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Morrigan's Logs


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Hello. Here I'll go by Morrigan, and I'm a video games addict. This is my first entry, where I share my theirstory.

I wish it wasn't this way. There are many things I love about video games -- interactive stories can be beautiful. I love writing about and thinking about video games as a cultural phenomenon. While I haven't owned a Nintendo console since Game Boy Advance, the Pokemon and Legend of Zelda still have great personal importance on me.

But I cannot have a healthy relationship with video games. Or at least, I cannot have a healthy relationship with video games right now.

Free Flash Video Games of terrible quality once filled a dark space in my life. I'd play anything, no matter how inane, as a simple means to numb the pain of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. From 15-21 I was in an an ugly, abusive relationship that didn't get off my back until I threatened to get the police involved. My therapist said I had the symptoms when I was 18, when I started college and didn't finish because of the darkness of my PTSD, which was further compounded by the isolation and shame of crashing and burning out of college. The memories and emotions would play on loop, even more difficult to get out of my head due to ADHD's limited working memory, and I'd use video games to numb the pain.  When I tried to stop playing I would do the thousand-yard stare. 

With medication, a move to Germany, and a very-immersive job I had less need for my coping mechanism... until I started college up again. It wasn't just video games, but always distraction, as I'd get into loops of PTSD and ADHD where I found it difficult to do my work. I realized that if I did not get help I would be unable to finish college while working without my PTSD flaring up like a bad rash. Six years after the ugly events of trauma ended, I found Cognitive Behavioral Therapists who would lift me out of the cycle. 

For the first time in my life, I could stop when I wanted to, and be as productive as I wanted to be. I got my Bachelor's, did a job I loved, but was ready to start a new career.

But when I left my old job, newly married, preparing for a big move to Berlin and dealing with all the stress of moving, the lack of structure from work and the outside pressure of my school's deadlines, I fell back into video games. It was, partly, a way to connect to my wife, who suffers from debilitating depression. But it didn't stay connective for long. It was, once more, a way to escape from my problems. We made it to Berlin, but COVID-19 struck. And I still have no structure in my life. I would spend hours gaming, playing free games and the small fare I got from Humble Bundles and Steam to escape from my problems.  I'd quit one game and start another. Where in the beginning of the crisis I was confronting my trauma as it awoke again, spent time making art and learning German and pondering the future I wanted, there I was, throwing six weeks into Stardew Valley I'm never getting back.

I'm sad for the stories I'm missing. I am unable to justify the initial price for the beautiful, cinematic video games and immersive worlds I played when I was younger. The music, the paraphernalia, the effect on my internal mythos and visualzations -- all of that still plays a happy role in my life. If I had steady income and external structure in my life I might once more have the self-discipline to set my schedule and have timed gaming sessions with the cinematic, immersive stories video games have to offer...but that isn't the case right now.

Enough is enough. Today, I uninstalled the video games from my devices. And as life starts to open up again in Germany, I can finally sign up for an integration course, apply to jobs, be the freelancer I want to be, embrace my life as an immigrant in a country I've come to love.

As you say, life unlocked.

P.S. Pronouns are they/them/theirs

Ending Notes:

Today, I'm grateful I had the strength to uninstall those games. I'm grateful a lingering illness from the weekend is improving -- it's great to eat properly again. I'm grateful for my wife. I'm grateful that I obtained my integration course entitlement papers. 

My goal for tomorrow is to call schools about integration courses, take a walk outside, support my wife, learn more about ADHD, add to my bullet journal, read more of the Count of Monte Cristo, and do something fun or enriching in my notebook.

I visualize myself listening to new music and the satisfaction of doing the work that paves the way to actualization.

Edited by Morrigan
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Welcome to the forums! I hope you find this community helpful in your recovery. You did a great job outlining your history, triggers, and goals here. Take your time on this journey. This is now your quest for peace, being patient with yourself, and lots of learning. Feel free to reach out for support with many of us and read along with us as well.

Good luck.

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Morrigan's Log, Day 2.

