I think I have given myself a dose of it, accidentally; or rather, by over-enthusiasm. I fell in love with blogging almost straight away after writing my first post, and never looked back. From then, I couldn’t contain my excitement as I researched topics to write about and thought of stories to tell. Blogs were flowing from me every day, and I loved it.
I was amazed that I was getting likes and followers; so many, so soon. It was more than I expected in my first month of blogging! So, I decided it was time to create social media profiles for my blog to help spread the word. I guess that was the point I opened the door to technology fatigue. Having created Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr ‘My Bonkers Brain’ profiles, I then became consumed in social media like I never had before. Reading, liking, sharing, searching for those like-minded folks to follow and paving the way for my own followers. Who knew it could be so absorbing and time-consuming? I loved every minute of it, though, don’t get me wrong – it was, and still is exciting, not to mention, fascinating.
Having bipolar disorder, I can very quickly develop an obsession and become solely fixated on that thing, to the exclusion of everything else in a day. That is what happened to me and why I had to drop off the face of the earth for a few weeks. I became obsessed with the blogosphere and social media and just couldn’t walk away and do something else. There were so many blogs lined up in my reader, and I just had to read each one; each new blog took me on an exciting journey through other people’s experiences. There were so many tweets in my Twitter feed, more pins on Pinterest than I could keep up with and Tumblr, well, I just haven’t quite figured that one out yet.
The obsession took hold straight away but after a few weeks, I was able to spot the warning signs; which for me, is a great achievement – having self-awareness of the symptoms of my illness. Okay, so I knew I was obsessed, but could I do something about it? No. WordPress and My Bonkers Brain social media profiles were in my waking thoughts and never left me throughout the day, and I didn’t mind. I was doing something worthwhile, and it was boosting my confidence no end.
The obsession became a real problem when fatigue set in. But, still, I couldn’t let go of the laptop, I was in danger of becoming ill, and I knew it, but couldn’t quite stop myself. My head was buzzing with ideas for blogs, stories and poems and they each deserved a chance of digital life. My social media profiles needed nurturing, and my topics needed researching, so I didn’t stop for a rest, despite being aware I was becoming too obsessed.
Fatigue jumped out at me and bit my brain – hard. I was suddenly exhausted every moment of the day and had hit a blank wall. I couldn’t think of anything to write. Nothing; not a sentence, not a single word flowed from my fingers. The choice to slow down had been removed from me, and that was not a bad thing. I was pushed into a period of forced rest to recover from the fatigue. I was so tired I couldn’t even watch television for a couple of weeks. When I tried to keep up to speed with my personal Facebook wall, I was overwhelmed and just had to switch off and leave it. So, there I was, unplugged from technology completely to recover from the fatigue and able to overcome the obsession by forced rest.
I have resumed my relationship with technology, but my lesson is learned. The social media profiles are not as important as I had originally thought. My head is not buzzing with blog topics, so there is no pressure to blog every day. My self-imposed pressure for non-stop social media surfing and blogging created the obsession; I know the signs and danger of it now, so won’t – or, with the best will in the world, will try not to make the same mistake again! I will blog, but not every day. I will surf social media, but not as if my life depended on it. I will research, but only topics on a controlled list of things to write about. Management is my key to wellness.
I am sure I am not alone and many other people have walked this path before me. Hopefully, this blog will help others spot the warning signs and take action before the fatigue kicks in!