was scarred from the messy failure in engineering, and I was determined not to relive that: I wasn't a perfect workhorse, but I worked

on) that left me with the least sense of missing out on alternatives: I can't possibly try out every single career path out there, and my mindset was that if you choose something, you're necessarily missing out/relinquishing other stuff. A.k.a you can't have it all. So yes, I'm pretty sure my career path makes me happy at times when I cooperate as a student. Take it this way: if I had chosen something else, I might have enjoyed it too, but I would have regretted political science as a potentially better option. Here instead, I don't feel like I fucked up my choice. Sure, the way is painful at times, but for now it seems like the right path.


On 3/3/2018 at 1:02 PM, Regular Robert said:

It is another, well rationalized way to procrastinate/entertain yourself

Yes, yes, yes and yes. Under the veil of educating myself in my general field of study, I procrastinate. 'Tis but an excuse for the same issue. Now I don't mean that in a mean way, but what the hell am I supposed to do then? Cut down 100% on youtube and Netflix? I mean I enjoy reading, I want to go to the gym, maybe get some judo going again. Want to try the guitar since I happen to have one - although social anxiety and procrastination mean I'll never be bothered with getting actually classes.

I mean yeah, some of these activities definitely have the "simple activity to relax quickly" potential as youtube or gaming (reading/guitar/basic muscle exercises), but I can't bring myself break the old habits and start doing those things! And then it's the same old question of "What? Am I just going to litter my apartment with post-it notes to remind myself to do a certain thing?".

Again, frustrating and debilitating. I don't feel in control, and nobody seems to have an answer.


On 3/3/2018 at 1:02 PM, Regular Robert said:

Be careful that this does not become/is not a trick of your mind to rationalize procrastination

Yes, as you masterfully wrote, I am "busy" all the time, but rarely proactive. Nothing more to say. Compensation in most cases.


On 3/3/2018 at 1:02 PM, Regular Robert said:

there is an unresolved issue

Again, not trying to be rude, but it's been about 4 years that I've been searching. On meds. Off meds. With psychologists. With psychiatrists. In a boarding house. In a family home. In a dorm 9800km away from my ex-dorm, 11700km from what was home for a bit. And now I'm here with advantages many would die for, and I'm meddling in my own shit because I can't even something as fucking basic as the dishes on a regular fucking basis.


So I'll run you through what I already know, blunt, plain, and simple:

  • Commitments and goals are fancy, but change comes from action. Doing something long enough to break a bad habit and build a new, healthier one, is the key.
  • If my sleep was more regular, and if I ate a healthier diet (it's not that bad), that would at least bring a better physiological background.
  • I miss having more friends, and friends I am more active with. Social anxiety and laziness gets in the way. Endless circle.
  • I miss being loved and having someone to love. I have clear opportunities in front of me, yet my mixed feelings (due to previous experiences) stall my existing opportunities, and social anxiety means I never initiate new ones. Fun fact: every relationship I've had was me being passive and some miss coming to me.
  • Working in conditions I artificially make terrible means I can't possibly enjoy working. Endless circle again.
  • I barely do any sports, and it's been 3 years. I'm not getting any endorphins. (TL;DR - the "happy"/"euphoria" molecule) Which was fine before because I'd have sex once or twice a week and was generally happier. Doesn't work that way now. Wanna be happy? Sports.
  • So much is within my reach if I just take it. I think in terms of self-preservation and "survival" instead of positive forward-thinking. I could do so much if I just fucking did it.
  • I am NOT who I want to be. I want to be fit like I used to. I want to get back into sports I like, maybe make new friends. I want to be an initiator in my current friend group, instead of receiving invitations all the time. I want to love and be loved, I want to have sex again. I want to succeed academically so I can stop being wasted potential and explore things I'm passionate about. I don't want to die doing nothing, I want to help people, to contribute to the world in some way. I want to be free from the limits I shackle myself with. And it's all within grasp. If I just fucking moved and did something about it again.


So there you go. I'm honestly pissed, frustrated, tired and feeling very lonely with my struggle at times. And I understand, it's my issues, a lot of people have done all they could and yet here I still am. And yes, I'm slowly hitting rock bottom. That's what it feels like oftentimes. Sorry if this came out rude or rash, it's not against you, it's the closest thing I can get to just yelling out the window. I miss the cliffy seaside, it's calm, I can yell, it's beautiful. Reminds me that I keep saying I'll go surf each summer, never did it. Heh. Free beach, hometown is on the coast, what more can you ask.


I'm honestly just tired. I need help, I obviously can't fix this on my own, at least not long enough for it to hold long-term, and I'm just locked with the key in my hand. I just have to put the key in and turn it. And I don't. I don't know why. Maybe my brain is that trashed from the meds. Had some not-so-kinky side effects from those. Who knows.


Anyways, I'm off to sleep, I'm already 45 minutes past my "healthy" bed time and I still have a political sociology text to read.