Was very tired today, and less sick. Got the urge to game once, read about a mod that I don't intend to play and felt a bit sad, but I let it go. I got some things in motion: gathered documents for my integration course and made an appointment tomorrow for a consultation before realizing that I was missing a piece of the paperwork. Wrote the people involved, will call them tomorrow.

One thing I really love about these journals is that I'm journaling again at all. I wrote a long expository bit, but decided to file it away privately. Not quite ready to be known like that here, though that might change eventually.

Despite being exhausted from being up so late the dawn peaked in last night (my biorhythms are generally messed up from lack of exercise. I'm skinny af from not eating enough, but I've lost a lot of muscle tone too. Exercise and sunlight trigger my hunger response in a bigger way.), I felt good today. Felt clarity. I read a lot of a different book, Half Broke Horses, a true-live novel of a woman rancher who lived in the era of the Great Depression. She's a fascinating woman, the novel cobbled together from whatever details her granddaughter, Jeanette Walls, was able to piece together from family. I like having a mixed palette of reading. Even while gaming far too much I was reading quite a few articles, but I fall off the book wagon. I've got three books on my plate right now: two novels, Half Broke Horses and The Count of Monte Cristo, and Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. The last one is a sort of applied philosophy that I'm really excited to read. Play is a joy in life, but one doesn't need a video game to bring that playful approach to life.

I am especially grateful for one thing today: the spark of life in my wife. She was so energetic today, so full of ideas. I told her I was quitting games for this period of my life, and I could not have imagined how potent the impact on her would be. Fool I was, I bought her Stardew Valley in its infinite loop, but despite being sucked in since I bought her the damn thing she didn't play at all today, instead was focused on a real life project of renovating the kitchen for the apartment-owner we're renting from, who we're friends with. Our landlady is excited about J taking this on and J is so handy and clever, it's fun to hear her out as she thinks out loud how to do this. We spent some time together doing chores, talking about the communities we want to connect with, projects to do. It feels like we're a team, and I love being on team M & J, J & M.

I am also grateful that I had yesterday's goals to reread today. It helped give me life into today, even though I didn't get to everything I thought to try.

Despite my exhaustion, today was a good day. I feel more grounded. More purposeful. I think I'll head to bed soon, probably storming my way through the last half of my true-life novel until my eyes get droopy. I've read 110 pages from last night to today.

Some goals for tomorrow:

Take a walk, do something creative, replace the ink cartridge in my printer, call the Jobcenter to get my missing paperwork, either attend my consultation re: integration course or schedule a new one if I can't grab my missing paperwork, do ten minutes of stretching, and do ten push-ups. Feels quite doable.

A soft goal is to look up some of my interests in the search bar here and see what journals I'd best be reading. Another soft goal is to see if I can do something kind for someone tomorrow. Lots of opportunities have been coming up lately.


The Morrigan

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Morrigan's Log, Day 3.

Hey Game Quitters!

Decided to do this log in my mid-afternoon instead of late at night.

Last night I did a fair amount of introspection about what I want this thread to be, whether more log or more journal, and what I want my relationship to this community to be.

Part of this came from some uncomfortable things that rose up from the search bar when I searched for my interests on this site. It is well-documented that gaming is a pathway into "the alt-right pipeline." (E.g.  Xanderhal "it started when I was a gamer" on how he fell down the alt-right pipeline, and a study on how the alt-right pipeline contributes to violent extremism. Alt-Right is not Alright.) I'm not surprised some people down that path are here: this has been part of the ugly side of the gamer community long before Gamer Gate.

Luckily it doesn't seem super prominent here, even though "my kind" isn't prominent here either.

Despite being a bleeding heart leftist blue-haired enby who uses third-gender pronouns, I'm still optimistic I can find common ground with people here. It just means that some parts of my life aren't likely to be enriched here, especially my work as a Social Justice Wizard (multiclass rogue). I'm more likely to share those writings on other boards.

All that said, hey, it's Day 3!

