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Bugg's Journey. Journal Mk2


Bugg
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Spent the day reviewing paper journals from the last 3 years, analyzing thought patterns and common issues. Reviewed my old GQ journal in detail, making a list of observations that may prove useful moving forwards. I have not yet committed to giving up games forever, but I am committing to 30 days of no games, Netflix, YouTube, social media or digital escape of any kind (apart from the yoga practice I follow on YouTube). I have also committed to 30 days of yoga alongside this, and hope to tick off my other habits each day throughout the month; meditation and music (mainly piano, but singing and guitar if the mood strikes). I have finally found a job so I will have that to keep me busier at least, though I know this will likley also be a source of anxiety (it already is and I haven't started yet), it will be interesting to see how I cope. Whilst I have attempted a detox before, I haven't gone the whole hog with digital media for any significant length of time. I'm going to have my resources from therapy handy in case I need them. I don't plan to update here during the 30 days, but I'll keep a paper record and plan to update in Feb. I then plan to try and reintroduce TV with some restrictions, but I am not making plans for a return to gaming. We will see what happens. I am nervous, but hopeful. I'm going to have another look through respawn during this time too. 

This is a long list of all observations made reviewing my journal from my last detox:

  • On March 5th 2018 I embarked upon a 90 day gaming detox, stating; "I'm constantly looking back over my life wishing I'd done things differently." Upon quitting I felt "a tremendous sense of loss." I also said "This is madness, I'm giving up such a source of joy" and "what will my friends think". 
  • I deleted my Sims 4 saves and found this more difficult than anticipated.
  • I sold my PS4 and games. I removed Steam from my PC. 
  • I felt like I was spending too much time on the forum to help fill the void. 
  • I noticed that I am attracted to relationships where I can play co-operatively. 
  • I spent more time working out - for a while at least.
  • I had nightmares. Of decisions, choice, escape, running, intense fear.
  • Cam said "Be mindful of language used, reflect and notice where I am committed  'I will do this' or 'hopeful' i.e; less committed."
  • I was anxious to socialize but when I did I had a nice time. 
  • TV still caused me to be unproductive. 
  • I tried google calendar; it did not end up suiting me. 
  • I discovered the bullet journal method and it stuck! I still use it to this day and find it immensely useful. 
  • Meditating daily is good, I committed for most of the detox.
  • When anxious, move around! Just move.
  • Last time I ended up turning to Netflix, YouTube and sugar to escape my feelings. I need a contingency plan
  • Without the internet I felt lonely. 
  • I set too many goals and became disheartened when I couldn't achieve them all. 
  • My focus improved. Less brain fog. 
  • Spent more time prepping healthy food. 
  • Drinking water slowly whilst making oats on a morning was good. 
  • Feeling crappy was a regular occurrence, I had a defeatist attitude and waning motivation. 
  • Yoga is helpful! Mindfulness too!
  • Social stuff is hard, don't put too much pressure on yourself. 
  • I aspired to theatre, but tried and it wasn't for me, I'm glad I tried so that now I know!
  • I enjoyed productive mornings with an early rise. I'd made a healthy breakfast, meditated, went for a jog and practiced German all before 9am. 
  • I really enjoy listening to music. 
  • Not good enough? Not good enough... yet! 
  • I knew Netflix was a big problem. 
  • Moderation is hard. 
  • Crying is OK. Try not to be so hard on yourself. 
  • I worried that writing makes me feel sorry for myself. It is worth being mindful of my words.
  • I often struggle to lift myself out of a slump. 
  • Whenever I sing, I remember how much I love it. 
  • Playing guitar is also a pleasure. 
  • I have never wanted to let go of Pokémon. (Still don't).
  • Intense nervous energy present often. 
  • I stated "I can't go back." But I did. 
  • Allowed myself to rest and recharge when I truly needed it. 
  • I felt like there wasn't enough time in the day, even without games. 
  • When I become exhausted my mental health suffers. Recharge time is essential
  • I am often unwilling to accept advice as it is.
  • My journal inspired others. 
  • Healthy coping mechanisms are required. 
  • On Day 30 the urge to game was intense. I longed for the sense of mastery .. achievement. 
  • Self discipline is poor generally, I often compound the issue with too-high expectations. 
  • I need to feel like I am moving towards my passion in order to feel fulfilled and motivated. 
  • Not feeling good enough is a constant narrative. 
  • I looked forward to playing guitar with mum. 
  • Bad habit of using tech first thing in the morning. 
  • Self compassion is vital.
  • Watching/reading around self improvement is not enough, I need to be an active participant in that process, not a mere spectator. 
  • I am quick to fill the void with mindless entertainment. 
  • Tackling deeper problems/root cause is essential. 
  • I struggled with fatigue - a lot. 
  • I felt silly for giving up games. 
  • I spent a lot of time thinking. 
  • I committed to not entertaining negative emotions, no dwelling. That didn't stick. 
  • I spent time truly appreciating the birds. 
  • I felt guilt over making no real musical progress. 
  • I found it fairly easy to abstain from games, but impossible the subsequent Netflix and YouTube holes that took their place.
  • I began embracing minimalism. 
  • An evening screen time cut off is useful. 9pm?
  • An entertainment limit could work - if adhered to. 2 hours per night/7 hours per week max? Self control needed. Possible? 
  • It is better to have tried and failed than to have never made the attempt. 
  • A dopamine fast may prove useful. 
  • To become proficient in anything I must prioritize my time and interests. 
  • Life doesn't wait. 
  • "Endless pleasure becomes it's own form of punishment"  - Ryan Holiday.
  • No Netflix saw a marked improvement in productivity. 
  • Life's a challenge but it would be hella boring otherwise. 
  • Anxiety never went away. Depression began to worsen after 1 week without Netflix. No escape? 
  • Gave into Netflix after around 2 weeks. 
  • Mood continued to worsen.
  • Began to look forward to games after detox. Convinced self no point in detox if going to game again. 
  • Relapse Day 75. 
  • Re-started detox.
  • Felt sense of injustice; I wanted to be capable of gaming in moderation, watching Netflix/YouTube etc.
  • Mental health continues to worsen. 
  • Relapse. Day 5. (No games but too much TV)
  • Start again, gave into YouTube rabbit hole Day 4. 
  • Gave up. Started gaming again. 

