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Gaming the System 005 - The Link Between Gaming and Depression

TiredOfCompromises

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It's Day 1 of my 90 Day detox,

and for the first time in a while, playing a video game was not the first thing I did after waking up.

Granted, I haven't done anything particularly productive. I watched some YouTube videos instead, and lied down in my bed coping with an intense bout of depression.

But hey, small steps, right?

I am still in the process of finding new activities to do, or rather the drive to do anything at all. My house could use some cleaning, that's for sure. I'll also have to buy groceries eventually as my supplies are slowly running out. I'll get to that, albeit for now I am happy to simply not have succumbed to gaming.

I am currently reading Respawn and going through the action steps. I'm not usually a fan of forums, especially not as a cheesy way to find some understanding people, or to hold me accountable, or whatever. It seems kind of woo woo to me, albeit I know there is enough backup to support the claims that it is helpful. If you're any like me, though, you know the drill -

"Meh, doesn't apply to ME though. So screw that. I know better."

Alas, here I am. I've gotten desperate enough that at this point, I'll take any help I can get. If you have read my introduction, you'll know that I am even seriously considering medication for my depression for the first time ever.

So, yes - Small steps all around. Let's try some new avenues, because clearly nothing else has worked so far.

Plus, being close minded is not a personality trait I find particularly appealing to foster for myself.

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2 hours ago, TiredOfCompromises said:

a cheesy way to find some understanding people, or to hold me accountable, or whatever

I have found that unless you do something terribly stupid, people will give you the benefit of the doubt. Whether you are more of a compassion black hole or more genuine (or a mix of the two), that is up to you to decide and act upon!

I just re-read the first days of my journal. I started out small and stupid, just dodging games. Later out I think I managed to build a nice beginning for my new life out of the time of "dodging games". Do not worry and start small!

 

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So, day 2 it is.

Yesterday, after writing my posts, I went through the steps to effectively delete my Steam account. Changed the associated email, unlinked my phone, used random passwords, deleted the new E-Mail etc.
Even if I wanted to, I would be unable to recover my account now.

When I woke up today (a lot later than I planned to), I actually felt dread at the realization of having deleted my account. This lasted for a minute or two until I reminded myself of why I decided to do so. I want to close this chapter of my life and.. actually start to live my life in the first place.

I didn't get anywhere as much done today as I had planned to (in part because I woke up way too late and couldn't get up sooner), but I managed to do some small tasks. I've felt incredibly low energy all day. It seems to be even less energy than I had while I was gaming, but I suspect it's always been this way. I'm just aware of it now.
I'm taking it easy, though. I do not want to put too much pressure on myself. I am happy that I didn't play any games and I'm happy I'm taking my first steps toward stabilizing my life.

Edited by TiredOfCompromises
forgot to add something
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On 9/7/2019 at 10:14 PM, TiredOfCompromises said:

I'm taking it easy, though. I do not want to put too much pressure on myself. I am happy that I didn't play any games and I'm happy I'm taking my first steps toward stabilizing my life.

Good for you. 😃 Don't push yourself too far and you will succeed in your detox. Happy detoxing! 😉

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Day 4 is over.

It is now 2:30 in the morning here and I can't sleep, yet again. I haven't been able to fix that. Today (well, yesterday) I woke up around 11am but couldn't get out of bed until about 2pm.
On the plus side, I've been meditating these past few days.. Something I had been wanting to incorporate into my life but never committed to. Headspace is great, I'm actually looking forward to the next session instead of dreading the thought that I'll have to endure this again.

I've also exercised a little today. Just like I did on Saturday, though a little more intense. If I can keep this up, I should soon feel less tired and more energized. For now though, still stuck with very low energy. I've fallen asleep from around 6pm to 9pm, so actually sleeping tonight has proven impossible. I'm growing a little tired now, so I think in about 3 hours I will finally be in the land of dreams. Unfortunately, that also means I won't wake up until around 12:30. Oh well.

