Wired

orcrypt3Tomorrow I have an appointment with yet another therapist. I find it difficult to write poetry when I am stressed in this way. I can’t very well speak in metaphor during my appointment so I need to get my brain in conversational mode. That is why I have decided to tackle the alternative prompt and discuss my experience with the internet.

*

As many of you already know I met Sam online. We lived 8000 miles apart, in areas not heavily frequented by tourists. The odds of us meeting without the internet were even slimmer than the nearly improbable circumstances that brought us together in the first place. For that reasons alone I am grateful for technology.

*

I didn’t have a personal computer until 1999 but I remember when computers were introduced to our school library I suppose we had computers before for typing but I mean computers with internet capabilities. Until then all my research was done using the card catalog. We actually had to scour books for information! Old school research is I imagine something like archeology extremely tedious despite interest (well occasional interest not all research papers are fun). I had a Nintendo and my mom’s old Tandy. I wasn’t exactly cutting edge. My interest escalated when my friend got connected. She was able to talk to people from other parts of the world. More importantly Sweden. I had quite an acute interest in Sweden. I was saving up for money to visit convinced that my soul mate resided there (I was right).

*

What was my life like before the internet?

High school started out pretty well for me actually. Middle school had been unexpectedly dramatic when I became oddly involved with the most popular boy in school. I was ready to leave that life behind. During the summer I had lost weight and updated my wardrobe (for the weight loss). I was practicing yoga daily and I felt happier and a little more confident than I had ever felt in any of my previous incarnations. You are absolutely mistaken if you think that my improved appearance was in any way a sign that I wanted to become popular. I had my one friend which was all I needed. I didn’t want to date the aforementioned popular boy had put me off romance. Unfortunately the fact that I was the prettiest I had ever been and ever would be was not much of a deterrent to would be suitors. I turned them all down. All I wanted to do was play My Little Ponies lol Seriously my friend and I got together after school and played like little kids. Parties? Drinking? Boyfriends? Pfft. Some time in the 9th grade I discovered Sylvia Plath and I started to read voraciously, a little later I discovered Arthur Rimbaud and I started to write.

*

When I lost my only friend I became depressed, suicidally depressed. I had always spent all my time at home in my room (even with her we rarely left the house). I even ate meals in my room. Even being happier didn’t make me normally sociable. I talked to the pictures on my wall, I exercised, I rearranged the house regularly, I wrote, I read. That was my life. I can’t imagine that I would go out and seek human interaction if I didn’t have a computer. Truth is I never sought human interaction all that much. People are at times drawn to me but finding people who share an abiding connection is not easy. Online the freaks are out in full force lol I actually mean that in a good way. I started sharing my poetry which had been private outside of school assignments. I believe my writing has grown as a result of increased discipline and exposure. Skype allows me to see and talk with my mom who now lives 8000 miles away. The internet hasn’t been all bad. I don’t think I would be able to produce a book without it!

*

The internet hasn’t been all good either. I have an avoidant personality and an obsessive one besides. That I have to wrestle with computer addiction shouldn’t be a surprise. I really could stay online all day and have done so. I have had periods where I am so consumed with writing (that is mostly what I do) that I have forgotten to eat, sleep, shower. When I used to chat (on groups for the mentally ill) I neglected my life and marriage. I no longer chat in real time. Even online I suppose I am slightly on the anti-social side but it helps me to stay a little more balanced. Getting caught in a fantasy or alternative world is very easy when you are severely Depressed and desperate for an exit from the pain this is you. I think many of use spend more than 2 hours online myself included. Yesterday Sam, Isadora, and I played Go Fish with actual cards. That’s important. Actual should comprise more of your life than virtual (call me old-fashioned and a hypocrite because I haven’t gotten there yet). The movie Wall-E is hauntingly prophetic.

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48 responses to “Wired

  1. I think we have all become addicted to the internet. I find its a way of connecting to people, problem is I am always aware that it is virtual, not real, in that I never see your face so I don’t know what happens when you read my comment. I have written about this before. I also think it is important to get away and to play games, real games with real people. Sounds like you had a great time playing Go Fish. Its a time to work out what is best for you, where the lines can be drawn in our lives between what is real and what is not. I remember life before the internet, now days you wonder how we survived without it, but we did, we knew no different. Excellent post Yves and good luck tomorrow.

