So, maybe you’re wondering what’s going on in the Levy household with internet etc, since all these big revelations about just how bad it all is, spiritually, and just how addicted we all are to it, so much so that the psych people have even christened it with its own ‘disorder’: Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD), and they reckon (conservatively….) that 38% of the population have this problem.
(See this article for more on the science and research backing this up, so you know I’m not just making this stuff up:)
The short answer is: I’ve been in a really bad mood for the last two days.
I tried to secretly ‘kill’ the internet stick by submerging it in water for an hour, so we could get it out of the house without me having a big fight with my husband over it (who really does need it for work, it seems.)
But guess what: that didn’t work, even a little bit, and my husband was happily surfing away half an hour after I’d fished the internet stick out of the bottom of the bowl and carefully dried it off so he’d have no idea what I’d been up to, and I could claim a ‘miracle’.
Clearly this was going to be harder than I thought. So I came clean, and told him that
I’M COMPLETELY AND UTTERLY ADDICTED TO THE INTERNET, AND IT NEEDS TO BE OUT OF THE HOUSE 100%.
Natch, we still had something of a ‘discussion’ and I had to throw all of the science at him, and repeat myself eight times, and then show him some other stuff from the Sefer Yetzira that I haven’t yet shared with you, dear reader, about how bad all these devices really are, spiritually.
My husband sees how my PC goes beserk when I’m stressed, with the mouse jumping all over the place, and how I can take out mobile phones from hundreds of miles away, and also radios. He knows I can effect all the wifi equipment, but this is the first time he really acknowledged that it can also wipe me out, too.
So, we agreed that he’ll hide the stick and only strictly use it for massive emergencies.
Triumphant, I went to do my bit of necessary internet activity at the hub next to my house – and lo and behold, since I re-discovered how bad it all is, I’m now having serious problems connecting up to the communal wifi there. Everyone else is happily surfing away, but my pc has started disconnecting itself from the internet immediately after I’ve done what I needed to do – and then I can’t get back on.
I know this is from shemayim, and a clear example of a person being taken on the path that they really want to go, but it’s still been really, really annoying.
Because it’s forced me to really accept how much I was using the internet as a form of unhealthy escapism, and as a kind of mental ‘drug’ to help me avoid dealing with a lot of the dissatisfaction and loneliness I still feel back in my REAL LIFE.
I am mamash going through some form of drying out over here, and I’ve had a lot of up and down mood swings that completely took me by surprise, until I realized it’s because I’ve gone cold turkey on my internet drug.
Some of the downs: Now I can’t run away into Quora everytime my house feels too small, cramped and overwhelming, that’s turned into a live issue again, and I gave the bloke a very hard time about at least trying to find a way out of our financial dead end, house-wise.
Another down: I realized I don’t have anyone around to do REAL stuff with.
My kids prefer their friends, my husband prefers his Gemara to the separate beach at Tiberius (which is anyway separate, so going with him is kind of a bust anyway) – and most of my real friends have 13 children and other commitments over the Summer months.
Again, looking this stuff in the eye is extremely uncomfortable, and I much preferred writing long screeds on Quora about borderline personality disorder. But now God has nixed that option, at least as a ‘quick fix’ to make me feel somehow useful, I see I have to start making some real efforts on the REAL PEOPLE front again.
It’s not so easy: the two REAL PEOPLE who lived close enough to visit on Shabbat both moved out of the area last week, so I’m back to square one.
Now, the ups:
I stopped my kid playing endless games on her phone and instead spent an hour with her trying (and failing) to do hand shadows on her bedroom ceiling. Her ‘mouse with one arm’ shadow was actually hilarious, and we were giggling for quite a while.
That wouldn’t have happened if I was checking my emails for the millionth time and she was busy feeding her phone ‘poo’. (I wish that was a joke, but sadly it’s not.)
I started sewing again.
I started thinking about other books and projects I need to get on to give me more of a sense of purpose again.
And probably the biggest ‘up’ has also ironically been the biggest ‘down’: I’ve started realizing how many gaping holes there are in REAL LIFE that still need some urgent attention and a lot of prayer to fix.
That’s an ‘up’ because now I’ve recognized the problem again, I’m working on it. It’s a down because acknowledging these problems is upsetting, and often makes me feel a little despairing and angry about a few things.
So, that’s what’s been falling out in the Levy household after all these internet revelations. You can sum it up like this: more raw and painful in some ways, more real interactions with my family members (both for the good and the seemingly bad), more present in my hitbodedut again, now I’m seeing how desperate I am for things to change, and more understanding of how addicted – physiologically and mentally – I truly am to the internet.