Vee's NoSurf Journal


#1

I am starting this journal because I want to manage my internet addiction. Today is my 30th birthday and instead of celebrating, I’m taking the time to reflect and make plans for change because I am miserable about my life. I have no job, live with my parents, have very few friends and suffer from depression and social anxiety. I believe that my mental health problems are the reason why I have drowned myself in internet escapism since I was a teenager.

Restricting internet use is one part of a bigger plan to help me manage anxiety and try to live an independent healthy life. I want to find a job and earn money, start seeing a therapist, meditate and go to meetups but I can’t do that when I spend most of my energy online.

Social media and the internet in general are the easier options to distract me and not think about my problems, so when I engage, I can’t stop myself and waste hours and hours. The annoying thing is that I am aware of what I’m doing but I can’t seem to stop myself.

I can’t go on like this and I want to make a concerted effort to change things because I know I can have a better life, manage my mental health problems and have better relationship.

AIM
For the next week I will restrict my internet usage. I don’t want to go cold turkey because it’s not realistic, I have an art blog on Tumblr so I will be posting on their and browsing the site, therefore I want to stop using these sites on the weekdays and engage only on the weekends.

USAGE

I use mainly AO3 for reading fanfics, Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, and Tumblr. I go on AO3 on my phone or tablet which means I end up reading fanfic till ridiculous o’clock under the covers. It’s pure escapism and I can get lost in fanfic for hours. Youtube, Twitter and Tumblr, I have the apps on my phone and browse first thing in the morning. Guess it makes me feel connected because I’m socially isolated. Reddit I occasionally go on my computer.

On my laptop I’m usually drawing so I don’t really go on social media apps but I sometimes get sucked in when streaming shows and end up bingeing a few episodes of whatever I’m watching.

PLAN

I will not go on Youtube/Twitter/AO3/Reddit/Tumblr during the weekdays. I have a routine set up involving Meditation, light exercise and looking for jobs.

Since I need to find a job I have no choice but to use the Internet on my Laptop. I have a forest extension on chrome which has black listed Youtube/Reddit/Tumblr/AO3 etc.

I plan to delete Tumblr, Youtube apps on my phone and Ipad as well as Spotify because I listen to a lot of podcasts which are distracting

I will allow myself to indulge as much as I want on the weekends, but as long I can refrain from using it during the weekdays and set up a badly needed routine in my life then I know I will have achieved something, and it is possible for me to be disciplined and proactive in making positive changes in my life.


#2

First off, Happy 30th Birthday! I know you’re not in the best place right now but you’ve taken a step to move your life into a positive direction. That alone should be something to celebrate.

It’s easy to commit and say you’re going to do something. But following through is much harder, especially when you encounter failure. That’s why it’s really important to be relentlessly optimistic. In the beginning, you will fail, over and over again. You have to learn from each failure, and change your strategy going forward. Have absolute conviction that you will overcome this and that your life will get better. It can be hard to believe but there is a bright future that is within your grasp.

A year ago I was really internet addicted. Now I feel happy with how I use the internet. It was a long journey of repeated trial and error to get to this point though, so that’s why I emphasize that you have to keep trying to find a strategy that works for you. I’ll be sharing thoughts and ideas I have with the community on the main site. It’ll give you the ability to temporarily block distractions so that you can start focusing on getting things done. I’ll be adding them to the “start here” page.

https://nosurf.org/start-here/

For now, here are some success stories here that will definitely inspire you. If you haven’t already feel free to read through them:

https://discuss.nosurf.org/c/success

Btw I recommend using Cold Turkey on your computer if you aren’t already:

Welcome to NoSurf and good luck for the future!


#3

Hi and welcome to the community! I think it’s great that you are setting goals and parameters for your internet use. Your log shows a great attention to detail and self-awareness that will serve you well on your NoSurf journey. :slight_smile: I’m looking forward to seeing your updates!


#4

Weekly update-

I did well last week with a few snags but overall I’m happy with my progress. On my laptop the Forest extension has proven to be effective. Every time I log on to Chrome, Forest is the first thing I click. I recommend it wholeheartedly especially to anyone who likes visual representation of their progress like me, I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something. So refraining from social media on the computer has been okay.

On my phone I’ve managed to stay away from most social media apart from Youtube. So at the moment I’m redecorating my room and I wanted to listen to some music while working. No problem, I’ll just pop on a playlist on Youtube, I’m sure I’ll have enough self-control not to fall down the rabbit hole… uh, yeah, that didn’t happen. Because I’m an indecisive person, so cue me spending 10 minutes browsing what type of music to listen to then falling into the suggested videos so 20 minutes and 5 more videos later I’m watching something about a whole island of cats or some shit.

