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awalkingcane

Dear Diary, Stress was in my mind

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Dear Diary,

I sit here eating the most unhealthy food of McDicks and feeling fulfilled. Not in that sort of way that inspires the next generation but the sense where I accomplished something through inaction. By that, I mean I was able to go from a 10  hour workday and simple GET OUT OF THE APARTMENT. The last bit is written in cap because it is the most important part. I have seen the lesson and heard Cam echo something I have heard before. Change your surrounding and change your state. Now this, I believe, is a truly powerful thing. The environment you are in can very much dictate your feelings if you are not careful. Now I am not a verbose version of the late, and very great, Bob Ross but lets paint a picture.

Today I woke up and nothing spectacular happened. I started work at promptly 9am, and not a minute nor second later. Dropping the Sherlock Holmes-ian dialect cause its stupid, I found that most of the day was spend thinking about work and the process needed to solve problems. These problems are not my own but I can solve them and that is my job. Once 4pm hit, I realized that I really wanted to game. I wanted to escape the stress that I was feeling. I wanted to escape my situation. We have all been here before haven't we? 

Of course it is this escapism that is MY particular problem with gaming. It is easy to escape from my stress and in my particular case there is a lot of stress. I wanted so badly to escape. To not pretend or fit the form of my job. So badly I wanted to be someone else and not admit the hard truth. The cold truth that always rears its ugly head at 5pm. The truth that... hold on, another Mcdicks fry please... mmmm. anyway, the hard truth is that sometimes I feel too responsible for other peoples problems. The truth is that i want to succeed and make people proud of me even though they already are. The hard truth is that i can perform perfectly in my job and yet be 100% social anxious in my life despite being so flawless on my self-presentation to clients. 

My thought order when being in a social setting, and definitely in this order, was:

1) Which beer is the best?

2) damn this girl next to me is cute.

3) the dude beside me is into tech/gaming and i can relate.

4) nevermind about that girl, she is a restraining order ready to happen

5) another beer

6) gotta pretend that i am listening and drink beer

7) dude is actually pretty funny and i can relate to their stories

8ish ) Beer o'clock

9) closing time and bartender doesnt charge for beers cause i stayed too long and happens to be friends with the dude I've been talking with

 

Any diary, as you can see, I went to a bar and had a somewhat social evening. As incoherent as that writing was, I think it outlines an important part for myself. In so far as I was so self con.. con.. how do we spell self conscience? Nvm, spellcheck will get it. Anyway Diary, I was self -conscience because I don't feel that i can be authentic with other people. I felt self-conscience because I sat next to someone I felt was attractive. BUT you know what diary, no one really cared except me. In the most weirdly selfish way, tonight was all about me and my feelings rather than the reality that the dude i talked to had a good conversation and the attractive girl didn't even notice me.

 

In the end Diary, I want you to know that this is day 2. That I am getting better and breaking out of my shell. That I wish I could tell everyone else that they have something special inside of them if they would only let it out for a moment. I know its hard to believe after disbelieving for so long. I know that skepticism creeps in from time to time. I know, Diary,  that we have been in a certain habitual cycle for so long. 

I write this for me Diary. I write this so I know that no matter what everything will be ok. That no matter how I feel inside and present outside that most of the bad isn't true and there are good things outside our boundaries. That no matter what, our life does matter and all the things we thought we mistakes were really just hurdles we needed to surpass to prove to ourselves that we had the inner strength to carry-on all along.

Much Love,

Nick.

P.S. You'll make it Diary. 

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Why are you making a new journal each post? I think if you post in one you'll gain some people who are willing to read and help you with your journey. It will be hard to track your progress. 

I don't mean to be rude. I'm just providing some advice to help you be more successful. 

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@awalkingcane.  That's poignant.  😞 

Dude, why didn't you make conversation with the gal beside you?  

Look, 50/50 chance that you'll strike up a good conversation with somebody who's attractive.  If you don't attempt anything, you will never know the outcome.  

And to be honest, you seem to have a really good 'wit'.  That's attractive.  Please don't let those opportunities pass you by.  If you see that girl again, offer to buy her a drink, introduce yourself, and ask, "So, how has your day been?".  

Gosh, I wish guys would do this more often.  Just go up and talk to us girls, like normal people.  

Edited by CornishGameHen

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@awalkingcane I must apologize.  I didn't mean to sound so harsh.  I think I just felt so disappointed for you.  

