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Hi all, I'm new here with a question


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Hi everyone,

 

My name is Chris. I'm 28 years old and an avid gamer.

 

I've been playing games for a large part of my life, ever since my late nan bought me Pokemon Red with the Gameboy Colour in 1999. So I was only 7 years old when I remember falling in love with video games.

Fast forward to the present day, and I'm married with two young boys, aged 3 and 5. I also serve in the military.

 

The above sounds good right? Well, I've been considering finding a forum like this for a long time. I was diagnosed with depression in December 2019 and have been on the road to recovery since, but I still have 'depressive episodes' which last around a week and are pretty intense.

 

I've never thought about my gaming habits until this point. My therapist and I have nailed down my depression primarily to self-loathing and regret. I often find that I have not done what I wanted to do in my life so far. My career is a positive note and thankfully I've never jeapordised that, but personally, there are numerous things I wanted to do with my life that I have not gotten round to do. For example, I've wanted to learn the piano, and write a book, since I was a child. The reason I never have? I spend my free hours gaming, and have done for over 20 years.

 

When I am due to be in work, I wake up early, get myself ready and start my day. It almost seems easy, because I have to do it in order to keep my job like anyone else. But on the weekend or a holiday? I can stay up until the early hours of the morning and game, to the point where I don't wake up until after lunch, much to my wifes very understandable annoyance. If I was her I would have left me long ago.

 

I guess what I am looking for is help in moderation. I really enjoy my time gaming, I feel like it can be part of my life in a healthy way, and the idea of going cold turkey just makes me shun the idea of any action instantly. I'm not afraid to admit that. A bit like smoking, as I used to smoke 30 cigarettes a day. Going cold turkey or using patches failed completely, and I started vaping a year ago and haven't touched a cigarette since. It gives me belief that I can somehow find a method to drastically reduce my gaming time without throwing my PC away and never doing it again.

 

Or is that just false hope. Is completely quitting the only way?

 

Any advice would be much appreciated, and thankyou for reading my post.

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For myself, I could see no other way then to quit completely. I have an addictive personality. I used to smoke but I quit that too. For me it's all or nothing. I know that if I started smoking again I would be right back to a pack a day. I'm pretty sure that if I started gaming again it wouldn't be any different. 

Maybe you can game in moderation. Maybe not. You know yourself better than anybody else. Have you gamed in moderation before? It sounds like you have your life in order but you are here and you have regrets about not accomplishing things you wish you had. Do you think allowing yourself to continue playing video games will get you closer to or further from those desires? I really hope that you can game in moderation and work towards accomplishing those goals. Just be honest with yourself along the way. Perhaps make a schedule where you learn piano and write. When you get through those things during the week then make time for video games. 

Hope this helps!

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Welcome Chris. 

I relate a lot to your story - I deeply enjoy gaming and still have a stable life (pregnant GF, stable job and finance, etc.).

Yet, gaming was taking too much of my time and as for you, preventing me from doing things I deeply wanted to do, and feeling full of shame about it. Anyhow, I tried moderating my gaming hours without much success in the past. As gaming fills up a lot of needs, your mind will play tricks on you to push you to continue fulfilling those needs instead of accepting moderation.

If you haven't tried to set up limits and moderate your gaming, go ahead and try. I deeply wish it will work for you as it would allow you to retain this enjoyable part of your life. 

Side note - I started learning piano since stopping video games and it's going quite well - you'd be suprised by the amout of hours you have in your hands once you no longer game, or at least moderate gaming...

Cheers mate!

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Hi Chris!

While I can't relate all that much to your story- I am 20, a college student studying English and Art- I do have some things on making gaming a healthy habit rather than a rabbit hole.

 Similarly to you, I also tend to play more when I am not busy, when the work is done and I can allow myself to relax. However, this causes me to largely ignore the world around, to disconnect from the people around me. It is not simply time lost, but the guilt I would feel as soon as I would stop playing, because I knew that 1) I could have been doing something else, and 2) My GF is very annoyed now. 

What I tried initially was to make a list of things I think are fun to do instead of gaming- listen to music, read a video game devblog, clean up, or draw. Next, I began setting alarms and reminders before that would prevent me from playing until lunch- I'd set alarms that would go off every 10-20 minutes, and put my phone far away so I'd have to pause the game in order to get rid of the noise. I also put sticky notes all over the computer screen, with the list of things I could be doing instead and inspirational quotes. Next, I began reading self-help books like Psychocybernetics and Courage to be happy/to be disliked. Those books helped me understand why I choose to play games rather than anything else, and helped me find the willpower to reduce the addiction to a slightly obsessive habit. One last thing I would recommend is learning about how to improve your metacognition- "awareness and understanding of one's own thought processes.". 

Currently, I play about 30mins per day on average, and never play more than an hour in a row, even if the entire day is free. What honestly helped me the most was to take breaks, to allow my brain to reconnect and to pause and think about how I am feeling and what I really want. 

 

Hope this helps you get on the right path, whatever it may be for you!

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