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Lampshade Journal


Lampshade
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Day 41

Had a 1.5 hour massage yesterday. I think I could get massaged for a full day.

Should be an alright day today. Same old tasks: Write for an hour and work on data collection. I'm doing my first therapy session today so I'm excited to see how that goes. Among my people I always seem to be playing the supportive role. It'll be nice to be on the other side.

Otherwise I'm pretty bored with the days. It might be because the point that I'm at for work isn't particularly challenging, aside from the 'just keep moving' kind of way. I'm working with some machine learning software and I'm at the stage where I'm just feeding it a bunch of examples, so it's been days of just finding good examples, putting them into a folder, setting up test datasets, seeing how well it ID's the test stuff, etc. Last time I had to do this I managed to bang it out in 40 hours but I had to go through a pack of cigarettes and the end results wasn't as good as it could've been. Things are dragging on more slowly this time but I think I'll end up with a better final product and I'm not smoking.

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Yeah don't smoke. It's not good for you. Good for you resisting the urge. I have to resist masturbating and it's really difficult lately. I just don't have the willpower to not do it lately. I dunno hopefully that improves. I play the supportive role too, but haven't been able to find a good therapist. So whatever. I'm kind of over looking for one. Hopefully yours goes better.

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Day 42

More of the same planned for today. I've got some papers to read, something to write, meditate, workout, etc. etc. etc.

I think part of my self-destructive streak comes from looking to add excitement to my life. Even if that excitement comes from messing up. Yesterday was the closest I've come in a long time to relapsing. I was reading Oathbringer, and started craving a strategy game so that I could make my own little world. Something like Civ 6, or even Endless Space. Couple of months ago I would've knocked off work at 11 am and done that. Instead I got some stuff done and feel less guilt.

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Day 43

Bastard journal almost got away from me. Writing in this everyday has been my longest habit streak. I'm sure someday it will fall, but not today! ...tonight

I guess that's probably the thing I should write about: habits. In Atomic Habits he talks about one of the most common things to break good habits is boredom. I'm definitely there. I had a great morning routine of Wakeup -> Feed dogs -> Take dogs out -> breakfast -> meditate -> Yoga -> shower -> shave -> change -> write and begin work. I don't have that routine down anymore and three things are to blame. The first is that it was a damn long routine, taking about 2.5 hours, and I haven't yet been able to get up early consistently yet. Second is coffee. If I have coffee with my breakfast I can't meditate and will usually get distracted with something. Third, was the boredom. The routine came so easy that I didn't have to think about it anymore, which let my brain free to just churn with anxiety. I hate that feeling, so naturally try to change things up to avoid letting it happen. (That's something worth thinking about though, meditation has taught me that I shouldn't resist anxiety. Interesting)

All that's not to say that I'm in a worse place. I've been tracking my habits with Loop and have identified something like 12 (I could be way off on that number so don't judge it) productive things that contribute to who I want to be. I pick from that list and progress should be being made towards my goals. Most days I get a good number of things checked off. I'm just noticing that as I get deeper into habit streaks, I get bored, and as I get bored I am more likely to miss a day. I think that's fine though. I don't need to be perfect. The only risk in missing days is forgetting about it completely as things get busier, I think that as long as I have my Loopy-list the risk of that is low.

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Twelve things! Nice.

Could you do coffee after meditation? Shower coffee maybe? Or if you're working from home, have coffee with work? I'm not sure how you make coffee but maybe it could steep while you shave?

I think, too, about the amount of time some of my habits take. I have noticed (like you in a previous post I believe) that I am more likely to do things if I do them first thing in the morning. But now my work schedule is normalizing, I have less and less time in the AM... so do I get up earlier or what? I guess video games used to take 2 hours a day, so without video games, it's the same amount of time...

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10 minutes ago, codepants said:

I have less and less time in the AM... so do I get up earlier or what?

So that's been my plan. If I get up around 5:30 that should be enough time for me to get through everything if I stay focused. That said, my success rate for getting up is like once a week at best. I've done 4:30 wakeups for 3-months at one point so I know it's possible. It's just really hard.

Whenever I am listening to something that talks about how a person should not give up on their goals, early morning wakeups is the thing that always comes to mind for me that I shouldn't give up on.

