Video Discussion Club: “How years of gaming affects your brain”

### Purpose

To make productive use of our positive community to discuss the elements of a self-help video that are useful for your thinking, and to process those thoughts with peers.

### Why

>!

I saw this video and found a good chunk of relevant things for myself, and I wanted to share the opportunity for those insights with those who aren’t viewers of this YouTube channel, and I also wanted to talk about these challenging things with people who I know have similar game-usage backgrounds and similar positive intent. I thought maybe others would too.

### Video

https://youtu.be/xaICKlp9kQc

### Prompt

**Which aspects of this video feel most relevant to you, and what actions are you considering after watching?**

### Guidelines

1) If you can, please watch the video through to help mutual understanding in the discussion, but if you just watch until an “Ah-ha” moment, feel free to share.
2) Please keep in mind the purpose of this thread is to discuss personal value gained - all advice (from video or otherwise) can be disregarded at the discretion of the listener.

### Who is this guy?/Does this deserve my attention

>!

Dr. K (as he is referred to within the HealthyGamer community) is a practicing mental health clinician who has had a focus on gaming addiction and online-impacted mental health due to his personal journey through struggles with those areas. He began streaming a few years ago after finding that many discussions he had with individual patients were repeats on themes, and wanted to create a forum/set of resources that could help more people who face similar challenges. Learn more about his organization [here](https://www.healthygamer.gg/). I have nothing to do with the organization, I’m just a regular viewer of their YouTube channel.

The biggest part that stands out for me in this video is the discussion of negative emotion regulation. I personally struggle with dealing with waves of negative thoughts (on a period of a few weeks), and I can see how games are away that I turn down the volume on those emotions. I’m thinking about how I can notice those emotions coming up, and notice when I am potentially starting to play a game as a result of a desire to avoid something rather than a desire to explore something new.

The video also made me think about [another discussion](https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/2627-the-relationship-between-invention-and-necessity) about systems, and I think maybe part of what I do in games is try to find things that can give me the longer-term satisfaction described in the video, learning how to get a system to work without a lot of intermediary rewards stimulus. I almost feel like my body has developed some defense mechanism against super dopaminergic game loops, where I just get checked out if I notice a game trying to entice or encourage me too much as a player. Maybe my experience getting burned out on Diablo II is one thing that built that defense circuit (which is not at all bulletproof).

@“MDS-02”#p120262 Thank you for sharing this video! I have seen clips of this guy here and there and he seems to take a very thoughtful approach and is an effective communicator. I think he does a good job of breaking this into actionable terms.

I too have used games as a way to distract myself from negative emotions and thoughts. I have definitely leaned on games to try to capture the sense of reward or achievement in rough days or time periods of my life. I spoke very recently in the mental health thread about how I use art that challenges me to cope with anxiety. I hate the anxiety but I do cherish the fact that I can at least translate it into something that is pleasurable and thought provoking. Games are pretty uniquely stimulating and engaging compared to other art forms so it is good to examine deeper.

I think there is a big difference between having a mindset where your sense of reward is the simple act of playing it versus where the sense of reward is to overcome challenges or beat it. Games usually provide both, but how we approach it impacts how we engage with it. I personally think that games in less approachable formats like strategy or management lend themselves to people who seek out the kind of seratonin response that you describe. If you're playing to minmax or beat the game, you spend a lot of time deeply unpacking the systems and it's a much different response then just like, playing Dynasty Warriors so you can see a bunch of flashing lights and numbers go up. (no shade on dynasty warriors)

I mentioned in the mental health thread about how I got really into Europa Universalis 4 after a bad breakup years ago, and it is interesting to think of terms of seeking a seratonin response. Subconsciously maybe the reward systems in my brain made me think "well, I might not be able to start a family, but at least I can conquer Spain as the Aztecs*" - frankly a much more rare and impressive achievement (lol). I never really thought about it in these terms but I think the game did give me some sense of long-term accomplishment at a time when I was feeling unaccomplished and anxious. You keep building up until you reach a personal fail condition and then start over and try new approaches that push you a little further. It's very satisfying when you actually see that progress manifest days or weeks later.