That's it for today.

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Just a quick side note: I do not see you as rude at all. In fact, I feel this is probably your best post so far. I know I pushed you and I know it probably hurt, but when I read your text, I read so much honesty and most important: so many honest feelings. If you ask me, now you are on a good way. Now you are not totally neutral or correct anymore. This is the well that needs exploring. I will write a more detailed replay, but first I got somewhat of a weird question:
You wrote this text on yesterday and you obviously felt frustrated and bad and annoyed and alone. How do you feel today? Did this text help you to vent some of that frustration? Has your mood changed in any way?

Also, is your psychodoc male or female? I hope you are having a great day. Not necessarily productive, but simply great. Talk to you in a bit.

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Also, do you believe you would benefit from having a "mentor". Not like a real one, but I could offer you that we pick up a mobile message system of your choice and whenever you feel lost, you send me a message and I will try to help you with the current situation as good as I can. I have never done this before, but what could possibly go wrong? So yeah, if you like to, we could try to arrange it.

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Day 42

Went to sleep a bit late due to last night's post. I wasn't exactly too fresh the next day, but I got through the day decently. Worked at the library for a bit. Was supposed to get home, buy some groceries, make dinner, and keep working a bit while sorting out some things in the apartment. Day went fine until I got home. I took a snack, sat back, watched a youtube video. And another. And another. A bit more than an hour behind schedule, I went to buy said groceries. Got back, ate a salad, decided to watch a single Netflix episode. Reasoning was "Hey. It's an episode, it's more defined and self contained, I can easily stop when the credits start rolling". Now it's 1 am. By the way, Casa Del Papel is nice on Netflix, I do recommend.

Oh, and I have an exam today at 2 pm.

It's saddening to realise that I am always one misstep away from disaster, regardless of how enjoyable, entertaining, motivating my day was. I attended all courses (unlike many of my colleagues with afternoon courses), had lunch over with friends, moved forward with some MUN paperwork. Taking a break when getting home from 11 hours of class is what doomed my day. No matter how many tiny efforts I manage to align throughout the day, slowly building enthusiasm, confidence and self-respect, I'm one spark away from losing it all and more.

The disproportion between the effort it takes to change and how easy it is to fail is disheartening.

I'll go to sleep soon, wake up later than I intended, leave all secondary issues behind and focus all morning on my exam. Nothing else matters for now, the rest can wait. I don't really have another choice.


@Regular Robert It did vent some feelings on the spot, and it did feel like I was making a fresh start (back from a uni break contributes to that too), until I got home and bad habits kicked in again. Posting here at least allows me to sleep with a mostly cleared mind, but the emotional boiling point I reach while posting here (again, rationalising something which otherwise would be a hidden thought/buried emotion) is purely temporary.

Psychologist happens to be male. I'm curious, what difference does it make?

In regards to your proposal: as much as there could be a benefit, it's not something I feel comfortable with at this point. I will keep the option on the shelf though if that's alright, if things don't move forward soon. Although I fail repeatedly on a regular basis, I like to believe that I'm witnessing the beginning of an upward trend. This might just be the holidays or my current mood, but I've managed to maintain order in several small things in my life recently. I want to try and capitalise on that.

I want to keep posting here so I can stop lying to myself, and keep moving forward as best I as can. I dunno, call me Fox Mulder I guess because I want to believe.


For the next few days, I want to try and capitalise on my mood to try and fight the problem (binging netflix/youtube, extending breaks for other activities) rather than circumventing the issue. I want to learn to be lucid enough to realise "Hey I need to stop right now" and actually stop, rather than simply say, blocking youtube and unsubscribing from Netflix, where I won't have to face the issue and learn a new skill.

In other words, I want to be able to face the triggers of my unsatisfactory behaviour, rather than circumventing them, leaving the "bad behaviour" without a fix. Seems like a more sustainable solution to me. I just have to keep my guard up and my spirits high.

Might take more drastic action in regards to youtube and Netflix if this fails. I hope it won't.


That'll be it for tonight. Shorter post than I'd like, but I want to get some sleep and be fresh for tomorrow.

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Just keep it on the shelve and if you ever need it, tell me.

Regarding the rest of your post, a few suggestions:

When you come home and you know, you gotta do the dishes, do them right away. Do them first. Before you take a break, get yourself in a break-ready condition. As long as you know, there is stuff you gotta do, you cannot relax and the desire to procrastinate will rise. Do it right away. Also, connect doing the dishes with something you like. I would suggest you listen to a podcast while doing the dishes. Especially I would recommend "The Minimalists" and start with the last episode called "Emotions". There is a nice part about expectations. You should listen to it.

