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Captain_Pilz's daily journal.


Captain_Pilz

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Day 20:

Today, I woke up and went to the window of my dorm room. To the left, I caught an involuntary glimpse at someone playing a video game at 7:00 in the morning. The fact that I used to do the same thing a few weeks ago makes me somber.

Most of my day was pretty productive. In the morning I blocked time periods for important tasks. I remember trying this in the past and being frustrated but now I realize that it doesn't matter if I don't execute my plan fully. One tasks took much longer than I thought it would and towards the evening I was left with little energy.  That's fine. Tomorrow, I will do the same and try my best again.

 

In hope,

David

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Day 21:

My morning was absolutely horrible. Woke up late, got lost in trains of thought, masturbation and then I watched about an hour of YouTube. I just jumped from video to video attempting to find some peace, since I have been agitated for the last two days. At some point, I noticed that videos were not going to do that. There was too much guilt.

After about an hour of fighting with myself, I packed up my stuff and went out side. I ate lunch and sat down in the library to read a difficult scientific paper that is the basis for the project I am working on. Afterwards, I went home to finish my system for daily planning. Ever since I left school, my days had no schedule at all, which took a toll on my ability to get things done. The fact that Cam advertised scheduling as a way to deal with a lack of direction in your day, convinced me to try it myself. I also cooked again and practiced some drums (sadly still on the pad). 

On a side note, I noticed that being disciplined is incredibly exhausting when you are basically starting from scratch. I have to be patient and trust the process.

 

In hope,

David

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Day 22:

I am content with today. In the morning, I attended an online lecture. Later, I read a textbook passage that kind of f***ed with my concentration - I hate the way psychology textbooks are written. However, I made some progress in the book I am currently reading on the side.

When I got home, I sneaked in half an hour of drumming practice but on my kit this time. I am currently working on Elvin Jones' Solo on Monk's Dream that my teacher gave me. It's horribly challenging, even if you play it at half the tempo!😅 After that, I went to rehearsal. Was a good evening.

 

Cheers,

David

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On 10/19/2022 at 3:32 AM, Captain_Pilz said:

Day 21:

My morning was absolutely horrible. Woke up late, got lost in trains of thought, masturbation and then I watched about an hour of YouTube. I just jumped from video to video attempting to find some peace, since I have been agitated for the last two days. At some point, I noticed that videos were not going to do that. There was too much guilt.

After about an hour of fighting with myself, I packed up my stuff and went out side. I ate lunch and sat down in the library to read a difficult scientific paper that is the basis for the project I am working on. Afterwards, I went home to finish my system for daily planning. Ever since I left school, my days had no schedule at all, which took a toll on my ability to get things done. The fact that Cam advertised scheduling as a way to deal with a lack of direction in your day, convinced me to try it myself. I also cooked again and practiced some drums (sadly still on the pad). 

On a side note, I noticed that being disciplined is incredibly exhausting when you are basically starting from scratch. I have to be patient and trust the process.

 

In hope,

David

This kind of morning/ day is common for me too! Don't get discouraged! And yeag, scheduling helps!

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Day 23:

Today was quite stressful again. A bunch of issues have occured on the project I am working on at our deparment and for a short while it looked like it would take double the time. Over the last few days, any long-term plans I made for this experiment (which I will write my thesis on next summer) were obliterated faster than I made them - but there is finally light at the end of the tunnel.

After I got back from work, I didn't really do anything. I left most of my stuff in my car this morning and I didn't feel like walking through a storm. 

Right now, I don't necessarily feel positive about myself, my day or my progress. Kind of numb. But I know cognitively that a lot of things are going right.

On a positive note, I am somewhat excited for tomorrow. I guess when you spend a bunch of time doing repetitive tasks in a laboratory environment, your mind suddenly likes lectures. It's a strange world but I appreciate it. 

 

Keep going,

David

 

Edited by Captain_Pilz
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Day 26:

I didn't right in the last few days. In short, I travelled around a bunch. I was on a birthday party and had rehearsal. Everything was a little chaotic and at times I had a hard time motivation myself to do things. But I am fine.

Tomorrow, I will get a few important things done in the morning and have some classes in the afternoon.

