So by now I thought I’d be crazy. I mean, I’m fairly certain I’m already there, but I’m referring to my mental state without social media. I touched on this a little in my first post about this blog & how I’m trying to live my authentic life. I’ve had some people say that it can’t be that bad, but they obviously aren’t aware of the obsession that this started from. Here’s the back story.
My name is Joycelyn and I’m an addict. I’ve always had an addictive personality. I become so consumed by whatever my focus is at that moment that I can’t bear to let things go. From crafts to relationships, everything I do is a project and I will pour my heart and soul into it until I am exhausted.
From an early age I would colour for hours. My mom would try to move me to the next activity and I would resist. I went through my childhood with different things I would attach myself to. I always had to have perfection.
As a teen I developed a not-so-healthy taste for drugs. Everything revolved around when I could get high on anything I could get my hands on. This would be the first time I can honestly say I was addicted. Luckily for me my mom found out and put me through the worst detox/home based rehab you could ever imagine. This was replaced with a long running obsession with awesome, irresponsible casual sex.
So now you take this wild child that been around the block a few times, give her a kid, a good job, a stable relationship and what does she have left? Living vicariously through other people’s highlight reels, striving to meet the same level of falsified perfection. The instant gratification of the number of likes on a selfie. This was my life for more than 10 years.
So what changed? What sort of major life altering event ends a 10 year relationship with a never-ending project? Nothing. As I was laying in bed one night, scrolling Instagram, I said to my boyfriend, “I want to quit all this shit”. The next day I deleted the apps from my phone and logged out at work. It was gone. The first day was strange. I found myself unconsciously tapping the blank areas of my home screen where the apps used to be. I got panicky, not knowing what to do with myself, alone with my thoughts without the mind-numbing scrolling I was used to.
The moment I realized how bad I had become was when I mentioned to a co-worker how clean my house was, that I’d made time to do some yoga, to write again and had made a real dinner. She looked at me like I had 5 arms and was standing on my head in a clown costume. Not with complete terror, but like I was crazy. I suddenly realized that while i was staring at my phone, completely encompassed in other people’s lives that mine was passing me by. My daughter is growing up, my dogs are getting older, summer is almost finished. The laundry will be there tomorrow, but without the constant distraction of my obsession, I have time.
I’ve been able to practice mindfulness, living in the moment. I have taken a personal inventory of my flaws, and looked for ways to better improve my patience and my hard head. I’ve made time for self-care, and setting a good example for my daughter. It’s so hard to believe that a few little apps on my phone that I thought made me so happy, could have led to so much negativity. Then again, maybe I’ve just transferred my obsession.