Dopamine: the literal reason for all your pain and joy. Dopamine is released whenever you feel pleasure. That peace of candy, the gratification of hitting a last second shot, the happy feeling of falling in love are all made possible by Dopamine. Your brain loves the stuff so much that it physically hurts to be without it. That’s what withdrawal is.
I’m not qualified enough to give a solid background on Dopamine and Addiction so hear are two videos that describe addiction way better than I can, with pictures 🙂
The Science of Addiction by Life Noggin
What is Addiction? by Reactions (American Chemical Society)
I recognize my family’s addictive nature and what it can do. I spent time writing about my father and probably will write about my mother in the future. I have developed a hyper awareness to possible addiction to substances of most sorts. When I broke my leg in high school, I tapered off my pain medication out of fear of addiction months earlier than intended. I have never smoked a cigarette or done any drugs except for social drinking. My fear is that my over-dependence on anything but myself will take me down.
However, I never expected to become addicted to certain habits or objects. I love the concept of social media. I used to be a huge Instagram fan (Until they took out chronological timelines) and now I spend most of the time on Twitter. I read everything. I follow news headlines, images, comics, stories, and threads. I love the fact that I can read for hours from more intelligent people than me, funnier people than me, or just peek into other people’s minds. It’s soothing sometimes. There is a literal community that most don’t have in real life. Yet, it’s also disruptive.
First thing in the morning and the last thing at night, check my timeline. Combining Twitter with my ADHD and overall anxiety over the state of the country right now, I am a wreck all day. I find myself stressing about the next Executive Order or appointments instead of assignments and lectures. Twitter makes it easy for you to find information and go down that rabbit hole I spoke of before. So does Youtube, Google, and Wikipedia. And let’s not even mention stumbleupon which randomly finds pages that match your interests (Sign up at your own risk). Too much information and my hunger for knowledge feeds my ADHD and clouds my mind at the same time.
I’ve done it before. I’ve had to go dark on Social Media and I really am starting to feel a difference. I feel a bit disconnected because I missed the most recent Orders, Beyonce’s pregnancy announcements, and Twitter Album reviews, but I feel more balanced in life. I still have this weird habit of when I look at my phone, I look for apps to read things on, but this too will pass. The most surprising thing about realizing and breaking a Social Media addiction is the good that comes out of it.
Below is an interesting video about the true cause of addition and how we need to change our thinking about it.
Addiction by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
I am truly starting to agree with the Kurzgesagt video. I initially started to lean on Twitter/Instagram because it feels a void of having less people to interact with. While social media can help you connect with people we haven’t interacted with in a long time, it also isolates you. People spend their entire life crafting online personas to artificially generate relationships we don’t have in real life.
I recently have been thinking about my friends/family relationships and want something more substantial. I want to incorporate real people into my life that give me affection, interaction, and knowledge instead of digital avatars. An avatar is “a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth” or “an incarnation, embodiment, or manifestation of a person or idea”. I don’t want to deal with avatars anymore, I want real people.
I have spent more time reading for assignments and working on my blog. Ideas have been more fluid and frequent. It’s like a haze is lifting. I think the biggest benefit has been reading my bible more. My Bible app is the only app on my phone that I can read something on and it has been spiritually nurturing.
I’ve realized for me to co-exist with my own weaknesses, I must learn to focus and create an environment better for my success. For now, I have to be careful about what I keep around me. Social Media’s fun. I like it and but not the effects. Like with any addiction, you must recognize its effects and decide if you want to live with them or not. I am not strong enough yet, and that’s okay. I am not missing out.
Anybody else struggle with a phone addiction? Has anyone had ghost notification syndrome where you always think your phone is vibrating when it isn’t? Anyone struggled letting go of Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, or YouTube? Are you a Tumblr fan? Tell me your thoughts and reflections in the comment section below.
4 thoughts on “Learning from Social Media Addiction”