But it is an unbeatable game, and I think it's incredibly important to be self aware about that type of game design. You can reach milestones or even spend years and get good enough to utterly demolish the game, but you will still never be able to fully close the book on it, so if you are looking for that in life, you need to look elsewhere. I think I was always pretty aware of this but definitely as more stuff was going on in my life I got a lot less hardcore and looked at it more as a hobbyist then as anything approaching something I could "master" and I think that's a healthier approach!

It's important to check in on yourself while gaming and take breaks. But also like, check in on yourself while you're playing the game of life! I like what he said about breaking up tasks into individual goals and creating a sort of quest line for yourself. I love where it is coming from, and even though I feel like I am in a good spot with establishing goals and plan of action for myself I think there is always more you can push for.

*- Btw I say this type of stuff tongue in cheek as a self deprecating joke not as any kind of pity party. I want to make sure that tone is indicated.

I think you did a great job with the original post, very thoughtful. In my experience, posting self-help can cause distress most of the time, haha. (I'm taking notes)

With each generation comes a new wave of technology. The older generation says "radio/television/videogames/social media are ruining our values as a society". Then it takes about 20-30 years for that generation to grow up for us to determine what the effects are. For example, for my father's generation, it was TV. Well, now we know exactly what TV does to your brain and body. It's been up in the air if the effects of video games are detrimental, and in what ways, until recently. What this guy says in this video is based on real science, so you can disregard his interpretations, but it is important to understand your own relationship to dopamine and serotonin.

I was crippled in exactly this way for the majority of my life! It's a challenge of growing up in this era. Very real, very important to become aware of now that the info has been collected!

The plus side is, once you start to reverse engineer all this, you will be left with a feeling of ease and satisfaction that is the complete inverse. You become strong having gone through your struggle. The only affliction is to have never been afflicted. Life was passing me by, but that in itself is life experience that motivates me down the line.

My chemistry was all kinds of messed up from millennial life, but thanks to millennia of evolution, the solution is usually the most intuitive one.

edit: removed a lot of needless personal details, for better or worse, hah.

Dad Frogger Epic Post…


Firstly, thank you for starting this thread, really.

Secondly, I really didn't enjoy watching that video lol. It felt really condescending and its topics oversimplified. I imagine that was the point and that he is for the most part introducing these topics to his audience for the first time. Every time he said ***gamers*** do this or that, though—"whereas ***gamers***…" nails on a chalkboard hearing that over and over. And like, is he talking about everyone who plays video games sometimes??

I spend so much time thinking about these things already I don't know how much energy I have to spare to write a whole lot about it. Please understand [IMG height=17]https://i.imgur.com/RA8uUEN.png[/IMG] that my life was kind of ruined by abuse for the first 26 years of it. I've only had about a decade to breathe mostly free of toxicity. It's true that you need to learn how to break up tasks, and that your state of being isn't immutable. I remember these two things being revelations when I figured them out on my own. I largely think this is a failure of parenting as a result of the break up of communities and capitalism pressuring us to neglect ourselves and each other. Coldness and cynicism become normalized and, like the picture he painted in the video, serotonergic things like expressing love and honesty become alien and disturbing. Most of my family hated video games, but they became this way anyhow. Things don't have to become as extreme as outright abuse, but I suspect that more people are in some way traumatized or neglected than they think. This society is kind of harrowing! It's a) sometimes only when things get so intensely bad that they can't be ignored anymore that a person might really try to change the way they live and by extension think, or b) some people are maybe more predisposed to self-reflection than others? This second point is something I've only been considering recently after a long saga of re-learning that you can't save people who don't want to be saved.

I won't say that I've never had trouble tearing myself away from video games, but it has been a while since I can remember having this problem. I kind of distanced myself from games a couple of times in my twenties, for a few reasons: I was discouraged from playing them, often couldn't afford the new games I wanted to play or the hardware they required, and other more personal reasons. I also grew up swimming, and cycling and hiking long distances. I know how good physical exertion feels, as a lot of other people here do. Other people who claim to have had uneventful upbringings for some reason have some of the same problems that I've struggled with, after being beaten by both my father and older brother, gaslit by the both of them and my mother, spreading the abuse to my younger siblings, etc. There's this concept in trauma recovery called fleas—as in, "lay with dogs and you get fleas." My own behaviour became so toxic that I'd keep alienating other people until all I had left was my dogshit family. Every time I tried to accomplish something like graduate from a school or save money or transition or make art or *express emotion* I'd come home at the end of the day and be pecked apart—if not in person then over the phone or by email. If I was ever struggling, in particular at school but anywhere my anxiety became an issue, I could count on my parents to make things worse, and maybe that began when I was very little with a video game addiction but at least in my case I can say it went hand in hand with constant maltreatment. Eventually I had to rip myself away from all that and try to re-parent myself, at cost to my financial security and health. I try to observe Self-Parenting Day every year now on June 2, haha. I don't know that I do anything special for the occasion, but I do write it on my calendar.

