Taking My Life Back: ArsArgo's journal


#1

Some background: As a child, I was an avid reader. I was born in the mid-Nineties but didn’t have access to a home computer until I was 9. Unfortunately, I was in a bad situation and was already suffering from mental illness. My computer use became unhealthy by the age of 10. I had lost the ability to enjoy anything at all and the computer was the only thing stimulating enough. I had realised that my computer use was unhealthy by my teens. But due to my mental and physical health issues, I wasn’t capable of doing much. So the computer became a way to at least have some stimulation.

I’m now in a much better place physically and mentally, but I have been unable to improve due to my addiction to the internet. I primarily have an issue with using the internet to distract/numb myself and an information addiction.

On to the journal: I only started my NoSurf journey 3 days ago. I don’t know why but something just clicked inside of me and I realised that the internet is holding me back and has consumed my life. I’ve installed SelfControl, and the amount of times I’ve tried to go to reddit or youtube before remembering it’s blocked and why is insane. It’s like a compulsion/automatic reflex.

That said I’m already seeing improvements. I was terrified the effects of the internet on my mind would take years to undo. But, I can already see improvements in my attention span and concentration. I’ve regained the ability to read. I have started reading The Battle for Australia and The Shallows. My mind feels clearer and clearer. My ability to comprehend and understand information is coming back.

It has been hard to give up but with the fact I’m already seeing major improvements, I think it’s worth it. I would like to get facebook back, primarily for the facebook messenger function (I never check the newsfeed and such), but there’s nothing else I want to remove from my blocklist.

When I get the compulsion to check something on the internet I go to NoSurf, because I hope that by obsessively reading NoSurf instead of reddit, youtube or google binges that will help to motivate me to change my mindset - in the same way that being exposed to ads/propaganda can affect your beliefs/desires.

Here’s hoping I keep up this journal and quit for good.


#2

Hey! Welcome to the forum :v:

That’s pretty common actually. I mean, it’s not like a reflex; it is a reflex. Try to actively stop yourself from entering the adress. It’ll be difficult at the beginning, but after some time, that habit/reflex will be gone.

That’s a good idea, but not a good permanent solution. The information you find on here are probably better for your internet goals than the information you find on YouTube, Google, or elsewhere, but your overall goal should be to completely eliminate these compulsive habits from your life, because even a overconsumption of “good” information isn’t good for your brain.
Try to find other things to do to keep yourself busy and, most importantly, away from your PC/Tablet/Smarphone or whatever. One thing that a lot of people on here recommend is to write down how you feel or what you’re thinking when you get the urge to impulsively go online, so you can later reflect on your notes and see, what exactly makes you want to go online.
Ads and propaganda only really work that way because they were designed to make you believe what they tell you. It’s a bit different here! We’re not a cult or anything like that haha


#3

Oh, I know. If I was spending time obsessively looking at NoSurf longterm it would kind of be missing the point. I’m using it more as a reminder that surfing isn’t good for me. The first step is to cut out the most problematic internet use. The second step is to completely stop any problematic (compulsive) internet use. Luckily NoSurf isn’t as interesting as other forms of media as there isn’t as much going on. So it’s something I can use to replace my compulsions but it isn’t as enjoyable/entertaining as googling/reddit/youtube. As my urges to use the internet are lessening I’m using NoSurf less.

Yeah, I meant more that it would create a sense of peer pressure or just normalise it. The more times you are exposed to something, the more you take it in. Kind of like product placement, but not intentional.


#4

So, it’s been a week, and I’ve already had my first setback. On Saturday I started surfing to procrastinate doing an assignment. I wasted an entire day. Fortunately, I managed to get my assignment done.

Thoughts On My First Week of NoSurf

Successes:

  • I’ve completely cut out Reddit, knowing that it is not worth it.
  • I’ve barely used youtube. I only used it once to watch a music video.
  • I’ve cut down on my surfing in general.

Setbacks and Concerns:

  • I have still done some unhealthy browsing. The worst instance was on Saturday, where I wasted an entire day browsing.
  • I have been trying to monitor my use of TV shows, to make sure binging TV shows doesn’t replace my surfing.

Main Reasons Behind Failures:

  • Procrastination
  • Anger: I noticed I used internet drama as an outlet for anger after an incident that happened earlier this week. Luckily my primary source for this was youtube drama channels (a guilty pleasure). So SelfControl and Blokada helped to keep that tendency at bay.
  • Hurt feelings: Due to the same incident I felt hurt and had my self-esteem affected. I used the internet to distract from negative emotions.
  • Fear: I am afraid for the future for many reasons. Australia’s economy is quite fragile, we have a housing bubble and are at risk of going into a recession due to improper management of the economy. Climate change is becoming more of a reality every day and no one seems to be doing anything about it. I seem to think that at some point I’m going to come across information that will be helpful or put my mind at ease. That hasn’t happened yet.

Methods Used:

  • Enabling grayscale on my phone/laptop. I have an AppleScript that does this in my laptop’s dock. Here’s a link, in case anyone has a Mac and is interested.
  • SelfControl: This has been very helpful. I’ve now removed facebook from the blacklist, and have turned on self control for an entire month.
  • Blokada: This is an android app downloaded via F-Droid. Has been very helpful and allowed me to block specific urls, rather than just apps.
  • Evie: This is my custom launcher for my phone. I didn’t download it for these purposes, but it has allowed me to hide apps from the app drawer. I’ve used it to hide Youtube (which is also blocked by Blokada).

#5

Thoughts On My Last Fortnight Of NoSurf:
My surfing has gone down, but I am still struggling. The use of blockers and other things has helped. Looking at my data on RescueTime, I can see a general trend to less distracting apps/websites.

Successes

  • I’ve managed to stay away from Reddit, even though it has been tempting.
  • I’ve gone well with my youtube being cut out. Occasionally I unblock it on my phone to watch something (usually a music video I’m nostalgic), but I don’t watch any videos after that.
  • Introducing meditation has helped me deal with negative emotions somewhat.
  • I have read more and am more motivated.

Failures

  • I have noticed my news surfing increase in the last week.
  • I’ve still got a lot of “neutral” time logged.

Challenges

  • Studying online, read ebooks on my phone due to cost/convenience, pretty much always using a device.
  • Procrastination.
  • Negative emotions still present.
  • Tiredness due to chronic/mental illness.

Methods Added

  • User scripts: I installed Tampermonkey and got some user scripts from greasyfork.org. Most notably Google Hit Hider, which has allowed me to censor Google search results.
  • Meditation via Insight Timer (Android/iOS app).

Goals For Next Fortnight

  • Complete all assignments + homework.
  • Start learning lojban.