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I try to be more productive (like working on my book) but when I'm stressed out, I tend to end up playing video games. Or even when I just want to relax. I accomplish in-game goals and feel like I "did" something in an activity where there is zero risk involved.

I see it as a complete waste of time and don't feel great about it, but I also enjoy it a lot. The thing is, it's something I spend tons of time on that contributes basically nothing to my life. The only good thing games have done for me is keep me in contact with other people (via multiplayer) when I normally wouldn't have talked to anybody at all, and involve me in online communities when I normally would have just not participated in anything. I also like "Sandbox" games so there's usually minimal plot involved, just me running around and collecting materials or building virtual houses or something.

What habits like this do you have? How do you rationalize spending so much time watching TV or playing games, and how do you feel about it?

I have time off from work for the holiday and was going to work on my book or do some artwork but here I am, playing video games instead.

I might run a multiplayer Terraria server, if anybody is interested.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Obviously motivation is the problem there, as it is with me. The way I look at it when you have depression and you don't have much motivation doing pretty much anything that keeps your mind busy is better than sitting down, struggling to do things and letting your mind wander.

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On 11/25/2016 at 2:31 PM, Bubble said:

I try to be more productive (like working on my book) but when I'm stressed out, I tend to end up playing video games. Or even when I just want to relax. I accomplish in-game goals and feel like I "did" something in an activity where there is zero risk involved.

I see it as a complete waste of time and don't feel great about it, but I also enjoy it a lot. The thing is, it's something I spend tons of time on that contributes basically nothing to my life. The only good thing games have done for me is keep me in contact with other people (via multiplayer) when I normally wouldn't have talked to anybody at all, and involve me in online communities when I normally would have just not participated in anything. I also like "Sandbox" games so there's usually minimal plot involved, just me running around and collecting materials or building virtual houses or something.

What habits like this do you have? How do you rationalize spending so much time watching TV or playing games, and how do you feel about it?

I've been working through basically the same thing. The conclusion I've come to with my tdoc and pdoc is basically what you already said, but in my words and working on it with them is this. While their are cons to playing video games for extended time there are pros. And right now the pros outweigh the cons. It gets me doing something with my brain rather than letting it run wild or feeling nothing. Most of the games I play are multiplayer so I wind up having to talk to people when I would be totally isolated otherwise. I do feel good when I complete achievements or do well in a game and even though that feeling is fleeting, it's at least a momentary lift out of depression. Even though it's not the "best" way to cope or manage with my depression, anxiety, or ocd, it is okay right now.

My docs are always reminding me that getting better is a process and takes work. And its okay to retain some old ways of coping as long as they're not unhealthy as I'm in this process.

Edited by Bearded Bipolar
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I play Terraria. Every weekend a friend comes over and my husband and I play multiplayer with him. Sometimes my brother comes over, as well. Occasionally, I will play Hearthstone with my brother.

Today while they played I worked on book stuff and then occasionally joined and helped defeat a boss or something. That seemed to work, although I was distracted trying to do two things at once.

The books just aren't very successful, although that's a whole different discussion. So given the option of immediate gratification (game) or dumping a bunch of time and effort into something that generally doesn't pay off... I usually end up playing the game. Especially if I just got home from work and I feel burnt out.

Finishing a novella is gratifying but has zero financial payoff (almost zero, anyway) and the high doesn't last very long, especially considering all of the effort that goes into it. I think that's why it's so hard to keep working on stuff. I spent this weekend working on the website and formatting e-books for publication and didn't even clean the apartment, and I don't have much to show for it. But hey, at least I did something this weekend that wasn't just playing video games.

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I play video games as well, mostly Final Fantasy XIV, an online multiplayer game. Sometimes I feel guilty for spending so much time on it. At times I've spent every waking moment playing it. At other times I don't play every day or just like half an hour in evening. Sometimes it has been an escape, distraction and coping mechanism for my depression. Like you, it has relieved some social isolation for me. If you feel it is getting in the way of doing what you really want or need to do, then that's an issue, but sometimes it's like, if I wasn't gaming right now I would just be in bed or wasting time doing something else because I just don't have the energy, drive or motivation today.

My pdoc gave me some advice once regarding guilt/shame about wasting a day doing nothing productive. If youre having one of those days, give yourself permission to not do anything that day. Plan not to do anything. Then you feel less like you've failed and more like you succeeded and are in control. Also, when I said to her, "I'm lazy" she said, " no such thing as lazy, you're lacking motivation and drive, because of your illness".

Shame and guilt makes things so much worse.

Edited by mcjimjam
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I don't think video games are a bad thing to pour your time into? They can be a fantastic distraction for when you're feeling bad or just need something to occupy yourself. I mean, I know going in and assassinating the Emperor Titus Mede II for the Dark Brotherhood in Skyrim is a lot better way to spend my time than self-loathing or hurting myself or doing pills. And sometimes that dull buzz in your head just doesn't go away unless you concentrate on something. 

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