I always get super nervous about writing personal history stuff and I'm going to make a deliberate effort not to delete the above paragraphs. This topic is kind of a Psychological Wellness Thread Gaiden anyway.

>

@“connrrr”#p120438 Every time he said gamers do this or that, though—“whereas gamers…” nails on a chalkboard hearing that over and over. And like, is he talking about everyone who plays video games sometimes??

I had an expectation this element of his language would be distasteful to many people, and I had to look past it myself too. One thought it sparked in me is how there may (and likely are) some set of young people who do strongly wield that label for themselves, and share those common challenges. I don’t talk to a broad enough swath of young people to see many (can think of one in my recent experience), but I imagine some do and maybe being directly named in that way is helpful for that population? Who knows really.

>

@“Tradegood”#p120334 I got a lot less hardcore and looked at it more as a hobbyist then as anything approaching something I could “master”

I find this label interesting, “as a hobbyist.” I think there’s a lot of power to identifying games as a hobby, and not let it become too amorphously huge as “it’s what I spend my free time doing.” I know that in my own past being asked about what I enjoy doing, I did have periods where the only answer I could pull up for myself was gaming (which I think is the prime requisite to feeling like ‘gamer’ may be an appropriate label to apply to myself).

>

@“treefroggy”#p120364 It’s a challenge of growing up in this era. Very real, very important to become aware of now that the info has been collected!

As a teacher, I also think about how to help younger people see this, understand ways they can not get so entangled that they hurt themselves. Of course lots of things in youth must be learned firsthand, but I can’t help but nudge my students when I see them fully in a scrolling trance during a break - “hey are you seeing something cool?” Some modicum of trying to raise the question of “what is this doing to/for me in this moment?” But as you say, walking the road is what gets you to the destination. I think this “protective” or “drive to advise” mindset is partly because of how I perceive modern game design leaning so hard on mental cycles first hijacked by video gambling. Feels like lots of design is falling to the same “engagement metric” trap that has jacked up so much of the internet, and we (the industry) doesn’t really see the commonality there. “We are just improving the experience of the player.”

And thank you everyone for sharing your thinking so far, I wasn’t sure how to start this without coming across the wrong way, so thanks for the encouragement.

cheers OP, this is a really great thread & it's inspiring seeing the honest and really vulnerable responses here!

so i'd had this tab opened for a few days & didn't take the time to engage with it, i accepted that i was averse to the subject & that's why i'd both forced myself to leave said tab open but still sit on it, all the same. years of therapy have taught me to sit with things i find uneasy, which was a central theme here too

i have absolutely recognized over the years where i've used games as an escape, especially during a medical bankruptcy ages ago where i invested a ton of time into the original animal crossing. cognizant of my actions, i'd try to find balance: no logging in until after 5pm, when i was done applying for jobs & had already hit the gym. physical exercise like training, boxing, running etc were skills i learned in college, and always helped me feel grounded (and as this video explains, bring serotonin as well). i'm going through a bit of situational depression at the moment, and still regulate myself in waiting till things are done at night to game/drink/toke/etc. he makes an excellent point about running from negative emotions, but i spend time walking, driving, meditating and such trying to sort them out, and it gets exhausting if the specific circumstances around them involve factors beyond my control, so in that regard i'm grateful for the escape - and more valuable to me, shift in perspective - gaming provides

he made white water rafting sound really fun, and that sense of accomplishment does sound really cool. i'm gonna have to look into that

total aside, but as an antifascist, i always think of this image when people use the word "degenerate"

[URL=https://i.imgur.com/YlHM50z.jpg][IMG]https://i.imgur.com/YlHM50z.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

So last night I actually got pretty heated while watching this video and wrote a response that I conscientiously saved in a text file instead of posting it because it, like everything I write when I'm heated, devolved into a vitriolic call for revolution and communist sausage grinders. I am going to attempt to soften that response:

Anyone who can afford to just "lol, try white water rafting" is a person privileged enough to talk about spending over 600 dollars doing something that they spend one weekend doing probably once a year. It's the kind of thing you expect to hear from a guy who grew up rich, safe, and owns a truck or an SUV even though he has a white collar job and has never been in a single fight in his life. He talks about _fighting for his life_ as if it's a good thing and I can assure you that _actually endangering your life on purpose is the sign of a deranged, attention seeking, unbalanced personality._ You can get the full benefits of a serotonin boost by doing literally any physical exercise that challenges you, among which are such healthy, safe, and cheap alternatives like running, lifting a reasonable amount of weight, or simply doing body calisthenics to failure. As long as you reach a physical limit and gradually surpass it you are becoming more healthy.

_**You can do this with videogames.**_

Right now on this board there's a group of people playing a competitive fighting game and experiencing healthy boosts to their sense of self worth and neurotransmitters by polishing their skills and destroying the self esteem of strangers on the internet. It works because they are progressively overloading the capability of their nervous system and creating neurogenesis by pushing themselves outside of their existing skillset and expanding it, even if the skill they are gaining is trivial and arbitrary, it is making them stronger, _this is one of the innate purposes of playful activity and competition._ This would not work if the game they were playing sucked, it would not work if the game they were playing was easy, and it would not work if they continued to play the same damn game every single day for 5 consecutive years. The first time you do something you've never done before successfully, maybe you get 100 XP. Every time you do the same thing without expansion, you get less XP, until it hits zero. This is why we are compelled to buy new games and beat new games and seek greater complexity, fresher sights and sounds, and juicier more stimulating experiences. _Gamers are addicted to neurogenesis._

It is then sort of understandable that gamers are uninterested in real life, because real life is a game that absolutely fucking sucks. It's shit where you are likely to get trapped doing the exact same thing with slight variations for 25 years or more, and you are subjected to the shittiest gacha-esque loot mechanics imaginable. Imagine a game where every time you open a lootbox some cheating asshole takes 90% of your gold and items and nobody bats a single eyelash at this happening. Imagine if the developers of this game reinforced and rewarded this type of player to the extent that should this person ever make a terrible mistake and delete the majority of their wealth they would simply take more of your money and re-compensate them to restore balance because they are literally sitting in the same hot tub as a satanic version of Shigeru Miyamoto who makes everyone call him grandpa.

A psychiatrist's job is to make you play this kusoge bullshit and pay your damn taxes no matter how much you hate it and don't enjoy doing it. Every part of your finely tuned organism is telling you that _life makes you unhappy_, and a psychiatrists job is to objectify every thought, feeling and sensation you have in order to tool your ass back into the work force and make you do something that you know is progressively killing your brain like the drugs they injected into Alan Turing. If you actually had a job that you enjoyed, which you were compensated fairly for, and you still had enough time to live your life, you would have to have some _real shit_ kind of problems to still be unhappy.

Another way of putting this is that psychiatrists are almost always, without exception, _professional, highly paid **narcs**._ They are greasy, filth eating pigs as much as even the finest police officer is a member of the taxonomic genus: _Sus._ This is because, just like a cop's job is not to protect and serve, but actually to heartlessly maintain the rule of law and order, a psychiatrist is not _really_ there to heal or repair the mind. A psychiatrist is not there to help you work through trauma (a psychotherapist) or understand the mechanisms of your suffering (a cognitive behavioral psychologist) or the physiology of your experiences (a neurobiologist), _Their job is to make you conform to a state that is more convenient for the rest of society, most particularly, rich people and the government they effectively control in all practical terms._

To illustrate this, I now offer you a short summary of the bullshit in this video:

>

How do you do, fellow gamers. It seems as though you may not be happy with your current dystopian hellscape that‘s progressively falling apart and tearing at the seams. I too was at one point a lazy, stupid, degenerate addict who wished I was like this stock footage of happy adults. Because I am just like you I felt bad about myself for who I am just as you should and associate this feeling with gaming addiction. It surely has nothing to do with the lack of physical exercise, any form of ptsd or depression, or the economic yoyo recession you’ll likely be trapped in for the rest of your lives. It‘s actually because you're not normal enough. Wouldn’t you like to be normal? While attending one of the most privileged and prestigious academic institutions on the planet almost exclusively attended by people connected to the class of power elite who are ruining your life right now, I discovered that there was a convenient explanation for your unhappiness. You are a machine and you are broken. When I was in college I totally went white water rafting once and it was Awesome, dude. This led me to some pretty great revelations, and like, last week I told this guy to walk outside in public around strangers and passing vehicles without breathing oxygen and he did it. Do you think maybe you‘d like to try exercising outside without breathing for a longer period of time than you would in a navy seal training course? Sounds pretty cool huh?