Rejection is hard to take for anyone, even people who don't cope with social anxiety.  I didn't mean to sound insensitive.  😞  

Can you imagine, though, if we didn't try at least once, to reach out to somebody, we'd die with regret.  That is for sure.  I never forgot the rejection I felt when I admitted I had feelings for someone, but that person didn't reciprocate.  It hurts.  The cliche is that 'life goes on'.  I don't regret what I did because if I didn't do that, I'd never know.  In a way, it was a relief too.  I could learn to let it go, and move on.

Don't let those opportunities pass you by.  

P.S. McD's fries rock.  Addictive and somewhat greasy, but whatever.  And it's great that you stepped outside your apartment to socialize.  🙂  I agree with what Cam said about getting out of our comfort zone.  I understand your thought patterns too.  I also battle social anxiety.  Take care.

Edited by CornishGameHen
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@BooksandTrees ah, you are correct. For some reason i was thinking each post was more like a "page" in a journal and the cumulative effort of my post history would be "my diary". Totally didn't think about it making it harder for the community to help me along the way.

 

@CornishGameHen no worries sounding harsh, I really didn't take your response negatively. It is a good point to bring up about taking chances and just talking to girls, attractive or not, with some normal conversation. 

Overall for last night i just wanted to go out and talk to someone instead of staying in because i would probably game. When i arrived, i sat between one guy on my left and on my right was the girl and her group of friends. In the end, i talked to the guy on my left about tech, hacking, beer and studying abroad. It was a good conversation and that felt more natural to me, in this case, than trying to insert myself into the pre established group. 

 

Much love to this community as we all walk our own paths to not gaming. Hope you all are doing well today!

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You're right.  If you look at the bigger picture, you achieved something that night.

  • Got outside the apartment.  Check.
  • Went to a social atmosphere.  Check.
  • Socialized, engaged in an interesting conversation.  Check.
  • Despite a few negative thoughts, you endured them and continued to socialize.  Check.
  • And most importantly, you did not game.

That's a success, in my humble opinion, and another step gained moving forwards.  🙂  

Edited by CornishGameHen
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Dear Diary,

I went to a hockey game tonight and did not game. Instead I went out and enjoyed a night where something else fulfilled the void. Something else gave me the escape. That something else was real life. There were real people and not screen names. It was one of those things though where I felt alone in a crowd. Where I felt that even though the guy to my left bumped my elbow, probably had too many drinks, and yet he was fifteen feet outside my wall. My wall, the protective barrier that I have emotionally erected to protect myself. That is the weird part of this all. Despite the quick and choppy thoughts, despite the constant negative feelings and despite the urge to escape it all, I feel that this problem is all sourced from me. That I am doing this to myself for protection. 

I was driving home from the hockey game and there was this deep depression. These deep feelings of real life, reality and just in general that I was coming to terms with myself. It was painful and all i wanted to do was go home and repeat a cycle. Repeat where i take everything too seriously. Repeat the, "oh but i tried to go out and it was awful" kind of thing. Instead I broke loose. I did something different. First thing I did was attempt a mental phase change or to change my environment. In this case, driving back from the hockey game that i felt lonely at, I CRANKED THAT MUSIC UP. Music is a great way to change state, for me, I realized. I was belting out those lyrics of every country song I knew. It truly did make me feel better.

After a couple songs and getting closer to home, I dared myself to do something different. It was one of those kind of dares where back in the sixth grade you would have dared someone to do something they already wanted to do but due to early social conventions they wouldn't have done. OK, so maybe I did really want to kiss that girl back then and I am projecting. You caught me diary. Anyway, instead of just going home and commiserating about the evening and the "alone in a massive group of people" feeling, I heard the voice of @CornishGameHen.

I went out to a local bar, and lo and behold there was a lone girl there. I dared myself to stop me. I dared myself to be wrong. I simply started a conversation with her. Did you know you can just talk to people without a reason!? I sure didn't. Everything used to be controlled. Everything used to be planned out perfectly. It never worked. This time, I just started a conversation and kept rolling with it. You know what diary, it actually worked. I made  a new friend tonight and got a number and i don't even know if its one of those attraction things but holy hell it happened. 