Second, stop using YouTube and focus on one source of entertainment. You have some cool Netflix series to watch. So use them as a reward. Reward yourself at the end of the day with something you like. After all, you deserve it. But don't binge, set a goal up front. Like, 2 hours of watching Netflix. You can set an alarm clock or, depending on how long the episodes run, say you are going to watch 2 episodes or 4. And if you feel that you are no longer relaxed but watching to passify yourself, stop. It wont work perfectly on the first try but simply do it over and over again. If you don't watch for hours and get to bed in time, awesome.

Getting to bed in time. Have at least 2 hours of peace before going to bed. Don't get off the screen and get to bed. Have some time to come down, to get sleep ready.

Last but not least, have a piece of paper with you. Choose 4 things you want to achieve in your day. 2 easy achievements, like doing the dishes, tidying up, cooking. Have one that you gotta do, like preparing for a course. If that one is a larger thing, split it. If you know, in seven days you gotta need this stuff for class, split it into doable tasks. And finally, choose one achievement that you focus on. The most important achievement of the day. No matter whether it is something important, huge, small, banal or whatever. The thing you want to focus on. Keep this paper in your pocket and strike the stuff you achieved. This will deliver a feeling of achievement and confidence.

While doing all this stuff, try not do think ahead too far. You need to be able to follow and catch up. When your mind is already at the end result which demands huge loads of work, the way ahead will look like an unbearable amount of effort and stress. Focus on what you do right now. What is necessary to do the dishes? Fill the sink with water, have a sponge and a towel near you. Take the first, easiest steps and than go from there and continue. Do not let your mind race away. What you do right now is most important. Preparing a course? Have a pen, paper, create a list of what has to be in it. Continue from there.

I'll come back to the psychodoc-gender thingy but for now, try to apply the stuff I mentioned above. Start right here, right now. List 4 achievements for tomorrow. List them here and write them down on a piece of paper. Just do it. Don't overthink it, otherwise you will find millions of reasons why it won't work. Just do it. And tomorrow, see what has worked and was has not. This process does not focus on the goal "being game free", but focuses on the way to get there. Every little step you take is important.

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Day 43 - 44

Got up on Tuesday to revise for my exam, I had a few hours in front of me, so it was fine for a decent last-minute revision. I never got out of bed though, and I binged youtube for an hour or two. Completely useless and pointless videos too. Anyways, by the time I actually got out of bed and got showered, I had two hours until the exam. Considering you have to be in front of the examination rooms half an hour before the exam, that left me with an hour and a half to eat and revise. Rushed out to grab the closest instant noodles thing I could find. Met a homeless man on the way, he asked my if I had any change, to which I answered no, since I basically only use my credit card. I was internally thinking: "I'm sorry man, but this is soooo low on my priority list right now." Didn't help with morale. Anyways, ate faster than it takes for food to come out the other way and rushed to the library, the only place I know I can work under pressure and get things done. Revised 90% of the course in a bit less than an hour, and attended the exam. I think I did pretty well, not perfect marks, but still way up there.

Went to the cinema with flirty mcflirt face (I guess I'll call her that now) to cool off. The sexual tension was off the charts, almost in a comedic kind of way. Literally every trick in the book was tried: the "oh come on I'm not going back home now if we have to go to x at y hour, can I stay at your place for a bit", the "oh hey my curtains fell can you help me I'm too small" (fixed her electricity two months back after a short that fried a resistor *yikes*). It was enjoyable to go out and take breather, and it was comedically awkward at times because I really just can't get my feelings about her straight. I honestly don't know how she has the patience to deal with someone who has a mindset as steady as a dancing dervish.

Anyways, as usual after moments of panic and stress, I allowed myself a "restful" evening, that is to say that I did nothing and went to bed late.

Today was an alright day. Attended a class which had some interesting thoughts buried under layers of repetitiveness and dogmatic French education. Spent the afternoon over at some friends to work on a presentation. Things went along well, and it was slow-paced enough that it was relaxing. Had more classes in the evening, got home and made a quick and dirty dinner. Watching two episodes of Netflix, got to work for a bit. Aaaaaand my I instinctively opened youtube, and my cursor went looking for gold in the recommended bar. Ended up wasting an evening that could have been used to work at a nice pace on some stuff for Thursday/Friday, but nope.

Anyways, I am extending my detox to youtube. I was thinking of simply using a browser extension as you recommended to remove anything but the subscription and the search bar (thank god safari now supports extension - I can't see myself using the RAM and battery guzzling chrome on Mac). But the question of youtube on iPhone (where such a manoeuvre is difficult) and Apple TV (where that manoeuvre is impossible) became an issue, and that led me to go to a hybrid. I'll keep youtube on the laptop with the extension, and uninstall youtube on iPhone and Apple TV. If that doesn't work on the laptop, I'll just delete the youtube account entirely.

