One major coping addiction I have had while recovering from bipolar was video gaming. Though I have played many games, the biggest culprit of them all was World of Warcraft, where I accumulated well over a year’s worth of playing time alone (yes, logged in and playing the game time, or /played). My video game addiction lasted for years, and I brought out two things from that: 1. I met a few fantastic people online as friends, 2. It kept me out of more serious trouble.
However, the aftermath is hard to deal with. I’ve always liked video games since I was a kid, and the more I played them, the more I wanted to play them as well. Feed 60-80 hours a week of game time for years and that desire to play grew uncontrollable. However, I do not wish to talk about breaking the addiction. I want to talk about where I’m at now.
On occasion, such as these past few days, I get bit by the video game bug. I came home from a wonderful trip out of state to visit my sister and was a little depressed about life after reality sunk in. I found myself playing a lot of video games and started to panic, as I didn’t want to end up back at square one. I decided today I needed to journal about all of this, first of all, and meditate second. Both seem to help and we’ll see how I maintain these next few weeks in avoiding too many video games.
Long sessions alone playing video games only has one benefit: Fun/escaping. However, when I play for a long time, the game can become mind-numbing and lose its appeal… yet I still keep on playing. However, the longer I play them the more nothing is accomplished. Nothing to put down on a resume, to share with other friends outside the game, and they cause many serious problems if left unchecked.
I need to remind myself some things about what happens when I let the video games spiral out of control:
-Breakdown in fitness and activity, poor health
-Stuck in the house a lot
-Lose friendships, shallow and strained relationships
-Lack of pursuing interests and writing
-I start to live in my own little world
-Disrupted routine, sleeping, and eating patterns
-My inability to move on in life
And, what do I want in life that video games could easily kill?
-Financial independence from my parents
-Continue pursuing my writing ambitions
-A steady routine
-The ability to travel and go places, to do and experience more
-Have good friends and relationships
-Enjoy everything that comes with health and fitness
-Self-discovery, personal development
I realize this is not true for some or perhaps most people who indulge in video games. It is a reality for me, however, and I must be careful. I have more self-restraint in this area than I give myself credit for. I just need to be wary and keep it under check.