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pdallair91

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Hi,

I believe a lot of gamequitters struggle with self-love and self-respect too

Since I got addicted, my addiction has taught me to hate myself. It took years for me see that I was sick and in need of help instead of a beat down. Sure, you are asolutely right: our condition is no excuse and we should be willing to do anything to be healthy rather than playing victim

Seeking professional help and coming to group therapy are good moves and I am sure everyone here roots for you to be healthy, mind and body.

Looking forward to read from you

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On 7/13/2022 at 8:38 PM, pdallair91 said:

Day *** — Shame & Accountability

Someone got mad at me in group therapy today.  They didn't go on a rampage or anything like that.  It wasn't even in person.  However, when they said "I think your full of shit!" it was a bit shaking.  Some of the first thoughts in my mind was "Where is this coming from?  What did I do wrong?"

I'm seeing a social worker to try and help with this gaming addiction.  She helped me realise today that I was spending more time trying to understand the person that got angry than I did so for myself (the victim).  That's not to say I didn't do anything that motivated the outburst directed at me, more like the "punishment" didn't fit the "crime" if I did.  Like, if I did cross a boundary, said boundary wasn't pre-established and it wasn't impossible to discuss it calmly.  Anyways, yeah, I think this cognitive reaction (the thoughts I was having) stem from my childhood.  When my dad yelled at me, I didn't have the mindfulness to realize I deserved better.  When my best friend made an apparent suicide attempt, I didn't have the mindfulness to realize the same.  When I was ostracized by my peers for looking different (I had odd dark patches of skin because of chemotherapy)... 

Wow.  It feels good to say that.  "I deserved better"... just wow... I think I need to hear that more often.  I'll need to be careful not to overdo it, take things for granted but yeah... sometimes, I probably deserve less blame/shame in general.

Darn, every message from you is a waterfall of inspiration! Thanks for sharing this ❤️

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  • 1 month later...

Day -1 — I'm Not Lazy

As the ambiguous nature of "Day -1" and "Day ???" imply, I haven't been "sober" for the past couple of months.  Even with my PC broken, I've spent many hours playing games on my phone.  Consequently, I've been neglecting to do acts of self-care... but how accountable for this am I really?  It's not like I haven't done anything, maybe I'm just not giving myself credit where it's due, and chastising myself where it's unsuitable.

I started reading this book called Laziness Does Not Exist by Devon Price.  If I understand correctly, the author argues that a significant part of western culture, conditions many of us to priorities productivity over wellbeing (i.e. hustle culture); to the point where many of us harshly shame and excessively scrutinize ourselves and each other for having biological limits.  At the core of every behavorial/cultural pattern, I think it's fair to assume, there is a set of values/beliefs that enable and sustain it.  In this case, the author the following set dubbed "The Laziness Lie":

* Your worth is your productivity.

* You cannot trust your own feelings and limits.

* There is always more you could be doing.

I'm still early in the book but it was explicitely stated that "wasting time" is a basic human need, that we ought to be more compassionate; acknowledging our own and other people's limits.

With that in mind, my relapse over the past couple of months... I can't pin it on one cause but for now at least, I'm not able to be as "productive" as our system enforces.  When I take the time to listen to my body and mental queues, throughout the day I'm anxious and frustrated, and by the end of it I'm tired and lonely.  The pressure to keep up this 40h/week on top of putting in the work to overcome my physical and mental health issues... no wonder I'm having so many urges to "escape".

All that said, that's a bit of pressure of my shoulders.  I'm still valuable, despite my limitations.  What I did do wasn't easy for me and shouldn't be taken for granted.  I did my best and that's enough for me.  I don't need to hide, I don't need to "escape".  What I really need is more time to effectively rest and self-care, and that's ok.  It's noon here and I'm going back to bed now.  Peace!

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The problem is at the present point in time, there appears to be no opportunity to have a balanced life. Its just too much work.

That’s why activities that free the mind are so important. Take boxing for example, I forget everything else in the world when I am in front of a punching bag and the bell rings. 

In fact remembering my personal successes in sport gives me motivation in fulfilling all of my other duties.

 

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3 hours ago, Amphibian220 said:

[...] remembering my personal successes in sport gives me motivation in fulfilling all of my other duties.

That, IMO, highlights one the difference between a healty dose of "escapism" and the not so healthy kind.  Without that last statement, it's hard to determine whether your approach to boxing is wiser than my approach to gaming was.  When you're boxing, as you describe, it does more to you than just help you "forget everything else", it also helps you boost your sense of self-worth (i.e., self-esteem).

I wasn't kidding about going back to bed at noon in my last post; I was tired.  However, it wasn't just the comfort of my bed that was soothing, it was the thought that what I was doing was "right", that I deserved a break, that my wellbeing, and by extention my very being, are valuable to me even if they aren't being comodified.  I believe this element of intrinsic "escape" is far more beneficial than the extrinsic ones.  It's the thoughts and feelings (consious or not) that come to mind during and after our actions that really make the difference.

Trying to cultivate these positive thoughts and feelings (intrinsic rewards) would be a wise thing for me to do.  I'm going to do an act of self-care now along this line.  So  thank you for replying.  This isn't always a given but the line of thought it ended up assissting me down, could be beneficial in the long run.

Keep doing what you're doing comerade.  Peace out.

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"many of us harshly shame and excessively scrutinize ourselves and each other for having biological limits.  At the core of every behavorial/cultural pattern, I think it's fair to assume, there is a set of values/beliefs that enable and sustain it".

What I witnessed about this during my professional career, is that "values and expectations" can exert pressure that actually begins to compromise people's principles.