So I'm left entirely with Netflix, which is fine because I usually manage to say stop after an episode or two. Only under  rare circumstances have I ever binged Netflix to an unhealthy point, and I believe there needs to be at least some "dumb fun" in life. Killing off all sources of enjoyment at once is not a good way forward. So for now, I'll keep things that way and report back for improvements. It's already late here, and I'm ditching my plan of doing what I needed to do for tonight, because sleep comes first. I've suffered enough from depriving myself of sleep in the past year or two (those who have lived it will confirm it is genuine physical torture past a certain point - as if your body was rotting from the inside).

I'll moreover attempt to commit to new activities this weekend. I've been thinking about hitting the gym for a while (amongst other sports), and my neighbour playing salsa with got me pumped to play the guitar, so hey - alternative forms of enjoyment galore. It's kind of sad that I have to force myself to commit to things that are my "enjoyment" activities. Do I - in reality - not enjoy said thing? Or do I indeed enjoy these things, but they're buried so far behind my brain that they rarely surface? No idea.

I'll try to work as efficiently as I can on the group presentation tomorrow morning so I can get some time to work on some MUN stuff and a Chinese exam.

I'll report back with my experience on my "youtube ban" tomorrow.

Thanks for the comments and ideas as always @Regular Robert

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Day 45

Good day. Worked for a presentation over at some friends. Got a lot of stuff done in a nice atmosphere. Got lunch and had an ESPOMUN staff meeting, that went well. The course that we teached was a bit chaotic but it brought to light things that needed to change in our administration. Passed a chinese exam perfectly. Got home, watched an episode on Netflix while cooking an actual meal. I stopped myself after a single episode.

Now there was some inevitable time spent on the phone procrastinating a bit: on quora or 9gag... Regardless, that did not last long, only about half an hour. I managed to get to work, and get quite a bit done: a presentation for a program I teach, learning the kinks of software to present in said presentation, fixing minor errors in previous manuals that were distributed. It wasn’t the most time efficient work ever, but at no point did I stop to procrastinate on something else. Now I am going to sleep late with a lot of stuff still left to do, but I can sleep soundly because I know it was due to me prioritising my tasks and sleep. Laundry and dishes will have to wait, but it’s not a cheap excuse this time.

Today was a good day.

Regardless, although it might seem from my notes that I put off minor tasks repeatedly, I do feel progress in my mindset to etting things done at once rather than letting the problem go down the line. It’s simply that in this specific context, I’m so late on so many things that I cannot explore that new behaviour because prioritisation of now urgent academic tasks from previous procrastination means I have to prioritise and ditch that for now.

Looking forward to the weekend to explore my new gaming and youtube-free environment.

For the first time in a bit, I felt like I was in control and that my time was not wasted.

Thank you @Regular Robert for bringing up the subject of youtube extensions and pushing for me to be real with myself. YouTube was just a filler for me gaming addicition, and I was hiding behind petty excuses. I genuinely enjoyed my Netflix episode tonight, and was even happier to be able to stop myself from binging more without effort.

That’s it for today, it’s going to be a short but happy night!

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13 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

It wasn’t the most time efficient work ever, but at no point did I stop to procrastinate on something else.

That is awesome! You got stuff done without distracting yourself. Way to go!

13 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

Regardless, although it might seem from my notes that I put off minor tasks repeatedly, I do feel progress in my mindset to etting things done at once rather than letting the problem go down the line. It’s simply that in this specific context, I’m so late on so many things that I cannot explore that new behaviour because prioritisation of now urgent academic tasks from previous procrastination means I have to prioritise and ditch that for now.

Setting and sticking to priorities is great progress. If minor tasks have to wait, they shall wait.

14 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

I genuinely enjoyed my Netflix episode tonight, and was even happier to be able to stop myself from binging more without effort.

Keep it up like that. Even if you happen to relapse or fall back, just stick to your fresh, working system! Great improvement.

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Day 46-48

Posting here for the sake of consistency. Been having mixed results in the past few days, yet some positive progress overall. I'll go into more details later, as I'm very busy at the moment - both due to some procrastination, and the sheer workload by itself.

I'm still procrastinating at times. Removing the major triggers definitely does help, but I still need to change my behaviour. Removing the triggers was only the first step. I have to continue setting excuses aside and learn to accept where there's failure. I also have to learn to accept and rejoice from success. Late on a ton of work right now, but I'm hopeful that I can properly organise myself this week, not because I have to, but because I feel a certain joy in thinking that I can make this a good, productive, rewarding week.

More to come soon.

