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Mental AF

30 years, man and boy

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It isn't the quitting that's hard, it's the fallout that comes afterwards that hurts so much.

I quit before some years ago but started again as I wasn't really trying hard enough. I've realised in the face of my relationships and employment that my gaming has grown out of control again.

Some backstory for you: I started working in IT around 1986 and found that I was useful due to the fact that I understood how to fix a PC (or anything connected to it) due to being curious rather than with any trained skill. There were no IT courses that taught you this kind of stuff back then, so I taught myself from books and by experimenting with whatever kit I could get my hands on at work. Then Civilization I was launched. It was 1991 and I would be playing Microsoft's Flight Simulator among other things, but Civilization was infuriatingly addictive. The constantly changing challenges kept me busy for hours at a time when games weren't really even mainstream like today. From that point on it was downhill all the way and I amassed a collection of flight simulation, real-time strategy, first-person shooters and other more esoteric genres over the years.

In 2001 I was put on disability due to depression and anxiety and my gaming reached a peak with the launch of Medal of Honour and Call of Duty. I had literally all day, every day to play games and ran my own servers too. Guildwars beta also featured heavily here with a marathon session one weekend from Friday to Monday evening with a group of other gamers some time around the release of the full game. I had enough kit collected from various high level IT jobs and the Linux knowledge to get the servers working and this continued until around 2005 when I came off disability and started working again. In 2006 I moved in with my girlfriend and by 2010 we were married and I'd ditched most of the gaming. I removed all the games from my computer and sold off the DVDs and CDs. Some of these were expensive games at the time (£80/$110) for some of the simulators. I was clean for about two years.

In 2012 my wife and I moved to Canada and gaming was limited by the possession of only one low grade laptop between the two of us. I had to by a new laptop for work and found that a good deal of the original games I used to play would work on it despite the Intel graphics chipset. This led me to installing a few from my old Steam account and again slowly the addiction crept back into my life.

We divorced in 2015 and I turned 50 the following year. The divorce wasn't due to gaming, but it played a small part. After that I spent my evenings gaming, my nights drinking and my days working a low level part-time job. Things were fine, but the anger from the divorce was overwhelming. Gaming helped to sooth it and the drinking helped me to sleep. I wasn't playing online any more, but I was absorbed by Minecraft and other such open ended titles.

The anger subsided and I met my current girlfriend in 2017. We're very happy, but I couldn't stop the gaming. I stopped drinking and smoking, but the gaming was still causing trouble. I would disappear from the world and play every moment that I wasn't doing something with my partner. Recently we found that I couldn't get things done as I was getting upset when I didn't play games. I went cold turkey and erased everything. It's all gone now, but these days it's only a five minute download away. I've managed to keep away from starting again, but I feel so totally lost when there's spare time. So lost, that my mind turns to the anger I felt before. This time it's worse though, while I wanted to die after the divorce, I find myself imagining hurting my ex-wife as well now. I go to therapy and take anti depressants, but I can't work all the time and I can't face trying to get disability support. I think I might hurt someone in the process.

I want to hear from others that have found anger, suicidal and violent thoughts have come to the front of their minds too. I am struggling to deal with these and it threatens my job, my relationship, my ex and my life. I need to fill the time, but nothing appeals to me, I just end up crying while fighting the urge to die.

 

UPDATE AT NEW YEAR 2020

Everything's going well, the cold turkey has worked so far and the new meds I'm on have reduced my anger considerably. Now I can handle the down feelings as if they are just part of life like everyone else and they don't stop me. Remember that everyone would have a different reaction to different meds and treatments, but it's working so far.

Oddly enough, I find myself learning C# and Unity in order to fill some time. I may end up working on my "ultimate game" instead, but I find it much easier to break away from this than from actually gaming.

Thanks for all the support messages. Yes it is hard and I still have a mountain to climb, but you can be assured that age is no object after all. 

Grow old happily, it's worth every second.

A

Edited by Mental AF
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You are Still brave to quit gaming and seek forgiveness from God. Keep connections with close ones who are eager to help. One important thing is the dynamic effect of actions. Choosing Not to return to the bad things again and again will stabilize mental state.

Couple that with a great activity like boxing. Before yesterday I was standing in front of a punching bag at night, all the other students had finished and went into the changing rooms. 

I remembered all the training from my teens. I ranged the punches to hit the bag perfectly and quickly, tracked the swinging bag and danced lightly on my feet. Suddenly I was there on the ring again, fighting an opponent, the shots started landing with more power, breath was good and tiredness gone. This state was setting in, something great was happening.

If you have a horse stable somewhere in the locality, run there and get your first lesson. We tend to be too much in the clutches of what the society deems “right” .

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My God -- I feel like I have a twin from across the pond. Your story really hit home with me.

We're about the same age. I bought my first PC in 1986, right after I got out of college. Ostensibly it was to learn dBase and Lotus 123 but, really, it was to play games.

I was addicted to Civ2 as well.

My marriage broke up in 2001. Not entirely due to the gaming addiction, but that was a big part. By then I'd gotten early broadband and discovered Ultima Online, which I'd play for hours at night, sometimes getting so upset at losing that I'd yell at the computer, or break a keyboard... gee, I wonder why my wife left me, now that I think about it... ha.

Since then, it's been on-and off with the gaming. Mostly on. I met another wonderful woman, who put some boundaries on my gaming, and that actually worked. She'd come into my basement mancave and literally unhook my PC when I'd been at it too long. Sadly, I lost her to breast cancer in 2011. 

My current GF thinks games are a waste of time. So I've been lying to her about how much I've been playing Call of Duty -- which I deleted a short 24 hours ago and WILL NOT re-install.

Dude, we're both working on 30 years of bad habits here. This is not going to be easy. But I'm gonna read your journal regularly, and ping you when you don't post for a while.

You can do this. The secret, I think, is to channel that energy and focus into something else. We have, I think, addictive personalities. The trick is to get addicted to something that's good for us!

Thanks for sharing.

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Man, you are indeed a warrior, confronting all these emotions like desperation, anger and despondency.

The pitch-black mood you are in may taint your view of the future, but it's only temporary, until you come out on top. Then, when the good fills your life, all this struggle will be worth going through.

Although I'm only 21, there's anger in my story too.
The agonizing realization of how cheap I sold my years of school left me at war with myself. From year ago to the month prior to now I looked at my reflection, wishing that I could punch myself, yell at myself for that idiocy I committed, wished I could erase my life and start anew or give it up alltogether. Self-scorn was my everyday companion

As for suicide, some time ago was the first time in my life when I was prescribed antidepressants due to grim thoughts and suicidal fantasies. Currently the situation is shifting slowly. Slowly, but shifting.

It seems like blinding anger and hollowness of depression is just the second stage of this situation, and it means... that victory and emotional lightness are on this path too!!

Keep up the good work! We're all soldiers now ?

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Same in depression. Have you consider going to church? There is an infinite big void in our heart that only an infinite big being can fill. 

I bet you try a lot of things now to fight with depression. I don’t have much to say but hang on to them, keep going don’t give up. You come a long way bro and well done

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