I've been gaming for as long as I can remember. At age 5, I had surgery, and the only way my parents could think to keep me sitting still was to buy me a console and a racing game. It sort of spiraled from there, and it's severely hindered my development.
My family does a great deal of political study, and I have failed or flat-out refused to find healthier outlets for the resulting pessimism and agression because gaming was so easy. Because of my lack of social development, I reinforced this by botching my first relationship with a very pretty and understanding girl without even realizing why until years later. That drove me into near-suicidal depression, which I coped with by watching internet gamers play horror games - and I would laugh in sympathy for them while inserting myself into their struggles.
This next bit I'm only sharing because it might present a more full picture. My second attempt at a relationship came years later, but with someone much more serious and academically driven. I let her walk all over me out of guilt for messing up my first relationship. When I finally recognized I was in an abusive relationship with someone who didn't even realize she was abusing me, instead of breaking it off, I confronted her. I wanted things to get better. I wanted her effort in the relationship to improve, and I was champing at the bit to reciprocate. That didn't happen. I hit my darkest moment that day, and tried to commit suicide that very night.
I can't stand small-talk, and I felt intimidated around other people, so I was antisocial to begin with, and I never practiced my sports because gaming was so much easier . . . and it didn't hurt me. That second relationship sealed the deal, so to speak. I completely receded into the computer, playing games and watching other people play games I didn't have during my work years and my first semesters of college. I could never focus. I started on a very difficult subject path in college; got frustrated when I couldn't pick up on the material; shunned my tutor; and dropped out of a university I had a free ride in thanks to academic scholarships and thrifty family planning.
My first real relationship has been over the internet. We've been dating for at least two years, possibly more - and at least one behind my parents' backs. I have supportive friends I actually communicate with now (more or less). We tended to socialize over games, which was okay. We didn't have the same tastes, but I catered to theirs because it felt good to be with a group of buddies I could finally relate to. (It's a bit more complicated than that - one of them did try to kill himself in front of me, and he's vowed some kind of revenge against me for not getting over myself enough to talk with him now and then. We don't associate any more. His frustration, at least, seems valid.)
Despite all of these things, and my self-loathing - I'm well aware I've had it easy, and should've been punished much more severely than I have been by life - I've had it pretty easy up until now. I signed up for a community college program. I started making friends in my classes. I felt . . . something.
This last semester is where I feel it hit the fan, though. I noticed that my intolerance for frustration had really boiled over and scalded my logic. Playing games I had little experience in with my online friends, I was out of my depth, and often grew so angry I had to leave my friends - or else I would lash out verbally. I've deleted and repurchased an expensive game at least three times, and I'm waiting for a game sale so I can do it again because I love its concepts. My relationships with real people have always been . . . mechanical, to be simple; as I've opened up, however, I've found myself surrounded by people who are equally unhealthy, and in some areas just as unmotivated. I'm watching my grades tank withou a care because I see I'm in a bad place, and I just want that to get better first - meaning I play games or watch videos to make myself happy, scramble to finish my assignments, self-hate myself for my lackluster efforts, rinse and repeat. I fully expect to lose my scholarships by the end of this semester, and while, in the grand scheme, this isn't absolutely horrible, I know I could do much better.
I've actually been trying to go through chiropractic/neurointegrative therapy, but I can't maintain the basics because of my obsessive playing. I've always been able to play for eight-hour stretches, barely eating or functioning as a human being. In addition, my therapist has revealed to me that I have a severe dopamine deficiency, which my therapy is meant to correct. Computer exposure produces dopamine. Lots of it. I could say I've been self-medicating without realizing it, but now my aggressive gaming is in the way of actually getting better.
Gaming used to be something I felt a distorted pride about, because I considered myself a bit more than half-decent. I still do, albeit much more diminished. I am honestly hoping that, one day, I can punch in, diddle with my friends, and punch out, like normal people do as social gamers - I'm even starting a little internet series based on one of these, and we've taken a few months to set up. At the moment, though, I can't control myself. Every game except the one for the series has been uninstalled.
I've nearly crashed my car several times. I'm severely sleep-deprived. I nod off in class despite sitting up front to motivate myself. I managed to rid myself of my gaming computer, but then spent hundreds of dollars building myself a new one. I impulsively quit my job of four years. I have a job tryout in two days for a restaurant I really need to get into, despite feeling very unqualified.
I'm even watching someone play games as I'm writing this.
I don't want to be dramatic - well, to be frank, I somewhat do, but know it's wrong. My situation isn't getting better, beyond my long-distance girlfriend encouraging me to pursue help here. I need some help.