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Day 49-50

Exam was pretty harsh and I'm pretty sure better revision wouldn't have helped. It's not worth much to be honest, so oh well. The last two days have not been very special with the ordinary courses. It's good to be in class with friends, makes things more lively. You can only appreciate solitude for so long, maybe that's part of why my weekends feel so dull and unproductive. Anyhow, I was eating over at some friends and they redecorated their apartment, it was really comfy, roomy, practical, lively. I got home from uni and it felt pretty trashy to come home to a shit filled ditch of drying laundry, dishes and piles of notes and manuals. I've basically come to realise that part of the reason why home is so depressing and why I can't get things done there is because I don't allow it to be a positive environment. You reap what you sow, solo edition I guess. So organising the apartment into a tidier, more lively place seems like the "fun goal" for the weekend

Overall I didn't work as much as I'd like in these two days. My mind just isn't on it. I constantly feel like I need to catch up on sleep yet I consistently end up late because of work I haven't done in the day. It's a bit of a vicious circle, although I would like to point out that my situation is nowhere near as bad as it used to be, my sleep schedule is decent now. I could scratch in a few more hours here and there to turn a "usable" night's sleep into a "good" night's sleep. In the end it all comes back to this: good sleep sets the basis for the rest. So if I can slowly build the habit of sleeping well and having the "cooling off" period of no screens before sleep, then progress could be made. Thinking of getting an old school alarm so I don't have to keep my phone in the bedroom. Plus I get to craft/DIY a nightstand, I'm in a decoration/DIY project mood right now. Anyhow, I digress.

So yeah, not much to say. Overall I'm finding it easier to handle procrastinating activities, but feeling too apathetic to get major things done. I guess it can be felt in this note too. The days definitely have been morose though, so it's not just me holding myself from typing anything more.

Social anxiety is a bitch though. Can't believe it's been months since I said I'd go out for sports. My application sheet is waiting, filled out, and it's been there for a while. I'm not worried about anything really, I just can't seem to prepare myself socially to the people I could meet. My reasoning is that I'm joining mid academic year, so everyone there probably knows each other and has a head start, making me feel like I'd be set aside. Classic.

Don't even get me started on the cool things I want to do that simply require a bit of time every day, yet always get pushed down the priority list and end up never getting done.

Add in the regular dose of uncertain feelings with flirty mc flirt and you have the recipe for a roller coaster of emotions in a pretty bland day.


Anyhow, I guess deep down I want to sit down, do nothing and feel sorry for myself like I used to. This week might not be the perfect week of change I wanted it to be, but I'll just keep going forward doing what I can do, and we'll see what comes of it. At least I found myself a weekend activity: IKEA and chill (coining that term btw).

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15 hours ago, ThatFrenchGuy said:

So yeah, not much to say.

In past posts, you wrote a lot about how necessary a regular sleep pattern is for you. And now you managed to create one and it sounds like you totally have it under control, since you even could turn it into a "good" sleep pattern.
The fact that you want to clean up your place and that you discovered you were not allowing yourself to have a nice home is a great step forward. Now ask yourself, why don't you allow yourself to have a nice place. Try to find the source of it. May be, it is because the five year old you did not have a nice home. May be it is something different. If you find the reason, acknowledge it and let it go. This will help a great deal.

Another hint: Social anxiety. Use the same pattern. Ask yourself, why you are scared. You kind of already answered it, but the pattern can go on. "I am scared that everybody knows each other. Why? I am afraid I could be set aside. Why? I am afraid people could see me as an outsider. Why? I am afraid people do not see me the way I want to be seen. Why? I feel vulnerable when people do not see me the way I want to be seen." This way, you will get down to the core and at the very bottom of it, you will find the reason why you are anxious and it probably does not have anything to do with joining mid season. Important is, that you do not judge yourself. Don't judge yourself for feeling anxious. You are not a loser or something just because you are capable of feeling. If anxiety comes up, watch it, don't judge it.
Observe what your mind is suggesting to you. Don't judge yourself for it. Focus on what you do now and what you do next. Like, what do you need to participate in the sport events? Focus on packing it. Focus on the way to get there. When there, focus on getting to know some people. What you do now and what you do next. And if, in the end, you still want to leave and you still do not like it, you are always free to leave.

Aside from these hints, I do believe you made great progress. You managed to get some structure, especially measurable when it comes to healthy sleep patterns. You have some nice projects going on, DIY woodworking, which is awesome. You did not mention extreme YT video binging once, which has been one of your issues. So it seems, you got it under control. Also, I feel you are way more honest with yourself lately. You can see your own construction sites and you find ways to figure out why they exist. In sum, you are making nice progress and if you keep doing what you do and keep trusting yourself, you will walk through this phase of your like and grow with every step.

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Day 51-55

Everything that goes up must come down - at some point. Anyways, this week wasn't too great, and the fact I haven't posted regularly probably gives you a hint. It always starts the same way: I'm satisfied from progress and allow myself to say "Hey that stack of notes/dishes/garbage can wait a bit". And then there's another, and another, and another... Until a point, as I described earlier, where my living space becomes so obstructive both physically and psychologically to productivity that the hole just gets exponentially deeper. So yeah, I let myself go with the flow instead of being proactive and it caused me to get nothing done when I got home. Which is a shame, because I was in general quite motivated to get things done (while in class, longing to go home and capitalise on that), yet that spirit always seemed to die when I got home, and especially when I just crash down into the couch. Oh boy.