Gaming can be an escape from an underlying problem but it also makes you think that avoiding issues is the new normality. I think that gamers have poorly established boundaries because gaming disconnects them from awareness about their needs. As you are phasing out gaming you are becoming more aware of the problems that require solving. This may appear daunting at first, but start moving at your pace and find trustworthy people. What I remember is that the consistent piece meal approach is the only way to master something.

For me, I started becoming aware that sometimes people may act rudely or take advantage of me. When gaming was my number one activity, as strange as it may sound I missed these cues. At first I would experience rage from noticing such things, but then I realised that actually, with more introspection and following good examples, you can establish confidence, self-esteem and an ability to set boundaries and stop people where necessary in a healthy way.

This may be a very long post.

Edited by Amphibian220
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  • 2 months later...

I just learned that I have cancer.  It's an oral cancer.  I have a small tumor in my lower lip.  It's rather painful.  They're going to surgically remove it in the coming weeks.  Hopefully it all goes well. 

This isn't the first time I have cancer.  Last time was worst.  Still, it's a freakin' another bitch slap to the face I would've rather avoided.  It's hard to be satisfied with life when you're in pain. 

Anyways... I'm not giving up.  There's still hope.  Wish me luck comerades.

Peace out.

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  • 1 year later...

Just a Rant

TW: Major Depression and what it might entail

2023 has been a shit year for a lot of people.  I don't believe my circumstances are some of the worst out there.  I don't believe my grievances are worth the most attention.  Still, I feel this urge to express myself, hoping someone can hear me out and validate my pain/suffering before suggesting I feel any differently - as if there was an easy way to instantly achieve that.  It's an emotional need I suspect a lot of people these days - given the atomization of modern living - haven't been getting.  So, thank you in advance if you so much as take the time to read this, let alone those that take the time to tell me "It's ok to feel the way you do".

My last post gives you a glance at the morbid context in my personal life as I entered 2023.  After countless delays with our underfunded & understaffed medical system, it took ~11 months for the surgery to finally happen.  In the post-surgery lab analysis report it was deemed that I didn't even have cancer, a false positive.  I had to pay 300+ CAD for the biopsy that gave me this false positive.  I was advised to choose between radiation and surgery, despite a conflicting secondary analysis of the biopsy, over a false positive.  I took medication for 3 months to rule out a potential fungal infection without any subsequent testing to confirm whether I indeed had cancer or not.  I went through surgery to the face (it was part of my lower lip) over a false positive.  For 11 months, with the ominous burden and that sense of powerlessness over it, I lost nearly all will to work, socialize, take care of myself, or even live (suicidal ideation) over a false positive.  So, pardon me if I didn't react chipperly to the "good news" with no formal apologies, no compensation.

When this period of my life all started, I was working part-time, trying my damn hardest to ramp back up to working full-time after a ~2 year long-term disability (mostly mental health) on top of the pandemic.  No surprise that this cancer hurdle kind of threw a wrench in those wheels of progress if you catch what I'm trying to say.  But here's the thing about neo-liberal capitalism: while you struggle, while you're at a disadvantage, the machine doesn't stop turning, it's not the machine's responsibility to make sure every cog's needs are met.  You are still expected to work work work, and the cost of living keeps going up up up, which makes it harder and harder to not feel down, down, down.  The cost of psychotherapy went up.  The cost of food went up.  The cost of transit services (public or private) went up.  The cost of rent went up.  My wage?  Well, it increased by a massive 0%!  The benefits that barely cover ~10% of my psychotherapy costs?  Those went up a massive 0% too!  My yearly office job bonus?  Oh, I only get 25% of that, before taxes!  According to the Canada Revenu Agency, the cost of living in Ontario went up by ~3.3% in 2023.  In my case, my rent is poised to go up ~6% (this is more than twice over the government "guidelines").  I feel so welcome by this new team that I'm in where no one ever talks to me, where I get little to no feedback on my work.  This team with toxic coworkers who believe women are inferior and that kids need a "good" beating but it's ok because they work full-time.

Did I mention how shitty my holidays were?  How much my mom demands that I feel a certain way?  How I didn't get to spend any quality 1 on 1 time with my cousins, aunts, and uncles?  How my mom doesn't live in my hometown anymore so I don't even get to see my childhood friends during the holidays anymore?

*sigh* It seems crazy to me how I'm expected to be "high functioning" throughout all this.  Of course, I'm nearly completely submerged in gaming.  the way that I game, it's my escape, my drug of choice, if you catch my drift.  It's easier to live another day when you don't think when you're distracted.  That's all I need to do right?  Live another day?  If you want to call it "living"... every day I tell myself "Tomorrow is the day.  Tomorrow I will get up on time.  Go to the office, actually get something done." but that day never comes.  I can "work from home" but just sitting there is agonizing.  I guess that's what they mean when people say they hate their job.  There were always tasks I didn't like but now it's everything.  I don't think quitting and getting another job is the solution either.  While the change may feel good for a while, eventually I will end up feeling the same way.  The problem is that there's no place for half-able, "divergent" people like me.  The possibility of eventual complete disability terrifies me even more.  I can still afford to live like this for a few more months, perhaps a year before I have to start selling off possessions.  Maybe I will have a breakthrough before then, maybe tomorrow, just not today...

If you read this, thank you so much for hearing me out.  If I could, I would hug you (if that's ok with you of course).  I hope you are doing well and if not well... we're in a similar place in our minds, my friend, and it makes sense to that we feel this way.  Good luck going forward.

Peace out.

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Hey!

So sorry you have not been feeling well, and that so many systemic and personal issues have all come together (as it often happens). Your frustration is so valid, and so are the ways you are angry at your job, family, housing... 