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Day 27:

I spend most of today procrastinating. Hence, I feel very guilty right now. At these moments, living a structured live seems like a distant fantasy. At least, I took part in my classes at university (most of which do not have mandatory attendance), so I have done the minimum.

The last few days have shown me, how important structure actually is. I remember trying out scheduling for the first time a couple of months ago and quitting after 4-5 days. At the time, I thought: "Well, I am not able to follow these plans perfectly. That must mean it doesn't work." How ignorant I was. Obviously, an improvement (even if imperfect) is an improvement. The one thing that all these chaotic days when I got little done had in common, was me not scheduling. Also, on all of these days, I went to bed late the day before.

While we're at it....😴

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Day 28:

I am kind of proud of what I accomplished today. I actually planned out my day from 8:00am to 6:00pm and stuck to it, with the exception of a few minutes here and there. Let me try to do the whole thing again tomorrow.

 

Also, I would like to share some insecurities of mine. 

First of all, I have struggled with addictive behaviors for all my life. Video games and the Internet are the biggest offenders but I also remember being properly addicted to trading card games in primary school. I do realize that mental illness is fundamentally understood by most people. At the same time, I feel like there is much more of a stigma associated with addictive disorders than there is for most other mental illness, barring to the blatantly misunderstood ones like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and borderline. I think this is due to the general misconception that addicted people have chosen to be addicted to their substance or behavior of choice. Due to this, I feel ashamed of not having my life together and I am always scared that the world finds out. 

I speak too much. I like talking. Then again, I always feel like I am taking over conversations because I am genuinely never out of ideas. My mind is like the freakin' Niagara Falls. People have reassured me that this is not an issue, and that I generally communicate interesting ideas. Still, I can't help feeling like a total dick once I notice that I am taking over the situation. The fact that I am shit at asking questions also doesn't help - or some people just don't like to talk. I respect that, but me being me, I don't understand it. 

On top of that, I am not the best at expressing my ideas verbally. When I am writing, I have no issues being lucid. Then I start talking, and I'm just incoherent, ungrammatical and constantly at a loss of words. You listen to one of my voice messages and there are more Uhms than f***ing words! I don't get why talking clearly is so hard for me. I am not stupid or anything. As a result, I am often self-conscious in social situations. 

Edited by Captain_Pilz
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Day 29:

Today was fine. I woke up with a cold (luckily not Covid) and had to call in sick. I found time for some tasks in the periphery. For example we had to do a beta-test for a new software. Right now, I am fine. It didn't get worse and I hope I am back on my feet again by tomorrow. I have a few obligations this weekend.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Day 0:

Remember me writing, that I got a cold? I was unable to participate in many real life activities for a week. I missed a gig and multiple lectures. Even though, lectures are uploaded online after the fact, I didn't watch them. So I got behind again.....

Slowly started watching YouTube again, at some point bought a video game and binged the shit out of it. I don't remember how long it lasted, it must have been 4-5 days. Since then, I have been dealing with the fallout of my slip. I get really anxious, seeing the mountain of work that I have to do to catch up. Anytime, I meet some of my friends and they ask me how things are going, I feel terribly ashamed. Right now, I am just dealing with a crap-ton of negative emotion and feel horrible about myself. The amount of stuff that you have to do to be a functioning person in society is just horrendous. Everyone else's lives look so effortless and I feel like I will never be normal. I am so f***ing angry with myself.

I know that some of that is inaccurate but this is genuinely how I FEEL right now. Honestly, just need to vent.

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Day 2:

I have made great progress in the month that I was not playing video games or consuming YouTube. For the first time in my life, I am confident that a gaming free life is what I am after. The month sufficed to rediscover a bunch of things that are very important to me. For the most part those are science and music. I also feel like an active social life is much more important to me than I think. Spending a day with my grandpa and going to a festival with my dad were two of the most beautiful moments of the last few weeks.

I do not feel ashamed of myself as often, as intensely or as long as I used to. This used to be a huge burden.

Furthermore, I discovered a few habits that actually work. The only reason, I don't reap their whole benefits is because I am inconsistent. The two I want to highlight most are scheduling my day and posting on this forum.

 

As for the challenge....

