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Gaming the System 005 - The Link Between Gaming and Depression

CharlesGP

Journaling my journey. CharlesGP

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Days with out video games: 3

I'm sitting on a train reading some entries and looking at different lives all affected in different ways by gaming or unhealthy behaviors and I identify with a lot in different ways.

The first days I kept getting my phone instinctively as I had been doing to play a game. I sometimes realize what I'm doing and stop before unlocking the phone and realize that the game is not there anymore. I'm not bored, just habit and it's silly that I used to play so much when I had other things to do. "Little breaks" I would call them in my brain. The one thing I've discerned in these last few days was that my producticity has gone up a little but I still feel a pull to get distracted. Yesterday morning I felt despair and negative feelings overall but a good piece of advice given to me by my Dad was to take things one day at a time and focus on the things I have to do. I did that and tried to focus by collaborating with a team member at work. I didn't try to drown or ignore the feelings but I also did not try to let them dominate my actions. By the end of the day I felt better and the pull to get distracted. 

One of the worst things out of my addiction was that I lied to my wife. It's not something easy to recover from but I'm not giving up. One thing that lead me to lie was to not be communicative or keep things in. Once entrapped in the game I started to feel like hiding and that should have been one clear red flag of something wrong. There were dumb things to lie about but did it non the less. Which brings me to reaffirm that if I feel like I have to hide something to my partner then something is not ok with it or myself. These last days I've paid more attention to the things I do and try to recognize the root cause of why I began to have a self destructive behavior when it was not necessary at all.

I've reached my destination on the train. Let's go!

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I was starting to go down a Twitter hole but it occurred to me to come to the forum an read a little. It sparked me to get up and do something else. 

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Days without videogamse: 4

I have some time to write while my computer at work updates. I'm about to start chapter 4 of respawn. Great reading so far. I have to say that I've created some distance with the games I used to play but perhaps not enough. I definitely feel the sunk cost fallacy but I have removed the game that has caused the most problems, the one that caused me to get very addictive, I removed any way to restore it and that's the game where I irresponsibly spent more money than I intended. 

I woke up today feeling depressed and the feeling of wanting to escape responsibilities, work, life, everything out of shame and the fear of the future. I kept myself in check by realizing how great of a life I actually have. How I'm in a spot where the vices and escapes have been a dominant part of my life consciously and unconsciously, so there is a resistance to change. I remind myself of you get what you put in and that I don't want to have the anchors I had before. My wife also helped me with the reminder of a quote she uses, I paraphrase: "do you own things or do they own you?" I own my life, I want to own my life not games or games or pointless distractions.

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Days detoxing: 5

Yesterday was hard.. oh man, not because of jonesing for video games but because I just felt down and depressed. I felt like lost adrift with no purpose. What didn't help was that I was under a tight deadline along with my wife to finish something that required a lot of work and attention. I wanted to vent and talk but we were focused so when I tried, I was also reminded of what needed to be finished. Which is also what helped, by doubling down on the work and pushing for the finish line I was able to get through the day.

A perspective of it is how when your life is not dominated by games or addictive behaviors, you don't think about those and one just does what ever is the task at the moment. Whether it's studying, cooking, building, reading, cleaning, etc. It doesn't matter what the activity is, one is more focused and more productive by not feeling the weight of the addiction. It's always easy to escape but hard work pays off and it's the small wins that keep making a difference.

My son showed me a map he made in a game, he was proud and wanted me to play it. It was sad that I had to respect my detox and that I could not share that moment with him. I had to say no as sweetly and polite as possible. I'm doing this so I can be there for the other times he wants me to interact and play with him. 

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On 8/30/2019 at 10:43 PM, CharlesGP said:

My son showed me a map he made in a game, he was proud and wanted me to play it. It was sad that I had to respect my detox and that I could not share that moment with him. I had to say no as sweetly and polite as possible. I'm doing this so I can be there for the other times he wants me to interact and play with him

It's awesome your doing this journal! While I don't have kids yet this quote is one of my motivators. I want to be able to play games with my kid and show them what I grew up with. But I need to learn my own self control not only for myself; but also to teach my kid not to rush to video games everyday. I want to be able to show my kid that there is more to life than a screen. 

          Parents didn't know about the effects of video games back in the day but now we have the knowledge to make the change and give them a healthy lifestyle that we now have to work hard to break.

          You got this and good luck with your journey! Keep up with the journal when you can it really does help.

