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Shelly88

Shelly’s Journal, branching out for a new beginning

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I figured it was a good time to start a journal here to keep track of my progress.  It has been three days since I stopped gaming.  I had made my original introductory post here on the forum in early December but quickly fell back into gaming as a form of escapism when some health issues arose with my daughter.  

It was so easy to fall back into the old habit.  But since I had made the first attempt to stop in December, something was different when I went back to it.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I shouldn’t be gaming.  I struggled with it, and when I played there was no enjoyment.  Rather I felt more frustrated and depressed after playing.  Late at night fighting insomnia/anxiety, I would read this forum and imagined each of your struggles and successes through all the posts.  Your stories helped me gain my strength and willpower back.  For those of you that write on this forum and share your personal struggles and successes, I thank you.  There are probably many others like myself who read and gain help just by knowing we are not alone.

Combating the boredom has been one of the biggest hurdles in trying to overcome gaming.  I didn’t realize how many hours I wasted on it each and every day until I stopped.  Reading the other members’ posts about how they schedule their days and what they are grateful for has given me good ideas on things to do as well as how much I take for granted every day and how much I have to be thankful for.  

I am not going to lie, every day is a struggle and I hope this eases with time.  It takes mindfulness not to just sit down, turn on the pc and lose hours to mind-numbing playing.   Since quitting, I have had loads more time to devote to my art, writing, and I also took up learning the keyboard after finding some amazon gift cards collecting dust after thoroughly cleaning the bedroom (yay for free money!).  This is the first time ever that I have tried to learn a musical instrument, and the new challenge has been fun.  I miss the social aspect of gaming, so I might need to look into something like volunteering once things calm down here at home enough so I can get out and be around people since my hobbies tend to be on the solitary side.  

I still need to find a way to better cope with my anxiety.  Life is all about ups, downs, changes, and if I let every bump in the road nudge me back into gaming, I can’t grow as a person.  I don’t want to look back on my life and know the majority of my free time was spent on looking at pixels, sitting in front of a screen, escaping life because I didn’t know how to deal with it.  I want to know that I have done something productive, something that I can be proud of, something significant.  I want to make a difference.  I don’t know how yet, but I know I will make no difference to anyone or anything  playing a video game.  

So with all that said,  I am hoping that journaling here will make me accountable and be able to stick through this, and find a way to living a more meaningful life.  

Thank you all for being here, I am so thankful to have found this forum.

 

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Hey Shelly, good luck with your process. I am sure you will crush your addiction into pieces 🙂 What kind of anxiety are you trying to cope with? I like that you are already looking out for other meaningful things to do. That is the way to go 🙂 There is one line in there that I really liked especially: "I want to make a difference." In a certain way, I have the same desire right now. It can be quite powerful, so powerful that you at some point will have no desire to waste your time with meaningful gaming anymore.

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Hi Alexanderle, thank you for taking the time to read and respond, that means a lot. My anxiety can either be tied to specific things like medical appointments-phobia thing with needles/blood, dealing with my daughters mental health and physical health issues, dealing with my cat’s cancer, etc. and other times it is more generalized probably due to a strive for perfectionism, which leads to feelings of inadequacy when I make mistakes/errors or just general feelings of not knowing what to do when things are beyond my control. I guess those things can all be tied together now looking at it.  

When my brain became cluttered with anxiety and the endless loop of feeling out of control/not knowing what to do, gaming gave to something to concentrate on and I could be somebody different (ie strong, confident monster/demon slayer —arpg’s were my downfall).  However, looking back I can see that killing a monster in a game does not make my real life problems go away/get better, nor does it make me any more stronger or confident in real life. 

Since you commented on the making a difference thing, have you yet found something that you feel makes a difference or are you still searching? 

