I’ve been thinking a lot about coping mechanisms recently.
More accurately, I’ve needed to use these quite a lot in recent months; and that got me thinking.
In times of loss, frustration, upset, anger, bewilderment; I have turned to Twitter and (on occasion) Facebook. And this is nothing new for me - before these I put my thoughts together in a blog (who remembers Revelations Online?), and I have continued this blog in the same vein.
And here is my key point - very often this is the coping mechanism through which I express my self; my inner thoughts. My immediate thoughts. Some of them are well-formed, but the majority are not - they are new, unfiltered, immediate thoughts. That occasionally are - in hindsight - pretty poor, and they have on occasion upset people close to me.
And here’s the thing which I wonder might be an issue not just for me - but for many in this brave new world:
Social media is my primary outlet of emotion.
And at my darkest times, it is my only outlet.
The internet can at times be an omnipresent being that you feel ‘safe’ to outlet your unfiltered feelings too.
[As an aside I haven’t the energy to go into further; I think this is what is behind the rise - particularly - in white male racism/sexism/etc. online - because the internet; gaming servers in particular; are a place you can freely express your thoughts, and it is rare that you can get called on it.]
The internet doesn’t talk back.
That is not to say you don’t get a response - you will either get a negative response (YouTube comments a classic example), or ‘closer to home’ you get a positive response in terms of likes on your Twitter or Facebook posts.
And this would be all well and good, if my social interaction were primarily in the real and immediate world; with the internet as it should be - a secondary resource; for absorbing facts, opinions and connecting with people on an interest-based level, potentially leading to real physical friendships and relationships.
Oh and porn. I’ve heard a rumour that the internet is for porn. But you’ll have to check that for yourself.
But at this particular point in my life, the internet is my primary resource/tool for interaction.
Yes I have friends that I often communicate with through my phone (often due to geography) and occasionally see in person, but that is not the same as which I had:
Over the past couple of years I have been fortunate to have two close friends, one of whom I was in a relationship with. And having someone I saw on a regular basis, allowed for that primary, human interaction, where I had instant responses to my woes and fears, some checks and balances to my views, and - let’s be clear - a whole lot of fun and happiness too!
And I guess it has taken me a lot of time to realise/acknowledge that has very definitely gone from my life, and I have once again slipped into the unloving cradle of the internet’s bosom, where I surround myself with a like-thinking bubble as an avoidance of the true nature of humanity: Because otherwise I couldn’t cope.
I must say, this is more my failing that anyone else’s: I have wonderful friends who care for me and are there for me when I need them.
But they are not my carers; nor my therapists; so I need to be careful that I don’t stray into these dependencies that my friends aren’t for.
Everything I have written so far does make me think - albeit as someone who knows little about this matter - maybe I should see a therapist?
Now, I have a firm in-built philosophical aversion to therapy, so it isn’t an avenue I am keen to explore. But I have to wonder about the possibility.
The train is approaching Wakefield, so I should start to wrap this up.
The irony of writing a blog about my problem of using the internet as a primary coping mechanism is not lost on me, but after a particularly stressful few days, my old ways are the best. For now.
I still continue to function as a human being. I am lucky enough to be able to work.I am privileged enough to sustain myself in an uncertain future state. But I am also fragile enough that; right now - I have to put myself first, and figure out a few things before I can get a firm idea of what sort of a person I want to be going forward.
Please, love and jaffa cakes.