Recently, I finished reading "The Future Is Disabled", which was a very comforting book for me. Though I am not disabled or diagnosed as neurodivergent, I simply don't function like a lot of people do. That book validated and resonated with so many of my experiences of being misunderstood, excluded, unaccepted. 

Have you considered moving for a community rather than a job? At my first-ever job, I am discovering how little, too, I care for the work I do, but so much more about where I live and whom I connect with. My current job isn't the right people, and the surrounding community isn't cutting it either. 

I don't care where I'll go next career-wise, but I know I want a community that sees me, at work AND at home.

Good to hear from you,

Po

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On 1/11/2024 at 7:15 AM, pdallair91 said:

Just a Rant

TW: Major Depression and what it might entail

2023 has been a shit year for a lot of people.  I don't believe my circumstances are some of the worst out there.  I don't believe my grievances are worth the most attention.  Still, I feel this urge to express myself, hoping someone can hear me out and validate my pain/suffering before suggesting I feel any differently - as if there was an easy way to instantly achieve that.  It's an emotional need I suspect a lot of people these days - given the atomization of modern living - haven't been getting.  So, thank you in advance if you so much as take the time to read this, let alone those that take the time to tell me "It's ok to feel the way you do".

My last post gives you a glance at the morbid context in my personal life as I entered 2023.  After countless delays with our underfunded & understaffed medical system, it took ~11 months for the surgery to finally happen.  In the post-surgery lab analysis report it was deemed that I didn't even have cancer, a false positive.  I had to pay 300+ CAD for the biopsy that gave me this false positive.  I was advised to choose between radiation and surgery, despite a conflicting secondary analysis of the biopsy, over a false positive.  I took medication for 3 months to rule out a potential fungal infection without any subsequent testing to confirm whether I indeed had cancer or not.  I went through surgery to the face (it was part of my lower lip) over a false positive.  For 11 months, with the ominous burden and that sense of powerlessness over it, I lost nearly all will to work, socialize, take care of myself, or even live (suicidal ideation) over a false positive.  So, pardon me if I didn't react chipperly to the "good news" with no formal apologies, no compensation.

When this period of my life all started, I was working part-time, trying my damn hardest to ramp back up to working full-time after a ~2 year long-term disability (mostly mental health) on top of the pandemic.  No surprise that this cancer hurdle kind of threw a wrench in those wheels of progress if you catch what I'm trying to say.  But here's the thing about neo-liberal capitalism: while you struggle, while you're at a disadvantage, the machine doesn't stop turning, it's not the machine's responsibility to make sure every cog's needs are met.  You are still expected to work work work, and the cost of living keeps going up up up, which makes it harder and harder to not feel down, down, down.  The cost of psychotherapy went up.  The cost of food went up.  The cost of transit services (public or private) went up.  The cost of rent went up.  My wage?  Well, it increased by a massive 0%!  The benefits that barely cover ~10% of my psychotherapy costs?  Those went up a massive 0% too!  My yearly office job bonus?  Oh, I only get 25% of that, before taxes!  According to the Canada Revenu Agency, the cost of living in Ontario went up by ~3.3% in 2023.  In my case, my rent is poised to go up ~6% (this is more than twice over the government "guidelines").  I feel so welcome by this new team that I'm in where no one ever talks to me, where I get little to no feedback on my work.  This team with toxic coworkers who believe women are inferior and that kids need a "good" beating but it's ok because they work full-time.

Did I mention how shitty my holidays were?  How much my mom demands that I feel a certain way?  How I didn't get to spend any quality 1 on 1 time with my cousins, aunts, and uncles?  How my mom doesn't live in my hometown anymore so I don't even get to see my childhood friends during the holidays anymore?

*sigh* It seems crazy to me how I'm expected to be "high functioning" throughout all this.  Of course, I'm nearly completely submerged in gaming.  the way that I game, it's my escape, my drug of choice, if you catch my drift.  It's easier to live another day when you don't think when you're distracted.  That's all I need to do right?  Live another day?  If you want to call it "living"... every day I tell myself "Tomorrow is the day.  Tomorrow I will get up on time.  Go to the office, actually get something done." but that day never comes.  I can "work from home" but just sitting there is agonizing.  I guess that's what they mean when people say they hate their job.  There were always tasks I didn't like but now it's everything.  I don't think quitting and getting another job is the solution either.  While the change may feel good for a while, eventually I will end up feeling the same way.  The problem is that there's no place for half-able, "divergent" people like me.  The possibility of eventual complete disability terrifies me even more.  I can still afford to live like this for a few more months, perhaps a year before I have to start selling off possessions.  Maybe I will have a breakthrough before then, maybe tomorrow, just not today...

If you read this, thank you so much for hearing me out.  If I could, I would hug you (if that's ok with you of course).  I hope you are doing well and if not well... we're in a similar place in our minds, my friend, and it makes sense to that we feel this way.  Good luck going forward.

Peace out.

The recommendation (if I read it right) of community in Po's above reply was a good one. In 2023 last year, I spent half of my time gaming and the other half looking for work in my preferred industry. But in that industry, and a few suburbs away, I was really going for community as well. Basically, being with people who care about similar things and want to hear pretty much everything you've got to say about it, in the hope of one or all parties growing as people. I was lucky enough to be welcomed back into that suburban community for bi-monthly visits all year, when I had it in me.

I too think that gaming as a distraction is mainly the biggest issue. Being a bit of a word/vocabulary-lover due to the way my parents always spoke to me, I spent half of my early gaming history trolling to elevate my ego, which had been near-crushed by my parents' divorce. In the later years, it was like a reward that I let eat into too many hours that I knew could be better spent. I didn't mind, because sometimes (just sometimes) it made me a better/happier person - until the end of the morning/night of the day/week/month/whenever I realised the opportunity cost.

