Reflections on healing trauma, writing, and books by Tokyo-based memoirist
 
Addiction! Be Gone!

Addiction! Be Gone!

I’m not going on Facebook, anymore. It’s not for good. It’s just for now. This isn’t an activist stand or anything, so I’m not about to go on about how evil it is or how Zuckerberg has a Napoleon complex (but it really seems like he does, though, right?).

About a month ago, I saw a review of the book An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination on Goodreads by a person whose opinion I mostly respect, and she said that it caused her to finally go ahead and delete her account.

I thought that was mildly interesting and then probably went on Facebook about 3.2 milliseconds later.

About a week ago, I listened to a Bad on Paper podcast interview with Elizabeth Gilbert. She talked about how when she gave up social media, her creativity exploded and her anxiety went down.

I can always use anything that might relieve some of my anxiety, and besides, she has a weird spell on me where anytime she does something that seems outlandish, I immediately feel like I have permission to do the same thing.

Anyway, she got me to reconsider my social media usage for real. It’s never been healthy. I was addicted to it long before most people even knew what it was.

I’m not the normal sort of user who just talks to friends, either. I’m in a lot of groups, and I talk to the people in those groups… well, talked. This year, I’ve made great strides in staying out of the lives of strangers just because someone in the HSP group got dumped, was thinking about dumping someone, or realized she might be dating a narcissist (discussions about who is or isn’t a narcissist are huge in the HSP group).

Over the years, I kept telling myself that I had it under control, and I could quit anytime I wanted. I didn’t need to stop, I just needed to go on a little less. Who doesn’t, right?

I’ve tried various apps to curb it. I always start out well with pretty reasonable settings, but then I slowly loosen up the restrictions until I effectively have none. Then, I realize that there’s really nothing wrong with my unfettered social media use because I’ve got it all under control.

On Saturday, I decided that I’m going to stay off until November 1 and reevaluate then. I lasted until Monday.

I went on “just to look at my friends list to remind myself who they are.” Yeah. I mean, come on.

I quickly admitted it to Adam, hoping that it would alleviate my guilt.

“What’d you think?” He asked.

“It was wonderful. My friend’s cat had kittens, and my other friend has a cute cat, and there were kids, and vacations, and people going on hikes, and recipes!”

“Maybe you’re the kind of person who is better off going on Facebook,” he said.

I do love all of those things, but I know what FB was up to. It knows exactly what I’m doing and why I’m doing it. It knows exactly how to suck me back in, too. If it gets me back, it’ll go right back to showing me ads and Armageddon memes.

I might not be taking a stand here, but I’m not completely naive, either.

Every time I get nervous, I find myself staring at the login screen asking me who I think I am. I stop there, confused, because I’ve been perpetually logged in since 2007 and because I don’t even remember running to the nearest device and pulling it up.

That’s when the boulder of anxiety smashes into the back of my head because I wasn’t able to anesthetize myself with the FB brain pillows in time.

It got so bad that I searched online for a secular version of the 12 steps. I haven’t found one that speaks to me, yet, at least, not the whole list. The first step, which is to admit that I have no control over this thing, is pretty straightforward and already done.

I’m on the fence regarding Instagram. I’ve cut back on it, too, but I’m still deciding on where to draw the line. Goodreads is ok because it’s too user-unfriendly to ever be really addictive. LinkedIn is fine because it’s too professional to make me want to be there. I pretty much have to force myself to use Twitter, so no problems there. I’m still using FB Messenger because I need some contact with the outside world.

So, anyway, I’ve got other stuff going on, too, but I’m sure you’re sick of hearing me whine about how scary it is try and publish my book. Oh, and I started learning Tarot, but that’s a whole ‘nother entry itself.

The Japan Writers Conference is next month and it’s entirely online, if you want to stop by.

2 Comments

  1. You sound stressed and I hope the break does you good. Not much of a group joiner, but the few I had belonged to are all dust except one. Which is 90% memes and adverts for upcoming witch-adjacent craft fairs thus no drama. But I can leave my house and all the signs are in English and most everyone speaks it too. I can easily populate my life in many degrees of closeness. Not the same for you. At all. Wanting to be with folks who get it and get you, gads who wouldn’t be online all day in your situation? But it’s not cozy and fun right now, it’s fraught and you are smart to cut loose and be chill. I’m smiling a little thinking of HSP threads, gracious! Like a herd of long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs. Yikes. Perhaps when you’re ready for a little interaction you could join a writers’ group dedicated to writing filthy limericks and bawdy haiku. Something absurd and only done for the sheer silliness of it. I believe everybody can use a laugh right now. Blowing kisses, ~LA

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