I've also been paying a lot of attention to daily routines of people. Like all of the people whose accomplishments I admire get up early. Can only hear it so many times before it becomes willed ignorance.

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2 hours ago, TheNewMe2.0 said:

Ya don't forget about GQ. We all like reading your posts.

That's kind, thank you 🙂

Day 44

Okay, time to talk about WoW. My thoughts on this are very disorganized, apologizes if anyone is reading this. I've just been avoiding thinking about it and it's piled up. I'm not even going to edit or spell check cause I want to do other things today, so expect a word vomit.

The new xpac was released and I've foolishly kept r/wow and r/worldofpvp in my reddit subs. I'm fixing that, but it's had an impact. Getting the work in early at the start of the xpac to not fall behind is super important for pvp. This is the time that I should be playing.

Writing that about a game just seems ridiculous. Put in the work to not fall behind? I think that probably sums up like 80% of my WoW experience: doing chores. I've got enough chores in real life that I'm behind on. Why the hell would I bring more into my life? The answer is the reward that comes from the chores. Right before I came on here I watched an arena video. The pretty colours, smooth gameplay, music, and flow put me right back into that mode. I want that so badly. If time were unlimited I feel like I could exist in that state for eternity.

That's really what it comes down to, time. It's easy while in that state of flow to feel like time is unlimited, and that feeling can last forever. I've got so many memories of night-time sessions without any worries. Weed smoke in the air (or not, it wasn't necessary), good music on good headphones, family asleep, dark room with the LEDs from gaming mouse and keyboard. Fuuuck.

Those nights where I had given up on any sense of trying to control myself or give a shit about consequences were some of the most freeing feelings I've ever had. THere's definitley something in us, or at least me, that embraces the self-destructive. Last night I was looking at my music from those late night gaming sesssions and it fits as well. Lots of songs about being a fuck-up. THe women singing them always seemed so badass though in their ability to not give a fuck.

ALl that said, it just seems so fake. I'm carrying it to the logical extreme, cause I've always been an all or nothing kinda guy. One path is me doing a PhD the best I can and having a reasonable shot at faculty or government scientist based on my network. I can use those positions to pay off my loans, have a more comfortable living space, travel, and then give other people like me the same oppurtunities. The alternative: I do a half-ass job on the research and beg for a job rather than feel like I tried my hardest, or quit the PhD and get a job that's less difficult so that I can game. Get really good at the game... ??? ...Is there  a a profit here somewhere?

Everything I just wrote makes the answer so obvious. Don't play WoW. That's right, just don't do something guaranteed to feel good.

I guess one of the things I struggle with comes from a lack of religion. If this is my life and I'm done at the end, what does it matter if I spend it as a human or as a lizard on a warm rock (how I imagine myself gaming)?

Fwiw, relapse risk is low-med I think. I can't picture myself reinstalling WoW and losing all the progress I've made over the past seven months (since I last played WoW) and especially the last 44 days of no games. In mid summer next year, though, I expect that risk will increase. Elon Musks satellittes will be available so it'll be the first time in nearly a decade that I'll be able to game without 800ms of lag. It's going to be REALLY hard to not experience that for just a few months.

God I wish I could be someone who was okay just playing for a few hours every now and then.

 

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... Are you me?

I've been checking on the Total War subreddits a lot lately. There's a new DLC coming out, don't you know? You know the consequences, but it always seems like such a harmless thing when everything's going well. I'm just dealing with it by telling myself I'll be able to play all the video games I like when I'm old and retired and can't or don't want to do much else. In the meantime, there's stuff that I can only do now to do. Got to keep on keeping on.

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On 11/28/2020 at 8:24 PM, Lampshade said:

So that's been my plan. If I get up around 5:30 that should be enough time for me to get through everything if I stay focused. That said, my success rate for getting up is like once a week at best. I've done 4:30 wakeups for 3-months at one point so I know it's possible. It's just really hard.

Whenever I am listening to something that talks about how a person should not give up on their goals, early morning wakeups is the thing that always comes to mind for me that I shouldn't give up on.

I've also been paying a lot of attention to daily routines of people. Like all of the people whose accomplishments I admire get up early. Can only hear it so many times before it becomes willed ignorance.

I am also making an effort to wake up early everyday. It is really makes my productivity and mood much better! I am curious about at which time you go to sleep and how many hours of sleep every night you are getting?