My wife is getting deep into planning converting this living room into a kitchen, coordinating with the owner to figure out the best compromise of fantasy and reality. The plumbing is not made for the best of her visions, but my wife is handy enough to think of better-fitting solutions.

I made some progress on bureaucratic fronts and have a clearer vision for the next several months. The urge to game is easy to push down. My training from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is kicking in, making it easy to nod kindly at such urges and then letting them go as they come. I feel more in control of my life.

I have more reflecting to do on how I'll use this journal, but I suspect a minimalist approach will follow if I don't find many people to connect with here. A bulleted list, efficient and clean, a filtered version of a journal I'll steal away elsewhere. I may share readings on the nature of play and addiction, little tastes of my life in Berlin.

Today is a sunny day, not so blistering hot as last week's sunny days after yesterday's rains. I'm thinking about what recipes I want to try out, lists I might add to my bullet journal.

Some goals for tomorrow:

  • Sort out some paperwork as I wait for an important document to arrive for that integration course.
  • Make at least one bureaucratic phone call.
  • Get up early enough to help my wife with some bureaucratic business in the morning.

Take care, game quitters!

-The Morrigan

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Morrigan's Log, Day 4.

Lots of thoughts!

Today I exude gratitude.

Yesterday I dwelt on the value of boredom. Yesterday marked a week of three overlapping ailments, one remedying as another crept in. At points I had been too unwell to do much, including engage with entertaining diversions -- whether watching netflix or gaming. That boredom gave me room to reflect, and probably directly contributed to me deciding I'd had enough.

I have had some precious unbusy, bored idleness as my body continues to recover, as I let other desires that the urge to game resurface in the unused hours. Among other things, it's sparking creativity. The benefits of boredom have been studied (for example), and I'm enjoying them.

It's not all quiet. The quality of time I've spent with my wife is so much better, even improving daily. I'm significantly happier. The gaming urge is beautifully easy to swat away. I wanna get addicted to this feeling of living in the real world.

Day isn't over yet. I feel very grateful for the day, quality time with my wife, modern medicine, beautiful Germany, good smells, and strength returning to my body and mind.

Goals for the weekend:

  • More journaling
  • Meta-stuff, figuring out what my goals are and what books to read
  • Light exercise
  • More quality time with my lady fair
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Who knew boredom was so important. I guess all that time that I spend just sitting around with my eyes closed on the couch is actually doing something great. Maybe that's even my best time of day. Yeah. Glad to hear your detox is going well. I think relationships for me have definitely improved since I quit gaming. I'm even okay with running errands now.

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6 hours ago, BooksandTrees said:

This can be one of the biggest triggers for relapse since boredom produces stress, which produces anxiety, which produces triggers to game. So stay strong and good job so far.

Thanks. My adhd brain needs stimulation but I'm reframing boredom by reading about its benefits. I avoid physically painful boredom (yes, too much boredom is physically painful for me) but allow just enough boredom to ask myself what I want, turning it into introspection or thinking on the page/screen. 

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Morrigan's Logs, Day 7.

Low-energy today, read a lot of comics and studied how different artists draw different features, especially hands. Hands are tricky. Despite low energy, I still left the house for a park gathering. My wife wasn't feeling up to it after having her spoons eaten up early. Lovely people. It feels safe to do such gatherings here.

After I got home late in the evening, my wife decided to game again for the first time since I quit. I coaxed her away to socialize with me me for a bit (we'd had some quality time earlier that day), now she's back to it. Ultimately we're allowed to do different things with our free time, and this isn't a case where her playing is creating an insatiable urge to game. I've had dry houses when a housemate couldn't handle alcohol in a healthy way, but I'll keep an eye on myself and our relationship. She does disappear into things sometimes which can hurt, and we're both happier when we're both happy, but my best friend gave me excellent advice from their own marriage: when someone isn't doing well, sometimes it's best to do things separately. It can be difficult in plague times. Even with things more open here there's less available and we're critical of what risks we taks, where "risk" includes a busy crowded supermarket at peak hours vs. an unbusy one at unbusy hours. So more or less, my wife is a big girl and can make her own choices. I still need to step up and speak of my needs for connection, which I've gotten better at. "Could you close your laptop? I'd like your attention for a bit." Our marriage is still new in many ways. We have so much to learn, so much growth ahead as a couple. It's beautiful, even if growth is painful at times in its everyday frustrations. 

