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fightoffyourdemons

OCD, Gaming, Ruining Experiences – Lost my Lifeline

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Hi all, I hope you’re keeping safe and well in this crazy world we are finding ourselves in.

I apologise in advance if this is quite a long message. I also appreciate it that it may well come across as asking for reassurance, but I’m not sure where else to go. I’m hoping by just writing about it will help, but if in any way this post, or any replies I am kind enough to receive help me reclaim what I have lost, well, that would just be an amazing feat.

For a brief bit of background on myself, I am male, 32, and suffer from Pure-O, borderline personality disorder and on-and-off depression.

Growing up, I would always feel that I didn’t fit in, or that I wasn’t cool enough, or that I was undeserving of happiness or nice things. Because of this I would always try too hard, be super over the top or just ask for reassurance in a huge way.

Because my world and my head were a very lonely place, I would seek comfort in worlds that I could escape in and these would provide me with places to feel safe, content, accepted.

These ‘worlds’ would typically be music and computer games. I became absolutely OBSESSED with music from a young age, seeking solace in music, the bands, the songwriters and the lyricists. My teenage years are nothing but a blur of music, reading into words and feeling their pain and like I belonged. It wasn’t particularly healthy I know, but it got me through.

A few years ago, I completely ruined my experience with music by getting an obsession into my head that I couldn’t listen to these bands unless I had made contact with the artists, spoke with them and effectively received their permission to listen to them. This validation and longing seemed vital to me, even though I had listened to the music for years. It became an obsession and after months of reaching out to them on social media etc, I had worked myself into such a frenzy that I was completely unable to listen to my childhood bands anymore. Some artists responded to me in a positive way, others ignored me completely, others were angry and blocked me. I understand that completely. I became obsessed and would sometimes send 10-15 messages, apologising for hassling them, effectively pouring my heart out, telling them my problems, asking for permission to listen to them.
 
I managed to ruin so many bands, that I can't listen to them anymore. It sounds trivial, but it was my lifeline and I miss it so much. Because music built my formative years, I feel as though I've lost a bit of my childhood.
 
I have conceded that I will never get that back and I have lost it forever. That is heartbreaking but it is what it is. Art is such a personal thing, that I can't help but feel that if the artist hates me, then I can't listen to their music or relate to them.
 
The real thing which is now breaking my heart and making me very unhappy, is the fact I am slowly ruining my other passion and escapism - video games.
 
I know that it is a trait of my conditions to sabotage things that I love, and although I deal with that every day, there are some things I cannot get past.
 
I look for connections in things and ways that some things and products are linked. If I feel I have ruined a certain game for myself, I then can't play another game by the same company, or who uses the same voice actor. It's crazy, because I know most game studios have 100s of people working for them, and there isn't one person who is the creator (unlike perhaps a songwriter), but I can't help it.
 
The main reason and game for my sadness is the game Fallout (and the other games in the series). The 4 recent Fallout games have been such a source of happiness, relaxation and therapy for me, but I feel as though I can't play them anymore.
 
The reason for this is ridiculous. I saw an article about a fan reaching out to the creators, saying how much the game meant to them. They received a nice response. I also then read awful tweets some other people sent the creators, slagging off the games.
 
Up until this point I had never reached out to the creators because I didn't want anything to jeopardise anything for me. At this point, seeing these other conversations triggered me, and I felt I had to validate the fact that I deserved to play the games by reaching out.
 
At this point, I was also talking to some people who ran a Fallout podcast (unofficial), who I spoke to in a nice way, and I also had a massive case of the flu (this was a couple of years ago).
 
I was tempted to reach out to the creators to say how much the game has changed my life, how much I needed it etc. But I don't think I did. But I honestly cannot remember if I did or not, because at that time, I was blindly firing off 10's of messages a day sometimes to things which I loved.
 
To be clear, I was never rude, or offensive to people. But I just must have seemed absolutely mental to them.
 
I can't remember if I reached out to anyone connected to Fallout or not, but I remember worrying that something had someone ruined it. I remember that feeling so clearly. I then put the game down and couldn't play it any more.
 