 

 

I found your struggle against WoW touching, i know how hard is to overcome our addictions.

 

7 hours ago, Lampshade said:

I guess one of the things I struggle with comes from a lack of religion. If this is my life and I'm done at the end, what does it matter if I spend it as a human or as a lizard on a warm rock (how I imagine myself gaming)?

As someone who was raised as catholic, but found that becoming an atheist (and kind of a nihilist) in my late teens did more harm than good, I will leave my 2 cents specifically for that part. Spirituality coming from the Latin world spiritus that means 'breath'. In the classical age it meant what gives you a sense of meaning and connection in your life. Even life has no intrisical meaning, you still can cultivate and find meaning for the life you want to live and a sense of connection to the people around you. Reading and practicing some of the secular forms of philosophies has been a great to cope with life's hardship at least for me.

If you are interested and have the time, I recommend you the book A Guide to the Good Life by William Irvine. It is an easy read and very insightful.

Edited by dasvira
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Thanks both for the replies, it's nice to be able to vent see that someone listened. Don't need anything fixed, just nice to be heard.

@Commissar Yeaaa, I may or may not also be on the Total War subs. Warhammer II was my jam for a while. Something I've realized though is that there's always something coming out (which makes gaming so exciting). When Baldur's Gate 3 early access came out I decided to go hard cause it was special. I could've totally done the same thing with WoW, and this Total War DLC, and Cyberpunk 2077, etc. etc. Just never ends. I'm guessing it'll get easier as we get more out of touch.

@dasvira Thanks for the book recommendation, I've put it in my wishlist to check out next time I order a batch of book. Also thank you for that paragraph. Learning more about secular philosophy is a great idea.

About the sleep, I'm typically in bed by 10pm. So a solid 7-ish hours. The tricky thing I've found is that I usually don't sleep very well until I've already been getting up early for a couple days. Almost like you have to accept 2 days of under-sleep before the body recognizes that it better get what it can, when it can. That said, when I let myself sleep as much as my body wants it's consistently 10 hours, so I think I might have to go down to a 9pm sleep time if I get serious about waking up early.

Day 45

I'm going to take a more relaxed day today. Morning habits be slipping. Haven't been feeling the same drive to exercise and stretch either. These are the times that I would decide to just game the day away. At least without games, I've got a realistic shot at doing something productive later. I'm going to drink some coffee and read a couple chapters of a book this morning instead. It still satisfies my desire to fuck off, but I don't expect to be locked in all day.

On more positive notes, yesterday was a gorgeous day and I got some of my outside chores done to get ready for the winter. It was pretty nice crossing those off the list and getting to do it in the sun rather than with frozen fingers like I was expecting.

 

Edited by Lampshade
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17 hours ago, Lampshade said:

These are the times that I would decide to just game the day away. At least without games, I've got a realistic shot at doing something productive later. I'm going to drink some coffee and read a couple chapters of a book this morning instead. It still satisfies my desire to fuck off, but I don't expect to be locked in all day.

Isn't that wild. I've had this same feeling, so I'll decide to do some restful activities, and it feels like I've been fucking off for forever and I look at the clock, it's only been an hour. If I had been gaming the whole day would be gone already. Honestly feels crazy to me and awesome too! No day is really ever a complete throwaway day anymore.

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I feel the same way with Diablo II. I still crave playing and sometimes fantasize about a life playing it and being okay with doing that. But I know I'd just turn into a hardcore addict that plays nonstop all the time to the detriment of his exercise, job, relationships and life in general. I wish I could play a few hours a day too but it's not possible. With my job the way it is I can't spend any time doing free time stuff anyways. I have about 1 hour a day of free time when I get home that I have to use to feed myself and maybe get one episode of a show in if I'm lucky. So I couldn't even game and hold my job anyways. Good for you examining yourself with WoW good luck staying off it.

 

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8 hours ago, championeal said:

If I had been gaming the whole day would be gone alread

Yep, and it would've felt like almost nothing got pregoressed in game. I remember that a lot with Civ. I'd spend like 4 hours just getting to the point where the game actually starts. Crazy is right!

 

50 minutes ago, TheNewMe2.0 said:

I wish I could play a few hours a day too but it's not possible.