    • I feel at my blog the people I connect with are very genuine you Anja Bianca Helena Ororiel etc. I met Sam online as well. So I do not regard the people as being unreal/virtual. I do not think our relationships are less than and honestly sometimes there is a depth in our writing that is absent in conversation. I do think looking at pictures of nature online is fun you get to travel to places all over the world places you may never experience otherwise.I also think it is important to get outside and explore your own environs if that is possible for you. I enjoy the occasional computer game but I think there is something about concrete? games as well. When I play with Isadora on the Wii she is really into her game but when we play cards there is more human interaction. She loses her temper over the console games more quickly and there is a lot of screaming and tears. She hates losing on the computer. I am not that good at either console or physical games so I am not an overwhelming opponent lol When we play cards she is happy talking to us, she cheers for the winner whoever it is. I notice more and more people are talking on their phones instead of to the friends right beside them. I think the problem is when you can’t have fun offline. My aunt was severely addicted to the computer she completely forgot about her own children and spouse. She had virtual alternatives to them. I am really only talking about balance and moderation. Too much of anything even medicine can be dangerous.

      • I agree, I guess I should clarify I do have genuine friends in WP I have met some excellent people. You can tell who is fair dinkum as we say. And there has to be an balance, that’s why I do get out now in the mornings while it’s cool and tonight I started a creative writing course run by a fellow blogger, I hope to learn something and meet some other writers.

      • That course sounds awesome =) I am online in the mornings more as well because Sam and Isadora are home in the evenings and I like to be available to them

  2. This comment of mine may seem odd ma’am, but I think your words are potentially contradictory. You stipulate how you entertain anti-social behavior, and yet your openness to communicate your life; feelings; family; ideas; pain, reveals you to be quite a social individual.
    I understand the notion that the internet prevents us humans from interacting socially in the ACTUAL world, which does constitute an aspect of anti-social behavior, yet, like I said, your openness is evidence of sociability.
    As the internet grows ever more powerful, the connectivity and communicative properties it provides inevitably pushes people farther away from the real world, so, technically, a vast quantity of people could perhaps live beneath the anti-social banner.
    Again, yet another extremely well written and emotionally driven piece. Thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences.

    • Your comment isn’t strange at all. In fact you are absolutely correct. While I do enjoy alone time I would go crazy in total isolation. I have a hard time socializing and do engage in some antisocial behaviors but I would not wish to live my life alone. I am very shy. The longer a relationship persists the more anxious I become. Generally we are nervous in the beginning and relax over time. I tend to become more closed off over time. The better I know someone the more it hurts when they leave. In real life I typically only bond closely with one other person. In high school I had my female friend. I did talk to my other classmates or rather I talked to them when they talked to me.When they asked me to hang out whether male or female I declined. Sometimes the person would be very nice and I couldn’t think of why I should decline but the invitation would come I’d get scared and come up with an excuse. I’d then become too embarrassed to change my answer. After a couple rejections people tend to give up. People were interested in me. I’d give a speech in class (we had to sometimes for school I didn’t just get up for no reason and do a monologue lol) and usually that would make people want to talk to me. I go into some sort of zone when I give speeches, I am hardly aware of giving them but I am quite good at it I guess I am as people respond very enthusiastically to them.

      When I first started chatting I only went to forums with people who struggled with social anxieties, depression and other mental illnesses because they understood me I guess and my quirks weren’t as offensive I suppose. I got quite engrossed in these were open chats. I didn’t have to talk if I didn’t feel like talking because there was always someone who was happy to talk about themselves without any real interaction. I got addicted to this and had to stop. This was well before Isadora was born and even before I met Sam though it continued for a while into our relationship. In the beginning of our relationship I didn’t have much idea of how to be a couple. I didn’t have experience and I was more used to doing my own thing. I knew how to be alone, he had to keep reminding me that I was not alone anymore. Mostly though my interactions online involve writing and story-telling which I love. That makes it easier to get involved because I am comfortable writing. I have trouble leaving comments to other blogs still and when I do I often stick my foot in my mouth. I haven’t managed to participate in my Epilepsy forums I get too freaked out talking to people there. I get shy around my own mother, my in-laws, I become absolutely petrified when people ask me to do things together even online. Even things I absolutely love doing. So I have some issues yet. In the beginning of this blog I alienated people and picked fights at prompts over rules. I feel like I have made some headway here though. I am trying and everyone has been so nice and accepting. When Sam starts talking I turn away from the computer and pay attention to him. I can get up and do other things and not obsess or even think about the PC which is good. I could still reduce my time a lot because I do use it to procrastinate unpleasant tasks.