I'm reflecting on what I've gotten from gaming and how to get it from other sources. I love story and character design, but perhaps reviews are more time efficient consumption than playing. I managed to write good reflection on video games based on let's plays and critical reviews. I want the creative role of story teller and programmer and designer, might do some research on how games can be beneficial. That wiring makes Duolingo addictive, though my language skills in German are at a point where I need more polished instruction that I'd love to gamify on my own terms, perhaps bullet journal style. Adding play and personal achievement, without someone else setting the goal posts. Play, rather than vidya games.

I'm grateful to share growth with my wife, for queer community, for good reception on art I shared last evening, for diversity in character design, for positive connection with my crazy artsy fabulously unique family. 

Now for tea and turning in... 



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Morrigan's Logs, Day 8.

My mission today was to find printer ink. 

Absolutely no stores had the cartridges I need in stock, but I found a place that should deliver it by the end of the week. Shopping offline means walking and walking was good for me, the park was lovely. 

Some gaming urge but I stay away. My wife gamed more today after returning from an appointment. I read a lot of comics and slept a fair amount. Bizarre dreams. 

I might be facing my low mood more now that I'm not covering it up with games. I need to be careful to not let webcomics or other screenscrolling become my new numbing agent. Reading is more enriching than video games, but I still need to advance my life. Have things to book. Exercises to do. Hopefully I will be less sleepy tomorrow. 

I'm grateful to be sleepy before midnight. Best if I take advantage of that, and maybe even get out of bed at a reasonable hour tomorrow. Gotta hang laundry first... 

Today I'm grateful for riversides, parks, paths, and paint. 

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Morrigan's logs, day 9.

It is beginning to seem that the place I ordered ink from was incorrect about having it here by Friday. They haven't shipped it yet. Might cave and line Jeff Bezo's pockets for quick shipping (nope, Amazon doesn't have it either). Might print my paperwork at a copy shop for now. Furthermore, I will probably not be able to enroll in an integration course for a few months, the waiting list is long in Berlin. I'll find ways to make the wait enriching.  

Take care out there. 

Edited by Morrigan
I don't want to leave that here.
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Morrigan's Logs, day 10.

Today my wife prepared some absolutely delicious dumplings. She is able to elevate even frozen meals into the greatest heights on earth with spices and flavorings. I made brownies from scratch, which we'll tuck into tomorrow. I sketched a little bit, talked to family. I didn't feel so great: there was a general sense of impending doom. It left me somewhat frozen, but I still did some good things.

Mixed: dropped my phone and cracked the glass. It still works, albeit with crushed glass sticking to my calloused fingertips and only a little bit of screen left unscathed. We ordered a glass repair-and-replace kit and booked a session with a hackerspace we've both been hoping to get into anyways. J will check out the tools and we'll see if they have a few tools we're missing to repair the phone, e.g. a heat bed. We've been wanting this for awhile, and if it works out I don't think I'll mind the cracked glass so much. Sometimes a figurative kick gets some great things in motion.

J and I talked some about how anxiety holds me back from doing things, and made a bit of progress on a few different practical fronts, including hunting down excellent flavors. She was feeling emotionally exhausted at multiple points and retreated into gaming in her lows, but was respectful when I asked her to wear headphones. I'm doing what I can to not stick my nose into her game too much, effectively so far. Maybe after my detox and structure is in my life we can consider a shared gaming session, but  We were still able to negotiate emotional needs effectively. We did well.

Tomorrow, I challenge myself to go through the list of English-speaking therapists in Berlin and contact them. It's scary knowing that there may be many rejections given how booked they are in this city, but some things won't improve without taking major steps, and those steps are better taken with the professionals.