This has been it for me. It's just not possible. I've thought it through an embarassing amount and tried my hardest to make it possible but still work towards goals in a way that makes me feel satisfied. I've tried parental timers, waking up at 5am to play, all kinds of things. Never works out. It's hard accepting your weaknesses, but there it is.

Dec. 1

Wow it's December wtf.

I just want to put in something quick here to keep up the habit. I'm considering moving journalling to the end of the day. That was the plan for today but I'm so locked in to my routine that it was on my mind that I hadn't journaled yet. I think that's why I benefit from doing my habits in the morning; otherwise they're on my mind all day as a bunch of little things that I need to do later.

 

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On 11/29/2020 at 1:21 PM, Lampshade said:

 

God I wish I could be someone who was okay just playing for a few hours every now and then.

 

I have less and less urges to play as the days go by but I still have this thought pop into my head a lot. I always feel like it would be amazing to make it work for me. I've seen people like the actor who plays Geralt in the Netflix Witcher series talk about how they love to game as well, and I think "well he's successful, in shape, and probably has a busy life but still plays, why can't I?" I've begun to truly realize that gaming just plain doesn't work for me. It feels like there is an inner framework that would allow me to play video games before (when I was growing up and first playing) but along the way I broke that framework. Now, I have a busted system and it needs so much time/healing just to allow me to even think about video games without causing my entire self to malfunction. Something is broken in my mind (addiction/the root of the issue), and gaming is the way in which it comes to life (the primary symptom of the issue). Everyone on this forum has a similar problem and I think that we can all agree casual gaming will never be enough for us. 

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2 hours ago, Lampshade said:

This has been it for me. It's just not possible. I've thought it through an embarassing amount and tried my hardest to make it possible but still work towards goals in a way that makes me feel satisfied. I've tried parental timers, waking up at 5am to play, all kinds of things. Never works out. It's hard accepting your weaknesses, but there it is.

So much me too... I think that it is easy to convince yourself that you can moderate when you can't. The people who can actually moderate gaming rarely get to the point where they need to join GQ heh. I am just too convinced at this point that the idea of "I used to be addicted but now I can moderate" is a convenient truth to get myself back into gaming. Maybe once I am clean for many years, and my brain has rewired itself enough to not view gaming as an addiction, I will be able to moderate... 

Agree, I also try to get GQ stuff done early in the morning 😄 

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19 hours ago, Pochatok said:

I am just too convinced at this point that the idea of "I used to be addicted but now I can moderate" is a convenient truth to get myself back into gaming

Yeaaa this goes through my head all the time. Especially now that I'm away from it a month and a half. I keep thinking 'just a few hours in a low key strategy game'.

 

19 hours ago, BryanJaz said:

Something is broken in my mind (addiction/the root of the issue), and gaming is the way in which it comes to life (the primary symptom of the issue).

I've noticed this with me as well. My life is primarily bouncing from one addiction from another. Sometimes it manifests itself in gaming, drugs, sex, alcohol, etc. and the problem is obvious. The other side is when it is channeled into something less obviously destructive, like exercise, work, writing, and reading. People always praise me for being an 'all-or nothing' kind of guy, saying how great it is that when I get involved in something I 'jump in with both feet'. I appreciate those comments for the intent behind them, but the reality is that I wish I were less so.

I've been going on the theory that it's all related to avoiding my other mental problems. I feel like a mentally healthy person should be able to get through a day stone sober and be comfortable. That just doesn't work for me. Eventually I get worn down by the constant chatter in my brain and look for an escape. Meditation does help a lot, but it's a long slow grind.

Dec. 2

The mornings are my weakpoint 100%. One of my dogs is nearing the end of his life so he doesn't sleep well, which means I don't sleep well. On top of that, we usually don't get to bed until 10 and my wife gets up at 5:15 and is moving around our small house for 2.5 hours before she leaves. So I either get up and go on like 6 hours and a bit of sleep, when my body asks for a consistent 9, or I stay in bed and get a very disturbed extra few hours. I don't want to wake up until she leaves because I hate the feeling of being just woken up when she's been up and awake for a while. So no mater what I end up groggy, grouchy, and apathetic in the mornings.