____________________________

I choose to believe that a large proportion of gamers are or were very good people, when not in the grip of addiction. Sometimes, the offline world was good enough to convince me that I didn't have a problem. You've got a real down-to-earth speaking style, probably partly due to your suffering, but know that it's appreciated. My parents have spent half of their lives working in IT, and I think working with that a lot makes it tougher to be a truly social being. It's always nice to see older members than me return to posting here, so thank you, and props on the effort you made in your entry. 

I am open to trading habit ideas in the GQ forum PMs mostly whenever. Peace, indeed!

~ Matt

Edited by wheatbiscuit
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Patrick welcome back!

Do you sometimes feel you lack a healthy pressure release to feel relieved?

I thought about preventing rumination and found out that it either has to be a challenging job or an academic project, or a difficult team to beat in training.

When I was at uni, I was afraid of losing at soccer, so much so that all the worrying about other issues didn't carry any weight. 

Why do we have to frequently worry of all the things that can go wrong? This kind of knowledge just takes us out. 

I think believing in your power of action and consistency can prove that things that appear to be out of control are not worth thinking over.

Edited by Amphibian220
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I don't have any wise words to add to the above, but I just want to say... I hear you. That sounds like a horrible experience, made even more difficult by not having supportive people around you. I hope 2024 goes better for you.

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On 1/10/2024 at 9:15 PM, pdallair91 said:

My last post gives you a glance at the morbid context in my personal life as I entered 2023.  After countless delays with our underfunded & understaffed medical system, it took ~11 months for the surgery to finally happen.  In the post-surgery lab analysis report it was deemed that I didn't even have cancer, a false positive.  I had to pay 300+ CAD for the biopsy that gave me this false positive.  I was advised to choose between radiation and surgery, despite a conflicting secondary analysis of the biopsy, over a false positive.  I took medication for 3 months to rule out a potential fungal infection without any subsequent testing to confirm whether I indeed had cancer or not.  I went through surgery to the face (it was part of my lower lip) over a false positive.  For 11 months, with the ominous burden and that sense of powerlessness over it, I lost nearly all will to work, socialize, take care of myself, or even live (suicidal ideation) over a false positive.  So, pardon me if I didn't react chipperly to the "good news" with no formal apologies, no compensation.

That's terrible and I understand your frustration with the system. I also understand the "non-joy" you've experienced. I can relate to it with a recent occasion of my own, though it was much less serious:

The story was that an anonymous guy read a parking sign wrong (under which was my car) and he called a policeman. I got a 12€ fine, though I believed that there was no mistake on my part. I got that confirmed by my former (though still active) driving instructor and his friend whose job it is to process tickets. I could appeal the fine, though under the risk that if I lose the appeal, I would need to pay another 40€ on top of the 12€ fine. I also had to attend a hearing where a city clerk tried to coerce me to plead guilty to pay the original 12€ fine without the appeal.

My appeal was ultimately successful. The same policeman who gave me the time said at the appeal the parking signs on that spot are not clear and that the district is working on the replacement of the sign. Knowing all that, he still chose to make my life harder and spend some 5 hours of my time, not considering the time of my friend and my friend's friend.

I didn't get any compensation or apology either. I don't know if you can sue the (I assume?) state-run hospital in any way, but from my experience it's much more debilitating to fight the state/government/city etc. than a private company, if you believe you've been wronged. 

On 1/10/2024 at 9:15 PM, pdallair91 said:

When this period of my life all started, I was working part-time, trying my damn hardest to ramp back up to working full-time after a ~2 year long-term disability (mostly mental health) on top of the pandemic.  No surprise that this cancer hurdle kind of threw a wrench in those wheels of progress if you catch what I'm trying to say.  But here's the thing about neo-liberal capitalism: while you struggle, while you're at a disadvantage, the machine doesn't stop turning, it's not the machine's responsibility to make sure every cog's needs are met.  You are still expected to work work work, and the cost of living keeps going up up up, which makes it harder and harder to not feel down, down, down.  The cost of psychotherapy went up.  The cost of food went up.  The cost of transit services (public or private) went up.  The cost of rent went up.  My wage?  Well, it increased by a massive 0%!  The benefits that barely cover ~10% of my psychotherapy costs?  Those went up a massive 0% too!  My yearly office job bonus?  Oh, I only get 25% of that, before taxes!  According to the Canada Revenu Agency, the cost of living in Ontario went up by ~3.3% in 2023.  In my case, my rent is poised to go up ~6% (this is more than twice over the government "guidelines").  I feel so welcome by this new team that I'm in where no one ever talks to me, where I get little to no feedback on my work.  This team with toxic coworkers who believe women are inferior and that kids need a "good" beating but it's ok because they work full-time.

I was gonna let the "overworked hospital" paragraph above slide, relate a bit and not get into economics. I'll state my point at the end though. I find it puzzling that you blame "neo-liberal capitalism". Maybe you could blame anything for the state of your life at this point; I don't know and I don't know what I would have blamed myself some 5 years ago before I quit gaming. Regardless, my point is, Canadian tax freedom day for 2023 was June 19, meaning (in a very simplified way) nearly 50% of your income goes into the hands of the government. For that, you get a mixed package of things: paid holidays (good), benefits for psychotherapy (OK - at least something), understaffed hospitals that make mistakes like in your case (horrible - capable of mentally weighing you down for a year) etc. I honestly find it depressing that you have paid every second dollar for the government and now they refuse to help you in any meaningful way and even wronged you so badly.