- For a while I was gaming in moderation, but I'd say my other digital escapes were still excessive. Slowly games have crept back into my days more and more. Especially since the lockdowns, but I can't claim that as an excuse. 

- Mood improved with antidepressants. Came off due to side effects. Went back on when things got bad again, came off due to side effects and feeling better. 
- No medication currently, mental health not stable but don't want medication. Seeking holistic approaches - like living a more meaningful life!

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  • 3 weeks later...

[Day 17]

Quick check in, still going strong. No games, Netflix, or Youtube except for the yoga video's I use daily. The news app on my phone is a bit of an issue, it's got an infinite scrolling feature like most social medias so that's hard to control sometimes. I'm losing an hour to that here and there, and facebook hasn't been totally absent - though I have used it less and I am being much more mindful.. I need to remember to set a timer before I engage with these things..

The first 2 weeks were pretty tough, I thought I'd have more energy and motivation but I had even less. I've felt pretty rubbish and I've cried. Now I'm feeling a bit better, but as I'm only aiming for 30 days free I'm not sure if I'm just feeling good because I know the end is nearer. No, scratch that, I am sure.. I am definitely looking forward to February.. and I know I shouldn't be. I've fallen into a pretty good routine though, daily I'm meditating, playing piano, studying music theory and practicing yoga. I'm singing more too, and reading a lot (both fiction and non-fiction). I'm spending more time talking to my family and I'm less impatient with them. I'm also trying to play more guitar, but even with all the extra time there aren't enough hours in the day. Thus, it has not gone unnoticed that once I pick up games/tv again I will inevitably be making sacrifices to these other things I am enjoying. My mental state is definitely improved and I must at least strive to implement some sort of restrictions in February. I don't want to lose the productive habits I've been building. Time will tell if reintroducing games/tv will work for me or become an issue once again (I feel like I may already know the answer but I'm determined to keep trying... for now.) There is a part of me that doesn't want to go back to playing games at all, but then (and there's always a but) if I allow TV back in, that has the potential to become a problem in the same way, and I don't want to give up all TV forever, and if I am going to allow TV I feel like I may as well allow games too. I question my logic.

One thing I've been really focusing on is working out where I want to go career wise - the job I passed the interview for has been postponed due to coronavirus, so I'm trying to put the extra time to good use - I've been mapping all of my interests and exploring which one's may be viable career goals. This has involved a whole lot of writing and being brutally honest. Over the years I've discovered a lot about myself, but I currently have no firm idea of a career to pursue that would suit my strengths and weaknesses. I've suffered with intense anxiety in recent years but haven't really taken the time to see what I can do other than force myself into jobs that are clearly not working. I need to really put the thought into this now and pick something, instead of just drifting along, before it becomes too late. This is one exercise I've been really struggling with though, I still procrastinate from it a lot. I think it causes me so much anxiety to not know the answer, I paradoxically become incapable of searching for it - if that's the right word. This has definitely been a huge reason I have felt the need to escape so much in the past. 

