Roadblock to Change

As I’ve said here recently I’m reading The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. For the last two days I’ve been reading “Guidepost #3, Cultivating a Resilient Spirit: Letting Go of Numbing and Powerlessness.” I split my reading at the section entitled “Numbing and Taking the Edge Off,” and I read today from that point forward to the end of the chapter.

This section defined addiction as “chronically and compulsively numbing and taking the edge off feelings” and then went on to give examples of what people can be addicted to. The last example given was the internet.

From the moment I wake up until the time I go to bed, all day, every day, I have my computer on and I’m sitting in front of it compulsively searching for anything to occupy my time. Sometimes I spend hours just staring at it hoping that something will change and I’ll actually have something to engage in. I take breaks long enough to get things done around the house, but I’m never far from the internet and I’m never away for it for long, unless I have an appointment.

Am I addicted to the internet?

Do I have a bigger problem than my mental illnesses?

How do I know how much of this is searching for something to occupy my time and how much of this is the complete inability to step away from it at all?

Am I really disabled, or just addicted?

This passage is basically causing me to question everything I do with my day and it’s starting to convince me that what I’m doing with my day is wrong, that I need to shut down the internet and find something else to occupy my time, or just sit and stare at the walls, anything to keep from feeding the addiction.

I don’t like this feeling.

I’m not sure whether the book is even speaking to me with this, but it seems to be because I can’t put down the internet. I’ll skip watching almost any streaming media service like Netflix or our own movies or what have you because I have to be connected. What if someone needs me for something and I’m not available? I can’t have that on my conscience.

I think I have a problem and I don’t know how to solve it.

I HAVE to be on the internet twice a week for my radio shows. The rest of it is just me goofing off and not moving forward. I’m not accomplishing anything with my day at all. i sit and do literally nothing all day long and it’s a problem.

But how do I solve it when I can’t figure out how to detach myself from the internet?

I think I’m panicking for no reason. Or am I? is this what my life really is all about or am I living a lie? Is it impossible for me to get better, because I can’t stop with the internet? Will this completely shut down any further progress on this book?

I was given this book by a former therapist of mine and now I’m kind of wishing she hadn’t. I don’t like being called out for what I actually am – a stupid addict unable to rip himself away from his fix for even a moment.

I don’t like that what this therapist gave me is causing me to panic. She was supposed to be helping me, not making things infinitely worse.

But should I break who I am an rebuild myself entirely into something new in order to overcome my obstacles in life? Isn’t that what I’m supposed to be doing with my disability, fixing the problem and getting back to work? I don’t know how to fix this and I only have a year left before I have to go back in for a review and there’s a good chance they’ll tell me that I’ve been wasting my time not getting well and that they’re going to yank my disability and then I’ll be right back where I was before it kicked in, not contributing to anything around the house and just being a time and money sink that is wasting everyone’s time. I can’t have that. I can’t be that person. I have to get better and I have a year to do it.

I feel so stupid and anxious right now. How could I have let this take over my life as completely as it has? I don’t know what to do.

Has anyone else read this book? Can you help put it into perspective for me so I can stop panicking about wasting the last two years of my life hiding behind a laptop and not actively addressing the things that have to happen in order to get me back to work in a year? I’d really appreciate some feedback. I’m not really expecting any but this is my problem to solve anyway so I better just suck it up and fix what’s wrong with me somehow.

But how?

One thought on “Roadblock to Change

  1. I decided to leave a comment here rather than on Facebook. I haven’t read the book, but it’s been on my wishlist, and I have an Audible credit I have been meaning to use, so I’ll use that to pick it up.

    As for the internet addiction part, it looks like the original book was published in 2010. Think about how much the internet has grown and changed since then. I have a strict rule that anything internet related is useless if it was published more than five years ago, and often I keep it to three.

    Think about how many studies have been released in the last six years that contradict other previous studies. We learn so much new stuff on a daily basis (and most of that is accessed via the internet).

    Personally, I don’t think you can be addicted to the internet. It’s a tool, one we use every day in this modern world to do ANYTHING. Banking, shopping, social interaction, it’s all online. I use it every day, I rely on it, I am upset when it’s not working because of the inconvenience it causes in my life, and if it’s down for a long period of time it could potentially seriously impact my health. Am I addicted to it? If so, I must also be addicted to electricity, my refrigerator, my car, and all the other tools of modern living.

    Are you choosing to be on the internet rather than doing other things you used to enjoy? It doesn’t count if your health causes you to not be able to do something or go to an event, so you stay home and get on the internet instead. It was your health, not your “addiction” to the internet that made the decision for you. And it doesn’t count if you occasionally decide to get online rather than read a book or some other activity. Addiction is about a constant need that EVERYTHING else gets pushed aside for. If you can still enjoy a book or any other time away from the internet, I don’t think you are addicted.

    Honestly, for you (and for me) the internet is an important part of your (and my) therapy. You (and I) use it to connect to others so you (and I) don’t feel isolated as your (and my) disabilities keep you (and me) at home. Sometimes being alone with our thoughts is the worst thing for us, and we don’t have any other way to fix that than to be online, either distracting ourselves from those thoughts, or connecting with others in a similar boat to remind us that we really are not alone.

    Is the internet important and essential to our well-being? Hell yes. Are we addicted? Hell no. We are using the tools available to us to help us through as best we can.

    I’m sure I’ll have more thoughts to share after I get to that section of the book. Until then… *hugs*

    See you online. 🙂


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