First things first, I can say that I can barely remember a life without the internet. I am 23 years old, so by the time I was eight years old technology, and the internet were already a part of my life.
Before I received my first laptop at 12 years old there was only one computer in the house of my family. It was in my parents room, so you could only use it for homework. Looking back my father would not allow me to have a social life throughout elementary to high school. It was go to school and come straight home. He never liked any of my friends, had anger issues, was very suspicious, and I was basically isolated outside of school. I had a pretty unhappy childhood. At first before my laptop I would read A LOT. I could read 4 chapter books in a week, I remember being a top reader in school and a writer. Reading was one form of escapism for me. It all changed after discovering online forums.
Forums allowed me to feel important and heard. I did not realize at the time how no social life pushed me to the internet and more depression. On an online forum I was smart, knowledgeable, interesting, funny, witty, likable, and etc. I was not judged on my lack of fashionable clothes. I felt like I made friends. I was in a clique. I found myself saying things, because I knew the person behind the screen would agree and like me even more. On the forums I visited I was the young intelligent teenager (14) who knew so much. In the real world around my peers I was nobody. The internet and forums provided me with access to everything that I could not get or be in person.
- The downside was the it gave me a superficial sense of social interaction.
- I developed a false ego.
- I started daydreaming A LOT to escape reality and developed maladaptive daydreaming.
- I could not focus.
- My mind was ALWAYS racing.
- It was like I could not get it to shut up.
- Everyday I was filling my head with the opinions of others.
- new unnecessary information (Do I really need to know what Beethoven liked to eat for breakfast?), constant headaches
- Contributed heavily to my shopping addiction, low self esteem, paranoia, and
- I would think as if I was answering a post online. I found myself constantly thinking of what would be a witty response or answer that received approval.
- I would go to sleep HOURS later, because of mindless internet surfing.
One day, I realized that internet surfing took up too much of my time and took away too much from my social life. I realized that if I did not want to become a person with no friends sitting in a dark corner well into my 50s I had to leave the internet. I enjoyed my online world more than my real world.
One day I decided to not use the internet for 2 days. I was blown away. Time seemed slower. Like I had an endless amount of time. I could see clearly. I was present in the moment. I did not feel constantly compared. The racing thoughts in my head slowed down. My brain fog decreased. I researched internet addiction and came across no surf. By the end of this year I want to stop using the internet to escape reality and cope with unpleasant feelings.