Governments aren't only about social justice and helping people in need. 1/3 of people in my country vote for a party of an oligarch who controls a big portion of the agricultural production in the country, media brands, formerly literally bribed pensioners with an "extra pension payment" etc. Collusion between government, "too big to punish" oligarchs and their other friends (legal criminals) is the problem.

There's hardly any official/government-level awareness or recognition of harmful gaming or digital well-being in my country. And even if there was some "free" (taxpayer paid) program, you still have to 1) become aware that you have a problem and have the motivation to deal with it, 2) find the said government program and 3) take advantage of it. I think many people would be much happier if they paid less in direct or hidden taxes and would have more freedom to spend it on the causes/problems of their choice. I believe in exercising personal responsibility to the fullest extent.

On 1/10/2024 at 9:15 PM, pdallair91 said:

*sigh* It seems crazy to me how I'm expected to be "high functioning" throughout all this.  Of course, I'm nearly completely submerged in gaming.  the way that I game, it's my escape, my drug of choice, if you catch my drift.  It's easier to live another day when you don't think when you're distracted.  That's all I need to do right?  Live another day?  If you want to call it "living"... every day I tell myself "Tomorrow is the day.  Tomorrow I will get up on time.  Go to the office, actually get something done." but that day never comes.  I can "work from home" but just sitting there is agonizing.  I guess that's what they mean when people say they hate their job.  There were always tasks I didn't like but now it's everything.  I don't think quitting and getting another job is the solution either.  While the change may feel good for a while, eventually I will end up feeling the same way.  The problem is that there's no place for half-able, "divergent" people like me.  The possibility of eventual complete disability terrifies me even more.  I can still afford to live like this for a few more months, perhaps a year before I have to start selling off possessions.  Maybe I will have a breakthrough before then, maybe tomorrow, just not today...

Circling back from responsibility to gaming; getting addicted to games from the age of 14 until the age of 21 was maybe not my fault, but it was my responsibility to do something about it. I felt exactly the way you I highlighted in bold 5 years ago. I don't think it was even about how much money I had at the time either; I had more than enough to live off of for a year or two as well. I just felt that gaming all day was not the way to live, that there was more to life and that there were better things to live for. Others - friends, family, coworkers, government - can't make the decision "to live" for you.

I'm not going to babble about other things myself, but I wanted to mention that @Pochatok and @wheatbiscuit make excellent points about having a good community of people around you. Find somebody you can stand talking to and just be with them. @Amphibian220 mentions individual action, which is also a great point.

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Thank you for all the replies folks.  I appreciate how you have accepted the way I feel, even if we don't always agree on the causes.

I haven't quit gaming yet but I'm contemplating it (again).  I tried to quit last weekend but it was an impulsive, ill-prepared, half-assed attempt (I still played a mobile game and didn't plan to cope with stronger cravings).  Still, it's a good sign that I am catching a glimpse of a way out of this cycle.  I think I have the mindfulness to detect and observe (introspection) when I experience cravings but I am still developing the wisdom to cope with them.  This weekend, I had a small breakthrough by accepting the cravings in a non-judgemental manner.  I mustn't judge my feelings, if not so far as my entire being, as "bad".  Aversion to the things we cannot avoid can be just as toxic as clinging to the things we cannot have; 2 sides of the same coin IMO.

I think I caved in at some point because I wasn't able to understand what my subconscious was trying to fulfill; in other words, what were these cravings hoping to achieve, to compensate for?  It's difficult to think logically about this in the middle of it all but in hindsight, I believe I was attempting to compensate for the lack of validation/appreciation in my life.  As I've probably mentioned several times, one of my big problems is that I instinctively rely too heavily on extrinsic sources of validation, which aren't always available (like people) or even effective (like games).  It seems reasonable to assume that appreciating, valuing, and loving my thoughts, actions, and very being more could appease some of these cravings.

It took me a significant amount of effort to conclude as stated above, even in the relatively calm setting I am in now.  It would be irrational to assume I will come to the same conclusion in the middle of an "episode".  I would probably benefit from taking a little bit of time to deliberately practice more gratitude, and kindness towards myself when I can.  Daily gratitude journaling seemed helpful many years ago, perhaps I should try resuming that again.  Then there's loving-kindness meditation and self-affirmations.  Hopefully, over time, I will find it less daunting to accept and appease my cravings, from time to time.

Again, thank you for all the replies folks.  It pleases me that my post got more attention than I was expecting.

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  • 1 month later...

4 Days In - More Auto-Saves Please

I have been ~96 hours "sober".  I experience cravings multiple times throughout the day.  A combination of triggers: marketing (ads, and "recommended" content), sometimes triggered by routine, and sometimes triggered by discomfort.  I'm experiencing some now because of the former and the latter.

I logged into work this morning (I work from home 99% of the time) and found that most of the products of several hours of work I did last week disappeared.  I was writing/documenting my work extensively on a web "ticket" (JIRA, for those familiar with the platform) and forgot to click "save".  It's freaking 2024 and I still have to explicitly click "save" from time to time.  Usually, I come back the next day, and my "draft" is still available but for whatever reason, this one was completely lost over the weekend.  Whatever...

I was sitting there, failing to find "the point" in putting in so much effort; how I was unlikely to receive any feedback down the line unless something broke; how I didn't even get a raise to match inflation for all my effort last year.  I wanted a distraction, so I turned to YouTube, and find the "recommended videos" list filled to the brim with videos about games I have quit playing recently.  The effort I put into killing enemies, building a base, etc. as pointless as it also is, at least gets fuckin' auto-saved in these modern games.

