Technology Fatigue

 

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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.

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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 signnotebook-1071775_640s 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!

Our Relationship With Gadgets

As part of Mental Health Awareness week in the UK, I have blogged about the relationship we have with ourselves, with our partner and with our pets. Today I want to talk about the relationship we have with our Gadgets.

Gadgets can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, our gadgets, gear and social media can bring us much closer together and make the world a smaller place. Our family and friend relationships benefit from this, which can have a positive effect on our mental health.

On the other hand, we can become so obsessed with the gadgets in our hand, that we can forget our friends and family are in the same room as us! This oversight might not be good for the relationship we have with them.

When It’s good to tech-talk

There is no doubt, today’s technology is an incredible communication tool. Not only does it help us keep in closer contact with family and friends who are not in our local area, but it can also help us build upon these relationships through sharing stories, photos and messaging. I adore seeing pictures of my great-niece making achievements, from taking her first steps to starting school. I would have missed out on all of this if it were not for today’s technology and our gadgets.

Being stuck at home all the time, I would feel isolated and cut off from the larger world, if it were not for my gadgets. When my mental health is suffering, I get much solace from engaging with social media and messaging. Without it, I fear I would decline even further into a deeper depression. My iPad is my means of speaking during these times.

When it’s not good to tech-talk

I am amazed by the number of times I have been in a restaurant and seen people sitting round a table together having lunch, but all of them are busy looking at their gadgets. Nobody is actually talking to the people they are sitting with! Or, groups of young adults out together, but burried in their phones. I do wonder if fulfilling relationships can be maintained when such time is spent consuming technology, rather than chatting with each other. Who knows, maybe they are talking to each other on Facebook rather than in the room!

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When our gadgets can kill us

Our gadgets have become so embroiled into every aspect of our lives, to the point they could be risking our lives when we use them without thinking. Augsburg in Germany has recently introduced traffic light crossings with lights embedded in the pavement, to protect people who are so engrossed in their gadgets, they might walk into the road without looking.

It is tragic that so many thousands of deaths in traffic collisions around the world have happened while people have been using their gadgets at the same time they are driving a vehicle. Gadgets make it easy these days to glance quickly at a status update and this action risks causing a collision – this is definitely not a moment to be having a relationship with a gadget.

Do no harm

Gadgets – they bring us closer together, facilitate joy and laughter, fill our heads with data, and make the world a smaller place. But, the way we use them can not only harm our human relationships – they also can harm us. Perhaps we can get more from the relationship with our gadgets by doing more of what is good which will boost our mental health, and resist doing the harmful things that can damage not just our mental health, but our human existence!

 

Photo Credit: (c) Can Stock Photo