I'm grateful for all the little acts of kindness we gave one another. We're still newly-weds in many ways, and it is really intoxicating to have that energy in our lives.

Morrigan Out.


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Morrigan's Logs, day 12.

Good things. I am tired from walking in nature today, very proud of my accomplishments yesterday. 

I might update less frequently if this trend continues. I very much have support, and I set up some reflecting tools yesterday that may displace this journal more than a little. 

I'm soft looking into groups for ADHD support and survivors. 

Morrigan out. 

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Morrigan's Logs, day 13.

It is SO empowering to spend time with people who are highly effective and motivated, in-person or online.

I have been open about stepping away from gaming and my addictive habits with the people I've been speaking to, they've responded really positively rather than dismissing it. One person said something I really appreciated, asking not just about my negative interactions with media I'm avoiding, but what are my positive interactions with media that are healthy? And there is some media consumption in my life that I do think is healthy. Watching something over dinner with my wife has become a comforting ritual for the two of us. Just as I love to have productivity/accountability buddies, I love to consume culture with others. It's important to have a balanced diet of cultural consumption, and sharing it with others helps me keep mine varied. Even better if those people are also creating...

Today, I indulged in a video of gameplay for a game that isn't out yet. Afterwards I had a serious craving to game, so it's not something I'm likely to repeat in the future. Glad I still said no.

J and I got some potentially very good news but I don't want to count our eggs before they're hatched...

Today I am boundlessly grateful for good company, parks, sunshine, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and the Public Universal Friend.

Morrigan out.

p.s. This log has the honor of being the first log on my Very Professional Workstation for Very Professional Work. Still some work to do on it, but it's a grand start.

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Morrigan's Logs, day 16.

Been a productive few days. Some fun busyness thrown in alongside lots of paperwork printed out at a copy shop on Tuesday, lots of handling said paperwork yesterday, including my taxes. Not knowing German and German bureaucracies is stressful, activating my social anxiety and/or Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria in many situations. It makes me lean on my spouse more than lack of language skills alone, which has its own complications. It is possible to get by on English alone in many situations here in Berlin, but in the past few days I needed my wife as backup both for language skills and for my tendency to freeze when I don't understand instead of trying to communicate in my "Leichte Sprache" (easy language). We agreed to try role-playing some scenarios to help me navigate more independently without requiring her by my side so much, and that I'd look into German lessons targeted at situations like mailing letters, cashiers who need me to re-scan the last item, etc.

Some important things are in motion. By Monday we should have some final answers concerning an apartment. Getting a long-term place is so difficult in Berlin, and the incredible mixture of hope and fear I feel at having the prospect of a more stable situation has me wound up. Such extremities of emotion are far more pleasant when less is at stake!

On a healthy habits note, we've been getting up earlier since Tuesday, and it feels really good having taken care of a thing or two before noon and having the rest of the day ahead.

There's a few items on my to-do list (bullet journal style) that I hope to get to today, though the temptation to simply recuperate from the active burst of the previous days (since this weekend, too, shall be full of Serious Business) is very-present. I think that one of today or tomorrow should have ample time set aside to regenerate. But if I take care of these things early today, I have the rest of the day to regenerate with the non-gaming activities of my choice and tomorrow to boot... the glory of being done is deliciously tempting.

Grateful for forward motion.

Morrigan Out.

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Morrigan's Logs, day 21.

I got some tea to share.

Saturday we signed off on a room in a two-room flat in a gorgeous neighborhood in the outskirts. Then the single remaining flatmate (Mr. Sketchy wasn't even present) threatened to revoke his signature unless we meet a series of demands, including paying his deposit while he's still legally a resident there. We look into finding a replacement tenant in the hope some compromise can be reached. Two days later a bunch of stuff in the apartment is damaged and Mr. Sketchy says we're in luck since we only have to pay him his part of the deposit instead of the people who left, after we'd signed off on the apartment being in pristine condition, despite him still legally being a tenant and nothing stopping him from deciding to stay if we paid him off. We weren't okay with being extorted so we called the police to record the damages and returned the keys in front of the police, which has legal significance in Germany. It hurts like hell to walk away from that apartment after almost a eight months of searching, but we were not willing to do some pay-it-backwards bullshit with a sketchy roommate who likely did some of those damages himself, especially when those damages would have made it more difficult to find a replacement flatmate for Mr. Sketchy.