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Better use @ in the future otherwise I might miss is ^^
The questions now is, how much these anxieties are more than normal. I am also afraid of mistakes, sickness of beloved ones, social things or phobia related things. I think we all have it to some degree. To get my shit together, those are the two most important things: Becoming the best version of myself and trying to help others become their best version. Regarding myself, I already found ways to beat overweight, procrastination (even though right now being sick makes it a bit harder), and a couple of other things. Let me tell you something: We can't control everything. If we could, life would be boring. But there is one thing we can do: Slowly expanding our comfort zone. Everyday a little bit better. Right now I am just working on smiling more in public. When this is mastered, I make the next step. Social anxiety will be destroyed by me. I won't allow any anxieties to hold me down any longer. Life is too short. Like I like to say: If you are standing between my goals and me, I advise you to step aside. 😉

I want to make a difference, by pulling as many people with me as possible. Away from bullshit food, away from meaningless gaming, away from drugs and bad habits, away from porn and an anxiety driven life. I am studying psychology, so I think I am starting to get the required scientific background to do so. 

Those to things combined are so powerful that gaming is completely dead. I have no desire whatsover. I am not a gamer anymore. I can sense the same abilities in you as well, based on the way, how you write. It is not this classic stuff like "day 14, my desire is unbearable, I have strong straving to game..." whatever. It is more like "How can I turn this new energy into something meaningful". That is, how it is done. 🙂 

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Welcome to the forums. You're in the right place. It has helped me quit gaming and I've been game free for 67 weeks straight now. There are others with great successes here way past my time as well. Be honest and be kind to yourself along the way and just be proud of yourself for taking this step.

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@Alexanderle, thank you.  I am kind of new to using forums, so those things like using @ are good to know.  I really like how you approach things, and I really liked your comment of “Social anxiety will be destroyed by me.”  I can relate to that feeling and want to get to that point as well!  Psychology is such an awesome field to study, I have a background in social work and psychology was my absolute most favorite subject.  Continued good luck on your psych studies, I think that it is a great fit for you! 


and thank you @BooksandTrees, you are another one whose posts have inspired me.  You have given a lot of great advice and support throughout this forum, just like Alexanderle and so many others.  I look forward to getting to know you all a bit better through your journaling and learning from you.  Hopefully I can make it to a point to be able to help others as well.

 

journal entry for today:

I would like this to be a positive entry but it is not because I played for two hours this evening.  I had five days not playing, which was good,  but I wish I hadn’t given in.  Today, rather than feeling anxiety, I felt depressed.  I tried to stay out of the house for the majority of the day cause I felt the temptation being there, and it was strong.  I just felt so sad tonight and wanted to not feel sad.  It feels like I am at the edge of some metaphorical cliff, and standing at the edge not doing anything doesn’t feel good but diving down into a vat expanse of the unknown feels scary.  

I am going to concentrate on those five days I went game-free, rather than my two hours of weakness tonight.  I don’t want to give up on myself, and think I need to realize I will most like relapse again, and I will need to pick myself up and keep going.  I think the important thing is to keep going back to making improvements and staying game free as much as possible! and making those stretches of game free time longer and longer, until there are no more relapses.  


I have been trying to figure out why I even played.  I *knew* it wasn’t going to make me feel better.  Nothing else I tried today made me feel better either and I guess I felt desperate and wanted to cling to that one thing that used to give some relief.  On some level, I think I have been feeling really alone, and wanted to see old gaming buddies which I did, but it didn’t make me feel better or less alone.  This is all a huge learning process, and it is freaking hard.  The initial excitement of trying to learn the piano keyboard and throwing myself back into art has worn off, so I am guess all the dopamine issues I have read about here have probably affected me, and I really need to get my brain back into a good working order.  My sleeping is so messed up right now too.  
 

I can’t leave the day on a negative note though.  So here are some things that I am grateful for: I am grateful to have this forum, to have seen the sun today, and spending time making salsa with my daughter. 
 

-looking forward to a better tomorrow.  

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1 hour ago, Shelly88 said:

I would like this to be a positive entry but it is not because I played for two hours this evening.  I had five days not playing, which was good,  but I wish I hadn’t given in.  Today, rather than feeling anxiety, I felt depressed.  I tried to stay out of the house for the majority of the day cause I felt the temptation being there, and it was strong.  I just felt so sad tonight and wanted to not feel sad.  It feels like I am at the edge of some metaphorical cliff, and standing at the edge not doing anything doesn’t feel good but diving down into a vat expanse of the unknown feels scary.  

I am going to concentrate on those five days I went game-free, rather than my two hours of weakness tonight.  I don’t want to give up on myself, and think I need to realize I will most like relapse again, and I will need to pick myself up and keep going.  I think the important thing is to keep going back to making improvements and staying game free as much as possible! and making those stretches of game free time longer and longer, until there are no more relapses.  

