A couple of weeks ago I decided to try to limit the amount of time I spent on the internet. Since my phone got sent off for repair and I had less access to the internet I’ve been slowly reducing my Facebook/Twitter/Blog browsing until a few weeks ago I decided to put it on the back burner. I can’t believe how quickly days turn into weeks. I can’t believe how much time has slipped by. The thing is, I’m not really sure whether it’s a good or a bad thing.
In the past, time spent clicking obsessively on social networking sites or searching for random things like “peanut butter jelly belly beans” slipped away so quickly. I enjoyed compulsively sharing my every thought and reading the random musings of my friends and family (and slight acquaintences that I once bumped into at the soft play etc), and I looked forward to finding time to quickly check out what was happening in the “real” world. But the time spent online was increasing quickly and I started to question my motives. Why did I want to use the internet to help my cousin in England decide whether or not to hang out her washing rather than interact with the real world outside my door? Why did I compulsively check Facebook for notifications, Twitter for mentions and WordPress in the hope that someone out there had read my blog?
I started to feel like “virtual living” was just a way of hiding myself away – I started to feel like maybe I was allowing depression back in.
So I logged out and took a break. The most I have done is to flick onto Facebook for a few minutes here and there but I no longer lost hours to it. It felt good. It felt like I was making a positive step. Only now I’ve swung the other way. Now I cannot bring myself to log in – I get a panic deep down so I just avoid it all. It’s as though not being online is now making me worse. Until I started to write this post I hadn’t given too much thought to why it might be making me feel like that but I think a part of me feels a lot like I did at school.
I never had many friends at school. In fact, I spent most lunch times in first year circling the school by myself, looking for a quiet place to eat lunch where no one would see me and realise I was alone. I did make friends over the years – some of whom I’m still friends with now, but when friends moved on I was upset and worried about going back to my lonely lunches. Lately I sometimes feel like I’m back circling the outside of the school again. (I know this is nonsense because if I update my status I know someone will respond so I know I’m not alone in that sense.)
I don’t know why these old feelings are rearing their heads. I know the Monster is a lot to handle and just collecting him from nursery requires a great deal of energy on my part – today I could have wept in frustration at his inability to stay beside me and simply come with me and his sister to the car. I worry that I’m slowly sliding backwards to a time where every day felt like climbing through blackcurrant jelly – dark, claustrophobic and getting nowhere fast. I worry that it’s the depression reaching out to swallow me up again. I’ve always sworn I’d never allow that to happen again, but I just don’t know that I have the energy to keep fighting against it.
I need to make more “me time” but I don’t know what can give – I have a Gaelic tutorial one night a week, visit family most weekends, and work three nights a week. On a good week I have one night with nothing to do (once the Monster and the Minx are asleep) but what do I give up? I am enjoying learning Gaelic. It’s something I’m doing for my children but also for me so I don’t want to stop. Visiting family may not give me peace but at least it gives me other people to muck in with the kids, and someone else to pay for food. I could drop one night at work but the ends are not meeting as it is – I have £3 to do me until my child benefit gets paid in next Tuesday.
I guess I just need to take a deep breath and keep going on. I need to dig deep and find the energy to build my momentum up again. An aunt once told me to “sink or swim” and that’s what I need to do now. I just wish someone would throw me a set of arm bands.