Your method of asking "Why?" at each level of an issue made me giggle. Three years ago, I was already struggling with similar issues to today. I was sleeping at the home of some friends of my parents, who were kind enough to lend me a bed on my way back from a long trip. Now said friend (used to be a coworker with my father - both are very "corporate minded") was aware of the family and personal issues we had, and pretty much gave me the same advice as you did, except he got it from Toyota's HR obsession with the "5 Whys" model. a.k.a Ask "Why" 5 times to a problem and you'll get to the source of the issue rather than dwelling on symptoms. While this does work in some aspects, it's honestly wishful thinking to believe that it applies everywhere. The whole point is honestly just to get people to be critical and investigate issues deeper. But I digress.

For the home aspect, I can't get to work in an unclean/unorganised environment because I'm a bit of perfectionist. Upfront, I assume that said environment is unfit for work and puts me in a negative state of mind before even getting started. Moreover, and partially as a consequence of this assumption, organising the workplace climbs up the priority list (also because it's an easily doable task which provides perceivable and immediate gratification). 

Just this morning, on a Sunday, it took me about 9 hours to get out of my bedroom. Ended up binging on a youtube playlist, regardless of plugins. Kind of reinforces a policy I'm thinking of taking of just buying a damn alarm clock and ditching having a laptop/phone from my bedroom. So I am still finding ways to procrastinate - I can't keep my guard down. As stated before, I've removed much of the triggers, but there is still much work to be done in behavioural aspects: the next "step" is to train myself to get things done thanks to this more forgiving environment, not relish in it. As my psychologist states - and he's right, basics of the psychology of addiction - if you remove the addictive substance you either have to:

  • Face a painful and often counterproductive withdrawal period.
  • Fill it in with a healthier alternative. In my case, it was youtube, but I'm looking for something else. Sports are tempting but the anxiety I previously mentioned is a hurdle. Moreover, long term goals I want to achieve such as getting a driver's license and other things don't have the same "satisfactory power".

Now I don't want to sound all negative, so I'll take time to reiterate what is going well. I may still procrastinating, but my "sleep deadlines" are standing firm - meaning I get better amounts of sleep. Might need some adjustments, especially regarding screen usage before bedtime: because while my "go to sleep deadline" means I get 8 hours of sleep, it assumes I fall asleep immediately, which isn't the case. Anyways, not to spit on successes, but a big part of why I go to sleep on time is because it's a good excuse to avoid getting things done.

So as I stand here on a Sunday evening, just getting started on the weekend's workload, I can't help but think back to one of your previous posts. You mentioned that other posters had a "guiding principle" or a lifeline of some sort to grapple on to and stay motivated. I think that's what I should be looking for, and while there are obvious ideas sprouting in my mind, it just doesn't seem to be enough.

I'll just sum up here what I've achieved and plan on doing, as a sort of self diagnostic. I plan on making a report on Day 90 on what has worked and what hasn't.


  • Removing Triggers: Cutting gaming from my life, and as a second step, cutting off a great deal of access to youtube, has definitely contributed to reducing my ability to procrastinate for extended periods of time with being lucid. While today's events shows that the system isn't foolproof, my "procrastination episodes" have decreased both in regularity and intensity. After working on my environment, I now have to work on my behaviour within this environment. Slightly more tricky.
  • Organising Sleep: Sleeping at more regular times has contributed somewhat to structuring my day. While quantity and regularity of sleep has improved, the quality of my sleep has not risen as much. I've got to enforce this "wind down time" before going to sleep, avoiding laptops or screens, but this is dependant on my organisation and getting things done earlier in the day. So a bit of a cycle of problems: I end up on screens late which causes unsatisfactory sleep, which causes tiredness and lack of motivation, which leads to late working hours, etc etc etc.... Gotta cut the loop at some point.
  • The "Home" Problem: It's becoming clear that the state of my home is detrimental to my productivity. As you have stated earlier, the first priority when arriving home should be to make it "relaxation worthy" and "work worthy". This also contributes to building the new behaviour I've been talking about: if I manage to regularly set home chores straight when I get home, it'll build the reflex of getting things done earlier instead of later.
  • Alternative Passions: While I've stopped gaming and significantly cut my access to youtube, I'm thinking of cutting youtube out entirely. This is annoyingly complex on safari, and I have proven to myself that I can responsibly use youtube with the plugin. I think I should find a way to instead prioritise other activities rather than finding ways to completely block off youtube.
    I feel like cleaning/reorganising the apartment amongst other things will allow what I do want to see lying around (books, guitar, fitness mat, etc...) to stand out more. Hopefully leading me to use them more. I'm also thinking about ways to make an "activity board" (where I list down all relaxing activities) visible yet unobtrusive. I do have an old whiteboard where I've written commitments and activity ideas, but it's led to embarrassing moments when I unexpectedly had friends over and is now stashed away. Same for a "things I want to achieve in the medium to long term" list.