Please like and subscribe and sign up for my clandestine social engineering program so we can figure out why you’re failing to conform to the expectations of your IRS agent.

As far as avoiding negative emotions go, _does that really happen while you play games?_ Personally, like the madman Tim Rogers, I mostly play videogames to feel incredibly sad and remember, in detail, every bad thing that has ever happened to me. I would do this if I sat down meditating, and it is exactly what I do when I walk outside, do the dishes, cook dinner, and whatever dumb thing I have to do to get money. _It's probably what every autistic child does when they're sitting there pointlessly pushing toys and organizing objects into arbitrary patterns. Because god damnit, I was that stupid neglected child._ The _only_ time this existential circus parade of suffering ever stops is when I'm talking to someone who is actually having an effect on me, and _sometimes_ videogames do make me feel that way; the exact same way that a child escapes into Hogwarts while reading a lovably trashy book, the exact same way that my mom binge watches netflix at 3 AM, the exact same way that someone's dad whose never played golf or football likes to watch every single game. **It's fine.** What are you gonna do, go to the house of the person whose the source of your actual problems and grind them into sausage? _Of course not._ >!_\*wink*_!<

I love my Final Fantasy friends and I want to hug them right now. I know people who have met their life partner while playing an MMORPG. I have a friend whose deepest connection with me is fictionally murdering people on a team with me for fictional glory and real serotonin _not just dopamine._ I have suffered with gaming friends, and grown from gaming, and transformed myself by meditating while playing games. I have overcome suicidal depression by playing games and remembering a person who I can never meet again because they are dead.

If you want to fucking guilt trip me about that I'm going to start compartmentalizing a main quest that ends with your ass in a dumpster. Luckily however, I have games I gotta play first.

Now go outside and breathe some of that tasty oxygen!

@“Reverse Kaiser”#p120548 Thanks for sharing even though the experience of watching the video was a negative for you. I do feel regret that my framing of this video in a positive light may have further made it a negative experience for you to then engage with something that wasn’t a good fit for you. As one person to another, I’m sorry if my actions (through sharing this thread) incurred a negative cost for you.

I’m glad that you’ve found spaces of value like those you’ve described. I think I have some spaces within gaming that act similarly.

I do have a very different perspective on the nature of the intent of the creator, but playing by the rules I tried to lay out, this thread is not the space for arguing the merits of the content. Thanks for understanding.

The other thing he mentioned: sitting with negative feelings, says it all. He made a video about addiction and doesn‘t seem to know it, and yet doesn’t talk about the roots of addiction (a basic need being unfulfilled) or about self-soothing—another skill I had to teach myself.

>

@“IrishNinja”#p120521 degenerate

Definitely a red flag that he is employing that word even tongue-in-cheek. Either he doesn't know or he doesn't care the kind of audience it's going to net him to throw it around like it's normal now and should be allowed to stay.

@"Reverse Kaiser"#p120548 I feel like I can get behind the idea that psychiatrists are closer to cops than actual therapists. Why else would they be state-funded here while psychotherapy costs money out of pocket? The first psychiatrist I spoke to when my anxiety started to get unbearable didn't look up at me the entire time I spoke to her and could only offer me pills. If they could get you out the door and back into the workforce faster, they would.


----

Also: almost forgot to soapbox about caffeine! Breaking my caffeine habit is still one of the best things I ever did for my health. It was always holding me back to have it in my system while I was battling my anxiety at its worst, is often used to self-mediate depression and is simply capitalism's favourite drug. Don't let your guard down around it!! 🧼📦

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@“connrrr”#p120579 throw it around like it’s normal now

Yeah it’s something I have heard streamers (e.g. Asmongold) using these days as a self-identifier, and he has interviewed many of them so I think it was picked up. Certainly something that would have an impact by not using. In the same breath, like with the term gamer, I think some number of people react oppositely and feel identification. The right/wrongness of that is not immediately clear to me, but I think it’s fair for you to feel it shouldn’t be present in discourse from a figure like that.

