Monday, October 7, 2019

Internet Addiction, Part Two

I had to tell my husband today that my internet addiction is stealing all my joy again. It isn't a pleasant thing to talk about. It isn't easy to look the man I married in the eyes and tell him I am struggling with staying off YouTube and Facebook, or that I feel crushing pressure to “keep up” with social media.

I had to tell him that lately, I had been using the internet like a drug. Did I have a bad day? I must need to binge watch YouTube. Are my kids driving me crazy? I can send them to their room and zone out on my phone for half an hour. Since we got the internet back after a five month hiatus I have more and more turned to it to give me a “fix” when I am stressed, tired, or anxious.

The internet has it all. Everything I need. Social interactions that are shallow and take time away from me that I should be spending with my family. My stress level skyrockets on facebook as I read the bickering and fighting over vaccines, and see the negativity that many people post about Trump, feminism and abortion.

Lets not forget the advertisements. Ads punch me in my gut. After seeing a few, I just know my house and closet are inferior and laughingly inadequate. I need that shirt. If I had it, I would be happy. But either I have to charge it to our credit card, or not buy it because $30 shirts are not in our budget.

Pictures let me know I am failing creating happy memories in my own home. Did someone I follow post a video on YouTube? It's a reminder that I am not posting as much as I should—I need to make some videos for my channel.

Now, this is not how I always feel about Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and blogging. This is just how I feel when I am using the internet as a crutch or when I am in a negative place mentally or emotionally. Instead of dealing with whatever I am going through, I internalize it and use the internet to distract me. That is not healthy for me and it has been slowly killing my joy again.

In short, I need life without the internet again. Desperately. My husband agrees. Whatever life stage I am in now, I am not able to use the internet healthily. But my husband still wants internet in our home so that he can work from home occasionally and use it to play some online games.

The plan we came up with and the thing I asked for is for him to change the internet password and just not tell me. I also removed the internet from my phone.

After three days I convinced him to give me the password. I thought—oh, I'll just log out after and not have my computer remember it. I'll just use the internet for the evening. Well, that worked for two nights and the third night I just left it connected. And that was when I realized my addiction goes deeper then even I can understand. I can't tackle this alone.

We reconfigured our idea. I will be taking at least three months off of home internet and will have to go to a coffee shop or other internet-friendly place if I would like access. This is good. This is what I need. Boundaries are good here. Oh, it's going to be rough—but I have done it before and I can do it again and I know it is good for me. I know I will grow and I know my anxiety and depression will lesson considerably after the adjustment period.

So, that is how I am doing. How are you?