In January and February, I went clean from social media for around five weeks. I was able to get a lot done on my book. The first week was extremely difficult. I likened it to people who try to quit smoking. You don’t know what to do with your hands.
The compulsion to be on social media has been very strong lately. I think I’m hooked on the dopamine. I switch from Facebook to TikTok to Instagram and just repeat the cycle all day long. Maybe it’s just because I could use something good, something that makes me laugh or smile or…just feel.
The thing is that I don’t even care anymore. I find sometimes that my vision has doubled when I’m staring at the apps because I’ve just glazed over and am scrolling. I’ve let my eyes relax to the point where I’m not even watching.
When I am driving down the road, sometimes I find that I am scrolling as I drive. Like I can’t go five to ten minutes without seeing if I have any notifications. I take advantage nowadays of driving places where I have no cellular signal. After about twenty minutes of this, I feel like I’ve reconnected with myself. I’m singing to my playlists (because there’s no radio on these roads either). Sometimes I drive out and take pictures. Thunderstorms, rainbows, sunsets, wildlife. It’s good practice for my photography and I wind up in some very beautiful places. I think my skill is improving too.
But once I’m home, or within range of a signal again, it’s back to scrolling. I’ve had bad insomnia lately, and have found a new level of sleeplessness. Aparently if your insomnia is bad enough, your skin itches. Which keeps you awake. So, I have been taking antihistamines, which eventually knock me out and help with the itch. But I sleep too hard or weird and never get to the right level of sleep, which means I nap during the day, which means I’m not as tired when I go to bed, and therefore the insomnia gets another foothold. It really sucks.
The scrolling helps sometimes because I get that dopamine overload and I eventually conk out. Or I don’t. I worry that my dopamine receptors won’t be able to accept the hormone like they used to and then I won’t be able to feel pretty much anything. Like what happens to meth-users. The instant gratification of social media spurs this on too.
Make no mistake, electronics addiction is real. Hell, most people under the age of 30 are well entrenched in an addiciton of this kind. That and avocado toast.
So, I’m going to try to stymie my social media addiction. Facebook might be a little easier, since it has become nearly 100% ads anyway, or groups I don’t belong to enticing me to like posts and get more of the same content I didn’t ask for. Whatever the hell is going on in the lives of my friends is a mystery. I never see anyone’s feeds anymore without looking for them.
Instagram is just pretty pictures without any substance or content.
Tiktok is going to be really hard. Hoooo boy. But I think it will be worth it. I just need to stop. I don’t know what happens when the bottom drops out of all of this, but I am guessing it isn’t pretty. I’ve realized lately what I want pushes beyond needing to get my shit together.
I want to get it together.