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Hi, I'm Jesse and I'm 25 years old. I started gaming at around the age of 14 years when I was in high school. Back then I started to develop some bad habits; spending increasing amounts of time gaming and hiding how much I gamed. I did however have a proper structure in life; I went to school, I worked, played tennis, had a good amount of friends and learned to play guitar. In hindsight I definitely already showed some signs of an addiction, but due to the structure I had in my life it was not really an issue (yet).

After high school I went to study Business Economics in a new city, I left (almost) all my friends behind (which all went to different cities to study). I was quite anxious to build up a new life in a new city and instead of actually building something new, I turned to gaming. With no real structure and no external control (because I didn't life with my parents anymore) I rapidly started gaming more and more. My second year studying it got exponentially worse: colleges and tutorials were not obligated anymore, I did not like any of the courses I had in the first half year and my only roommate went abroad for his study for half a year, which meant I was alone. I spent almost every waking hour either gaming or watching game-related videos. I completely isolated myself from the world and got caught in a vicious circle where I would feel more and more ashamed -> Didn't want people to know how I lived -> Isolated myself -> Felt even more ashamed. I had periods where I started to feel better and started to do more things outside, but gaming always caught up with me again and the circle would begin again. Quitting meant I had to deal with how my life had turned out, so being in denial suited me better. I think I've downloaded and deleted steam about 90 to 100 times during my study, that's how much I struggled with the question whether I wanted to stop or not. The longest I managed to stop during this period was for 1 month. 

After being diagnosed with depression 1,5 years ago, I finally realized in march last year that gaming was an issue for me and that I needed to do something about it. I wanted to finish my thesis (and with that my study) and realized that it was not going to happen while I would still be gaming. I decided to do a 90 day detox, based on Game Quitters. I did however not stop watching gaming videos and in retrospect I did not do enough research or commit enough to really pull through. Despite that I managed to stop for 3 and a half months. But not much had changed, the last 1,5 month I had increasingly replaced gaming with Youtube and Netflix and I hit a roadblock on my thesis. And when I started gaming again, I immediately got pulled in again. My depression got worse again and I started seeing a new psychologist. One of the first things she said to me was that I was addicted (which none of my earlier psychologists had said). And that's when I finally really stopped being in denial. After 4 sessions with the psychologist I stopped gaming on November the 7th and I haven't gamed since. I guess I needed that recognition from someone other than my parents to really stop being in denial. Since then I'm slowly getting better. It is still difficult to put everything behind me and move on from the shame, but I'm positive that I will manage to. Despite having stopped gaming, I still struggle with managing Youtube and Netflix. In some aspects they serve the same purposes as gaming did for me: I use both to procrastinate, to hide for my emotions and to fight boredom. This is also the main reason I started the Game Quitters module: Despite not having gamed for 4.5 months, I haven't fully left that life behind yet and it is time that I did.

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7 hours ago, James Good said:

Our stories are so unbelievably similar it's almost scary haha

That's both nice to hear, to know I'm not the only one, and unfortunate to hear you went through a similar experience. But it seems you came out on the other end stronger (from what I've read so far), so that's good to see. 

7 hours ago, James Good said:

What exactly is it you're procrastinating from?

That's a very good question. Funny enough, I've discussed this with my psychologist about 2-3 weeks ago. I am procrastinating finishing my thesis (and with that my bachelor's degree) specifically. But ultimately I think I'm procrastinating leaving my safe bubble, to take back responsibility for my life and to move on. 

I have taken action since then though. I have had my most productive 3 weeks in 2 years time (with results) and I'm planning in a couple of hours every week where I try to figure out what I want to do when I finish my studies. 

Edit: Oh yeah, and I've blocked Youtube on all my devices now. I even let someone type in a random code for screen time on my phone and told them to forget it. So basically youtube is forever blocked on my phone and I can't download any new apps on my phone. My phone is once again only a functional device like it used to be back in the days, and I love it. 

Edited by Jesse
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35 minutes ago, Jesse said:

Edit: Oh yeah, and I've blocked Youtube on all my devices now. I even let someone type in a random code for screen time on my phone and told them to forget it. So basically youtube is forever blocked on my phone and I can't download any new apps on my phone. My phone is once again only a functional device like it used to be back in the days, and I love it. 

This is a good step. I've done something similar, at least in that I've eliminated all game- and movie-related channels from my feed on YouTube. There are still a few things I'll watch on YouTube, though, but I find I'm no longer sucked into it as I was, even last week.

Oh, to have a phone that's really just a phone!

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