      • Thank you again for being so open ma’am. Your honesty is incredible, and it’s great that you have grown so much over the course of your time online, and your ability to self-recognize where you could improve are skills that I believe some people do not ever acquire.
        Additionally, the way you write about your family clearly illustrates how much they mean to you, and I think it’s fantastic you have this source of happiness you can always depend upon.
        Also, I myself understand the notion of alienating people, however I have often had the opposite reaction. Instead of people finding me interesting during school, they had an adverse response, and afterwards, even when students attempted to openly engage with me in a friendly environment, I erected a barrier due to the severe trust issues that continue to plague me to this day.
        I also understand shyness, except it happens a lot when I commune with total strangers and seems to have only become worse as I grow older. The last time this happened it was as if I forgot how to breath and I found myself hyperventilating as I continuously ran out of air.
        I think a wealth of people who suffer a mental illness have triggers that potentially irritate this further, and, like I wrote earlier, your ability to recognize where you could improve is amazing.
        I have immense faith you will succeed in ridding yourself of all anti-social behavior.
        Of course, a little internet use a day never hurt anyone.
        Take care Ma’am, and I wish you the best of luck.

      • They do without them I wouldn’t be here

        I know what you mean about trust issues I have them myself. Opening up is difficult especially if you’ve been hurt over and over again. Because of my memory problems I haven’t been able to learn Swedish at anything but a remedial level and my communication difficulties are giving me a lot of stress. I feel people don’t fully understand me particularly doctors because they are less fluent in English than the general population. Making appointments on the phone which is the only way allowed her is very hard b/c I have a lot of trouble hearing on the phone and a lot of anxiety around the phone.

        Thank you so much for your kind words!

  3. Life is complex and virtual life is also I suppose. Thank you for such an honest overview of your life, that is very brave of you. Whatever led you to writing, I am glad it happened, and so perhaps we can thank Rimbaud for being such an effective muse. πŸ™‚

  4. I am sorry to read that you feel torn between your virtual pleasures and your duties to your self and family. balance is key. Sometimes i have to force myself to drop the keyboard and move on to other more important matters.

    I stay glued to this screen because I find it rewarding to write, converse, learn, explore, discover…and we should not feel guilty about it…as long as we dont overdo.

    online we are able to have some of our needs gratified that we dont receive offline.
    In my free and quiet moments I can come here and share with those who have the same fondness of writing as I do. In actual life I know no one like this.

    There are many of us who love reading your work and we ARE grateful for the time and talents you share with us. πŸ™‚

    You are a sweet soul and I hope your visit with the therapist is productive and you can reconcile some of the misgivings you are burdened with. πŸ™‚

    I wish you all my best ~

    πŸ™‚

    • I was speaking past tense when I was speaking of the family situation. From between 7;30 pm to 10:00 pm that is the time I spend with Sam which is why I don’t respond much in the evenings. When he is home and Isadora is in bed that is our time. He goes to work super early so he can get home early and we can have dinner and family time. I am now mostly online when Isadora is in school and Sam isn’t here.

      I love writing to and I also research a lot. I can study online as well. With the winter I haven’t gotten enough fresh air

      Thank you so much for your kinds words =)

      • This pattern of yours is typical at this social site. It is very quiet here as this is when folks are spending family time or preparing dinner, enjoying tv, the news, etc.

        I hope you are able to get some fresh air, hon. I have been traveling alot lately and went to places where the air was fresh and lovely and I came home with my spirit revived. It was not a good time for writing but sometimes it is good to put the pen aside and use quiet time for reflection and regenerating our souls to gather the energy to keep going.

        You will see also that the nicer weather sends everyone outdoors and this site will become quieter again.

  5. I will be short and sweet. ‘Balance’ – if you have young ones and a needy partner, then time must be limited. If not, spend as much time as you you wish or enjoy too. I am lucky that my partner is ok what ever time I have on the computer. We do what we do out of love for whatever the reasons, up to us to find the correct balance and control…and I said I’d be short and sweet lol

  6. it is an interesting tool….i have connected to people i never would have…like michaelt i think we have become too attached to it…and i periodically take time away from it just for that reason….

  7. Balance is very important and we all seek that. πŸ™‚ I even have my WP comments come to my phone…so even if I am not on my computer I can reply. I know when my marriage was at the end, the internet was my escape. Is that good? It kept me from going crazy and gave me the strength to run. I have met some wonderful people on here (like you) and I cherish our friendships. It is funny how times online you can open up more than with the people in your real life. I feel like they would judge me. There are only a couple of those I have told everything too and that is because they can relate.
    I think the internet has expanded our worlds and made it possible to meet wonderful people we would have never met if we didn’t have computers.
    Again…balance and I think you are doing good. *hugs*

    • I think it is understandable you retreated online and it isn’t always the unhealthy method.

