I have a problem. I’m addicted to my phone. I know I am because…I just know. But also, I took an online quiz. The results were not good. I scored in the “you might want to contact a behavioral therapist” range. I’m not a professional, but I’m pretty sure that’s bad.
What does my phone addiction look like?
I have an internal urge—or itching—to pick up my phone every fifteen minutes or so and check my social media feeds—mostly Facebook, but also Instagram. Sometimes Parler and YouTube. Rarely Twitter. I haven’t sunk that low yet.
I don’t always pick up my phone, but I *want* to.
When watching TV, I pick it up on every commercial. I often scroll through dinner. (This isn’t as bad as it sounds. Although my husband and I try, the family rarely sits down to a meal together. Nevertheless, even if it’s just the two of us, I should be giving him my attention.)
I scroll first thing in the morning. I scroll before bed, sometimes for an hour or two. I scroll in the fast-food drive-thru line. I scroll while waiting for appointments.
Goodness sakes. As I write this, I’m annoying myself.
Not only is all this scrolling a massive time suck, it’s drastically affecting my productivity.
I feel like I hardly produce anything anymore. I’m unmotivated to clean, cook, work on my novels… I waste so. much. time. And it needs to stop.
That’s why I’m here, writing instead of scrolling. I’ve concluded that my phone—my social media usage—is negatively affecting my life as well as my mental health.
I don’t have ADD, but now, even when I’m not on my phone, my brain feels like ping pong balls bouncing around in a mausoleum. My thoughts enter and leave in short sound bites. It’s difficult for me to hold onto a thought. It’s difficult to sit idle. It’s difficult to pray. It’s difficult to read because I lack patience for the task.
It’s getting bad, folks.
I haven’t even touched on the negativity. How the constant fighting, negative comments, conspiracy theorizing on social media bogs down my mood. A lot. I’ve lost friends (well, one could argue they weren’t really friends) because of Facebook arguments. Let’s face it. I’m annoyed with the human race. I’ve lost patience with my fellow man/woman/it. I feel less hope for us as a species.
It’s gotten bad. I know. But I’m sharing it because I know I’m not alone.
I’m purposefully writing these thoughts down, on paper with an old-fashioned pen. And I am publishing it on an old-fashioned blog.
I’m claiming this spot of the internet as my own. A place where my mind can regain its coherence. A place I can go when I’m bored—yes, bored. A place where I am required to think before I speak, and where there are no other competing voices shouting at me.
Ideally, I will reclaim, or relearn, or learn for the first time, what it means to be productive. And if I learn any gold nuggets of truth regarding how to be productive in our sound bite-laden culture, I will share them with you.
Ultimately, I want to clear my head so I can write novels again.
I can’t wait to rediscover silence. I can’t wait until my brain is so bored that it begins creating imaginary people who have imaginary conversations in imaginary worlds of my own making. I realize this sounds like a mental health disorder, but I assure you it’s not.
Actually, I’m not sure. (I’ll get back to you on that.)
If you feel like smart phones and social media have sucked the joy out of your life, let me know in the comments. We can commiserate with each other.