Diary, I am not looking to date this girl or even suspect anything like that to happen. if we just end up hanging out and being cool then that is totally fine with me. But i would feel so damn ungrateful if I didn't at least give credit to @CornishGameHen for my previous post and not talking up a girl. It honestly propelled me to go out of my comfort zone, and in this case, it worked. I  at least made a new friend and it was totally worth it. 

None of this was done with gaming. In fact, after the hockey game, I would have preferred to go back and talk to my internet friends and just relapse into my habit. To relapse into a world where pain doesn't exist if I don't want it to. Instead I took one step further out than I normally would. Instead of just doing the going out thing I also went out to a local bar. It was safe enough where I could just go and have a good time and it was open enough to provide an opportunity to be more open. 

It is hard though. There were thoughts where I could just sit quietly and be myself. There were thoughts were one drink and I could leave and that would be success cause at least I "tried". Look Diary, I don't need to tell you that everything that happened tonight be a fluke. That this new friend might not pan out and yadda yaddya yaddya <insert another negative thought here> could happen. The only thing I will tell you, Diary, is that I gave myself a chance to make new friends. I gave myself a chance to be out there. I can sure as hell tell you that no one ever walked into my house to be my friend when I was gaming. 

@CornishGameHen thank you so much for your response previously. I know you apologized for how harsh it seemed but truly it was something I needed to hear because even tonight trying to make a new female friend I feared rejection less because I remembered what you had said. It made me feel less afraid of rejection and more excited to simply make a new friend and have no fear of "oh she thinks I am hitting on her". It was a strong dose of social medicine but I thank you so much for it.

Dear Diary, I love this community and even though pain comes from this journey, I know this pain will lead somewhere. It will lead to a better me and to more happiness. I only hope that I am able to help others and reflect the same necessary truths so that others may find their path more beneficial. We all experience the pain and for so long I have hoped to find a place like this where the pain and responsibility of life would be equally accepted. 

Another small shoutout to @BooksandTrees. I took the time to read your posts and the stark honesty of them has served as an immense inspiration to someone like me who has just begun their journey. Your growth and self inspection is nothing short of exceptional and I wish you the best fortune and winds to continue your journey. 

I have nothing but love for you all and Dear Diary, today i felt extremely grateful for the people in my life. 

Much love and peace,

Nick

 

 

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Dear Diary,

Today is a day of rest. I cant even bring myself to type this out from my actual computer. No, today doesn't suck, it is a day of rest. Texted a girl from this weekend to see if she wanted to grab lunch. No response. Guess she is busy. It feels like thats for the best. After two nights out i feel exhausted.

Its weird to have gone out this weekend and now be this tired. Before quitting gaming, the weeknd would have just been me gaming all day and not feeling tired since gaming isnt that strenuous. But even though my body is tired, mentally i feel so much better. This day of rest feels good. 

Although the day of rest comes with that sneaky desire to game. The, "oh im resting and not doing anything anyway.. what harm could it do" type of thought crossed my mind but found no friendly harbor in it. Today is a day of rest, soccer and football with a couch that will have a familiar butt impression in it after today.

One thing that has been tough is the commercials on tv. The outer worlds is coming out soon and that was a game i had been waiting for for so long. Its hard to see it and not want to play because it represents everything that i looked for in gaming. I've thought about getting it to just play by myself since me playing solo doesnt result in long gaming sessions, but i figured that would be similar to an alcoholic drinking alone so they dont have to worry about driving.

Anyway, Diary, today is a day of rest. A day of tea and blankets and naps. It is a matter of learning to rest rather than learning to quit. Soon the work week will be here and life continues on until it doesnt.  

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Dear Diary, 

Today feels like a rock bottom sort of day emotionally. After riding the high of the weekend, the monday blues have come in. It feels like no matter where i go today that i will still feel lonely. Alone, alone in a crowd; it just doesnt make a difference.

This is the type of feeling that ive tried to escape for so long. It traces back to when i was a kid. Im an only child and both of my parents worked so there wasnt much opportunity to go visit friends since they lived a distance away and my parents wouldnt necessarily be able to pick me up. Sometimes i did go to friends house, but more often than not i went to my grandparents.

Going to my grandparents was fun and we did fun things but i cant help but feel that it didnt necessarily help me make friends my age. Once i got into high school, i was so busy with sports that i never really had time to just "hang out". Sure, i had friends and we did sports together but i always felt like an outsider at lunch time because i could float between so many groups of people. The relationships, for the most part, were never that deep.