I will stray away from the typical 90 days goal for now and set myself a challenge for the rest of the year. 

  1. No video games or video game related content on the Internet.
  2. Write in this journal every day.
  3. Schedule my day on Google Calendar first thing in the morning. Be realistic.

 

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  • 11 months later...

Day 0:

Here we go again...

It is relieving to see that this community is still going strong. It has been a year, since I posted in this journal and I am planning to breathe new life into it. The last time I posted, I was in undergrad. In July, I graduated and moved to the neighboring country to study cognitive neuroscience in a very good research program. I was fortunate to make some amazing experiences this last year - but video game addiction compromised many of them. 

Since I started my master's in September, I have fallen more in love with my field than ever. I have met many amazing like-minded people. However, I've never run away from real life as I have in the last two months. Turns out that getting a research degree from a top school is hard, duh. Everybody here is struggling in some way ore another. As a result I went on multiple insane gaming binches, which made me feel awful about myself. Apart from my studies, I have also neglected my hobbies (jazz-drumming), my relationships and self-care. 

In late October, I failed the first exam that I have ever failed in my life. This was not a very difficult assessment, I was extremely unprepared. At first I thought that this would motivate me to do better. Yet, I have played 60 hours of games in the last two weeks. That is at least a half-time job, if not more. 

When I relapse, I am typically in denial: "No, I don't actually have a video game problem. It must be something else. I am running away from these things because I am anxious. Video games are not the problem."  All the while, I am literally unable to put down these games to get something to eat. Video games are a maladaptive coping mechanism that makes the problem even worse.  I have ignored this for a year. What has changed?

 

I have to choose! In the past, I could usually get away with my behavior. I could play a ton of video games and still function somehow. Now, I am starting to realize, this is no longer possible. I have found a demanding, yet satisfying career path that I find meaningful. Not only that: I am literally in the perfect environment to make this happen. Regardless of what happens, I know that the long-term outcome of my behavior is determined.

Either I continue to play video games and loose everything I care about in the process, or I give them up and gain everything in return.

 

Edited by Captain_Pilz
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Thanks for the support. Prompted by your message, I started reading a couple of other journals. It is interesting to see how everyone set their journal up in a slightly different way. Because of this I have thought about the way, I would like to handle this journal. 

Firstly, I am getting rid of the counter. On previous occasions, I was doing a 90-day detox, unsure whether I still wanted to return to gaming. Not this time. Secondly, I will not treat this as a daily journal or a status update. I use other methods as my daily driver. Rather, I will treat my entries here more like short essays that serve as deeper reflections on the things I am going through. At any given moment, I just have too much going through my head to digest it all. I hope that this allows me to be more focused in my journals. 

First essay coming soon.:10_wink: 

Edited by Captain_Pilz
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Preoccupation:

You only realize how much video games affect you, once you stop playing them.

Even though I quit only a few days ago, I realize how many of my thoughts and behaviors were not normal. For me the biggest difference is the preoccupation that I used to experience towards video games. Any time I was not playing, I was carefully planning what I would do next when I got the opportunity. As a result, I was barely able to focus on anything other than video games. Sitting down to study, practicing the drums, attending university or social events, even the most basic activities like cooking, showering, brushing my teeth and doing laundry were a nightmare. It felt like a rubberband was wrapped around my waist, pulling me back to my gaming pc - the higher the tension, the greater the anxiety. Everthing was a tedious chore that was distracting me from the good things in life. I never dared think this way but I sure felt so.

Now, I have realized that my gaming habit was what distracted me from the good things in life. I look back on this week and for the first time in months, I feel proud of myself. My curiosity has been revived. I can stay focused while studying now and I have learned more in the last week than I have in the month before. We had a lecture from one of the biggest names in our field today and I was prepared, asked questions and received amazing answers. This wouldn't have been possible, if I was still playing.

I can commit time to socializing now because I am not protecting my time for gaming. Yesterday, I invested most of my afternoon and evening to go to a rehearsal because I wanted to play with these people. Unfortunately, I got a little bit of damage on my car in the parking garage (no other cars damaged). My father proposed that we visit a friend of his, who is a mechanic, to repair it together over Christmas. In the past, my entire being would have rebelled against such a plan on the inside. This time, I just said: "Yeah, let's do that. Thanks for helping." This wouldn't have been possible if I was still playing. 

