I'm not sure how this works exactly but I guess I'll share my story so far.
I'm a 22 year old Computer Science student in Ireland, currently in my final year. For as long as I can remember I've been passionate about video games, the imagination and interaction, the many different worlds to explore and get lost in, this was always a draw for me over books and films. I think of myself as having a very vivid imagination, I used to always draw and write, even before I discovered gaming, and still I love science fiction, art, board games, any avenue that allows me to explore and escape the boredom and tedious nature of day-to-day life.
I've also recently come to the realisation that I have an extremely addictive personality, through my experience with being hooked on video games. I can't tell you any specific day where everything started, I can say that I've almost never been able to sit in front of a console or start a game on my PC and be in control of myself. I almost always get sucked in, playing hours and hours, making up any excuse in my mind to avoid having to put down the controller.
I grew up in the Irish countryside, which might be a beautiful, picturesque landscape for anyone visiting, but as a child and teenager who craved for hours in front of a screen, it was often a nightmare, with a terrible internet connection and always being encouraged to go out or go play sports. In secondary school, I sometimes took my lunch money and saved it up so that I could afford the new shooter or get some DLC, rather than eat. I hated myself when it came to exams, for the lack of effort and preparation, due to spending so much time in front of machines.
When I got to college, I took on gaming addiction in a different way. Multiplayer gaming, PC gaming, hundreds of hours lost in front of a screen, this became the habit. Because of the structure of college compared to school, I was able to invest much more time into gaming, to the point where I could be spending 40+ hours a week gaming. Sometimes I still do. My performance has suffered, I've had to repeat 2 semesters, due largely to my habits taking away so much of my time.
The toll so far (since starting college in September 2011) comes to at least 1300 hours lost to gaming, something I have only in the last 12 months seen for what it is, an addiction. This may not be a huge amount compared to some of the others who have come here, but it feels hard to comprehend for me, especially when I think of all the dreams and accomplishments I hope to achieve. I have suffered too much, and want to make a change for the better, I hope that I can find some help, support and advice here.
Thanks for listening to my story, I look forward to being here.