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Gaming the System 005 - The Link Between Gaming and Depression

NixAvernal

A Detox Journey

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DAY 1 OF DETOX

Nix - an old term for nothing.

That was the name of my most common gaming handle that I picked when I was 15. At that time, I thought it was a fun thing to do. But now, 6 years later, gaming has taken over my life and I realised that I need to change something big.

I thought of detoxing 3 months ago actually, after I failed my grades for the second time in my university life. But guess I got cold feet. Told myself "Doesn't matter if you play just a bit, you can pick up mediation and do volunteering work." But yesterday my crows came home to roost. I failed two of my required courses and barely managed to pass a third. 

Had a falling out with my entire family and friends, said that I can't be trusted anymore. Honestly I can't trust myself either. So, I decided to bite the bullet and stop my gaming habits for real.

Here's what I'm hoping to do.

Stop playing games on my laptop - Self-explanatory, but I noticed that I play games during lectures and tutorials. I really need to fix this problem.

Stop going on Reddit, Discord, YouTube, etc - This I feel is about as bad as playing games for me. I get easily obsessed with games and then spend hours upon hours just watching videos or discussions online. I need to stop this as much as possible.

Stop playing games on my phone - Personally this'll be harder than ones on my laptop since one game I sunk $500+ into. I haven't deleted that game yet because I hate thinking of throwing 2 years of work and that much cash away. I just hope I can not touch it and be okay.

My hopes for this detox:

Getting Better Grades - I used to do very well in school until gaming took over. I hope to capture my old spark back.

Be social - I've always been a recluse in real life. I hope to get something like a circle of friends that I can trust.

Do well for my family - I've finally realised how much that my family gave up for me. I really want to pay them back for the goodwill that I honestly don't deserve.

I know that it's going to be tough. Even today, my hand started typing in Reddit the second I opened a new tab. But for my best, I hope I do well.

Status

Gaming - 1 day

Game-related Social - 1 day

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DAY 2 OF DETOX

Rather early update as of now, but I need to get this off my chest.

Mornings suck. I'm someone who always always wakes up at 4 am no matter when I sleep. Sleep at 10? Wake up at 4? Sleep at 1? 4 am, my brain is kicking the rest of me awake. 

And the cravings. One day and already my body is trying to go back to its old habit. I stayed up for 2 hours tossing and turning in my bed, trying NOT to reach out and grab my phone to check Discord/Reddit.

At the end though, I opened Game Quitters and just listened to Cam taking about some topic and my cravings subsided. 

Went on my daily walk, without headphones. It's actually kinda... calming how walking without background music is. 

Probably will update again at the end of the day. 

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Midday update, after an argument with my mother when I asked her about going to an escape room that one of my clubs is scheduling.

She's really mad with me for failing my courses and is more or less yelling at me to put fixing my marks over everything else. And I mean everything else, even trying to get over my gaming addiction. 

I really want to learn extra hobbies to try and drive me away from turning to gaming as an outlet but she won't allow it, cos she's worried that I'd become addicted to that instead of gaming. But last time, we went through the same exact argument and that led me to playing games during lectures - I play games to escape all the pressure that I have on me to succeed. 

She thinks I have an addictive personality, that no matter what I do, I'll become addicted to something other than studying. I don't think I have one, but now I'm stuck in a dead end. She won't let me do anything else but study, while I want to find something other than study else I might get a relapse due to stress and anxiety over schoolwork. 

Any help guys?

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Thanks for the blog recommendation @Natalie. Was a fun and insightful read.

A weird thing happened this afternoon. I was going out for some errands and then I realised something.

It was the first time that my mind was blank. Like no thoughts blank. 

It felt... weird. Like there was a heavy void in my head. 

No afternoon cravings, but still typing in gaming websites out of habit whenever I open a new type. That's annoying.

Status

Gaming - 2 day

Game-related Social - 2 day

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I heard that you need some advice to fill up your time other than studying and gaming. Maybe have a walk outside for 10 to 20 minutes (it does not have to be everyday, but 3-4 times a week is good), hang out (and study if all of you want to) with friends once a week or fortnight, or have a lunch / dinner with your family once in a while. I know I could have think of something more, but these are all that comes up in mind when you said your mother claims that you have an addictive personality.

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Day 3

Went out again. The empty void is still there, but no longer as heavy anymore. It's starting to feel... nice? To be quiet now.

I've decided to pickup audiobooks now, currently listening to The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

Status

Gaming - 3 day

Game-related Social - 3 day

 

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Day 4

Woke up to a dream about gaming. First time ever that I dreamt about games. Morning cravings are much better now though.

Went to a couple of counsellors to deal with my potential depression. We had an agreement that cutting video games will help, so I'm getting somewhere.

My relation with my mother is not though. She wants me to do a full cut from everything online - forums (this one included), YouTube (includes things like TED talks, computer programming vids), audiobooks etc. 

I know she wants the best for me, but all this talk and micromanaging of my life makes me worried that I might snap from the pressure and relapse.

---

Status

Gaming - 4 days

Game-related Social - 4 days

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Day 5-Day 6 Morning

Writing this on day 6, as I spent last night studying.

Had a very weird dream based on Battle Royale games. I never even played one, but that just goes to show how much I spent watching them on YouTube I guess.

Yesterday was okay all around. Signed up to a gym - finally. Went around my school's orientation week, briefly talked to some people around. Spent some time self-reflecting and trying to find my will to study. 

This morning was a lot less pretty. Woke up at 4 am and couldn't sleep. Ended up twisting and turning in my bed for an hour before I fell unconscious again. Then, during my walk, my cravings to watch YouTube intensified to the point I was about to hit a video, but I turned it off immediately. It was a close call but that kinda made me feel down still.

Tomorrow, I'll gather my thoughts and write down what 1 week without gaming has brought me. 

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DAY 7

Seven days without playing a game. Honestly, 7 days ago I probably wouldn't have thought it possible to not play for more than 3 days. But here I am. 

Things in my life that have changed:

- The "brain haze" that I had is starting to dissapate. Somedays it's still there but I can start thinking clearly again without going to autopilot.
- Not binge eating as much. Now that I can think, I actually now think before I got to my local Maccas for a snack.
- Motivation to study has improved. 
- Boredom is now just a loose feeling than a crushing one.

Things that need improvement:

- I still spend way too much time browsing fanfiction online when I'm bored. 
- My mind still likes to wander when I study.

It's an improvement but there's still work.

Tomorrow, I'll try to slowly reintroduce Discord into my life. I'll delete all of the gaming-related channels and just stick with the ones used by my school clubs. I'm still committed to the full 90 day detox though.

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15 hours ago, NixAvernal said:

Things that need improvement:

- I still spend way too much time browsing fanfiction online when I'm bored. 
- My mind still likes to wander when I study.

It's an improvement but there's still work.

Me too except that was about a similar issue I have faced when I was in college early on.

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