*sigh* ... I came here to rant instead of giving in.  I can congratulate myself for not giving in completely, not relapsing, at least.  I'll get back to work after lunch.  I think I'm just going to turn in what I have done so far.  It's flawed but it works and I'm at my limits, I need to move on.

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20 hours ago, pdallair91 said:

marketing (ads, and "recommended" content)

Hey! Something that really helped me was switching to a more private browser (brave) or just turning various metadata off on chrome (ad tracking), combined w/ re-routing my social/game cravings into things more aligned w/ my values (only game I'd play would be a visual novel on a topic that really matters to me, or an unexciting, intellectual strategy game). I restructured my YouTube subscriptions, twitter feed, and Insta follows. 

--

Beside that, I'm sorry you're stuck at such an isolated and un-rewarding work environment. I would be (and am, kind of) experiencing cravings too- it's not a healthy space to be in. Regardless of what comes your way, I'm happy to see how much you care for yourself.

Po

 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Preparing to Try Again

I ended up relapsing (to some degree) on the morrow of my last post.  I don't remember a particular event that triggered me, just reaching the end of my emotional tolerance.  I have a personal journal entry that reflects the state of mind I was in at the moment I gave in and I will see what I can extrapolate from it and what I can learn from it. 

It would've been possible to recover sooner but 2 days later I had a new medical emergency that shook me a bit.  I rushed to my local emergency clinic.  After 8-9 hours of wait time was diagnosed with Bell's palsy - half of my face is paralyzed due to temporary nerve damage.  It was a relief that it wasn't a more serious neurological issue.  Still, I had a special event I wanted to attend that upcoming weekend that I had to sit out of.  The next weekend (the one that just passed), I had to cancel another attendance at a special event because of an eye infection (I am prone to these because of my dry eye syndrome). 

The physical effects are tolerable, from home at least but I can't deny the psychological impact.  At times, I do feel like I am cursed, like a bad genetic role at birth or something, given all my medical issues.  I know I'm not the only one and some people have it worse but yeah, most people don't have as many medical issues as I have at this age.  So, I had a minor emotional meltdown yesterday.  I was so angry and sad.  I happened to have a session with my psychologist and he recommended that I take this week off - he even gave me a signed letter in case I needed to show it to my manager.  So, yeah... I'm taking this week off. 

Still, I can't just sit here and use this an excuse to just play more games.  First of all, I have to do everything in my power to recover from the eye infection, and staring at screens doesn't help.  Second, what can I do to feel less tired and frustrated going forward?  I just want to enjoy life more, you know what I'm saying?  I don't know exactly what I need to change but I have to change something(s) to get out of this depression.  I know gaming the way I do is one of those things I need to change.  I'm not quitting today exactly, I need to think about this more, unpack theories on why I relapse, and what I can maybe do to improve my avoidance of or recovery from another relapse.  I have some ideas... I feel like I am close to a kernel of wisdom I need to learn (or simply remember).  I will try to come back and post about it here tomorrow or the day after.

Anyway, I'm glad I have an account here and made all these journal entries.  I'm glad I had all these replies from some of you folks.  Thank you so much for the support, it's the main reason why I keep coming back from time to time, giving myself another chance.  I have a personal journal entry that reflects the state of mind I was in at the moment I gave in and I will see what I can extrapolate from it and what I can learn from it.

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Damn, that sucks to have back-to-back medical issues! A friend had Bell's palsy last year, and even though for her it improved after a couple of months, it's still a really scary thing to happen.

Regarding the issue with "recommended videos", I recommend the Chrome extension UnDistracted. It can specifically hide recommendations, so you can still use the website, but you end up only watching videos that you were specifically seeking out. It's drastically cut down my YouTube watching time, without me having to actually block YouTube (and then inevitably sometimes unblock it because sometimes there is information I need that I can only find in video form). It can do similar things to Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn and Netflix. I don't know if there is an equivalent phone app, but it's worth looking into.

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Hi @pdallair91.  I recently came back to these forums after a long absence.  I haven't read through all your journal entries but for the last few that I have read through I wanted to commend you for your vulnerability in sharing everything that you are going through.  I found inspiration from it so keep up the excellent work - its helping others in ways you might not imagine.

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Posted (edited)

Journey to the Western Hemisphere (i.e., Self-Reflection): Why Do I Relapse?

Alrighty, so... here's the journal entry I made immediately before my latest relapse:

TW: Not too dark but does glorify instant gratification a bit.  Maybe skip this if you feel vulnerable to temptation now.

Quote

I don't want to quit gaming.  I don't want to live more "neutral" sensations.  At least, not yet.  I want to "play", I want to feel "pleasure".  Is it really possible to stop wanting that?  I really wish there was a way to measure how much I have/am experiencing and how much I need.

Perhaps, with some cognitive effort, I can shift where I draw the line between work/chores and play/hobbies so that it doesn't feel like video games are the only kind of "play" I can experience on my own.  But what is "play"?  It's not like it doesn't require energy/labor, it's the amount of pleasure we get out of it the hedonic output so to speak, that characterizes it.

It ends abruptly there and it wouldn't have been unlike me to say "fuck it" and start indulging.  For those who don't know me, I suffer from borderline personality disorder.  What this means and what I find is reflected here is that I intuitively stray from the "balanced" perspective ("wise mind" in dialectical behavior therapy [i.e., DBT] or the "middle path" in spiritual lingo).  I tend to either shut out my emotions too much (in DBT they call this "rational mind" but I prefer calling it "mechanical/industrial mind") or give in to my emotions too much ("emotional mind" in DBT or what I like to call "impulsive/animal mind").  I think that after neglecting - if not downright chastising - my desire for pleasure too much for 4-5 days, I flipped to the indulgence side, skipping a compromise.  I was on the right path in the second paragraph, questioning my urges, my perspective, assumptions, etc. ... my emotions won overall control in the end but I wasn't too far off from "succeeding".  So, what was missing?

