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NEW VIDEO: I Quit MMOs and THIS Happened

Quit Gaming and started having mental issues


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My name is Andy. I am 47 years old.

I have gamed for many years.  One day 5 years ago I quit cold turkey because I was unhappy with where my life was going. Two months later, I started having panic attacks, anxiety attacks and periods of disassociation. I struggled with depression. I had trouble sleeping, I lost 40 lbs from not eating enough. With months of exercise, meditation and dedication, along with an excellent support system from my direct family I overcame these issues.

The problem was, I didn't make the connection it was quitting the games that caused my problems. A year later I started playing games again. It consumed me.  I was playing at work, I was neglecting my family, playing about 9 hours a day.  I felt like I had to play instead of I wanted  to. Yet I continued to play for years until 10 months ago. I woke up, realized I had a problem and quit cold turkey.

Two months later, the panic attacks started. The anxiety roared back to life. This time, it was a lot more intense.  And it brought worse issues. I started having suicidal ideation. I did not want to commit suicide.  I had no desire to die. But I was plagued by mental images of me hurting myself that would just pop into my head, which would cause panic attacks, which would cause anxiety and the thoughts would get stuck in my head, just whirling around over and over again. Then there was the hypersexuality. I started to have equally intense sexual fantasies that were very much like the suicidal ideation in that I did not want to commit any of these acts, but they would just barge into my consciousness and torture me over and over.

Now I understand this was brought on by my intense addiction to games and, apparently dopamine. The fact this happened 2 times, and both times after I quit gaming, is proof enough for me.

It has been 8 months since this all started. The ideation has luckily become greatly reduced. The panic attacks have mostly faded. The disassociation (lack of feeling like I am connected to what is happening in my life, like I am watching myself live it) still bothers me, but it does come and go. The anxiety can lessen, but it is still a constant companion.

I came here because I need to keep trying to overcome, and I was hoping I could find people who have had something similar happen to them. It wasn't just a craving to play games. I had a mental collapse and I am still trying to build myself back up. Or hopefully I can be a warning for people that don't realize the effect that games can have on your mental health.

Thank you for reading all this.  I will be around.

Edited by Andy
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You have not missed the mark. I can't thank you enough for your thoughtful, well-written and welcome response. It is very comforting to me to know others are having similar issues. I will most certainly do some research into OCD.  It has been pointed out to me in the past that I might have issues with it, but I have mostly ignored that idea until now. I have been using CBT, which I have found starts to work better the more I use it. The eye-movement therapy is also something I stumbled across in my many google searches trying to make sense of what was happening to me, and I have found it surprisingly calming at times. Your comment of anxiety-induced nausea really strikes home. I spent months with a churning stomach at every intrusive thought that forced its way into my head.  It still flares up, but it has lessened.

When I first quit games I found nothing stimulating. The first time I had this issue, it tool almost a year to relax and almost another 6 months for the effects to go away entirely. "I would rather suffer at the cruel hands of sobriety than succumb to the falsity that is gaming", as you have so eloquently put it, is something I also strongly identify with and I have been using it for strength to get through the harder times.  Now, months later, I have started to find some of the hobbies I enjoyed before gaming to be enjoyable again.  Music and writing in particular. Reaching out to friends that I had pretty much ignored during my time lost in gaming has also helped, if that is an option.

Thank you again.  My thoughts are with you.  I know this can be beaten because I did it once before. If one person can beat it, so can another.

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