So that's about it for today. For now, I'll just get up, take a shower, do as much of what I had to do as I can, and keep moving forward. As much as sitting there and feeling sorry for myself is the easiest solution, getting things done is the way forward. Typing this makes me pumped already. I guess I should type these earlier in the day! And this feeling of motivation is the "lifeline" you have mentioned that I wish I had.

I need to find a way to remind myself of what I want to achieve - which I CAN achieve if I just set my mind to it - and get pumped like I am right now.

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I wrote 4 dinA4 pages as a reply but ended up deleting them. I think, what you need right now are clean, direct words and no walls of text. So let's try this:

  1. Try the why system. Do it. Do not find reasons why it will not work. Simply do it. It will not SOLVE your problems. Never intended to do. But, it will SHOW YOU your problems. When you know your problems, you can work on them.
  2. When you use it, not if, discover loops and work on them. For example, you mentioned being a perfectionist. That is why you cannot work in this environment. That is already a loop. "I can't work in here, this is imperfect. I should clean up. But I have higher priorities, like working on stuff. But I can't work in here, this is imperfect. I should clean ..."
    Once you found loops, demystify what keeps this loop going. In this case, you are hiding behind being a perfectionist in order to not clean up. As long as your place is a mess, you can use it as an excuse to not get shit done.
  3. Changing loops is easy in theory but hard to practice. Whenever your mind tells you to take a step to the right, this will be your loops way. Your old habit. In order to change, you need to step out of the loop itself. So, make different approaches. The moment you tell yourself, that you decide to not be a perfectionist for this matter (cleaning up), you enable yourself to step out of the loop. Don't victimize yourself by saying "Well, I am this or that". You are still in charge and not physically incapable of doing the things on your list. Progress is better than perfect. By giving something power, let it be people, habits or attitudes, you decide whether they are masters and you are the servant or whether they are tools you can use.
  4. Get your whys straight. Stop lying to yourself and to the people around you. Did you try the why-system? I can only assume you did not. Because you are an addict. I myself, in your position at your stage, would not have tried it. Because it could change my looping behaviors and once you have an answer to a question you never asked, you are fucked. Because than, you cannot passify yourself anymore. Let me be honest: The moment you opened your journal, you created a persona of a scientist that is looking to solve video game addiction. You did not show us an addict. You are doing the same at your psychologists place. He cannot help you, because you constantly show that you do not need help. You make lists with priorities you have to work on and while you keep hiding behind this "fake progress", he believes you are very capable. Being extremely smart has helped you manipulate people ever since you can think. You know what to say, what to do and how to act in order to make people think you are awesome. But fact is, you need help. Your subconscious mind knows that. That is why you came and stayed here. You need help. That is "why" you are here. Get the rest of your whys straight and your path will be clear to you. Stop lying. And do not criticize me immediately for calling you a liar. I am not shaming or blaming you, but you are an addict like me and you are smart.
  5. Embrace your progress. Do not diminish it. Your sleep pattern changed. Look back into your old journal entries and witness how often you wrote about changing your sleep pattern. You changed it, that is awesome. And yeah, it might partly be a way to avoid getting shit done, but it was important to you. Get your whys straight. "Why did you want to change your sleep pattern" - "To have more energy at the beginning of the day". Goal reached. Yeah, you can't do stuff while you sleep, but that was never your goal.
  6. What your psychologist said about cutting addictive substances may be right, but is lacking the most important part: Once you cut the dust, the demon you are trying to numb will awake. So, instead of finding "healthy", new addictions, you have to be ready to deal with your demon. You are an addict. That happened not because "bad luck" or wrong skin type or whatever. You are an addict, because you need to bury a painful truth inside of you. Since you already have a psychologist, you are blessed. Because he can help you through this process. At least, I hope so because either one of two things is true: 1. He is not good regarding his profession or 2. You are extremely good in creating personas.
    You are an addict. You are hurt and scared. That is why cutting games did result in higher YouTube usage. Compensation. Be ready to face your demons and be honest about them.
  7. You are making progress. Don't forget that. You are making it right now. Right this moment. Be courageous to try new ways and keep on doing what works. A good indicator is always: If it scares you, that is your way. If it hurts, the shortest way out of the pain is right through it.

Keep your head up Corentin. I have a good feeling about you. You will do this, but it won't be easy nor short. And remember, people can help you if you let them.

