I took a step back from the internet – I’ve always had some sort of presence on social media – when my Husband finished work for the Christmas break on the 15th of December. I was using some websites pretty avidly in the month or so before this date and honestly, I was feeling like it was taking over my life (again)
The break has been welcome and now I am looking over my actions with hindsight I can see how badly I was using the internet and social media; I was in the grips of addiction. The decision to take a step back was both welcome and eye-opening.
I took a quick peep on my dA account while I was writing this post; as that’s the place that I have been most active and it’s all doom and gloom. People threatening to kill themselves over (honestly) the dumbest stuff ever and all I want to do is scream at them to get a grip! I think, in part, it’s because that now I am a bit older I don’t really feel like I fit in with the younger people on there these days. Where issues like, Apu from the Simpsons suddenly being outed as a racist character, seem to be more relevant and important to discuss than third world poverty. Or where the ability to pick and choose ones gender on a whim seems more un/acceptable than the so-called rape culture we live in. I am generalising for emphasis here; but these are the things that I was encountering daily on the wider internet. And also being labelled a stalker for reading the pages of another persons blog – surely, that is what a blog is for? Reading?
Needless to say, it all just became too much and the decision to leave it all behind was a welcome one.
But, what am I thinking of now that I am in the midst of this break? I’ve used the internet to define a large part of who I am for a very long time. Websites, like DeviantArt have been the platform for my voice and my art for the past 14 years – longer than some of it’s users have been alive – so I have been left to do a serious amount of thinking. If I leave these social media sites behind me I know I will overall be happier and leave a more fulfilling life and I won’t be carrying around this addiction anymore. Yet, I would cut off some people I have known for a very long time, people I see as good friends and some of the only social interaction I get sometimes. I know I’d hear a lot less from some important people in my life – to the point where I doubt I would hear from them at all.
Do I stay in a place that ultimately isn’t good for me, but gives me a platform to express my creativity and gives me contact with people. Or, do I use the internet and the social platforms I have to keep in touch with people and express my creativity at the expense of my mental health?
I can see pros and cons for either side of the argument and I am thankful that I have enough time to ponder the conundrum for a while longer before the husband returns to work and I am left more or less alone with these thoughts.
I am thinking that there must be a healthy medium somewhere, but considering how the internet feels like an addiction surely using just one website (including my blog) is like an alcoholic or drug addict saying ‘One won’t hurt?’