All about the mind

Addicted much?

This post is brought to you by Malibu Horizon.

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photo credit: Denis Collette…!!! via photopin cc

I don’t know about you but I realise that I am addicted. To being online. I have a smart phone, a tablet and a laptop. All of which I use at least once every day. And not to mention a desktop computer at work. I think my addiction has become a bit better in the past couple of months or so but it has taken work.

You think I’m joking?

Well, the DSM-5 has come up with Internet Gaming Disorder in a section warranting further research. So yes, it does exist. I see it in so many clients as a secondary disorder. As for me, well, I think I did have some withdrawal symptoms if I hadn’t checked my email or phone to see if there were any messages. I remember freaking out when I visited my family a few years ago and realised their computer or internet was so bad you could barely go online for longer than a few minutes. In the last year, I found that I was constantly checking my phone for updates or emails. Or checking to read blog posts. Worse, I would do it in the middle of the night. I’d wake up at least once {thanks to a certain cat} and would reach out for my phone and spend time checking blog updates, Twitter or Facebook.

The lack of sleep eventually got to me.

And I also realised that I was doing some things that I was telling clients to not do. In other words, I was being a hypocrite. How could I tell parents to monitor their adolescent’s internet usage when I myself appeared to have no sense of control?

Consequently, I began my own version of a non-12 step rehab:

1. Turn off the Wi-Fi when I go to bed: This has been working really well because even when I wake up in the middle of the night, there are no new emails or messages or anything that I can do to access the internet from the comfort of my own bed. It is one of the easiest steps but it took me a while to implement it. Because, you know, what if I received a comment on my post in the middle of the night?!

2. Gradually have hours away from the online world: This has been occurring in the form of bushwalking through national parks where there is no network. Sometimes it’s only about 6 hours of no network but I’ve noticed that thanks to that, there has been the tendency to not ceck my phone once we are on a walk. Even if there is network connectivity. I have also coped fabulously with weekends when I’ve had no network. Like when I went caving and camping.

3. Read before bed: I used to do this regularly until the tablet took over. I now intend on going back to reading a book and keeping the tablet in my bag so that I’m not tempted to check things over and over. Or read blogs. Or anything else online. It’s particularly important for a good night’s sleep!

4. Aim to have a day a week without the internet: This is going to be a hard one. But it’s my next step in rehab. A day without the internet. When I’m still among civilisation. I am still to-ing and fro-ing about how feasible this is given that I need to do a few things online especially given I have this blog and need to expand it and I also organise a few bush walks which require research online. Eventually though, it will still be a good thing to have a day without looking at my phone or tablet or laptop.

5. Understand why I go online: I think ultimately, it’s important to understand the reason behind spending so much time online. If you’d asked me this question last year, I would have said that the virtual world is my friend because I only have a few in real life who are too busy sometimes. But this year, things have certainly changed. And while I still consider a lot of bloggers out there as friends, I have also made some friends in real life. Resulting in online usage for completely different things. In my work, this is what we would call a maintaining factor — what is it that’s keeping the problem going? For many clients I see, it is anxiety or depression that is underlying the excessive use of the internet or gaming.

With that final point though, I wonder if my ‘addiction’ is considered healthier now.

Ok. So that might just be stretching it!

But I’m getting there. I’m hopeful.

I definitely do not have a nervous breakdown any more when I know there isn’t going to be any internet. In fact, this coming long weekend will see me hiking and camping from Saturday to Monday and having no coverage whatsoever through the entire hike and camp.

I’ll let you know if I survive! 🙂

What about you? Are you addicted to internet, gaming or social media?

Do share!!

Until next time,

Cheers!!!

 

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  • Viji Venu
    October 1, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I am new to your space. Enjoyed the read!…

    — I was addicted a lot to internet too, but barely tried to get out of it. Main reason being staying alone and hunting for means to spend the time.
    I am almost over the mania, as work-life took over. Barely get a chance to check any of my FB or LinkedIn accounts. Emails are being glanced at random to make sure m not missing anything important.

    The biggest addiction for me is cell phone. I cannot take my eyes off a minute from that and the crazy texting. Even while i sleep, I am sure my palm rests over the phone :). The day I get over it wld be worth a celebration 🙂
    Viji Venu recently posted…Cooking ExpeditionsMy Profile

  • Viji Venu
    October 1, 2013 at 3:00 am

    I am new to your space. Enjoyed the read!…

    — I was addicted a lot to internet too, but barely tried to get out of it. Main reason being staying alone and hunting for means to spend the time.
    I am almost over the mania, as work-life took over. Barely get a chance to check any of my FB or LinkedIn accounts. Emails are being glanced at random to make sure m not missing anything important.

    The biggest addiction for me is cell phone. I cannot take my eyes off a minute from that and the crazy texting. Even while i sleep, I am sure my palm rests over the phone :). The day I get over it wld be worth a celebration 🙂
    Viji Venu recently posted…Cooking ExpeditionsMy Profile

  • Janine
    October 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I am practicing (trying to) 4 of the 5 things you have listed. We are going to have to start switching the wifi off at night soon, as we don’t trust the kids to not go online when they are in bed. I finally curbed my habit of checking my phone when lying in bed last thing at night, so we don’t HAVE to do it for me anymore…in saying that, D has been sitting up an awful lot playing FIFA on the xbox. When he finds a job, we may need to switch it off to force him to come to bed!
    Janine recently posted…This Is Your Life. What Is Your Manifesto?My Profile

  • Janine
    October 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    I am practicing (trying to) 4 of the 5 things you have listed. We are going to have to start switching the wifi off at night soon, as we don’t trust the kids to not go online when they are in bed. I finally curbed my habit of checking my phone when lying in bed last thing at night, so we don’t HAVE to do it for me anymore…in saying that, D has been sitting up an awful lot playing FIFA on the xbox. When he finds a job, we may need to switch it off to force him to come to bed!
    Janine recently posted…This Is Your Life. What Is Your Manifesto?My Profile

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