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Hey Corentin,

it is Robert again. I just thought that sometimes I might come across a little harsh when replying to your journal. I am sorry if you feel pushed by me. I guess, we all gotta learn sometimes. The reason why I keep pushing you is because I see great potential in you and most likely, because I see a part of myself in you. I had many opportunities, but they passed because for me it took a damn long time to figure out why I do the stuff I do. Just know that I really enjoy reading your journal and that I see a lot of progress. I hope that you can see it, too. If I come across too strong, just let me know. We are all in the process together. Just keep up your head up high and continue what works for you. :)


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Day 56

Had a bit of a scare today, woke up at 7:40 am instead of 7 with class at 8. Got there in time, but didn't have time to shower/eat breakfast. Ordered a cheap clock off amazon to kill two birds with one stone: now I get to wake up for sure (it's one of those "It doesn't turn off unless you get your fat ass out of bed" ones) and means I don't keep my phone or laptop in the room anymore, thus avoiding the "wakeup youtube chill" syndrome. Oh and it's one of those fancy sunrise clocks that supposedly wake you up slower and softer than a digital yell.

Had a good day today, good courses in the morning. Threw myself under the shower and had a quick lunch before going back to class. Wanted to go to the library to work, but it was full. I got home and actually managed to get to work after a simple 10 minute break. Cleaning the apartment and setting a schedule - even for homework - does help me commit to work, even at home. So while I underestimated the time it took me to get things done, and it pushed some tasks I was supposed to regularly do out for today, I'm happy I could sit down and get things done at home. It does feel a bit weird and disheartening to have to have most moments of my waking hours mapped out - even friends were surprised by that. But hey if it works... I just have to keep the benefits in mind, and if there's progress, there's no point planning every second of my life.

In regard to your comments, it's not the tone I have trouble with, being direct is painful at times, but effective. It's just that for all the truth I found in what you've said, I feel like disagreeing to some of what you said. Yes, the Why? system is a good way to stay lucid about your own behaviour, and I don't contest that. But I'm just having trouble with your claims that there's something deeper that's the root of my issues. I'll come back to that in a bit. I just feel like that omits natural behaviour:

As I'm typing this tonight, it's 11:20pm and I was supposed to be in bed at 11pm for those glorious 8 hours of sleep, and I'm thinking "Eh, I'll do the dishes tomorrow, I can break the bad behaviour by at least grouping them and rinsing them, so I go to sleep before midnight - which is still acceptable." So hey, I was a bit lazy there, it's not an inner demon at work there.

I will agree however that if there's anything that comes close to being an "inner demon" - a structural fear which has far-reaching and devastating consequences, it's social anxiety. I don't get guitar lessons, avoid group sports, communicate by text rather than voice, or go often to shops. Why? Because I see contact with strangers as a possible danger rather than an opportunity. Why? Because I'm afraid of not appearing "good enough" in many aspects - social skills, physically (get fit like I used to - problem solved for group sports mostly, builds self-confidence for the rest), intellectually. Why? Because I assume most people will judge you and are assholes. Why? I've had mixed to bad experiences with large social groups in high school and summer camps. Anything else? No idea. The trail stops there.

But even social anxiety doesn't explain why I didn't get up from bed on Sunday, it doesn't apply for everything. So what explains that? This is where I have a hard time agreeing with you: my social anxiety definitely fits your idea, but my procrastination problem, not so much. I'll just type and see what I get:

I procrastinate on academic work. Why?  Because I usually find it boring or don't know how to tackle it upfront. Why? Because I don't even do the first step of attempting, depriving me of the taste of what I'm about to do, so there's no way for me to know if I'll enjoy it or find it boring. I also hate handwriting for hours, yet working on a computer means I always get distracted. Why? I either build a mental image of a task that makes me think I can't tackle it, or that doing so will be a pain in the ass. I assume I'm going to hate it. Why?  My bad experiences (boring work, work I didn't do after procrastinating/panicking) overshadow the good ones (realising that even constitutional law can be fun when I get the joy of getting the "Eureka" moment of understanding something). Why?  This is where it gets tricky - am I a pessimistic person by nature? I can't find anything else to explain that. I'll leave it there.

I procrastinate things I'm passionate about (I want to get my license, get fit, play guitar, etc) Why?  Because they always end up low on my priority list compared to academic work, and because more "addicting" activities (netflix, movie, youtube) take over. Why?  1. Because I let my work schedule overflow on my relaxation schedule (which is never truly defined) because of procrastination. 2. Because the activities I want to do are not on the top of my mind when I think about relaxation. Why?  Possibly because they don't trigger the same reward mechanisms (long-term vs short term) and because I don't grant them enough visibility. Why? The trail ends here, unfortunately.

Anyways, I went further with the "Whys" in the second run than I thought I'd go, but the answers still remain unsatisfying. I don't work because I have bad assumptions and/or bad mental shape. I don't relax with things I truly want to do and know I should because they get pushed back by procrastination or other "easier" activities. Another loop. Gotta break it at some point, yes. I guess me getting my sleep schedule worked out and slowly chipping away at my procrastination is the basis to enjoying these other activities.

I guess I thought it worked the other way around, and it probably should, I need to "advertise" these alternative activities more to myself.

That's it for tonight.

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