I felt disappointed afterwards, but I keep reminding myself that it will happen and this one thing shouldn’t discount the progress I have made. I’ve been going to sleep earlier now and I’ve started a routine of light stretches and meditation in the morning instead of browsing endlessly through Twitter.

I have given myself freedom to indulge as much as I want during the weekend but to be honest I didn’t feel much like going on Twitter etc or reading fanfics. I didn’t miss that need to constantly update twitter or but when I did start reading a few fanfics before bed I couldn’t stop for 2 hours. It really sucked me in and when I finally decided to go to sleep I just felt really empty and depressed.

My life lacks deep meaningful relationships because I have social anxiety and find it very hard to be myself and connect with people. I suppose all these years of reading fanfics and being in fandom, I get lost in these fictional relationships and obsess over them constantly. It’s safe, comforting and real world relationships pale in comparison. I’ll talk about this more in a later entry but for now I think it best if I just give it up for the next two weeks.

This week- I aim to continue as before, no twitter/youtube/reddit/other social media except for Sunday. I’m going to continue using Forest on my computer and phone and I’ve downloaded a few music playlists to listen to when redecorating my room so I wont have an excuse to go on Youtube.
I will avoid reading ANY fanfic for the next two weeks. Seems like a tall order but I think I can do it- wish me luck }


#5

I totally understand you, and I’m interested in hearing more about your experience with this. Connecting with people in person is very difficult, especially with social anxiety. It’s easy for me to swing between being withdrawn or being too eager when I’m around people. I’ve gotten a little better, but I still find myself desiring friendships with specific women characters from media, notably video games that have a social aspect, like Dragon Age, and even non-social games like Assassin’s Creed. It’s not only a desire for friendship, but a very strong feeling of admiration, to the point where I also want to be that person.

It’s tough because these “friendships” make me feel less alone, but they’re not real, they’re not dynamic. Lately I’ve noticed some of these admiration feelings being directed toward women in real life, which is also pretty unhealthy. I’ve only found one way to redirect these feelings, and that’s to view these women as people I want to be like, and to use their success, personality and courage as inspiration.

Anyway. I just wanted to say that you’re not alone. I’m proud of you for using Forest so often! That’s a great habit to start.


#6

Don’t use YouTube for music. If you’re using your phone use Pandora or Spotify.

Music is fine but if you’re spending a lot of screen time just to listen to a song then it’s not and you need to change something up.


#7

Last week wasn’t good. I caved.

I didn’t manage to stay away from fanfic and I went on Twitter and Youtube everyday just mindlessly browsing until the early hours of the morning. I just wanted that escape.

As well as feeling more depressed and anxious than usual, I’m living with my parents and brother who have a strained relationship. My brother also has anxiety and depression and spends every minute on his laptop or playing video games, which my parents are understandably not okay with. I’m constantly playing peacemaker between them and I find it very frustrating and stressful. To top it off my Dad has been ill recently- he’s in his 70s and diabetic. We rely on him so much I don’t know what we would do without him.

Under these circumstances I suppose it was inevitable that I dove back my unhealthy Internet habit. I just couldn’t help myself- it was relief and distraction from everything, my family, my instability, my isolation and the barrage of constant negative thoughts. It’s almost like it stops time.

Even so it’s not all hopeless. I need to accept that I didn’t succeed in my goal and think about what I can do to move forward. First, I think I need to be less ambitious and more realistic. Namely that giving up Fanfic for two whole weeks was not realistic and instead I’ll refrain only during the weekdays. Baby steps.

Instead of having rules about what not to do I’ll be more constructive and think about what tasks I will need to use the internet and my phone for this week.

This week-
Going back on meds: Probably for the best really. I was on it for a while then decided to stop back in May, but it’s not working out. I get emotional everyday over nothing, literally nothing and its disruptive to my life.

The internet is a tool (laptop): I need to look for jobs. This and only this which means no Twitter, Reddit, Youtube or Fanfic So every time I open a browser the first thing I will do is use Forest to block all that shit.

The Internet is a tool (phone): My phone is for keeping in contact with family through Whatsapp. No Twitter, Youtube, Reddit, Instagram or Tumblr. I’ve already deleted the apps from my phone (although I can’t seem to get rid of Youtube for some reason) so easy access is gone.

Once again I will have the weekend off from NoSurf and resume on Monday