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Days detoxing: 1

I went on a small labor day vacation and on Sunday I relapsed by playing an arcade game with my step sons. I played one game of Halo Fireteam Raven. I knew I was on a detox but still decided to play, and I could enumerate the reasons but they are just excuses. I played and for a while I beat myself up about it but later I forgave my self and sucked it up and started up again on the detox. I really haven't wanted to play games, but I need to strengthen my discipline and avoid giving in to those one-off situations. I'm still charging ahead, no journey is easy and specially one that is worth it. The only way this fails is by giving up.

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Days detoxing: 3

I've cut out video games, most superfluous things that reminded me of video games along with other escapist behaviors that I would use throughout the day. Since then I have been through some emotional ups downs and I as I look back I am proud of the beginning of the change. How I was behaving compared to now is a significant difference. The urges and mind escapes have become less frequent and less intense. When I have them I remind myself of where I want to be and not to figuratively be a lazy ass. It doesn't feel like work when you can feel easy step make a difference.

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On 8/31/2019 at 10:43 AM, CharlesGP said:

My son showed me a map he made in a game, he was proud and wanted me to play it. It was sad that I had to respect my detox and that I could not share that moment with him. I had to say no as sweetly and polite as possible. I'm doing this so I can be there for the other times he wants me to interact and play with him.

I also struggle with this as well when I was in my 90-day detox. My sister and my cousin asked if I want to play a game with them. It can be agonising and tempting, but I did say no to them politely and went on with the detox.

It's great that you are doing strong. Keep up with the good work! 🤗

Edited by Lea
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Days detoxing: 5

No huge cravings, I def don't miss the mobile game that really hooked me with microtransactions, but I saw someone ply Sudoku and missed that. A game is a game no matter the type. I also missed the Divison and Destiny. Like I said I have not had a huge craving toward any game but my mind is trying to fill some sort of void. Maybe it's time or boredom but it doesn't matter. I've been traveling and that's a great experience, which goes to show how much games and addictive behaviors take away from your life just by the mental perception. I know what I need to do because I have not had a chance to do the activities I listed and fill that gap.

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Days detoxing: 8

I could do better at journaling daily... I'll make an effort to be more diligent and consistent, even for a small entry.

Sunday I came back from out of town and something shifted, I was remodeling a house in the evening and I got into this groove. I like working with my hands and making things. Right as I was getting started I felt a pull towards a distraction, like when I was before quitting games but like every other time I tried focusing on my tasks and reassured myself that I was doing something productive and worthwhile. We'll the rest of the night I felt like I was in the zone and I hadn't felt like that in a while. My wife was surprised at the energy and focus that I had. We were both running on low sleep from a super early morning that day so it was interesting to have that drive.

The next day I went back to work and felt amazingly good. I was tired and sleep deprived but in excellent moods and I don't really recall having any weird pulls or cravings. Something did shift. It feels like a flat area when you are hoping a hill, just the tiniest of tests but enough to feel what it's like when you are not going up hill. I'm going to see a counselor in a few days and I'm excited to get extra help. Another thing that I remember from yesterday was how confident I felt and I missed that feeling too. 

Today I'd say it was similar to yesterday, it's not over yet but it feels like 90% of the same. I may not have a pull for games but I do experience pull towards other distractions and I'm ok forgiving myself for having those feelings as long as I don't cave, acknowledge them and am honest about it. It's scary being honest for some reason, I guess I feel shame just by having them and gotten to the place where I have pull myself out. Being the optimist that I am, I try to see it like the experience and lessons I have to learn in this stage of my life and I can either run or grow. I'm choosing to grow.

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Days detoxing: 9

9 days is 10% of 90 days. One tenth is much better than nothing, better than staying in a rut, better than not using the time to grow in something significant. I used to run a lot and I would always measure myself in the terms of saying to myself that if I had already accomplished X amount of distance or time then I can do more of the same. Another 9 days, then 18, then 36... It does get easier. In reality, there's so much energy one is spending when you run, in something like detoxing, it's the opposite; you are gaining potential, time and energy for a replacement. It's not without challenges when days are hard, when stress is high and that's when it's important to have a good base. Using the replacement activities help, coming to the support forum, write down and speak out loud the goals of wanting to break these addictive chains.

Things are still good and looking back at the year I realize how much I've accomplished and the light at the end of the tunnel of the last of the big projects is close. I almost feel weird that I will have new things to look forward to. I have to still be careful to not replace one distraction with a other and the only acceptable activy is one that makes things better and helps me grow. So far so good.

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