I'm exhausted. I so wanted to pack up my things and move, start my life. Seems we're still in limbo, but life must continue. I still have my appointment with a German school next week, and I'll enroll even if I don't know where in this sprawling metropolis I'm going to be living in a few months. It sucks, but what else can I do but move forward?

I will scrounge up my strength, gather some gratitude.


  • Apply to more apartments.
  • Take care of some doctor things.
  • Pick up a package.
  • Daily stretches.
  • Clean up apartment for arrival of main tenant tomorrow.
  • Paint another portrait.


  • My wife is able to defend us with her German and knowledge of our legal rights.
  • We still have a place to live.
  • The weather is beautiful lately.
  • We have free reign of public transit with a monthly pass.
  • We have joined a makerspace and have access to wicked awesome tools.

I have this comfort: without constantly gaming all the time, we are able to follow through on our goals.

Morrigan Out.

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Morrigan's Log, Day 22. Reflective Entry.

Been unpacking why games are important to me. A lot of it has to do with gender, being able to be someone that is difficult to otherwise be.

Lately I've been styling my hair a bit like Link's. I deeply relate to that character. Link is a non-binary icon: Game producer Eiji Aonuma has stated in interviews that the Ocarina of Time iteration of Link was designed to be “gender neutral”. The series creator Shigeru Miyamoto has repeatedly said in interviews Link was designed to be ambiguous and easy for all to identify with from the very beginning. They could only seal that further if they allowed Link to be AFAB (assigned female at birth) instead of AMAB (assigned male at birth) while still being more or less the same. Link, who carries the spirit of the hero, didn't need to have a particular assigned gender when the design of their character has been neutral from so early on. It's bizarre

I lived near the woods for 7 years, an ancient forest full of stumps with carved faces hidden betwixt the trees. It felt so mythical and powerful. I felt like I was wandering through the Lost Woods. I was really physically active, running around those glorious ravines with giant boulders and little waterfalls. Some summer nights there would be lightning bugs and the feeling of absolute magic was so, so powerful. Like I was connecting to the Link of my youth, living their story of exploration. I was a joyful, bubbly personality very keen on creating value and magic in the lives of people around me, nerdy acts of kindness.

Then I got hurt, and I couldn't be as active, my thoughts slumped into depression without the endorphin rush of movement, and I fell back into games, because I couldn't live the magic I had been creating in my life as deeply. And the terrible sadness of it all is that my body has never been back to that level of flexibility and freedom as it was before I got hurt six years ago. I can't clamber over and hop and wind the way I could so freely. I couldn't afford the physical therapy that was paving my way. I need to do the exercises more regularly at home now if I have a chance of getting my dancing hyperactive ADHD-fairy feet back. I need to try again, now that I'm on German insurance, to heal my body which was broken by ADHD -- walking on one's tiptoes is a neurological symptom of ADHD that was never righted, and walking on my tiptoes gradually caused problems that are now affecting my hips. I need to look at exercises online to fill the gap.

Shortly before I quit games, I also got sucked into some visual novels (a hybrid between novel and video game that has limited interaction and may have more or fewer video game elements that may be more or less exploitative) that had they/them pronouns as an option for the main character. I needed that affirmation, that chance to be that person.

Fantasy is important for a lot of people. And I need to figure out why it's important to me, and how to bring back some of that magic into my life that I lost along the way. How to breathe health and life into my body and mind. How to capitalize on the joy and power of fantasy to help us imagine something beautiful to inspire us to lead greater lives.

Listening to a new album today, "Spells" by Ben Lukas Boysen.

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