      I feel the same way I feel sometimes we get to know each other on another level because there is so much we hide in conversation so many automatisms and such

      Hugs I am so glad I meet you =)

  8. I have tried hard to strike a balance between actual and virtual and for the most part, it has worked. Internet has brought so many friends back into my life and all and I hope it remains a nourishing part of my actual life, not a consuming one.
    Btw, on a different note, your posts do lighten up my day and you are an immensely talented person. Hugs!

  9. This is a wonderfull story and I wish to thank you very much for sharing it. Internet can play such a valuable role in our lives if only we harness it for our betterment, not as an addiction. Yes, ofcourse, you could say that we are all slightly or seriously addicted and that half of the population could not revert to a life without it, but I believe in the balance that so many mention here.

  10. You are a very strong person, let me tell ya! I’m glad that we have a place to go in times when we really need to get away from everything. I do hope that therapy works out alright for you. I’m still debating that option on my end, but I would like to hear how it goes. =]

    • Awww thank you for saying that. I really admire you =) I have a lot of unresolved hostility toward the medical community and the bureaucracy here is extremely difficult to navigate. So far I have failed at getting the help I need. I am hoping to turn it around

  11. I’ve been guilty of retreating online too. In fact, it’s something I’m still trying to be vigilant about. It isn’t easy. I have a hard time socialising. I hate my face. I hate it being out in public. I hate being disappointed by friends who always have something better to do than hang out with me. I hate having to display a confidence I never feel just so that people won’t revile me. This is why I love the internet way too much. Ugh.

    You are right though. It is good to get offline and just go and do normal things. I think I need more friends. And a hobby. Hm. Yeah, okay, I’d better go and take care of that. See ya!

    *still surfs online*

    Aw, dang it. I suck. 😦

    • It is hard I have a difficult time socializing. I haven’t learned to speak Swedish fluently and I have lived here 5 years. That makes me extremely self-conscious. Being unemployed and unable to find employment, having Epilepsy and being socially retarded it just all piles up on a person. My confidence isn’t great. I always imagine you look just like your icon and I really like his face. I am not a beauty and Swedes are gorgeous! They are also tall an alarming number of the children in my daughter’s elementary are my height or even taller I feel like a hobbit lol

  12. Great insights about Yves here. It’s not too hard to become addicted to something, especially when it pays you back with pleasurable feelings and is always available. Hope you’re feeling the best you can be today.
    Laurie.

  13. I love this post! So open and honest. I can see how I can spend so many hours on the internet on my time off work. Sheeesh! Good thing I work but then again, I ask myself when I go visit a friend and spend the night because she lives far…it is not the internet I miss mostly but writing…so I never leave without my notebook and now that I have a tablet I may bring that along…it is all about balance as you say. I too love to play Go Fish! I learned that at 8 when I was in hospital for a month. And the movie Wall-E I find very profound…watch it often with my grandson,although he may feel he is outgrowing it…I have not:) Thank you so much for sharing here, Oliana

    • I haven’t outgrown Wall-E either I agree with your it is very profound and really gets me thinking. I wish I could remember more card games haha I do like Go Fish though. I miss writing too I carry a journal is my handbag which really carries little else aside from that and an ID lol

  14. Awesome post!I hope all goes well with your therapist. I have a hard time with balance. I notice that I want to devote all my energy to one thing, so when I am cleaning the house, I don’t do anything else. Then my depression gets worse. And my blog suffers. And then my depression gets even worse to where I have to write or explode and then all I want to do is be online. I hate that you have to work so hard, but it is also comforting to me that I am not alone trying to find my way.

  15. I always love reading snippets about your life, and this is no exception. I agree, it’s important to have a balance and do ‘actual’ things, and I also agree that the virtual world is somewhat of a lifesaver for me (especially living in a country where you don’t know anyone and you can’t necessarily find any like-minded people). Like you, I have never surrounded myself with lots of ‘friends’, mostly because I know that real friends are rare and I don’t see the point of spending time and energy on fair-weather, flighty people. but life can also get lonely without human interaction when you move to another country….
    I can’t say that I have a single ‘real’ friend in Australia (except my husband), but I can say that I have made some genuine connections online, and I am so grateful for that.
    If it wasn’t for people like you, I would feel like an alien πŸ˜‰
    All the best with the therapy – I know you’ll get there eventually xoxo

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