I couldn’t quite parse your first paragraph, but I think you’re pointing out that “sitting with negative emotions” is something that isn’t cut and dry and can be dangerous/harmful in some situations, and addictive behaviors exist partly to combat those. I totally agree and know there is a spectrum of intensity here that can definitely require the support of a counselor or other ‘partner’ to begin to touch. I don’t think the advice “just sit with it” is universal, but I do think there are some feelings that do just need that (I have some of them).

Since we are discussing the impact of language here, I’m going to speak frankly. (I thought about sharing this privately but I think it will be helpful for me to say publicly) It has bummed me out that the last two posts here have gone towards interpreting the intent / knowledge of the creator / class of people. I think that is a natural response when you disagree, but please consider what the differing impact on the tone of discussion when choosing between:
“He seemed to not think about…”
vs
“A piece I think is also important is…”

I hoped to frame this thread not as a “space of differing opinions on the issue of game use where the ~~hottest takes~~ (edit) strongest language rises” by making clear that any of the content can be disregarded without justification. To then hear justifications about why one thing or another that was shared in the video was bad/incomplete makes me personally feel ignored. I also know that starting a thread does not constitute ownership and everyone has the right to respond within the community guidelines. Idk, just thought I would say as much because I’m not sure that impact would otherwise be perceived. I know no poster here meant anything negative towards me as a person, but I wanted to help with showing what words made me feel I needed to speak up, and how you might have a different impact.

>

@“connrrr”#p120579 soapbox about caffeine

Also yeah I am so caffeine-sensitive I can’t even get started with the stuff. I have a good number of friends who feel awful without it and I just feel bummed for them! Rough stuff.

@“Reverse Kaiser”#p120548

>

It is then sort of understandable that gamers are uninterested in real life, because real life is a game that absolutely fucking sucks. It’s shit where you are likely to get trapped doing the exact same thing with slight variations for 25 years or more, and you are subjected to the shittiest gacha-esque loot mechanics imaginable.

I am fucking screaming. THIS!

@“MDS-02”#p120587 now that you mention it I have sometimes heard queer people refer to themselves “degenerate” in a mocking tone in response to being called that by fascists, and I don‘t know that that’s taking it as far as reclamation—but anyway that‘s different I think. I don’t know the streamer you‘re talking about though so I don’t know what their connection to the word could be.

>

I couldn’t quite parse your first paragraph, but I think you’re pointing out that “sitting with negative emotions” is something that isn’t cut and dry and can be dangerous/harmful in some situations, and addictive behaviors exist partly to combat those. I totally agree and know there is a spectrum of intensity here that can definitely require the support of a counselor or other ‘partner’ to begin to touch. I don’t think the advice “just sit with it” is universal, but I do think there are some feelings that do just need that (I have some of them).

He talks about what "gamers" do and how to change their behaviour etc. but, and I haven't rewatched the video since Friday so maybe I'm forgetting, I don't think he mentions anything about why someone might spend a disruptive amount of time playing video games. If he's speaking to the addicted—and he 100% is (just rewatched a bit), he specifically talks about not numbing negative emotions out which is what addiction is all about—he should address in more detail what drives people to addictions: things like loneliness, instead of just throwing them out as examples. This is the same issue I have with the DSM and its diagnostic labels, there's so little interest on the part of psychiatrists in what environmental causes lead to the patterns they identify.

His advice could lead to people working on themselves though, I suppose. I just think the video takes incomplete stock of the topic it tries to address, and I would argue that looking at one's environment is most important in understanding your own behaviour. In my mind, how can you not talk about the roles capitalism and social media play in addiction? I'm sorry if anything I said made you feel stressed out about posting it!

Thanks MDS-02 for starting the discussion. I find myself disagreeing as other posters have with some of the language in the video, but the video is just a springboard: which of its points feel most relevant to me, and what actions am I considering after watching?

