#facebookdown, My ADHD and the internet

This morning. I awoke. As usual one of the first things I do is grab my phone and check my messenger. My reasoning for this habit is in the form of my job and being admin and creator of a couple of Facebook groups. I say good morning to my Modmin team usually and it gives me an idea of what first half of my day will look like.

Before all this, I would also check messages but usually for friends. And then I would get on with the rest of the day. But for the last 2 years where I have been primarily working online from home, I have been in the (unhealthy) habit of working from my bed, on my phone, before even getting up to go to the bathroom.

This morning was interesting self reflection though. As soon as I realized my Facebook was down. One of my best friends messaged me via text to also confirm Facebook, Instagram etc was down. There was this sudden relief in a way. “A morning off!” I thought, I also DM my modmin team this too knowing they will get this later but thought it was also kinda funny as things have progressively gotten busier.

The relief was followed by a feeling of unwanted sudden change, or that there’s something I need to do but cant. My reflex to check Facebook or Messenger was very loud. I text my partner and joked about it, “This is a tally how many times I reflex accidentally check Facebook”. After that, a number of texts between my friend and I followed as we tried to feel our way out of this weird sensation of not getting those dopamine hits from being on our main social media platforms of choice.

Within 15 minutes several things happened. I realized, I had text so little in the last few years that I only just noticed that text now say when a message has been read and you can also see when someone is typing! And I had already tried to check Facebook 3 times, almost a 4th before I started typing this.

And even blogging right now feels like I need to get a running monologue of thoughts out. “Did you know William Shatner is going to space next week” “Wow Vaccine certificates might be a thing here in New Zealand” what do I do with these string of thoughts, where do I put them.

Personally I have been on the internet since I was 9. It’s been many things to me. A place of creativity, connections without serious obligations, a place to belong, source of entertainment and a stim of sorts.

Although some may disagree, I don’t see my internet time as something necessarily bad, more so as something that has been a necessary tool for me. But the amount of time I give it now and what I do online definitely might not be exactly the healthiest thing, especially if within a space of 15 minutes, where I had unconsciously went to check it (Facebook).

So in reflection is an interesting learning of how this makes me feel and how I fill up the slow minutes of the day, but also how dependent I am of it for connection and self-regulation. In previous blogs I have talked about how to curate social media black outs so you have forced time off and also to help keep out triggering media that sets me off or sends me down time wasting rabbit holes. But didn’t really touch on this level of co-dependency at all.

Even if it is “the word we live in now” that internet is fundamental to daily business and socializing especially in the middle of a global pandemic. It definitely is taking my attention when I probably should be refocusing it on to better quality types of media consumption, the realization of the amount of junk I consume or why I would even need to look at it dawns on me I type..

With my ADHD also, there’s a certain amount of “out loud” processing I do to help me organize my thoughts that are missing and that I am a little too dependent on this to get stuff done. As great of a tool this can be, as a way to externalize what I am thinking to make sense of it all, I do wonder how healthy this is over all especially because I feel so reliant on that. I am totally unsure what to do now. Maybe go outside for a walk.. take some photos on my phone to show friends later..

Published by Jenn has ADHD

Jenn Parker, New Zealand. ADHD Advocate and Peer. jennhasadhd.com

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