Social media was and it’s my salvation, but it’s my worst nightmare. It’s an addiction we’re all trapped into like it or not.
I sound like an old conservative person, promise you I’m just a teenager. Hear me out.
The internet was my only source of happiness and my only escape in my childhood, the endless information and joy from it made everything worth it. Living in a third world country and in a working class family, we really didn’t have much to do. Couldn’t go outside because it was (sadly still is) dangerous, didn’t have the money to travel to see a friend, the tv didn’t have much channels and personally I didn’t like toys so the only thing available I had was… a computer. Internet. Things weren’t advanced as they’re now, but oh boy I had a blast with the things there. Online games and the friends I made there kept me sane and entertained.
Things weren’t bad. To my toddler me, I didn’t think too much of it and I didn’t worry about life because I couldn’t care less about it. And luckly I had a more extroverted life outside, I had some more options. But things got tough, and only now I’m realizing how all of this wired the way my brain works.
When I got bored, I would reach my comptuer. If I felt lonely or sad, I would go to the computer. No matter the day, you wouldn’t see me not touching my computer at least once.
Then we went to Brazil. There I was the HAPPIEST I tell you, I would barely touch technology. I had options, I had friends, I had a family.
Then, after one year of living there, we went back to my original country. It was so suddenly I didn’t know what to do so I just… went back to my old habit of living my days in the computer.
After that things in home got bad, then worse. I was a child, thankfully and sadly the internet (and also life in general I would say) taught me things and I had some level of awareness of things. With that, I know what was happening in home and how reality was decaying. How can a toddler do something? What could’ve done to change things? I couldn’t do anything, I couldn’t change the course my life was going and being aware of that without the strength or options to do anything made me feel powerless, sad. All I had was… the internet. Was my safe space, my coping mechanism to this day.
I have a complicated relationship with the internet I would say. When I started high school, I noticed how this was damaging my mental health; some friends took my phone as a prank, but I acted erratic. I was anxious, mad. That response even surprised myself because I never reacted like that in my life and it made me feel scared. They laughed it off, just saying it was crazy. But after that I told myself I had to do something about it, because it wasn’t normal. My friend noticed this behavior though, I appreciated how she tried to help me by giving some advices. I tried but spoiler alert: I couldn’t.
Now, after all this rant, this sounds like a Me problem but think about it. Think how the internet impacted the younger generation and what it does now.
Internet is wonderful, we can connect with people and share ideas, creations, we can help each other; we consume information, everything is easier. Except it make us addicted to it for these same reasons, and it’s proved.
Social media is easy to access and we do when we’re bored. Why? It generates dopamine in the brain. We’re catching up with what’s going on in society, with friends, the latest memes and musics, etc. All of these in entertaining and make us happy. This pleasure is dopamine, and it’s the same reaction that make our brain scream MORE! MORE! until we spend hours scrolling through twitter, watching youtube videos, checking messages, etc.
Dopamine it what makes an addict addicted. Every thing you imagine a person being addicted unhealthly to? Yeah that person can’t let go of their pleasure source.
Most of the younger generation suffered because of how this world is works, and we have technology to cope and stay informed and connected.
Of course some other generations aren’t saved from going through this hole too, and I’m not generalizing the lives of the younger ones. Also maybe it isn’t as exaggerated as my case, yet we can’t deny how bad the impact of internet can generate in all of us.
The system itself make us addicted, because it’s rotten. They want money, they want us bored or sad so we can be stuck to the phone for hours without doing nothing but giving them what they want. They have acces to us, so they share ads and content to keep us looking at our screens. We wake up grabbing our phone and we sleep looking at it for the last time.
Sounds awful and what a karen would say I know😭, but give it a try to think the bigger picture and connect the dots. Now that we’re in a pandemic and we’re stuck in home, this could turn into a serious problem we shouldn’t let it pass; or else we would neglect our mental health.
Everything I said can be relative to anyone because of their different experiences and way of thinking so I respect that, I really recommend y’all to think about it in general and not something specific because I do think it’s a reality that’s happening and I’m not the only one.
What can we do then? If I’m living this, how can I break this cycle?
All of this is a system and we can’t break it so easily because 1. it’s been here for years 2. it’s a complicated like every system 3. we can’t help other to get out of it if they don’t want to, but we can do it for ourselves.
We need discipline, and a lot. We can’t live through constante dopamine, because to our ego there would be NEVER enough dopamine and we would want more; and if we keep feeding it, we would stop enjoying simple things of life. We would stop living because dopamine is all our minds can think of, it would make us depressed. I talk by experiencing this multiple times, it’s an emptiness hard to get off.
We need serotonin. Seroronin make us truly happy, it make us feel full and satiated.
But most importantly, we need BALANCE. We can’t exist without dopamine and serotonin together. The two of make us human after all. We need to control the ridiculous amount of dopamine we receive each day, otherwise we wouldn’t be living thoroughly at all. Years ago I had the mentality of “But I can’t quit this. What else do I have? What else I can do? I don’t have options” but there are. There’s so much we can do, even a person like me who’s limited with money and all of that material shit can tell you there’s so much we can do in this beautiful world. Don’t let dopamine fool you.
I’m not recommending quitting social media or internet of course, I’m advising if you’re addicted to it like me try to create a balance; find what works the best for you, create your own healthy system.
I watched videos and read articles about it, but this one explains it the best:
After I’m trying to get my life together and better, I’m discovering my unhealthy patterns. This is my strongest one yet, and I thought I could share because it’s something I know a lot of people can be going through too. I also recommend investigate about this topic yourself because it’s so interesting how social media can manipulate you and your way of thinking. It’s pretty interesting and makes you see the bigger picture.
Conclusion: create a balance between dopamine and serotonin. Watch out the time you spend on social media because it can do more harm than good.
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