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mattso

I am not who I want to be.

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Hi there, my name is Matt, I'm 18. I've been around for a bit and I think it's time to stop lurking and join this community.

I've been gaming "seriously" since I was around 13. I only have vague memories of how it looked like until fairly recently, so I don't want to go too much into detail about my middle school days. I would play a lot, but I think it was still somewhat controllable, mostly thanks to my mom. When I was 15, i ended a close friendship and I started to isolate myself more, and games were my main thing to do- other interests started falling over. However, I know for sure that things got out of control at the age of 16 when I went to highschool in a different city. I didn't know anyone at all, except one close friend who went to a different class in the same school. I had no friends from previous years, except for that one guy, and essentially I would spend most of my days surrounded by people whom I didn't know- extremely stressful for me, because I was never a type of person to just walk up to someone and befriend them. Later another factor came in- as opposed to previous years, suddenly I was having problems with learning. It used to be that I would be exceptionally good at whatever I had to learn, with my greatest pride being math. This left me with a very fixed mindset, which I am fighting to this day. In high school, I didn't just breeze through everything- I had trouble understanding math and programming. And instead of being encouraged to learn more and improve- I got put off. I simply wanted to forget about my ego being hurt. And that's when anxiety became my main drive for gaming. No negative thought could slip through, and it required no effort at all- what more could I wish for? When I started to talk to people more and they were asking about my interests- I suddenly realised that I couldn't say anything but "games". And I was ashamed of it. It got even more interesting when we had to give a short talk about our interests in front of the class- I made something up, because I didn't want to say "I like games and that's all." So I gamed to forget about the shame, but it was making me feel ashamed, so then I'd game more to forget it- a truly self-driven mechanism. All of a sudden I'd spend all of my free time gaming- even when not actually playing, I'd watch streams, YT videos, browse reddit or just think of what will be the next thing I do when I get online. I was neglecting school- I'd only do a bare minimum, sometimes not even that. I felt no need to self-improve, since I was achieving my gaming goals, and they were enough. My ability to focus was awful, most days I was feeling tired, but not really the kind of tired sleep would fix- just no desire to do anything at all. I blamed it on lack of sleep, but I had no will to improve it. School takes away too much time, I thought, when in reality I'd spend hours browsing internet before going to sleep. I was feeling depressed more and more often, until one day I realised that it's hurting me, so I resorted to something that seemed harmless- games. During all that time a thought to stop gaming didn't even seem real- "why would I do it? What would I do instead?" At one point I wanted to start lucid dreaming so that at least I could be happy in my dreams. Guess what, I'd dream of games, if at all. Later I decided to start tracking how much time I spend on games- turned out to be up to 13 hours a day at weekends, but I stopped doing that, because I didn't see any use for it. A question of "Am I an addict?" started to appear in my head more and more often, but I'd answer with "I might just be", and then I would keep playing.

Moving onto more recent events, I broke my leg in January, right before winter holiday. I'd sit at home and play around 10 hours every single day- to a point where my hands and ass would hurt, but not enough to stop me. During that time time became irrelevant to me- I couldn't tell a difference between playing for 2 and 4 hours. I'd only take breaks to eat, go to toilet, or spend time on my phone watching others play. One day, I finished all my goals in a particular season of my "main" game, and I was left with nothing to do there for a next month, until a new season comes out. For the first time in many months I felt... bored. Next day, an incredible coincidence happened. Remember that one close friend I mentioned at the beginning? He was, outside of my family, the only one who was truly aware of my attitude towards gaming. In the evening, he sent me a link to this very website. It was the best moment to do it- I was bored, and I couldn't satiate my hunger for playing that one game, since I was done with a season. I didn't tell him about my boredom right before that, turns out he just sent it to me randomly. I clicked, and a page about the 90 day detox came up. I read it, and these words shocked me:

I bet you relate to the following experience:

 Life just doesn’t satisfy you like gaming does.

 Everything else is boring anyways, especially compared to the fun you have gaming.

 And if you were going to quit, you just don’t really have the motivation to.

I found that to be true on every level. I thought "This must be it. I see what I have to do now." An idea about spending a weekend without anything related to games or any social media came to my mind, and I immediately picked it up. And that's how I started my, so far, 12 day long detox. I am doing it because:

1. I want to be able to feel happiness again.

2. I don't want to spend my entire life just consuming content.

3. I want to be able to create and give, not only take.

 Now that I think about it I might start posting a daily journal here. I've been making my own writings on paper since day 1 every single day, but posting some things here might be more helpful for my recovery. Thank you for reading.

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