Whenever I feel down about not having yet realized my life's grand ambitions (I have many, I will realize them, don't worry) I do sometimes jump to thinking that I spend too much time on my hobbies instead of developing more "useful" skills (which starts a dialogue in my head about why a skill being "useful" matters or what that means, should I try to leverage things I like to do for profit in a capitalist system, no I shouldn't, but I want to do these things and the only way I'll get to spend the proper amount of time doing them is if I make them my job, no you won't, but then I'll have to do a job I don't care about and have much less time for them, well, uh, blah blah blah blah). Formerly the hobby I felt I dedicated too much time to was games, but I have since realized that I have a pretty healthy relationship with games, actually. I tend to allow myself to play a game only when I don't have other pressing things to deal with, though I am still a terrible procrastinator. It definitely got worse because of COVID—before the pandemic I was the happiest I've ever been, I had a wonderful **work // social life // alone time // etc** balance going on, and video games were part of it! I certainly played more games during the first year of the pandemic, and found myself playing more games even after I got my first post-pandemic job, but that was more because the job and lack of social interaction made me so physically exhausted I could hardly do anything else (it wasn't just a lack of serotonin making me tired, it was grueling work, but even if it were the serotonin, well, we all had to stay inside!).

When I procrastinate, I don't play games, but instead engage in a different umbrella of interrelated activities which I don't have an accurate name for but which I'll call Socializing Over the Phone ([SOP](https://metalgear.fandom.com/wiki/Sons_of_the_Patriots)). I spend an _enormous_ amount of time tending to my personal relationships over the phone. Texting individual people, participating in group chats, posting in Discord, sharing videos and pictures and commenting on those videos and pictures, etc. etc., actions which don't take up huge amounts of time in themselves but which cumulatively I find it troubling to even consider. I love my friends and want them to know it, but on the other hand can't help but resent the way phones and instant messaging platforms continue to redefine shared expectations about how often we're supposed to talk to each other—we can talk to each other any time we want, becomes we should talk to each other any time we want, becomes we should talk to each other all the time, and not often in a way that's meaningful. Often I feel myself searching for inane things to send to my friends just to let them know I'm thinking of them. I'm not saying my friends or anyone I know necessarily maintain this ethos consciously, but I know I feel a little anxious when I go too long (which could be, like, a day) without dropping someone a line if that is how our relationship has been defined up to the present (maybe something I should discuss with a therapist). If it's not this it's the internet in my pocket, having millions of distractions available to me at any given time—I know some people do play games for 6 hours straight, but I can't imagine that, that would be allowing myself to indulge in something I actually care about and want to do while there are Things To Do, so instead I look at my phone, walk to another room, look at my phone, check for notifications in six different apps, walk upstairs, look at my phone, sit down, look at my phone. It takes all kinds of time away, time I could spend: studying languages, writing, [drawing](https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/1552-insert-credit-art-jam-20-june-2022-slow/11), reading, practicing piano, editing a video project, watching an episode of Yuu Yuu Hakusho, or playing a video game!!!!!!

What actions I'm considering taking are in part ones I have already taken: I'm restarting a habit I formed at my old job, where I'd get up an hour earlier than necessary and spend that hour reading a novel and studying Japanese—this instead of getting up twenty minutes earlier than necessary and spending all that time on my phone, browsing everything, absorbing nothing. I bought some cheap [bouldering shoes](https://forums.insertcredit.com/d/2582-the-physical-actvity-thread/31) which I hope I'll be able to use at least once a week, but that may be overambitious for now. At least my work schedule will be consistent now, so carving out time for this stuff will be easier. I'm not sure how I'll get around to starting a band and forming a filmmaking collective, but like the guy in the video says it's one thing at a time.

As for what I'm going to do right this second, I'm gonna play a little Tactics Ogre and Guilty Gear (Reverse Kaiser is right, I'm building fighting game skills, I'm addicted to neurogenesis!)

(To comment directly on the video, I have known people who would benefit from hearing the basic, blanket advice it offers. As connrrr pointed out this is for people who are addicted to games, which it may be presumptuous of me to say doesn't describe posters here. It is also funny, however accidental, that he says "Getting a job requires... having a job." @21:50)

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@“captain”#p120602 we can talk to each other any time we want, becomes we should talk to each other any time we want, becomes we should talk to each other all the time, and not often in a way that’s meaningful. Often I feel myself searching for inane things to send to my friends just to let them know I’m thinking of them.