I'm not very skilled at identifying what my needs are and how to fulfill themMaslow's Hierarchy of needs comes to mind:

  • Basic Needs
    • Physiological
    • Safety
  • Psychological Needs
    • Belonging
    • Esteem
  • Self-Fulfillment Needs
    • Self-Actualization

One thing is certain to me, as is reflected in the first paragraph of the journal entry I shared: my desire for gratification/validation drastically outweighs the amount I am getting overall.  I guess you could say where I am the most lacking is in psychological fulfillment; i.e., having my psychological needs met.  It's hard to say why. is it that I desire too much?  Is it that I'm not getting the right kind or amount from extrinsic sources?  Is it that I am not intrinsically mustering enough for myself?  Could it be that I am not recognizing and accepting from available sources of gratification/validation?  Could it be, ALL OF THE ABOVE!? ... Probably, yeah...

Ooof that's a lot of tough questions.  I've been sitting here for like >2 hours and a new but very familiar neglected physiological need is arising: Hunger!  I will attend to this need now.  better late than never.  I will digest these thoughts (and my meal) and come back tomorrow.  I want to explore how my gaming fits into all of this, why it isn't enough, and where else I can look.

P.S. Thank you so much for the feedback @Vee and @LevelUp. 🙂 I was having a bad morning but coming here and seeing this support lightened the mood.

Edited by pdallair91
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Psychological Needs

First of all, a little bit on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.  It is a motivational theory in psychology; a model - a coherent set of ideas/principles - that attempts to explain what motivates (i.e., compelles) people to act the way they do.  There is more than one theory on this topic, of course, human psychology is a relatively young and nuanced field of study.  One can approach the same problem from many different angles so to speak and so far there doesn't seem to be an all-encompassing one.

Second, the "hierarchical" nature of the theory is more fluid than hierarchies are typically seen as.  You don't have to fully fulfill your basic needs before experiencing motivation to fulfill psychological ones.  However, a deficit in having lower/base needs met does tend to affect our motivation more than a deficit in higher/complex needs.  It's also very likely that one motivation is affected by multiple different types of deficits to varying degrees.  For example, people tackling medical issues often experience an identity/existential crisis of the sort in tandem with the ongoing or anticipated physical pain and suffering.  On the other hand, just because I have several chronic conditions, I can expect some motivation to work on other needs, in between "flare-ups" and "mishaps" at least.

Finally, I chose to use Maslow's theory in a rather arbitrary/instinctive manner; i.e., I didn't thoroughly educate myself on it or any other theory before choosing it.  I'm not an expert at all and I didn't consult one either.  This is 100% my opinion based on a very limited understanding.  I'm just trying to make sense of my thoughts, feelings, and behavior for my practical purposes at this time.  At other times I may find other motivational theories more practical.

So... what are my psychological needs and how does my version of gaming fit (likely inadequately)?

Belonging

It's no secret that I am not part of any club/activity group at the moment, I'm not taking any classes, nor do I go out to social venues hoping to meet new people.  I also work from home 99% of the time, with little to no feedback, after being forced to change teams mid 2023.  At the moment, my only regular social activity is having that 1 friend over every Saturday.  I would probably go insane without that friend.  It hurts when one of us has to cancel.  I think my general mood (frustration and sadness) is well demonstrated by the following song: Lonely Day by System Of A Down.

I always struggled to nurture this sense of belonging.  It feels daunting just to make plans and following through often leaves me feeling exhausted and disatisfied.   What I crave, I suppose, is reliable intimacy and affection, something I shouldn't expect right from the beginning in my culture.  It takes time to build bonds.  It's almost like you have to "just be there" when someone is accidentally vulnerable to prove you won't take advantage of them.  IDK, maybe most people just don't feel the need to be heard and valued as strongly as I do. ... *sigh*... it takes time but it's possible.

Video games... at least the way that I engage with them, don't do that for me.  I mostly play single-player games, sometimes deliberately distracting myself from the loneliness.  Occasionally, I will "bond" with someone over similar feelings we've had playing similar (if not the same) games, I think that's the social aspect I'm afraid to miss out on.  Video games are such a ubiquitous part of our culture now that it's easy to find people who have had similar experiences as you.  You don't even have to ask, people have clothing, accessories, and decorations with video game artwork on them all the time.  Every other hobby I had has been more niche and less relatable.  Not that they are completely unrelatable, for example, I often find ways to compare my experiences playing and watching chess to that of sports.  Still, this is more difficult than just talking about stuff we are both intimately familiar with.  However, to deflate the value of gaming a bit, the modern experiences I share related to gaming are rarely "life-changing" to me, per se, nor has bin the sharing itself.  It's almost like I'm trying to hold on to this quick hack/excuse for any conversation, it's not all the time I spend playing games alone at home that brings me the most joy, it's when I get the chance to casually share my experience that I feel the most joy.

I need to go out more.  I've said this many times but yeah... I need to take the time to cultivate more experiences in other areas so that I can share them.  I need to meet people that I can share my experiences with.  I've already done this at other times in my life, to a lesser degree, in improv and board games.  To truly beat it, I need to persevere through the fear of rejection and abandonment, I need to prove my pessimistic assumptions wrong... I signed up for a casual improv night this week but I need to look into doing more activities.  I should try going to the office sometime this week as well.  It's much easier to strike up a casual conversation there than when I am at home.

