It’s been the same mix this past week or so. Getting out, into a regular work routine, slowly feeling better, but still the odd suicidal thoughts creeping in, and acute loss of my ex. Still, one step forward is better than the dozens backwards I was taking a few months ago.
One noticeable side effect of this all has been a vast reduction in the time I spend online. Cutting back further, too, has been activity in social media. Facebook hasn’t been looked at for a few days and Twitter for almost a week. Somehow the need to let others know what I had for my tea or how outraged I am by a news headline has dissipated. It feels good.
I still have a guilty pleasure. Hmmm, maybe I need to rephrase that. A guilty habit. Something which really can cause negative feelings, and affect how I actually live. Every day there is still some sort of need to log onto message boards and chat rooms.
It’s a lovely idea. Lots of like minded people, sharing a common interest, getting together to have a gossip and a laugh or two. Occasionally it even works that way as well. After a short while, though, a kind of spell comes over me. Within a few minutes of inactivity on a message board, I hit the refresh button. Then again. And again.
Instead of accepting that conversation, at least for a while, has been exhausted, I sit, waiting, not daring to go anywhere, lest I miss out on something interesting. Meanwhile, hours of my day have drifted by, for the sake of feeling worse and worse.
Not only that, there’s often an opposing, negative, provocative, or downright rude response. I become filled with anger and resentment, so instead of ignoring it, have to respond, which inevitably escalates. Hours wasted once again, with anger now mixed into the negative feelings already engendered. I wonder why I do it.
There is also an exponentially expanding form of online media, though, that can match such negativity. To my shame, I’m also addicted to that in a small way. Welcome to the world of chatrooms, a place where you can be, say, perhaps even do, anything you like.
Again, the idea is great, getting in touch with like minded people. With chatrooms it seems there’s limitless places to log into for infinite pleasures and interests to be discussed. From sport to sex, and everything in between, nothing is taboo in this world.
A big plus is that I’ve become friends with really decent people, folk who are genuine, and although may not feel or believe the same things I do, have the same sense of what I believe is humanity. It’s a pleasure to chat with them and to share a small part of my life.
That’s accentuating the good. On the flip side, again, there is that addiction that sucks you in. The amount of time I’ve lost just staring at a screen waiting for someone, anyone to say something, without typing a word to start conversation, is on a par with nurse’s working week in all probability.
There’s also the slightly sinister side of not actually knowing who you are speaking to. Perhaps it’s part of a naive charm, but when asked for a username, I tend to put in my actual name. Of course, that’s leaving me open for all kinds of identity searching if there’s unscrupulous people around, but I’d feel somehow like a fraud talking to people in a room hiding behind a pseudonym.
(I do realise the irony, maybe hypocrisy, of not revealing my name on here, of course, but then my aim is not to address anyone in particular, but to just let everyone and anyone benefit from what I have to say rather than who I am. I’m a complicated wee soul).
On the flip side of identity, are the people who are somewhat economical with the truth about their age, where they are from, and on an alarmingly regular basis, their sex. Often someone will claim to be a 30 year old male, then on the same internet address, later on become a 21 year old woman.
The reasons why, I really do not know. I can only guess low self esteem as a reason for leading a secret life. If they want to do that, though, there’s plenty of secret life websites where you can be anything. Logging into a chatroom to talk with me, a man pretending to be a woman really does make my flesh creep.
There is a similarity with message boards for me as well. I waste hours staying logged in, unable to break away from it, even though I really do want to do something else. It induces a self loathing in me, my self confidence drops, and so the vicious circle starts. It’s crazy to think I do that to myself.
What to do? Well, I never carry any phone or gadget with me outside any more. If anyone wants to contact me they have to wait until I get home. Likewise for me, if the craving to log on hits me, tough, it isn’t going to happen until I’ve finished what I’m doing outdoors.
At home, it’s improving. I stay logged into just one message board and one chat room, and don’t keep a constant eye on it. If it becomes disconnected I no longer instantly reconnect. Slowly but surely, my self loathing at home, my feeling of dependency, is lessening. You never know, one day, I might even enjoy this interweb chat message thing, and use it sparingly. It’s a very big ‘might’ though.
Until then, must dash, an empty chatroom awaits …..