Those negative morning vibes make me decide that I don't give a shit about the day or my habits. If I had any games installed I would definitely play them. It's not like I've done anything productive form 9-12 this week anyways. It keeps popping into my head that if I played a game at least I could have some fun. I'm still missing that easy access to (what feels like) innocent joy.

On a related note, I've done a bit of thinking about why my habits always seem to slide after a month and a bit. I think part of it is just boredom for sure. My therapist suggested adding more challenge into it but it's hard to meditate in a more challenging way. I'm already at 20 mins. daily. Suppose I could increase it more but my morning routine already takes forever.

Anyways, I think I start to care less about my daily habits because when I start them there's a feeling of hope that once they are down and I'm doing them for a while, that I'll be happy. Like if I do these 5-things in the morning I'll have won and everything will be good (I'm so grateful for this journal, because that sounded logical in my head but ridiculous when written). That doesn't happen, I lose out on the hope and they feel pointless. Yes it leads to me being in good shape, hygienic, and feeling like I look good but it doesn't take long before I get used to the new state-of-affairs and it no longer makes me feel good. This happens all across the board in life. For a month or so water was dripping down the chimney of my woodstove. Over the weekend I got up and fixed it and it POURED yesterday. We had been so used to water getting in the house when it rained that yesterday we felt so luxurious because our house wasn't leaking.

Today I'm taking (another) easy day. Thankfully, I have a bunch of montonous work to do that doesn't take much effort. Basically just downloading audio files for hours and hours. Going to throw on some Battlestar Galactica and hide from the world. I guess that's a good thing about not gaming when feeling like poop. I can still indulge that feeling but at least pick at some stuff that needs to be done anyways.

 

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3 hours ago, Lampshade said:

 Meditation does help a lot, but it's a long slow grind.

Meditation might be the single best thing for my life and since I've stopped video games I meditate for an hour or two a day. I did a 10 day silent meditation retreat almost 4 years ago and it's taken until now for me to recommit to the practice. Personally, I'm a very mind-based person so it's definitely a keystone habit for me that I wish to develop but even if you aren't it's worth sticking with. I genuinely feel like I'm emptying the proverbial cup. Also, the retreat was a "trial by fire, shotgun blast" of a beginning to my meditation practice but 100% worth it because now I find it easy most days to meditate an hour at a time.

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3 hours ago, Lampshade said:

 

I've noticed this with me as well. My life is primarily bouncing from one addiction from another. Sometimes it manifests itself in gaming, drugs, sex, alcohol, etc. and the problem is obvious. The other side is when it is channeled into something less obviously destructive, like exercise, work, writing, and reading. People always praise me for being an 'all-or nothing' kind of guy, saying how great it is that when I get involved in something I 'jump in with both feet'. I appreciate those comments for the intent behind them, but the reality is that I wish I were less so.

I'm the exact same way although I always get the comment that I'm "black and white"...from day 1. Like you said, when it is channeled, I feel like I can accomplish so much and grow at a very fast rate. I'm committed and focused because that's just me...it's not like I can say "lets commit to this!" I'm either in it or not in it. And nobody who has ever known me has ever understood that. Even if you're not exactly like me, I feel like we are working with similar mental equipment...if that makes sense. And I will say that challenges (without absurd amounts of pressure on me) are something I need in my life. Maybe you do too.

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12 hours ago, Lampshade said:

Anyways, I think I start to care less about my daily habits because when I start them there's a feeling of hope that once they are down and I'm doing them for a while, that I'll be happy. Like if I do these 5-things in the morning I'll have won and everything will be good (I'm so grateful for this journal, because that sounded logical in my head but ridiculous when written). That doesn't happen, I lose out on the hope and they feel pointless. Yes it leads to me being in good shape, hygienic, and feeling like I look good but it doesn't take long before I get used to the new state-of-affairs and it no longer makes me feel good. This happens all across the board in life. For a month or so water was dripping down the chimney of my woodstove. Over the weekend I got up and fixed it and it POURED yesterday. We had been so used to water getting in the house when it rained that yesterday we felt so luxurious because our house wasn't leaking.

That feels like the good old hedonic thread mill, human greed is unlimited man... It is better to simply ackowlege the fact that there is nothing that will make us perfectly and permanently happy and that life is just a cycle of ups and downs. (I am sorry for not having anything more practical about how to improve your situation).