Esteem

(To be continued...)

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I lost my job today.  I'm part of a "mass corporate layoff", so to speak. I'm at least getting a severance package, allegedly per the laws here (I don't know, I'm not a lawyer and I can't afford one).  The income from this should keep me afloat for at least 2 months and I am eligible for provincial unemployment "benefits" (i.e., "welfare"); though in my experience the latter isn't even enough to pay rent (let alone other living expenses).  I had a feeling this was coming and here it is.

I got an email yesterday at 4pm to go to this very important meeting (with DO NOT SHARE/FOWARD THIS in the fine print), in less than 24 hours, in "that room" - the big conference one on the 1st floor, away from cubicles, close to the entrance/exit - with no specific project even being mentioned in the email.  I was terrified and started to panic.  I thought I was going to get "fired" with no compensation, I cried and lamented my existence for a while, lying in bed.  I had just payed my credit card bill that day and realized I didn't have enough money to pay for another month of living expenses without cutting or selling off things even with my regular income.  I had some pretty dark thoughts that I won't get into... thankfully I was only partially right.  I am losing my job but with time to hopefully recover and find another one.  This might turn out to be a blessing, you never know.

I hated my job, or what it had become.  It just did not help me fulfill any of my psychological needs, and barely helped me fulfill my physical ones.  It's hard to feel safe, welcome, and valuable when you're finances have been dwindling for months. as you struggle with mental and physical health hurdles and get no raise to keep up with inflation.  I hope that my next job, or rather the people that I work with, will give me a better chance to feel more welcome and valuable.

There's no real lesson for me here.  Although I try to leave political ideology out of my posts here, you probably know I'm more "anti" than "pro" capitalism.  I was already disillusioned about the internal politics/competition and propaganda (shallow corporate "wokeness").  It doesn't matter how "good" of a person your manager and/or HR rep is, if upper management drops a ruling, they have to comply, no matter how arbitrary and unfair it might be.  In the end, all workers (people) are more expendable than the trending corporate stock value.  ~35-40 more people were laid off in the same meeting as me and the company reps expressed similar events happening in other departments and locations across the company.  I'm just guessing but this could be a solid ~5% cut to the workforce worldwide.  I'm lucky, in a sense, some people were in a more precarious position than I was.  Some complained that their temporary residency in this country depended on this job.  A woman, 6 or 7 months pregnant, complained that she was due to give birth just a few days after the "date of termination" she just learned about.  I hope the "severance package" these people receive is adapted in accordance with these needs.  I doubt it though.

Anyways... I'm gonna try to be careful and even though I haven't completely abstained yet, I will do my best to avoid going down the binge-gaming path.  I have some paperwork to do, and I have to go job hunting again soon while I can still afford to live.  Wish me luck fellows.

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On 3/26/2024 at 12:23 AM, pdallair91 said:

The physical effects are tolerable, from home at least but I can't deny the psychological impact.  At times, I do feel like I am cursed, like a bad genetic role at birth or something, given all my medical issues.  I know I'm not the only one and some people have it worse but yeah, most people don't have as many medical issues as I have at this age.  So, I had a minor emotional meltdown yesterday.  I was so angry and sad.  I happened to have a session with my psychologist and he recommended that I take this week off - he even gave me a signed letter in case I needed to show it to my manager.  So, yeah... I'm taking this week off. 

Given all the medical handicaps you have, I think it's just to give yourself a minute and recognize the fact that you've made it so far. Maybe you have bad genes, but you are still willing to fight the odds. That's courage.

On 4/1/2024 at 2:47 AM, pdallair91 said:

I always struggled to nurture this sense of belonging.  It feels daunting just to make plans and following through often leaves me feeling exhausted and disatisfied.   What I crave, I suppose, is reliable intimacy and affection, something I shouldn't expect right from the beginning in my culture.  It takes time to build bonds.  It's almost like you have to "just be there" when someone is accidentally vulnerable to prove you won't take advantage of them.  IDK, maybe most people just don't feel the need to be heard and valued as strongly as I do. ... *sigh*... it takes time but it's possible.

I need to go out more.  I've said this many times but yeah... I need to take the time to cultivate more experiences in other areas so that I can share them.  I need to meet people that I can share my experiences with.  I've already done this at other times in my life, to a lesser degree, in improv and board games.  To truly beat it, I need to persevere through the fear of rejection and abandonment, I need to prove my pessimistic assumptions wrong... I signed up for a casual improv night this week but I need to look into doing more activities.  I should try going to the office sometime this week as well.  It's much easier to strike up a casual conversation there than when I am at home.

 

22 hours ago, pdallair91 said:

Anyways... I'm gonna try to be careful and even though I haven't completely abstained yet, I will do my best to avoid going down the binge-gaming path.  I have some paperwork to do, and I have to go job hunting again soon while I can still afford to live.  Wish me luck fellows.

I think it's great that you decided on the social outlets and I hope you'll continue them even during your period of unemployment. Being alone is no good, especially during vulnerable and life-changing moments.

As for the practical things, I'd definitely check the work contract to find out more about the severance. If you think there's anything shady, you can consult a lawyer. I had doubts about the interpretation of a Czech legal document. I looked up some pro bono online lawyer consulting and they helped me out. All I paid was 4€ to check whether I needed to pay over 1000€ or not. Pretty good ROI if you ask me 😄

As for unemployment, there are the unemployment benefits, sure, but consider checking for other sources of welfare too. Czechia has a system, that if the expenses for housing exceed 1/3 of your total monthly income, the state covers some of the exceeding amount. I'm sure Canada will have something similar too.

Don't give up! Good luck.

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