Fast forward to college; all my friends were gamers and thats what we bonded over. At that time we would be in the same room and party/game. I would made a few friends from class, but again the relationships didnt feel as deep as the ones of the gaming group.

Now its been a while and we have all made life choices. I moved to a new city and gaming online with that old group of friends kept me going socially. My job requires frequent travel and i just never really got out to make new friends in the new city. It was hard and just gaming with my old deep relationship friends was easy.

But Diary, here i am now. Not connecting with the old friends nor being able to find new ones. It truly feels like i have zero friends to call on and in many ways that is actually the hard truth. Ive always heard, "just go out and find some new friends" or "get a hobby and meet people". Thanks, im cured. Not.

The tough thing is that i prefer hobbies that i can do myself, since i used to do them all the time as an only kid. Things like reading, meditation, gardening, tea etc. And some of these things could be social, but i dont want them to be. I have this weird internal struggle about it. 

I went out last weekend with some mixed results and i dont expect anything immediate to come of it but today is one of those days where it is tough to ignore the pings of slight depression at not having a better social network in place. 

Today i have been working for 8hrs at home and the inertia of that plus not immediately having an activity to do after work usually finds me at home all day without talking to another person. 

 

Its truly at times like these where doing things feels pointless. My mind just wants the escape, the endless stimulation to avoid the cold hard truth of how lonely i feel.

 

Dear Diary, today i will remain strong if for no other reason than to spite addiction.

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Dear Diary,

A light came on today. I was feeling a bit down and muted, partially due to all this rain, and i was scrolling through other diaries for something to do. I was reading through @BrassWolf's diary and came over something they had linked to the great porn experiment. Seriously, google it or go check it out. Id link it if my less than graceful thumbs could manage it in mobile. 

Anyway, i was watching the video when it came out of nowhere. All of my problems, issues and tendencies were displayed on the screen. The hypothesis was that porn usage led to these things and the video even goes on to mention video games as having a similar addictive structure to them that would also perhaps lead to negative things like ADHD, OCD, social anxiety,etc and so forth.

As i continued to watch, the video kept explaining my behavior almost perfectly. The disenchantment or numb feelings, the constant search of another hit of dopamine, the escalation in types of porn watched. It all played out before me and then all the lights went on.

When ive had girlfriends in my life and things have been good, i cant really remember ever watching porn or even playing video games. Now when things were not so good, the other things would creep in. Then things would get  bad and porn and video games would take over. In a way, it was almost self preservation against the bad things happening. In both cases, those activities were done as an escape. Video games to escape life, and porn to escape the feelings of rejection/loneliness.

Coming upon a week of not gaming and about four unintentional days of nofap, i cant help but think of these things in a new light now. In a much harsher and destructive light as they relate to how i use them in my life. I feel that part of it is my fault for choosing to use them, because i did, but also its not all my fault. Games, and even porn, now a days is so much different than it used to be. Both are more engaging and going into that place of "being produced with the intention to be addicting". 

 

Whether or not it is my fault for these activities and the associated consequences, it is now my responsibility to take care of myself. After reading some of the stories here, the journey doesn't seem to be an easy one, but it does seem to be a worthwhile one. 

Dear Diary, today i found a light to guide me in the right direction.

 

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Dear Diary,

I know you arent a week old yet but i have been off gaming for a week today. It really wasnt that hard because i kept myself so distracted and out of the house. The first week has really never been that hard for me. No urges, frustrations or relapse type thoughts. No desperately clawing back the accounts i tried to delete or jumping in the garbage bin to recover a xbox. The first week has always been manageable.

After the distractions stop, the people are done filtering out of the bar, the work is done and it is not week one anymore; that is when i struggle not to game. In those boring moments of life, and we know there are no boring moments in games anymore, i struggle. Usually its around the two week mark or even a month and i feel "cured" and eventually go back to try gaming and the cycle repeats. 

Now Diary, you and i both know i wasn't cured. The only thing i succeeded at was distracting myself for a month. I hadn't really solved the internal problems, i hadn't really grown as a person. All i really had done was go on vacation. 

This time around I am trying something a little more different. Trying to not necessarily break the cycle but just nudge it suggestively more in the direction of the life i want. Each degree nudged is a victory because when the cycle shifts, i wont be back at square one.

