Internet, Depression and Chronic Pain: A toxic love story

10/13/2020


Since the age of thirteen, the Internet has been my safe haven. It's acted as my place to meet people who have similar interests as me, and it's been where I met friends and my husband. It changed my life in a way that younger me could never of predicted. However, over the past few years it's been a place of toxicity to me for various reasons. It's broken my heart numerous times and no longer tries to repair the slices that it's embedded into my heart. If this were a relationship, everyone would be urging me to break up with it. However, as someone who is home for 95% of her life and is often only able to venture around through the world via the Internet, how can I say goodbye? Chronic pain can cripple you in various ways, but for me it's definitely frozen any and all outside world activities. As mentioned above, I rarely go out, I don't have any friendships that aren't defined by distance, and despite moving to a new country to physically be with my husband, it's led me to depend on the Internet for being able to interact with my family. Without my fingers on a screen or keyboard, my outside world is condensed down to a single human being. I love my husband dearly, but as humans we need more than that for sanity. So.. I'm stuck being connected to the WiFi. 

I know I'm incredibly lucky to have the Internet, especially when I'm in pain and stuck rooted in the same spot for possibly an entire day. But I think we can all agree that the Internet can be fucking depressing. It's a bubble of negativity, and as someone who seems to constantly be comparing myself to everything, it's not exactly great for the ole confidence. The Internet and messages it gives me leads me to hate myself daily, and that's ugly. Am I just surrounding myself with it? Is there a magical way to avoid these results by changing up what I choose to view online? Sure, and I can do that. For a few hours. Maybe a few days. But I inevitably end up back in the toxicity, whether by choice or through someone else. It's disheartening and so bloody unhealthy. 

So I hurt and I utilize the amazing Internet to take myself out of my own head and body for a few hours. I feel like I'm socializing by discussing books, or news, or utter nonsense with virtual friends. I feel understood by someone's tweet, or I laugh at TikTok's. But something pops up and BOOM, I'm back inside myself, only now on top of the pain I have a dark cloud of depression around my brain. I can't sleep because of the thoughts that have risen in my head because of this cloud, which leads to more pain the following day. And so on and so forth. It's a cycle of daily life that I hate, but what can I do about it? 

I guess over the years I've lost my safe haven, but have no way of leaving. It's an addiction to social interactions, which.. I think I need to not go insane? I don't really know the purpose of this blog post, but maybe you've been feeling vaguely the same? Perhaps you have chronic pain and struggle with your relationship with the Internet, or maybe Covid has led you to feeling obligated to be online. Let's chat. 


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