I miss it so much. I have been wanting to play it again recently, to have that escapism, that joy, but I just can't. It feels so invalid. Which I know doesn't make sense, but I just can't explain it.
 
I'm not sure what I'm hoping to get from this, and I'm sorry for going on. But I just can't seem to beat this.
 
I appreciate given the current climate this may seem trivial. But these things are my rock, they are what have stopped me from self-harm in the past, or given me a reason to be alive during my darkest times.
 
Thank you for listening x

 

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Perhaps the desire to reach out to the artists/creators indicates a longing for human connection. Reaching out here is a good way to get support. Taking steps to find human connections in face to face interactions could help as well. That's easier said than done for sure, I don't know to what extent your mental health is an obstacle.

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Hello and welcome, fightoffyourdemons. Thank you for posting! I'm very sorry to hear about your difficulties and the negative effect they've had on your ability to cope. It sounds like you've struggled for a long time, and I speak for everyone on this site when I say you are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with you for feeling this way. It sounds like you've done an amazing job until now.

 

I have to inform you that I am no physician, and you should take everything I say strictly from the POV of an ordinary person who just wants to help. That being said, after thoroughly reading your post, I have a few things to offer that you might consider.

 

Firstly, everyone needs music! 🙂 I do understand the need to validate your valuable, personal coping mechanisms through gaining "permission". It is a very personal thing to feel comforted, especially in moments of crisis, and if you don't think the creator has / had that in mind when s/he created the gift, how can you accept it as "pure", and therefore valid? But at the same time, I believe that everyone needs music! 🙂 Are there any genres of music you might explore without needing the validation? Just as an example, I may cope with [a certain post-punk band] when I need to feel that certain something, but as an alternative, if I can just sort of put on an electronic music station, I don't need to feel bad because I feel that making electronic music is comparatively easy (and cheap - I do it myself), and it can get me by. Does that make sense?

 

Secondly, are you creative at all? If you created your own music, it might help. Hand drums? Harmonica? If you can't create from scratch, how about music mastering? Like audio editing? Sometimes making a contribution to the music you once loved (adding reverb, making loops, mash-ups) makes it feel more "yours", and you don't have to feel bad about enjoying it. Or making an mix album for someone else? There are a few loopholes here.

 

There is a lot more I can say, but I have a tendency to get long-winded, so I'll leave you with one more thing: can you look at the obsessive tendencies themselves as an enemy to fight? In my opinion, a musician gives his / her gift to you when you purchase it. That by itself gives you the right to indulge as much as you want (remember, they wouldn't record it to begin with if they didn't enjoy the process!). If you can do that, release your grip slightly, then the thinking pattern starts to feel excessive (not bad or wrong by any means, just a bit more than is necessary to feel okay). The need to feel validated becomes just a big mean Super Mutant in the Capital Wasteland, and you can tackle it with the right plasma rifle and some clever tactical V.A.T.S. action.

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On 6/27/2020 at 8:51 PM, Hertz said:

Perhaps the desire to reach out to the artists/creators indicates a longing for human connection. Reaching out here is a good way to get support. Taking steps to find human connections in face to face interactions could help as well. That's easier said than done for sure, I don't know to what extent your mental health is an obstacle.

Very true. I do have a very healthy friendship circle and a very patient girlfriend. MH is an obstacle in everything I do, but I work full time after years of therapy and am able to cope day-to-day, which is probably why I place so much importance on comfort items.

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On 6/28/2020 at 3:16 AM, Tymothi said:

Hello and welcome, fightoffyourdemons. Thank you for posting! I'm very sorry to hear about your difficulties and the negative effect they've had on your ability to cope. It sounds like you've struggled for a long time, and I speak for everyone on this site when I say you are not alone, and there is nothing wrong with you for feeling this way. It sounds like you've done an amazing job until now.

 

I have to inform you that I am no physician, and you should take everything I say strictly from the POV of an ordinary person who just wants to help. That being said, after thoroughly reading your post, I have a few things to offer that you might consider.

