Hello, and welcome to this new blog post. I am under a veil of intense inspiration, especially of this particular topic so I hope that you enjoy your stay here and are inspired to swivel your perspective from blindly consuming the Internet to creating your own content (ironically of course for others to consume). Let me know in the comments what you think about this post or you can contact me over My Twitter or at my public email address (email@example.com) if you’d like to speak with me privately about this subject matter or anything under the sun, ahaha. Hope you enjoy this! Sending you light and love,
So this is a follow-up blog post to my drafted blog post (from Sept. 27th) titled:
“Hi, I’m Raquel and I’m Living with an Internet Addiction”
As mentioned previously, this blog post was only drafted and never made it much further than the title and the inspiration at the time for me to create it. Curse you consuming rather than creating!
Which brings me to this blog post itself (which I hope will actually be launched but because I’ve made graphic designs for it, I’m pretty certain that it will).
Last week, Oct. 18th, I brought up in therapy at my day program how I felt–and this is at the moment, it may change in the future–that Consuming the Internet versus Creating for the Internet are two different things.
Maybe it’s me making excuses to further deny the fact that I’m living with an Internet Addiction. It’s purely possible. My family therapist, June, described how I separated a Youtube addiction from an entire Internet addiction as being clean from coke for several years while at the same time still drinking ten beers a day. Just because you’re sober from one drug addiction while still giving into another drug addiction doesn’t mean you have no drug addictions or that you’re completely and purely sober.
But, alas, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Let’s back-track a bit, shall we?
I started at my day program, Passages, nearly two years ago in February 2018. Since May 2018 I’ve been attending the DBT-Intensive program there in which I’m taught a new skill in the DBT realm (Dialectical Behavior Therapy’s crux is the ability to live with two opposing ideas existing within the same space (think “I want to live” and “I want to die”) and is an extraordinarily helpful and key tool in recovery from Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) although it can be applied to many other diagnoses, like many other therapies (just because it’s for one disorder doesn’t mean another disorder can’t learn from it) as well as be compiled of 4 intrinsic categories: Interpersonal effectiveness, mindfulness, emotion regulation and distress tolerance) for the second portion of the group and given homework for the next week, which I complete and share during the first portion of the group and if we have time I choose a situation from the last week to share on my diary card of when I struggled to use skills or could have used more skills. Diary cards serve the purpose of tracking moods and behaviors each day.
Phew! That long winded explanation out of the way…
It should come as no shock, if you’ve been following me for a while, that I use daily planners and have been since about 2017. As far back as then I’ve tracked, more or less, how I’ve used my time during that duration: blocks of Youtube and crises and schoolwork/classes.
Just now, I decided to be proactive and return to these old planners still in my room (stood up on the floor, actually) to see when the next dominoes fell into place. My treatment coordinator at program (around June 2018) suggested I more officially start tracking my Internet usage, likely nudging me into considering how much of an addiction it was for me (not that I was ready then to say so). Mid-July 2018 I began to not only block out pieces of time but actually start calculating how much time I was spending on the Internet.
On the low end of the scale, sometimes I fell at 2 hours of usage. At the high end, sometimes 8 or 10 hour days. Most often, I ranged from 4 – 6 hours of Internet usage each day.
To be honest, this is really the first time I’m taking a look at it and hot damn, that was a lot of hours! I didn’t realize or, more likely, I had forgotten how intense and demanding it got. Nowadays, Oct. 2019 I can go some days with 0 hours, some days with 2 hours and more rarely with 5 or 6 hours. I probably hover from 2 – 4 hours more of the time than most.
Regardless, I kept this habit up more weeks than not of tracking my Internet usage in my planners. Eventually, and this I’m not sure when, but I think it was only in 2019, I started to track my Internet usage on my diary card.
Around this time, I started to separate or categorize types of Internet usage. I separated my time online on Youtube as its own category of an Internet addiction, as in, time I spent on Youtube was the only tracking of Internet usage that I was doing. So if I spent 2 hours on Twitter and 4 hours on Youtube, I’d only say it was 4 hours online for Youtube use rather than including the Twitter time. This gets a bit murky when I start to exclude creepypasta listening time if, say, I’m also cleaning my room. I think, still, that this is more productive time because of the goal in mind– say, when I’m staring at a Youtube video watching intently and focused only on that whereas for a creepypasta I can look away from the screen and create a new art piece or reorganize my room. The goal is different-one to consume and one to create with. (We’ll get back to this soon, don’t worry).
So for a while I did that. I tracked only my Youtube time, I would calculate the week’s work of Internet usage–so, from Monday to Sunday, how much time did I spend online, etc. I tracked on my diary cards (Friday’s to Thursday’s). I tracked in my planner. I fell off calculating and adding up all the times but for the most part I tracked it all.
