I apologise in advance for the long rant up ahead.
Hi, I have only known about this subreddit on my other account for a day or two, but those minutes of scrolling through people's stories of their gaming addictions and whatnot have really opened up my eyes. You see, I started gaming around the age of 6, and at that point it was only a fun thing I used to do every so often. Since I didn't have my own device to use, i'd spend my days being very active and actually doing things as all children usually do. My family owned a PlayStation 3 and a Wii, and that was where i played most of my games, and even then was it mostly playing with my parents.
Then the time came when I needed to have my own device for school, and I got a standard iPad, nothing special. I still didn't really have a lot of games on it except for Minecraft and Roblox, but didn't play them very often as I enjoyed going outside and playing the piano more. Looking back at myself, I really envy the motivation and many hobbies that I had when I was younger, and I was rarely bored as well.
Things started to change around the age of 9-10, when my mum allowed me to use her MacBook, which was when I discovered both Club Penguin and Animal Jam. These were both browser games, where you could customise a whole bunch of stuff and go on missions/quests to defeat the enemies. To me this was really fun, as I had never really experienced anything like this before. Then my free time slowly started to be filled with more gaming, but it wasn't interfering with any of my school work, and I still had a limit to how long i would play for.
Around 6th grade I noticed something change. This isn't that related to gaming but will be important for what I will talk about after. Now, I started swimming at around the age of 8, and it was mainly just to make sure i wouldn't just randomly drown whenever I went to a place with water. It started as just normal lessons like those ones you would take for school, but then my mum moved me into squad swimming. Oh boy, these were so much more difficult than i was used to, but I kept on pushing through and kept training even more, to the point where it was now competitive swimming. Then, at one point, something must have just clicked in my head. Maybe it was to fact that initially i only started swimming for my safety, but a small hatred for it grew little by little. I no longer felt like pushing myself and didn't want to move up into higher levels of my club. It didn't help that my friends that I knew from my swimming classes started quitting one by one, and by that point i had lost all motivation for it. I started skipping lessons by getting dropped off at the pool, but staying in the lobby area until my parents were back to pick me up. And thus begins the downwards spiral of my life.
Currently i'm in 8th grade, and one of the only things that can make me happy nowadays is playing video games. I would also consider myself addicted to watching gaming videos too, but I usually only listen to them in the background while still doing productive stuff. At the start of the year I looked back at myself in year 7 and hated it. I thought of myself as an annoying, overexcited, naive girl, and that lowered my already existing self esteem even more. I did change, yes, but I am definitely more content with myself now compared to my past self, but that's only personality wise.
As all of you know, this covid situation made it so that students now need to learn online from home. I was quite excited for this new change at first, but that only lasted for a week or two. Suddenly, without realising, I started procrastinating on school work. Without there being a teacher watching over you to to if you were doing your work, there was really no way for them to check if you were actually learning during 'school times' or not. So I thought, "eh, I don’t really feel like doing the classwork now. I might as well do it later when I have the motivation". Little did I know that it was going to get so much work. It's not just school work I procrastinate on, I don't feel like practising my musical instruments (which i have been learning for 7-8 years), and I haven't exercised in around a month. My life is a mess, I know, and I am constantly leaving work and even important assignments to last minute.
But guess what I do when I am procrastinating? Playing video games. For me, they are an escape from my miserable world and something that just fills me with joy. I already suspect myself to have some sort of mental disorder, so anytime where i am not doing something, i feel extremely bored and my mind starts to wonder off into dark places. So any bit of time I can grab I put into gaming. Now I don't even feel like talking to my family, but I don’t know if that's to do with my gaming addiction or just something else.
The point is, video games is taking over my life, I know it. Even if it's just little by little, soon enough I will be so obsessed with it that I don’t even take care of myself anymore. Knowing that i'm not that much of an optimistic person, quite the opposite, I would just accept the fact and live how I am right now. But I truly believe that if I can find my motivation, and stop relying on video games as a coping mechanism for the reality I am destroying, I can live life as a happy person. It is not gonna be easy of course, since I have a really bad habit of procrastinating, but I really do not want to get too sucked into this sinkhole of just doing anything at all.
So from tomorrow onwards,Ii will try to stop gaming as much and do more productive things, such as pay attention in school. I won't restrict myself from gaming right away, instead slowly ease myself into spending less and less time playing video games. I also don't want to cut gaming out of my life completely since it is still very enjoyable, but definitely take care of my health and wellbeing first, and only play games in my spare time as a last resort. I hope that when I look back at this in the future, I can tell myself that i succeeded, and got rid of this nasty habit.
If you have made it this far and read through this whole text, thank you, and sorry if it isn't very polished as I am writing this on a whim. Any tips and suggestions you guys know would be greatly appreciated, and if anyone is in a similar situation to me, please let me know what strategies you are using to stop yourself from going back to video games.
Once again, thank you for your time, and from now on I will be posting updates on how things are going with these restrictions on video games and starting a new life, a real one, where I may truly find happiness in myself and not run away from my problems.
I also have a journal
that I will be writing in every so often, and I also suggest others to do the same.
Edit: just added some info