 

Firstly, everyone needs music! 🙂 I do understand the need to validate your valuable, personal coping mechanisms through gaining "permission". It is a very personal thing to feel comforted, especially in moments of crisis, and if you don't think the creator has / had that in mind when s/he created the gift, how can you accept it as "pure", and therefore valid? But at the same time, I believe that everyone needs music! 🙂 Are there any genres of music you might explore without needing the validation? Just as an example, I may cope with [a certain post-punk band] when I need to feel that certain something, but as an alternative, if I can just sort of put on an electronic music station, I don't need to feel bad because I feel that making electronic music is comparatively easy (and cheap - I do it myself), and it can get me by. Does that make sense?

 

Secondly, are you creative at all? If you created your own music, it might help. Hand drums? Harmonica? If you can't create from scratch, how about music mastering? Like audio editing? Sometimes making a contribution to the music you once loved (adding reverb, making loops, mash-ups) makes it feel more "yours", and you don't have to feel bad about enjoying it. Or making an mix album for someone else? There are a few loopholes here.

 

There is a lot more I can say, but I have a tendency to get long-winded, so I'll leave you with one more thing: can you look at the obsessive tendencies themselves as an enemy to fight? In my opinion, a musician gives his / her gift to you when you purchase it. That by itself gives you the right to indulge as much as you want (remember, they wouldn't record it to begin with if they didn't enjoy the process!). If you can do that, release your grip slightly, then the thinking pattern starts to feel excessive (not bad or wrong by any means, just a bit more than is necessary to feel okay). The need to feel validated becomes just a big mean Super Mutant in the Capital Wasteland, and you can tackle it with the right plasma rifle and some clever tactical V.A.T.S. action.

Thank you for such a detailed reply! Are you sure you're not in my brain!? Very familiar words there, thank you 🙂 Unfortunately I seem to have ruined most types of music! I'm an old-school emo kid at heart, so a lot of the bands are around that genre. I do find some pop music is very helpful though. I do write myself, and used to be in a band, who (at a very minor level) would receive some fanmail - and that is what triggered me more to reach out to others. 

Your last paragraph does make sense. I suppose I find it hard to separate the human aspect from it. For example, if I had an enemy or someone who I hated worked for a games company, I'm not sure I could play the game because I would feel they are ingrained in it. But I can't tell if that's OCD - linking things for the sake of it - or if that's a real concern because they are associated with it.

I did start a new game of FO btw - and although it feels difficult, I feel so at home there, why SHOULDN'T I be allowed to enjoy it?

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7 hours ago, fightoffyourdemons said:

Thank you for such a detailed reply! Are you sure you're not in my brain!? Very familiar words there, thank you 🙂 Unfortunately I seem to have ruined most types of music! I'm an old-school emo kid at heart, so a lot of the bands are around that genre. I do find some pop music is very helpful though. I do write myself, and used to be in a band, who (at a very minor level) would receive some fanmail - and that is what triggered me more to reach out to others. 

Your last paragraph does make sense. I suppose I find it hard to separate the human aspect from it. For example, if I had an enemy or someone who I hated worked for a games company, I'm not sure I could play the game because I would feel they are ingrained in it. But I can't tell if that's OCD - linking things for the sake of it - or if that's a real concern because they are associated with it.

I did start a new game of FO btw - and although it feels difficult, I feel so at home there, why SHOULDN'T I be allowed to enjoy it?

That's awesome that you write and play!! Do you just write songs, or do you have other outlets for writing as well? I am a huge believer in the power of personal creativity, especially when it comes to matters of the spirit. I'm  certain we can find a great way for you to get what you need through it. Writing is awesome!

 

I see, so when you played, other people expressed their enjoyment of your gift, and it made you start thinking about doing the same? Where do you think the change was? In other words, how were you able to enjoy music prior to that realization...? 