I had a couple of mild cravings from time to time, in situations where I would usually play. But I said no. This week has strengthened my resolve to quit. Future self, you should consider this a reminder.

 

A question to everyone reading this:

How has your preoccupation with video games developed as you quit?

Edited by Captain_Pilz
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Welcome back. Take this slow and just be a great friend to yourself. You've got this. Keep searching for what gaming is bringing you that isn't being brought to you from your work, schooling, friends, family, love, etc. 

It's hard to find but once you find it you'll feel like it's obvious. It just clicks. Keep fighting for yourself. 

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On 11/17/2023 at 1:26 PM, Captain_Pilz said:

How has your preoccupation with video games developed as you quit?

For me this was YouTube, not video games, but I think the same principle applies. I found the preoccupation to be strongest within the first two weeks of quitting. However, as I sought ways to fill the gap, I thought about it less and less. Now, I barely think about it at all. I think those first two weeks are crucial in finding other things to do. Building momentum early helps sustain you later.

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I had a relapse yesterday. I played for 5-6 hours in the evening, then deinstalled everything. I don't necessarily feel bad about the relapse itself but for the events that led up to it. 

Basically, there is a larger deadline at the end of this week and my blatant perfectionism causes me significant anxiety. I have this very irrational fear that I will sit down to work on something and then realize that I am completely screwed. Because of this, I procrastinate a lot on starting this work and will basically use anything possible to procrastinate. On Sunday, I started watching some gaming related videos, which then led to me reinstalling a frickin' 100GB game, not because I really wanted to play it but because I didn't want to face my fear. 

I hope that I can get out of this mindset tomorrow. Throughout the days, I really need to reflect on this reocurring pattern. 

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14 hours ago, Captain_Pilz said:

Basically, there is a larger deadline at the end of this week and my blatant perfectionism causes me significant anxiety. I have this very irrational fear that I will sit down to work on something and then realize that I am completely screwed.

I have this same thing happen to me. Often, you need something to kickstart the momentum. I find that one of the most helpful things (which I got from David Allen's GTD) is to ask myself, what is the smallest next physical action I can take to move this forward? If it's a giant paper or program to be written, there is usually some small step to take like, "Open my notebook to where I left off and review compiled notes." Or something like that. Just the small physical act can be enough to build momentum for the larger project. Even if you end up doing just the one action, you are now one step closer.

It's hard to overcome the perfectionism but we hold ourselves to such a high standard; many people are impressed with less. I'm sure what you come up with will be more than enough for those on the receiving end.

Edited by FDRx7
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Thanks for your kind words! 

Even though the issue didn't just disappear, I managed to pull off the two deadlines for this week. The presentation went very well and I submitted the essay assignment having answered everything apart from one question. Still played some video games but it is what it is. I have stopped beating myself up over things like this. It's just not healthy. Clearly, my problems go beyond just gaming addiction, as I seem to have some deeply rooted fears I never addressed.

 

What I would like to do though, is to state my experiences over the last two weeks. They stand in stark contrast to the wins I achieved in the week before.

I inflated the assignments that I had coming up so much in my head that I became very overwhelmed and anxious. This caused me to avoid said assignments at all cost. With each new day, I picked a new thing to procrastinate: first it was other work, then it was listening to music, then it was movies and finally it became video games. I sabotaged myself into thinking that I need to focus on my assignments, so I skipped all my other classes just to procrastinate. I completely neglected my well being by going to bed way to late, eating infrequently and like crap and letting my room deteriorate. Over time this completely sapped my energy levels. Toward the end of this week, I had to cancel my social events because I was so far behind. One of them was a concert, played by some friends of mine, that I had been looking forward to for a f***ing year. I also sacrificed my hobbies again, not practicing drums or cooking for two entire weeks. Finally, working on the assignments was miserable because I was just focussed on finishing at all cost, as opposed to working carefully and making good, well founded arguments. I could have learned so much more by doing them! 
Overall, I honestly hated the experience. I had to sacrifice so much that I care about, all for the luxury of avoidance and wasting my time. 

Edited by Captain_Pilz
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