When faced with my demons I clothe them and feed them…

I’m an Addict

I’m addicted to the Internet.

A friend emailed me yesterday to say she was cutting her Internet connection for the same reason. Brave lady. She thought it was contributing to her social phobia and reclusive behaviour. Snap.

I’ve more or less said as much in recent posts. I’m developing a problem here. I ‘should’ (that word!) probably do the same. But I don’t feel able to.

I suppose I still do get out to my support groups, shopping and the occasional coffee with a friend. But when it comes to contemplating voluntary work my anxiety levels get the better of me. I am beginning to live in a way that mirrors my son’s behaviour to a certain extent.

I took a trip down to Kent to see my Mum on Saturday evening, and stayed overnight, coming back yesterday evening. I am becoming increasingly unable to cope with Sundays. Still reeling from the news about M.

I know I’m depressed and therefore thinking negatively, but I mentally went through those people that I call friends, and realised I didn’t like any of them.  Nor can I think of anyone I like enough to develop a new friendship with. That statement demands a caveat. This is not about the precious, infinitely valuable human beings I call my friends. This is about me. I don’t like myself. I don’t like the ‘me’ I’ve become.

This has been developing for a while. I constantly find reasons not to see my friends. I’m not coping well with human interactions. I avoid making and receiving phone calls. Real time conversations scare me, partly I guess, because of the loss of control. When I’m out I’m always on my Smartphone. This is my comfort zone, and I would be in denial to say it wasn’t a problem.

Even the dating sites, such an obsession to start with, have lost their appeal. I’m OK with swopping a few messages, but the prospect of meeting any of them sends me into fight or flight mode.

No wonder I’m lonely, folks.

What am I achieving through constant internet surfing? Even support groups only just about keep me ticking over. I avoid one to ones outside of the relative safety of the group.

Still not cleaning my house. Even M used to do that. He was always out and about. I miss the old days, prior to his relapse onto marijuana. He encouraged and motivated me through my protracted depression, and looked after me and kept me safe during my mini-mania. We’d go out in the car, take lengthy walks. I loved hearing his key in the front door. And he’s now incarcerated. And that makes me re-evaluate the whole nature of our relationship. He just couldn’t hack life in the outside world, and now I’m going the same way.

As his deteriorating behaviour after his relapse demonstrated, he was still very much an addict. Total self-sabotage. How he must have hated himself to commit such a thoroughly self-destructive act. Much worse than anything he’d done in the past, yet he is 46 with surely less testosterone coursing around his body. And not on crack, as in his younger days.

Then there’s the obsessive need for tea and coffee, far exceeding my actual thirst. Not to mention the e-cig, which I drag on constantly while at the computer, and clutch in my hand on my anxious forays outside. I’m drug and alcohol free, but in many ways I’m still an addict. Living for short term gratification, or should I say, existing. It’s really not much of a life.

If I was even tempted to start thinking ‘I could have saved him if I’d stuck with him’, I would have to admit that he had already become impossible and intolerable to live with. He had sunk deep into a self-centred, narcissistic, chaotic and addicted lifestyle that left no room for any other human being with needs and desires of their own. It had become increasingly obvious that he was only using me – another means to fill the hole where a soul should be. Which raises the question, what did I think I was doing with him, if not much the same?

Well, this morning I have to go out. I’ve got my depot injection, plus an appointment with the psych. I have to ask some sticky questions, one of which is to come off the depot, go on oral meds and change my current care coordinator, who is utterly useless. Another of which is to ask for a stay in one of the new Recovery Houses. I need help. This I know.

And this blog. It’s pretty self-centred, isn’t it, in all honesty? Emotionally I guess I’m still an adolescent.

Hard truths. When I become all misty-eyed over M, obsessively and endlessly search the web for God knows what. I’m still in flight from the harsh reality. But I’m not psychotic. I know it’s still there.

I know, I know, it’s serious.