 

Musicians (especially ones who become internationally famous) know that their products are going out into the world for people to use at their personal discretion. That's why it was such a big deal for them to take ownership of their creativity in the 50s and 60s, because they knew that what they were doing was more than a product for some record exec to get rich off of. It's my opinion that when I buy a CD (sorry, an album :) , it becomes mine. It's my treasure, and short of plagiarizing it for my own monetary benefit, the transaction of goods for services (cash for a physical copy / digital data) completes the deal. I don't owe them anything else, except maybe the respect for having moved me with their creation. I'm no counselor but my guess is that the reason you feel obliged to give more is because their gift has meant more to you than the transaction. Does that make sense? They spoke to you. They didn't just throw their voices into the wind, they put a hand on your shoulder and it meant something to you, and you feel you owe them more than money. If that's how you feel (and please correct me if I'm wrong), it just means you feel you are worth more than money. In other words, you have a soul.

 

That's similar to gaming, especially open-world RPG types. You're essentially creating your own identity from scratch. Why wouldn't you want to have a character that starts in the right place, or have a good, complete soul? That's why we have those games, so we can experience building our selves the way we want. It's really amazing when you think about it. Certainly nothing to feel bad about. That's what they're for. 🙂 

 

I had the benefit of driving across the country to see MCR (one of my favorites of the time) in 2011. I dragged my poor girlfriend along, making her listen to the most popular songs along the way so she could sing them with me. And it turned out the show was horrible. The frontman was screaming cruel things at the audience for not being loud enough, for not keeping his band energized in the cold, etc. And the rest of the band was oblivious, never looking at the audience, obviously unhappy. It scarred me. The magic that had caused me to subject my girlfriend to the experience was gone for me, and I never listened to them again. I say that just to suggest that maybe the magic that moves you isn't all in the guitars and drums and vocals - maybe it's inside you to begin with.

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On 6/30/2020 at 1:22 AM, Tymothi said:

That's awesome that you write and play!! Do you just write songs, or do you have other outlets for writing as well? I am a huge believer in the power of personal creativity, especially when it comes to matters of the spirit. I'm  certain we can find a great way for you to get what you need through it. Writing is awesome!

 

I see, so when you played, other people expressed their enjoyment of your gift, and it made you start thinking about doing the same? Where do you think the change was? In other words, how were you able to enjoy music prior to that realization...? 

 

Musicians (especially ones who become internationally famous) know that their products are going out into the world for people to use at their personal discretion. That's why it was such a big deal for them to take ownership of their creativity in the 50s and 60s, because they knew that what they were doing was more than a product for some record exec to get rich off of. It's my opinion that when I buy a CD (sorry, an album :) , it becomes mine. It's my treasure, and short of plagiarizing it for my own monetary benefit, the transaction of goods for services (cash for a physical copy / digital data) completes the deal. I don't owe them anything else, except maybe the respect for having moved me with their creation. I'm no counselor but my guess is that the reason you feel obliged to give more is because their gift has meant more to you than the transaction. Does that make sense? They spoke to you. They didn't just throw their voices into the wind, they put a hand on your shoulder and it meant something to you, and you feel you owe them more than money. If that's how you feel (and please correct me if I'm wrong), it just means you feel you are worth more than money. In other words, you have a soul.

 

That's similar to gaming, especially open-world RPG types. You're essentially creating your own identity from scratch. Why wouldn't you want to have a character that starts in the right place, or have a good, complete soul? That's why we have those games, so we can experience building our selves the way we want. It's really amazing when you think about it. Certainly nothing to feel bad about. That's what they're for. 🙂 

 

I had the benefit of driving across the country to see MCR (one of my favorites of the time) in 2011. I dragged my poor girlfriend along, making her listen to the most popular songs along the way so she could sing them with me. And it turned out the show was horrible. The frontman was screaming cruel things at the audience for not being loud enough, for not keeping his band energized in the cold, etc. And the rest of the band was oblivious, never looking at the audience, obviously unhappy. It scarred me. The magic that had caused me to subject my girlfriend to the experience was gone for me, and I never listened to them again. I say that just to suggest that maybe the magic that moves you isn't all in the guitars and drums and vocals - maybe it's inside you to begin with.

Thank you :) Sorry I don't have time to reply in detail at the moment, but please know this has helped immeasurably.

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