Edited by dasvira
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Excitement about new habits reminds me about thrill seeking which is a common facet of ADHD. It's not something you can get rid of but you can tell yourself that's your biology and you can overcome it. You cannot be stronger than it, but you can be smarter than it.

Sorry about the kerfuffle with your sleep schedule. I really think enough quality sleep sets a foundation for everything else. It's something my partner and I have been struggling with too ever since I started moving around a lot more in my sleep (which terrifies me that I might have REM behavior disorder which is a precursor to Parkinson's, but that's not here or now). Could you wear earplugs? Get a white noise machine? Or sleep in separate rooms (sleeping in the same bed is a cultural norm that IMO is overrated. Fine for banging but shit for getting quality sleep. There are many countries in Europe where separate beds are the norm and it means nothing about the quality of your relationship)?

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Thanks all for the feedback and suggestions. It means a lot to me that people out there are reading and thinking about my problems.

Day 48

Spouse and I had a talk. Neither one of us are happy with where our relationship is at in the last little bit. Personally I know I'm on a down-turn emotionally so a part of me wonders how much that has to do with it, but there are also for sure some things that aren't just me. Maybe I'm just better able to deal with them when I'm in a really good place, say 8 or higher. Below that, some of the stuff between us just gets to me. I feel like my actions affect her emotionally way more than they should. Like I feel judged for how I spend my time. I think I'm likely projecting this onto her, because I do have problems with feeling judged, but that's the way it is. She gets worried, I think, about my patterns of behaviours. Sometimes I just want to be left alone and I think she interprets that as something being wrong. On top of it all, she struggles communicating her feelings so I'm often left in this kind of weird purgatory where I don't know if something is bothering her or not, which feeds into the 'feeling judged' thing.

Anyways she claimed she wanted more privacy. It's tough because I work from home, we have a small home, live in the country, and covid. So there's not really anywhere for me to go. I work all day in our office so I don't really want to spend more time in there in the evenings when she gets home. I've been doing that anyways as my own way to get some space but it affects my sleep if I'm on the  computer too late.

Regardless, I'm happy to give her space because I've been feeling the same. In fact I've been feeling obligated to be available to spend time with her. It'll be a nice relief to remove that. A part of me feels like she's going to interpret the space-giving as some kind of silent-treatment or ignoring-her thing, but I'm going to take it for it's simple face value request (because, again, I want the space to). Gonna headphone it up. Looking forward to it.

If anybody has any other suggestions to give us each more space I'm open to it.

There's one more thing I want to write about that's related to our relationship. We started dating at 18 in 2008 and have been exclusive since then. I feel like that definitely affected us by inhibiting our individual growth. I had a lot of relationships in my teens, but only her for the 20s. I'm such a different person now then I was when I was 18. We both are. We've grown together in some ways, but in others our interests have diverged.

 

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Day 49

@BooksandTrees@codepants@TheNewMe2.0@BryanJaz @dasviraand anyone else reading this. If you have time could I get some feedback on the below graphs? No pressure. A description is below.

Spent some time working with Loop, my habit tracking app. Below is my cumulative number of times I've completed certain habits during the last two weeks of November. First is just a count, following that is a graph of loops 'Score' metric, which is a kinda like a running average but also accounts for the fact that some of the habits I have set for only 3 times/week rather than daily. I'm not sure the score metric leads to a very nice looking graph. Actually both of the graphs are a little ugly but I just did them with a pivot table in Excel as a trial. Next month I'll do it in R so I can prettify it a little better.

I'm going to try to do something like this every month. There's some interesting trends to explore. One that I had a feeling about that is nice to see confirmed, is my tendency to either be really high or really low. Some weeks I get everything done, other weeks I get nothing done. Obviously I do other things than what's on here, but I've identified these 10-or-so habits to be things that, if taken care of, put me on a good productivity track. It's also worth mentioning that I don't consider self-improvement to be solely about productivity, so it'll be interesting to put some thought into how I can incorporate how I'm feeling into the graph. Maybe a daily 1-10 'how you doing today?' type of question. Or a weekly set of ten more specific questions? In the meantime I can look back at my journal dates the correspond to the declines in habit check-off accumulations to see if I see anything. One thing I'm interested in is whether my mood declines before the habits, or if the habits decline before the mood.

 

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