This is something that I think is more insidious than we care to admit. Reminds me of a critique of the Turing test as a test for intelligence, where it becomes impossible to discern whether our goalposts for what counts as human-like interaction have simply degraded, or if a machine has ‘attained’ some parity. Having so many short, surface interactions at our fingertips feels like it just has to erode some sense of or capacity for substantive interactions (however that’s defined). I’m right with you in that being a source of discomfort.

@MDS-02 Full Disclosure; I actually got so embarrassed about the fact that I stayed up too late and got political on an internet forum that I didn't look at it for about 3 days. Partly it was because it was nonstop raining the entire time and I could not really make any artwork in such humidity or go outside for exercise, I was emotionally down and I took it as a rest from whatever I was doing. I spent mostly the entire time playing FF7Remake and spent maybe 4 or 5 hours killing facehuggers and wererats just grinding materia at one point.

I had a great time and experienced a boost to my self esteem and sense of wellbeing and emotional state that no one in my family or circle of geographically close friends has ever provided me. I think if I ever went to the bars and public places around me I'd find that this little pocket of Canada contains nothing but conservatives, fascists, libertarians, and actual literal nazis, if not people who are honestly better off not interacting with me so as to shelter them for the fascists already in my life.

So it is that when I watched this video alarm bells started going off in my head informing me that my hated political enemy was trying some shit, and I involuntarily got baited into writing a political response to what is _to me_, a transparent attempt at manipulation. But I also understand that my personal bias against the people and institutions that betrayed me is what informs this and to a normal person who has never been beaten by a cop and framed for actual crimes and mental illness it comes off as overly argumentative and critical. My main motivator for posting anything at all was to overwrite the narrative of a person who is either completely out of touch or acting in bad faith so as to defend the experiences of people who might actually just be struggling to feel good about surviving in a genuinely oppressive environment and seeking relief wherever they can find it. It is hard being out here. It's not easy to make money anymore, and it's not easy to afford everything that's supposed to make people happy. It's difficult to find a place to be yourself and express yourself, and it's difficult to even find a job that even makes you feel like you have value and what you do matters or makes things better, _let alone any person who will ever tell you that_.

_To me it seems absurd to listen to advice about what my problems are and how I should respond to them from a guy who has never had any real problems to begin with. He speaks as though we are not even trying to be better or to fix our broken circumstances, like I'd be trying for the very first time to make any change in my life and I didn't end up playing games again anyway because of how exhausting that already is._

So I'm sorry that it puts you off that I addressed this as a conflict between the classes and those with privilege and those without and those with the good fortune to be protected by the system and nurtured by it rather than oppressed and forced to conform underneath it, but that's exactly what this is to me, that's exactly what it looks like and I don't think even Dr. K himself could present any form of argument that would convince me otherwise. People have lost faith in the government and the system for the right reasons and reaching down to squeeze their grapes and make them put up with that shit anyway with some sort of sophisticated guilt trap masquerading as health advice is fucking weird. It's rude and dismissive to people who actually are making an effort and it invalidates people who genuinely are a victim of unbearable circumstances.

In closing: Eat the Rich, and I want Jessie Rasberry to be my girlfriend in real life.

I realize that is probably still too confrontational but I am trying.

I‘ve been going to therapy off and on for general anxiety/adjustment disorder stuff off and on for years, and I’m obviously only speaking for my own experiences and feelings on the matter, but I wouldn‘t have gone back to this guy if he was my therapist lol. I had a therapist I tried once basically tell me to start running as their only advice for me in our 1 hour initial session. I didn’t go back to them. It‘s hard enough to find the right one for you who you can be comfortable with that actually helps you talk through your problems and identifies triggers and what’s going on, and not everyone has the resources, energy, or time to try multiple therapists. It's really disheartening.

Some of the stuff he talks about I did resonate with (Serotonin Deficits/Suppressing negative emotion, I like to think I'm ok at the task abstraction stuff (I'm a software engineer lol it's usually my personal goal for the year to work on it) but sometimes it's hard/annoying/I don't like dealing with customer service stuff/health insurance because, who should?? Our system (America) is fucked), and he doesn't really talk about dealing with the actual problems people use games to divert/distract from(Trauma, Loneliness, *waves hands vaguely around in the air gesturing at our society*). Are there other activities that are healthier that we should be doing more? Sure, and I'm trying man, I really am.

I do think Gamers/people who play games generally need to exercise more and do more social/cooperative physical activities. Individualism and our lack of community support is what's killing us, not videogames.