I have a slightly nerdy interest in the way we use technology to access and share information about ourselves and the world around us (this, I think, led two of my friends, quite independently of one another to describe me as ‘a bit geeky’ in recent weeks.) So it’s probably for that reason I was able to spend a rather enjoyable day researching the behaviours associated with emerging web 3.0 technologies (bit of background here). Quite aside from leaving me feeling like the proverbial pig in mud, my adventures in web 3.0 got me thinking about the way my own use of technology, particularly social media, is connected with my depressive episodes. I think it can be mapped out as follows:
- Early stages: heightened use followed by loss of interest/low use
- Mid stages: Period of ‘lurking’ followed by further loss of interest/low use
- Late stages: Complete withdrawal/closure of accounts
- Improvement stages: Period of lurking/account reinstatement followed by heightened use
- Recovery stages: ‘normal’ use resumes
And so it continues on a never-ending loop! Thinking about it now, it seems like such a shame that the withdrawal bit kicks in. Over the past few weeks (early improvement stage) I’ve been dipping my toe back into the world of social media and have found it to be something that supports my well being. Interacting online is actually quite a powerful tool in combating some of the thought processes behind depression, and if you think about it, is actually a lot easier than interacting out in the real world. It is, as the advert said, good to talk and the great thing about communicating online when you’re depressed is it actually doesn’t matter whether anybody is listening or not!
Writing this blog has been one of the best ideas I’ve had in a while. In some ways, it’s about telling the story of me to myself. In order to write it I have to put some of the thoughts and actions brought on by my illness to one side, and focus instead of the things I’m trying and achieving and how I am going to portray those things in words. Likewise, my reinvigorated interest in Twitter means I have to engage with things that are happening around me and find a (hopefully witty) was of expressing my thoughts – this is a really useful way of keeping myself in the here and now. It helps that things like Twitter and blogs have an output, but much more important is the way that this kind of communication helps you to ignore yourself!
I’m heading over to Pinterest at some point this weekend for a bit of a nosey about – I’m sure I can do something useful with it. In the meantime, I’ll be tweeting and blogging and lurking on Facebook and will hopefully continue to be distracted in a good way.
NB. My only comment about Facebook, by the way, is that it usually serves as an excellent reminder that your life isn’t nearly as terrible as you think it is!