If there’s one thing I’ve learnt about myself since starting this blog, it’s that I seem to have a not very useful ability to remember old albums and songs and turn them into unpithy post titles.
Self criticism aside, which I clearly can’t help myself about at the moment, it’s been a half decent day. Up early as ever, cooked breakfast , then job searching, out and about on foot. Had a rejection but at least I was there to ask and be turned down.
Then onward to my fortnightly food shopping. Money is always too tight to mention but done well today. Sticking to economy lines, I managed to buy enough to keep my lad fed every day, and us both cleaned and clothes washed, for under £25, which I thought was a pretty remarkable feat.
True, it doesn’t extend to keeping myself fed for all of those two weeks but that’s for another day. If it sounds indicative of a life full of struggle, it really isn’t. Going hungry is something I’ve become used to, and recently I’ve come to appreciate the little things in life.
The glorious weather for example. It made today so, so much better, and a joy to be outdoors, which so many others didn’t have the opportunity to. An ironic bonus, too, was that it kept me away from the computer. In life, having one is a double edged sword. In depression, it can be a sword through your mind.
In my darkest days, when being physically able to get out of bed ceased to become an option, the laptop became my friend, my confidante, my link to the outside world. And my tormenter, as it cast an insipid spell over me I still find impossible to shake out of at times.
It was a variety of things that kept me hanging to all those 0’s and 1’s which turned everything on my screen into words, pictures, animations, anything to stop my mind telling me how awful I am, how bad a person I was.
Facebook is the obvious starter, where I began to look for updates every few minutes. I became frustrated if none of my friends were doing anything, or if a group added a dull picture, but still I kept checking. I knew it was making me feel worse but kept checking in the hope something interesting would crop up.
It was the same with message boards. I became embroiled with conversations, which sometimes descended into arguments. Usually about issues I’d never give a second thought to in everyday life, mostly with people I haven’t and won’t meet. Getting angry and upset with total strangers.
Still I held on, though, not being able to let some things go. Mixing it in with my depression, the online arguing, the Facebook vigil, also came instant messengers, although on a much smaller scale. People would demand my immediate attention at any time. I soon fell into the habit of ignoring them, which was so rude, or the better option of not logging into them at all.
Another habit which didn’t help, however, was keeping the laptop on through the night, even when I finally went to sleep. I’d be woken within an hour or so, the bright light hurting my eyes. Instead of turning off, though, I was so skewed in my thinking I’d make myself become fully awake then get myself feeling terrible with more online bickering or waiting for others.
It took that time back in February, broken down, crying into my fluffy bathrobe on that Saturday afternoon, for me to come to at least some of my senses. As my body shut down emotionally and mentally, so did the laptop. It felt somehow liberating when, a few days down the line, I stopped using the computer as a dependency and instead as an everyday living aid.
I’m still not free of the addiction but it’s having far less of an impact on me than before. Facebook still annoys me but when it does, one click, and the page disappears. The laptop doesn’t come on until the afternoon and only after I’ve been out, whether it be job search, therapy, or anything. Off out before I log in.
Even then I regulate myself. Online job search first. Then, if I have anything I can put together cogently, pouring my heart and mind out here. Then comes all the other stuff. I make sure, though, that the laptop is off every night before midnight. It may not seem much but for me that’s a huge step forward.
There’s still more steps to come though. I know there’s still a whole wide world out there. Without adding a web to the end of it too. One way or another, I’m going to explore it, simply by doing to my laptop what I always do whenever the two Jeremys, Kyle and Clarkson appears on my tv screen. Something I needed to do years ago
I switch off.