I have been trying to figure out why I even played.  I *knew* it wasn’t going to make me feel better.  Nothing else I tried today made me feel better either and I guess I felt desperate and wanted to cling to that one thing that used to give some relief.  On some level, I think I have been feeling really alone, and wanted to see old gaming buddies which I did, but it didn’t make me feel better or less alone.  This is all a huge learning process, and it is freaking hard.  The initial excitement of trying to learn the piano keyboard and throwing myself back into art has worn off, so I am guess all the dopamine issues I have read about here have probably affected me, and I really need to get my brain back into a good working order.  My sleeping is so messed up right now too.  
I can’t leave the day on a negative note though.  So here are some things that I am grateful for: I am grateful to have this forum, to have seen the sun today, and spending time making salsa with my daughter. 

I think you hit the nail on the head with the loneliness and anxiety due to built up pressure and expectations. Self improvement is difficult because it requires you to be vigilant about how you spend your day. Humans are like white blood cells in many ways. They always want to improve things and cut the fat out of things. It's why we keep inventing new creations in life and move forward. We try to find new solutions, better efficiency, and more results.

That concept is something we all do to ourselves once we open the door to self improvement. That pressure can build anxiety and frustration and can sometimes lead us to an inability to relax and be happy. That's why the most common bit of advice shared on this website is being kind to yourself and being easy on yourself and temper expectations a bit.

The other point about loneliness and seeing your friends is chemical in a way. Your body and mind remember the joy you felt while playing games. They remember the camaraderie you shared with your friends, the importance you felt, and the sense of community that came with it. Those are gone now. Whether you like it or not you've detached from your video game friends and you'll drift apart feverishly over the next few months if you decide to continue quitting video games.

These people are not your friends. I view online/video game friends as drunks at a bar for an alcoholic. They have their problems in life and escape them by getting drunk at the bar. Sure, the bar is fun and you can play darts and pool, talk to people, listen to music, etc. But drinking heavily to hide problems is bad for you. Ask yourself how video games are different? Your friends go online to hide from life and play a multiple amount of games, listen to music, escape from life, talk to friends, etc. 

The moment you leave gaming they'll coerce you to play again. Even your mind will coerce you into playing even though you don't want to do it. So the first few relapses are often mental memory imprints calling you back because it's still a crutch. The fact that you knew that seeing your online friends and playing games wasn't going to fix you prior to playing them tonight already proves you are ready to move on from gaming. You are now reflecting on how you felt during the games and it's like you hit rock bottom in your own mind. You might beat yourself up for "failing".

Over time your online friends will forget about you. If you want to be amused, watch how fast they forget about you. I was a clan leader of over 200 people for 3 years. They spoke to me every day. Less than 1 month after quitting video games they all stopped talking to me. I ran a discord and was famous on the game. None of them say hi to me or ask about me. I'm a thing of the past that fast. Even on other games where I'm still on YouTube, none of them ever ask me how I'm doing. They're not real friends. They'll turn away from you because they feel offended you quit. Because they know they're making mistakes playing games for their whole life and continue to hide from it. You quitting games and moving on reminds them of their failures and regrets. They'll shun you for it. Nobody on this website is still friends with their gamer friends. If they are, they've relapsed already or continue to relapse. 

Take this feeling tonight and hold it in high regard. You already know video games weren't right and you played them. You proved your point. There's no more "what ifs?" for you until your next test. These are all little tests and you have to replace your queues over time that drag you into gaming. When you encounter stress, happiness, loneliness, and more feelings, your body will have a hidden queue that says "go play games" to get a dopamine rush or hide. That's when you need to replace the habit.

I was able to quit gaming by making new friends, finding hobbies, sticking up for myself, loving myself, and finding things that gave me worth. I also enjoy not feeling a mental pull towards gaming that I could not control. I am free now.

I encourage you to read my post in the celebration forum on how I was able to quit and stay away from games for almost 500 days now.

Be proud and be determined. You can be let down by yourself only if you allow yourself to overcome that and move forward. Don't hold onto it and drag yourself down further. Your new streak started already. 

Edited by BooksandTrees

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