While my energy has remained very low, the clouds of depression are slowly beginning to dissipate. As always, so long as I remain active and fight my addiction, there is improvement. It has always been this way. For some reason or another, I just always used to succumb to the cravings and play video games.
Right now, my cravings only happen in the mornings when I wake up. I've been dreaming about gaming, even about things that I haven't played (or had any interest in) in years. Nevertheless, the first thought that pops in my mind as I wake up is "I really need to play whatever I just dreamt about." I have not given in to this thought.

As much as my sleep and energy sucks, I can't help but feel good about the future. Just thinking about how I will feel in a week's time is exciting. Maybe I will feel as good as I now think I will, and maybe I won't. Even that is okay. Whichever way I will feel, I'll have made progress towards the life I know I'm meant to live. That is, if I don't succumb to the cravings.
I'm careful about saying I definitely will not, because from experience I know that feeling too safe is a surefire way of falling back into the hole.

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Glad to hear that you're experiencing positive differences already. Going from depression on day 1 to excitement about your future on day 4 is incredible progress already, imo. I also love the fact that you've made a habit out of meditation. It's something that I've always wanted to incorporate into my own life but never had the discipline to do; as such I really admire the commitment you've made into building that positive habit.

The energy levels are something I personally wouldn't worry about at the moment. As long as you don't relapse your pent-up excitement will eventually drive you to get up and do things. In the meantime, I'd recommend just taking it slow and being easy on yourself. Going too fast and trying to do too much at once is a surefire way to burn yourself out and fall right back into the hole.

Keep it up man! Can't wait to see where your journey goes from here!!

Edited by Deku
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10 hours ago, Deku said:

Glad to hear that you're experiencing positive differences already. Going from depression on day 1 to excitement about your future on day 4 is incredible progress already, imo. I also love the fact that you've made a habit out of meditation. It's something that I've always wanted to incorporate into my own life but never had the discipline to do; as such I really admire the commitment you've made into building that positive habit.

The energy levels are something I personally wouldn't worry about at the moment. As long as you don't relapse your pent-up excitement will eventually drive you to get up and do things. In the meantime, I'd recommend just taking it slow and being easy on yourself. Going too fast and trying to do too much at once is a surefire way to burn yourself out and fall right back into the hole.

Keep it up man! Can't wait to see where your journey goes from here!!

Thank you. Well, it's not like my depression is gone or anything. I'm feeling that especially today. Having to confront my thoughts, rather than drowning them out in a sea of video games and instant gratification, has certainly been helpful. It really does feel like a detox, with my mind becoming just a little sharper every day and allowing me to look at things from different angles.

As far as meditation goes, like I mentioned in the post above I can really recommend Headspace. I'm just doing some 5 Minute sessions right now, looking to increase the timer soon.

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Day 5, still going strong.

I wasn't able to sleep yesterday, I think I finally passed out around 10am, and woke up at 4pm today.
Needless to say I wasn't feeling too good about myself, and I'm very worried about what this means for tonight. I need a good sleep schedule, I know as much. I function a lot better when I do, I am more energized to get things done, I'm happier, etc.

Not all is bleak, though. Not by a long shot. Today, I finally tackled that mess of my bedroom. So far, I've only picked up the trash and put stuff away (I couldn't vacuum yet because it's late here and I don't live alone), but I plan to get the rest done tomorrow. The difference that simple act made is immense. I no longer feel sick looking at my room, but rather .. a lot more at peace than before. I know that feeling will become more intense when it's all done. Thankfully after today's efforts, the starting barrier will be much lower.

I've done my first 10 minute meditation with Headspace, and am almost at the halfway point for the free sessions. Despite being broke, I am seriously considering to purchase a subscription. Just these last few days have been a great help.