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Comments on: "I’m an Addict" (4)

  1. Hi Zoe I have cancelled my regular internet house connection but still have a mobile which means I can still read your blog Yay! I wonder how many other people are internet addicted and increasingly socially withdrawn ? It can’t only be you , Jasper and me …Hope that your meeting with psych went okay 🙂

    • I’m really pleased to hear that Katy! And I hope your ‘withdrawal’ is going OK so far. The psych sucked unfortunately, more of that on the next post. Love, Zx

  2. The Ranting Git said:

    Ah yes… internet addiction and the effects it has on one’s “social life” – something I’ve been very conscious of for many years. It kinda ties in with what you said about the dating sites… I’ve been on them for a few years yet never physically met anybody I’ve chatted to when the chance has arisen because… I get all scared!

    My rationale of this, and it speaks more about myself is that I am scared of people. They’ve done too many nasty things to me across my life, that dealing with them face to face can be traumatic unless I know the person very well. I’ve always been able to express myself far better in writing than by face to face communication… as you know I can type for England!

    When I first started having breakdowns many years ago, I soon found out that more or less all the people I considered to be “friends” were anything but. I was there for them in their times of need, yet when it was my turn, I ceased to exist. That was horrible and unfair. The internet then, provided a safe “alternate reality” – I could communicate and socialise without the trauma and embarrassment of meeting people in the flesh. Maybe it’s gotten a touch too unhealthy, but it has been a lifesaver. I know I probably will never meet 90% of who I talk with online, but I’ve known many people for years with whom I enjoy emntally stimulating banter and debate that I could never have with the handful of close friends I still have. It’s always educative as well so that’s always important to me. If people online start getting on my nerves or whatever, then one can walk away from it for a while and not get abuse for it!

    So, there are many pros and cons of internet addiction. I think like myself you’re finding it is filling a void in your life. So, can we actually term it as an “addiction”? What about those people who constantly have to be out all the time in pubs, clubs, being surrounded by people? Would one call their behaviour “addictive”? Perhaps, but most people wouldn’t see it that way.

    Anyway… they’re the thoughts of the Chairman Ranting Git for today!

    • Hi Baz. It’s nice to know I’m not alone! As if…Internet addicts are everywhere these days, and I bet a good few of them have increased social anxiety because of it. The stigma of mental illness also plays a large part, I think. And I agree with you that the internet can be a lifesaver. I find meeting new people, and even ones I know, traumatic and embarrassing too. Blimey, why are we like this???

      With my ‘sensible’ hat on I’ll suggest that any skill takes practice, and that avoidance, while very easy to do, is not the way to go. You have to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’! But my ‘sensible’ hat is always falling off, and I just curse and spit (like a ranting git) and say, fuck that, why am I putting myself through this needless anxiety?

      It does interest me – a lot – as to why we should find other hominids scary! But in my case I think it might be connected to what I said in this post about not liking anyone. I don’t want others to know that a) I don’t like myself and b) by extension, I’m not wild about them either. Hence the embarrassment. I don’t want to get found out, basically. I’m ashamed.

      If I had unconditional positive regard for myself and others I’d be able to relax and just ‘be myself’ as the saying goes. I’d be genuinely interested in other people, and their lives. I wouldn’t be so preoccupied with my own shit.

      In fact, today I had a mini-epiphany, albeit not a very positive one, but possibly quite salutary. I realised I’ve got my head up my own backside. I’m self-obsessed, licking my own wounds, sublimely unaware much of the time of what others are going through. Regular readers of this blog are, of course, already aware of this, but probably too polite to point it out!

      You know when something happens to you and somehow there’s some synchronicity about it – it confirms something you were already pondering on some level, subconscious or otherwise, and it’s almost like the universe trying to tell you something? Well, that happened to me today…I met someone new and what he told me made me consider things differently. But as this comment is already ‘too long’, I’m going to save that story for a new post on the blog.

      Thanks for your comment Baz. Very thought-provoking. I rival you in ‘typing for England’.

      Zoe x

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