Anyway, this is the longest I've gone without games and Netflix simultaneously. I've been sooo close to giving in soo many times, but I'm glad I haven't. 

I'll check back in once my 30 days are up, and I'll write more from the notes I've been making each day in my paper journal. 

Edited by Bugg
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  • 2 weeks later...

[Day 31] 

I did it. I actually made it. 30 days. No Games, No Netflix, No Youtube and No Social Media. Well, a little social media, perhaps an hour a week ..  and I watched one Youtube video with otters yesterday, which only made me angry that people keep them as pets. But I'd call this month a success, especially since I'm still not working and so spent almost the whole time at home.

I nearly gave in on a few occasions, either through total and utter boredom, or because I felt so anxious or overwhelmed that I wanted the escape. On either occasion I sat with my discomfort until I eventually found something else to do, and I'm glad I did so that I can sit here today and look back and feel proud. I've spent more time confronting my feelings around employment than I probably did for the entirety of last year and have made good progress in considering my next steps. I'm still researching and working on this, but I'm confident that I can feel better in this area moving forwards. I'm really grateful to myself for showing up for daily yoga and meditation and I'm definitely going to continue paying attention to these habits moving forwards. I also learned that even with days on end of free time, sometimes I just don't have the focus or mental capacity to fit everything into each and every day, and that's ok. (I'm thinking here of piano practice alongside music theory, guitar and singing). I've finally ordered some modelling clay too, we'll see if I can get back into it and maybe open a little etsy store. I joined a music club and a book club and have enjoyed attending weekly meetups (on zoom) - I played piano online for a small audience, and I sang on another occasion, which I am really proud of myself for too. I'm hoping to get more involved in the organisation that runs the groups, hopefully with some volunteering, and I can't wait for coronavirus to fuck off so I can attend these things in person. I'm not a social butterfly, but this has been really good for me. 

What's Next? So from tomorrow I'm relaxing my 'rules' and falling back to my theme for this year; BALANCE. I want to keep striving to find a balance between productivity and relaxation. I've had a pretty good balance this month already, spending a lot of downtime reading books (I read 5 this month!), but I see no harm in putting some of that downtime into the odd tv show or movie. What I'm not going to do is watch TV during the daytime, or until I have completed my other tasks for the day; including yoga/exercise, meditation and piano practice. I've really missed watching anime and I'm looking forward to getting back into Star Trek again (the old ones - a nerdy guilty pleasure). There have definitely been times on an evening where I've looked back over a productive day and thought about how much I'd enjoy just a little tv. 

I haven't mentioned games up to now. I've definitely craved them, pretty much every day, and I think if my 30 days had been 90 or even forever I would have struggled a whole lot more. As it stands I haven't 'let go' or said goodbye to games, however I'm not rushing to reintroduce them either. It feels a bit like when I had problems around food; in therapy I learned that restricting something and telling myself I can't have it just made me want it more and I eventually lost control and gave in. This feels a lot like that. The more I tell myself I can't play games the more I want to and I feel like I'm more likley to give in. So instead I'm telling myself I can have games in my life, if I really want them. But, I'm also remaining really mindful here, and for now I'm not reintroducing them. Over the next few weeks I plan to watch a little tv and I may indulge in the odd Youtube video perhaps, but I'm making no plans to play any games. Maybe one evening I'll feel like an hour or 2 on a game instead of a movie, but perhaps I won't. It's an all too slippery slope and perhaps I'm not quite ready for that yet.

This last month has been awesome, I feel amazing and I reckon I'm onto a good thing here, so I'm not taking any chances where I let myself slip back into old habits. I'll swing by from time to time and check in though.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, February wasn't as epic as January, to say the least. It wasn't a total write off, I got some shit done, but not as much as I did in January. It's a battle of healthy vs toxic productivity, how to give myself a break without getting lazy again. I've played games, a lot at the start and end of the month with a gap in the middle. Netflix was a big issue again; I've decided to ban having a watch list. If I want to watch something on an evening then cool, but having a list of shit to watch just makes me obsess over it and watch crap for the sake of it. I'm still not ready to let go of gaming and I don't know if I ever will. Stupid thing is I know my life could be better if I did. 

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