It may not seem like much, but I'm picking up momentum. Slowly but surely. I wouldn't have been able to do these things if I were still playing games. My room would look even worse now, I would have smoked a LOT more cigarettes than I did and I probably wouldn't have showered in those 5 days at all (whereas right now I'm sitting at a solid 4 showers these past 5 days, which of course also adds to my general sense of wellbeing).

I'm convinced that, as long as I don't play video games, I can achieve anything.

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Day 7 is over, no end in sight.

The past two days have been a massive uphill battle with my sleep. I didn't get to fix it, in fact it only seems to have gotten worse.
Today, I had the chance to fix it - I managed to fall asleep at night for about an hour and a half, and with that energy I wanted to get through the day.
Well, I didn't manage to get out of bed, which was the only thing I had to do to ensure I'd made it. I fell asleep again, multiple times for multiple hours each. Once again I didn't make it out of bed until 5pm.

On the bright side, I managed to go buy groceries, meditate and even clean the remainder of my room (I didn't get to that yesterday at all.)
I'm somewhat tired now as well, hopefully I can leverage that.

Oh, I also haven't smoked at all today. Matter of fact, in about 30 minutes it will have been 24 hours without. I've had to fight off a few minor cravings but nothing too bad yet. I've actually lived through worse gaming cravings. I know the really strong cravings will come, but for now I'm happy to have resisted some.

Honestly, I don't see why I won't make it this time. Quitting video games, quitting smoking, and on top of that starting to build positive habits. I've been working out on Monday and Wednesday, and it's on tomorrow's agenda as well. This feels serious, much more serious than it ever has. So long as I don't start gaming again, I can do it.

 

Edit: Woah, wait a minute! I just realized a few minutes after posting this, that it's already been an entire week without playing video games!!

Time sure flew right past me. Probably in part due to me sleeping throughout most of the day, but.. damn. Can't believe it's already been a week. I'm happy.

Edited by TiredOfCompromises
O_O
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Day 9

There hasn't really been much to talk about. I haven't gamed. I actually haven't smoked either. Yesterday, I struggled with one major smoking craving. It lasted quite a long time, but instead of giving in, or forcing it to go away, I decided to consciously sit with it. Trying to pinpoint where in the body it sat, observing how exactly it felt. That alone gave me a lot of power over it.

Today, I finally managed to wake up at 7 am. Instead of getting out of bed, I was browsing the internet until 11 am. Got out, did my "morning" routine and then fell asleep again from about 1:30 pm to 7 pm. This puts me at roughly two nights worth of sleep in just one day. I'm pretty bummed about this, but there is nothing I can do about it now.
With the help of the stopgaming discord I've narrowed my energy problems down to my diet - I haven't been eating well. Of course I barely have any energy and need a lot of sleep. I can also not forget that I'm in the process of quitting two addictions, so there is a lot going on both mentally and physically.

Yesterday (and today), I've finally picked up my guitar again after a very long break.
I'm very rusty and my finger tips are sore. Just typing this diary entry is painful, but I think it's worth it.
This time, I plan to follow the JustinGuitar course much more closely than I have before - Especially in regards to the practice schedule. Back then, I just picked up the guitar for a few hours and burnt out after a couple days. Now I'm trying to stick to the schedule (daily 15-30 minute sessions). If I really feel like messing around after, I will still do so, but it'll very distinctively NOT be part of my practice routine. Of course, the idea is to practice daily. As with most everything else, consistency is key.

I haven't had to deal with very many gaming cravings at all. When I do have them, it's usually straight after waking up from a gaming related dream. I have a lot of these at the moment. I think the fact that I have essentially deleted my Steam account has been proving really helpful. Probably the best thing I could have done for this quit. There just is no going back on a whim.

Been keeping up with the meditation practice. I feel a lot calmer, more focused. My depressed thoughts have vanished for the most part and are replaced with goal-oriented ones. The first thought after waking up is no longer "I'm a fucking failure." Granted, sometimes that is the second or third thought still, but I can quickly dismiss it as nonsense - which it is.

Edited by TiredOfCompromises
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