I’ve been thinking alot about social media lately. Specifically, how much time I spend on it – searching, researching, spying, stalking – all simplier ways of say “wasting my time.” Its a trap really – I start off innocently enough – looking at the news, researching a topic or question I have and I wind up saying to myself “I’ll just check in to see what’s happening on my Facebook page and You Tube” and before I know it, an hour has flown by and I’m behind in my work and/or late leaving to pick up my son from school. Its a mind-_uck in a way because all of that fantasy, that living outside of my own life, only increases my feelings of low self-esteem and inadequacy. I do realize that I use it as a way of distracting myself from the monotony of my life – in other words, the things I don’t want to do or don’t want to face. I’ve mentioned that I’m struggling lately with family – specifically my marriage – and I know that the more I struggle, the more I seek solace in the fantasyland of my computer. Its funny because when I do recognize that I’m losing track of time, I still keep going and once I do manage to stop, I feel this terrible regret or anger that I let myself waste away my time doing essentially nothing. I feel bad about myself – like I should know better. Unfortunately, its been a common pattern for me over these last several years and I’m getting to the point where I realize how detrimental this habit has been to my life and my happiness – so much so that I get wrapped up in the world of online news, gossip, etc. that I forget that I have a life to live, a son to raise and the ability to make and find my own happiness right here in my own world. Ironically, social media make me feel even more lonely than I already feel – which is exactly what I don’t need. I’m beginning to wonder if this habit is more of an addition – something that I know is bad for me but I cannot control and something that I would definitely feel emotional withdraw from if should decide to stop (which of course keeps me trapped). How is this any different from alcoholism or gambling or smoking? This is crazy – when did this happen? how did it happen? And more importantly, how do I stop? I think I’m going to have to pull the plug cold turkey. That sounds so drastic but I really don’t know how else to regulate my consumption of fantasy – its either remove myself completely or lose myself completely. Perhaps I should start a support group for the social media obsessed. I could come up with a 12-step program to help those of us that need instruction on how to bring our life back in balance among all of the readily available media outlets that are reachable with only a few clicks of the keyboard. Obviously, I’m being sarcastic but deep down, I really mean it. How on earth did I get myself to the point where I cannot stop losing myself on the computer? Its not like I’m bored or have nothing to do – I’ve got plenty to do and lots of other distractions that certainly would serve me better. Where do I go from here?
I have decided that my first task is to be more kind to myself. I’m probably not that different than everyone else – we all can lose ourselves in cyperspace and all that it has to offer, especially when my life has not been a barrel of monkeys lately. Perhaps just acknowledging my problem will allow me to begin to back away from or at least come to some form of regulation of my trolling habits. Its an optimistic thought but one that I’m going to lean on in the coming weeks to see if I might be able to wean myself away from this trap. Wish me luck – I’ll let you know how it goes.