Yesterday, i gave my best friend from college, who i gamed with after moving away, my steam account. I cant recover against him because he will know and for all intents and purposes, it is now gone. In a weird way, this is more secure than trying to delete steam, even with the fake email strategy, as i have recovered those before they were deleted both times. The month mark is truly my first hurdle.

So there you have it Diary, i am trying. I have noticed that in just the short week of time that, overall, i have felt happier despite feeling a now spectrum of emotions. I feel more optimistic about life in general. "Closing the chapter" of my life that included gaming has given me this weird sense of closure that i didnt previously have. My mindset has switched from "x is bad" to "what opportunity does x present" or " what is x really trying to tell me".  

I feel as though struggle is coming but also alongside that is happiness, love, joy, sadness, triumph etc. The world is a much more open feeling place now that i have left the small cell of my gaming room. 

 

Who knew the locks to that cell were all on the inside the whole time?

 

Edited by awalkingcane

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Dear Diary,

Life feels like that moment where the rollercoaster stops at the top. The part where inner quiet takes hold and even your breath cant escape the next inevitable moment. That moment where modern machinery has learned to give us an unnatural experience of equal parts fear and exhilaration. It is in this very moment where the adrenaline hits and acceptance settles in. Finally, as quickly as it all set in, the moment is gone. Im gone. The roller coaster continues without regards to my wants, taking its death defying loops, ups and downs; all in the name of fun.

Diary, life is a lot like that right now. I feel as though it is flying by and i am holding on. It is scary, it is fun and thinking about the last week is just a blur. There have been some ups and downs, but it has all lead up to this point. The casual stop on top before it all continues. All small serene moment before chaos resumes. 

This weekend i am taking a personal trip and getting out of the house. It should be incredible and all consuming. Surely as fast as is arriving, i am sure the trip will be over and it will be Monday once again. Of course after that is just another continuation as bigger and bigger things are on the way at work. 

So here i sit, between the past of a few small ups and downs and the future of this insanely fun trip. It is in this very moment of reflecting on this recent week and the upcoming week that i wonder how i ever found so much time to devote to gaming.

On that same track, i have started losing myself into the moment. In the same way that my focus ramped up to complete raids, quests and clutch double kills, so too now my focus is entirely in work, eating/going out, planning little trips. It is in each of these moments cumulatively put together that I have found a new life. Before where life seemed fast because all the moments were similar, if i did one raid i might as well have done them all, now the moments are more unique yet fleeting. 

It has gotten to the point where the loneliness has started to vanish or quiet down. Instead of dreading, hating and despising it, the loneliness is just another part of life. It isn't good or bad, just another low in the roller coaster before another high. Sometimes a corkscrew or a loop, but even those add intrigue despite the fear that might be present during them.

 

Diary, the brakes just gave out.

 

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Dear Diary,

I thought about this first line a lot. There are things i wanted to write, things i wanted to say but in the end there just wasnt words for them. 

This weekend was one of celebration but also one of closing a chapter. Much like closing the chapter of my life that involved gaming, this chapter was closed because i have progressed far enough in my work life to close it. Tomorrow will be the first day of the next level.

It feels like my emotions used to be one of science experiments on liquid densities. Each emotion was clearly defined and because each had its own emotional density, none of them mixed. Now, facing life full on, it feels like i took those clearly defined liquids and shook them up. Everything is running together and emotions pop up where they arent expected. Internal conflict now arises and falls as a result.

Diary, i just had another internal conflict. A glitch in the system. Even now I am lying to you since you cant read what i just deleted. I felt selfish writing it. It felt a small humble brag and i didnt want that to be my online reality. I cant explain why i am so censored tonight but it many ways it feels like another shade of an online persona. It feels, in a small way, like when i was gaming. 

The anonymity of online is so necessary because fear keeps us from being fully ourselves. Its even tempting to cleanse away our flaws online because people cant fact check it. No one can even see how incorrectly i am spelling because auto correct is a crutch that has become ingrained in my typing.

It these feelings i am trying to get away from now. These feelings of corrected action or not being me in favor of another persona, another mask. Gaming was never about the game. It was always about me. Always about being something i wasnt. And even now, i dont feel like me. These are just words behind another, albeit familiar, screenname. 

 

Dear diary, in a world that is more connected, corrected and convienent (fxck it i cant spell that word and i hope everyone knows it) than ever, i crave authenticity. 

 

Peace and love to everyone, and do sincerely mean that, this next chapter is the one for facing the hardest boss of them all.

 

Myself.

 

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