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my story (non-substance addiction)

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It was suggested to me that I tell my story, and I am all for raising awareness. So here we go. Feelings of suicidal ideation are mentioned here in detail, so proceed with caution.

So, I was 16 1/2 years old when it started. I became absolutely obsessed with a cartoon. My descent was a gradual thing. At first, I felt whispers of sadness here and there. I remember feeling like something was creeping up on me, not in the literal sense, but that some sort of mood change was taking hold. Over time, this would become more and more obvious, and more and more severe, until it threatened to take my life.
I had a hard time not thinking about the cartoon. I would constantly be imagining the characters in scenarios. Over time, this became a compulsion of sorts: I had to do this, in order to stave off severe feelings of despair and hopelessness. The cartoon was the only thing that made me happy, and everything else seemed to pale in comparison. Activities and other things I had previously enjoyed became of little interest, there was only the all-consuming addiction. I had trouble imagining a future where I wasn't hyperfixating on this cartoon.

Soon, I began sleeping all the time. Because the sadness, the despair, the hopelessness, was too strong. Being conscious was torture, and the only thing that made me feel happy was the cartoon. The cartoon made me feel happy again, giddy even. The emotional high it would give me was so huge, and when I was under that influence I would then lose all sight of the problem I had, even question if I had been imagining the whole thing. But the crash always came later.
I recognized that the cartoon was causing my intense sadness, and so I would try to abstain. Tried hundreds of times, but was always compelled to go back to it. The despair was too strong, and the more I gave in, the stronger it became. I began to fantasize about dying. I wanted so desperately for God to take my life. I would think about the easier, least painful ways to die. I would wish that that was an option for me, wish for it so earnestly.

Eventually, I did try one last time to quit. That time, I had asked a friend to pray for me. And then I resolved, once more, to abstain until I was no longer bound to my addiction. It took two weeks. Two weeks of utter darkness. I don't think there's been a time of my life where I was more miserable. But I survived, by the grace of God. And then, it just.....felt like the chains were gone.

It would still be some time before my brain returned to normal functioning. I dealt with some pretty steep depression for some time afterwards, and there were depressive periods that came close to the hopelessness and despair I had felt when still fully addicted. And then, I had one last, severe depression episode (which lasted three months), and then.....I was suddenly so very joyful and happy. I haven't dealt with chronic, long-lasting depression since. I think at that point, my healing from the time of addiction was complete.

So, basically what happened with my addiction was this (based off research I've done since this happened to me):
The emotions of despair and hopelessness I felt, were withdrawals. Mental ones, instead of physical ones. What happens in cases like mine, is your brain becomes dependent upon the dopamine you get from something you're enjoying. It becomes set so that only that thing gives it the dopamine. But then it needs more and more in order to achieve the same emotional high, so it becomes harder and harder to satisfy it. Which is why my condition got progressively worse and worse.
 

humble soul

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Sorry but I also found your past addiction fascinating as well. Just proves we can get obsessed about absolutely anything.
My mind is not not always trustworthy. I don't trust all my thoughts. I can get obsessed about any food. Then feel my day is not complete unless I have that particular food. Currently I can't go a day without an icecream. The day feels unfulfilled if I don't.
Obsessive thinking is part of me. Whereas someone can move on, I can stay on one recurring thought for days. Now I'm thinking about some minor incident at work which is driving me to distraction. My mind makes mountains out of molehills.
 

humble soul

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If there is some way to make positive use of our obsessions. Turn them into art?
 

Seasoned by Grace

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evenifigoalone

Thank you for having the courage to open up and tell your story here.

Over the years, every so often, people would come into my life, and as I got to know them, they would open up and tell me THEIR STORIES, mostly about unhealthy home lives and many times about abuse of some kind.
I have my story too of those kind of things.

My home life I have discovered for myself anyway, was the foundation of my later years as a growing child, and eventually my adulthood.

For a long time things happened I didn't understand, like with you, and life in some area's didn't seem to work so well, or even make any sense. Sometimes you do or say things you don't understand why, and may later regret.

It's all part of the brokenness we experience that sets the stage for the rest of our lives.

I don't know if there were problems in your childhood that could have caused your problems, but what is so fabulous, is that if we let God come into our lives, that He can either heal us completely or at least give us the strength through our faith, to live a more normal life, and use our stories to sometimes help others who are still struggling, and we can help them have hope, when before they had none. I'm sure your story will help others. It's already helped me - THANK YOU !!

Thank you for sharing, and may God be with you as you continue to grow in HIS strength.

My name is OLIGOS
 
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