Then came the time I went to Germany with my family in August 2019. It was when I visited Twitter for less than an hour that I felt super, SUPER guilty about it that began to twist the idea into my innards that hey, maybe I have an entire INTERNET addiction rather than just a Youtube addiction, (and the Youtube addiction is what I started to call it–think, denial of an issue, especially an addiction). I did manage about 10 days completely off Youtube during that vacation, which is STILL hella impressive to me. 🙂 As it should be XD
So in Sept 2019 when June was suggesting that they are all the same substances, so to speak, for my addiction, the more a little ding appeared over my head.
But I still felt differently about it.
And again, maybe I’m making excuses. Maybe I’m STILL not ready to admit I have a problem. I do think I have LESS of a problem than where I started out at.
And, I really, really do think that CONSUMING the Internet is different than CREATING on the Internet.
Which brings me back to this post at hand.
I’ve decided in the last week from my in-program therapy session to challenge myself. Challenge myself in creating a new way of categorizing my Internet usage: consuming versus creating.
It’s unlikely that I can completely tear myself away from the Internet. I have to check emails, research information, read articles, ask questions etc. There will always be that little bit of the Internet, I think. I don’t think it’s realistic to completely be away from it. Because in small doses, in structured times, it can be useful.
It’s just about reframing and changing the way I’m engaging with it that’s the heart of the solution, I feel.
Because, I’m an artist. I like to create things and I like to put them out on the Internet. This notion, this “Personal vs. Private” is something I wish to explore further in another upcoming blog post but for now, I’m a very public person. Yes, I need to further self-reflect on what it is I’m aiming to get out of the Internet–what is it that I want? Attention? Validation? Community? Interaction?–and from an early age (since I was 16 on deviantART ) I’ve enjoyed placing myself out into the realm of the Internet–which of course means my artwork. I find more value in placing my artwork in front of the potential eyes of others so that I can run the possibility of that occurring as higher than if it just collected dust on my laptop, never to be seen of again. If I put my artwork out there, maybe just maybe someone will see it and comment on it. If I don’t put it out there at all 100% no one would see it. But if I do? Maybe someone will. Maybe someone will engage with it. Maybe it will influence someone. Maybe it will inspire them to create, too.
So I don’t think removing myself from the Internet is what I want to do. I think because creating is so integral to my core and because I do want to be someone, I want to be an influencer, I want to put myself out there and do public speaking and perform a TED talk and all that jazz, I just have to change the way I’m thinking of the Internet and what I put out there.
Because I still want to put things out there. I want to create content that ironically other people will consume.
I’ve spent so long consuming in the last few years, so much so that it’s taken away a lot of my every day inspiration that I want to set some limits to it so that I can do more CREATING than CONSUMING. Because consuming, while it’s instantaneously gratifying, it’s also very draining and sucks me into a world of drama and unnecessary guilt and sadness and emotion that I’m ready to return to CREATING as my most powerful force. I believe it will help me introduce myself into my “Work Mode” as well as be more expansive, important, and more high achieving. 🙂
I want to feel more happiness, accomplishments and like my time is being made worthwhile. I know that I can’t ALWAYS be 100% all the time but I’d like to give myself more credit and more time to be doing what I love rather than eating up everybody else’s. I think, too, there are times for consuming to become more inspired and interact more with others than JUST creating 100% or JUST consuming 100%.
So for now, I’m going to introduce myself (and potentially others) into Consumer Days and Creator Days. Days dedicated merely to either consuming or creating.
Today, it’s been Creating. Tuesday this week it was Consuming.
Which is why I have the thumb graphic design above and so I’ve created that, I’ve listened to music, I’ve written this blog post, etc.
At the end of the day I will see which felt more worthwhile and important. Soon, I’ll also be showering, watching Grey’s episode from last week, watching a film to review it and reading a book, amongst other things I have on my to do list.
And lastly, here’s the create day thumb:
And for that last statement–I think interaction with our audience can be both consuming and creating, depending on how you look at it. I think interaction may fall into the gap between the two definitions so don’t believe that these two thumbs are the ONLY ones coming to you, because once I have more data and more to say (which I always do) I will be hitting you guys back up with new information, new ideas and what went well/what went wrong with where this starting discussion exists.
I think this is going to be an excellent way to track my urges and see what it is that I do more of: creating or consuming. I had another idea too but I’ve since forgotten it/it’s been buried deep down into the folds of my brain.
Lastly, I listened a lot to “The Bones” by Maren Morris to create this post which is a very, very lovely song that I plan to do a song a day edition on soon. 🙂
For now, I really, really need to take a break because I’m hungry and I have lots of other things I need to get done today. So, I hope that this post was intriguing and that you got something out of it!
More posts to come at you all soon.
PS A lot of this whole creating versus consuming thing also came from the inspiration I took upon myself to find “balance” in my life, largely professionally and personally and June had noted how my personal balance was almost all Internet based. So now I’m working on another drawing that is self-care based as other stuff I have to juggle each day. Phew. This was a lot of work. ❤ I will enjoy my break extensively soon. xxx
Thank you soooo much for reading!!! ❤ ❤ ❤