I’m writing this in airplane mode from my iPhone. 😊
It’s only saved on my phone and I promise you it took days to do. Usually, this would be because of my short attention span. I’d get bored, caught up in scrolling on FB or insta and suddenly hours would be lost. This time it’s because I have to schedule it across my approved work screen time. This helps me manage my screen addiction.
I’m currently spending an hour a day off of my phone. Well, today is day 8 so I have a total of 8 hours no screen time.
Day 9 will be 9 hours and so on until I hit 24.
On day 24, there will be cake. No screen time, but definitely cake.
Did I mention I’m an adult autistic with ADHD?
Social media is and always has been difficult for me to control. But for a while, it was the only way I had to connect to others like me, understand myself and not feel so alone.
I didn’t even know people like me existed when I was diagnosed at 18. Everyone from my therapist to Psychiatrist to the auditor for my autism treated me like I was some sorta cryptid. I was touched, examined, studied and asked deeply personal questions I thought were just part of the Audit.
They were not. It’s just no one had ever seen anything quite like me before.
Now in reality, yes. Yes they have. We’re seeing a slow but steady rise of Bl and POC children with theses diagnosed ( Autism rates increasing fastest among black, Hispanic youth: Rates among white children climbing again after mid-2000s plateau — ScienceDaily ) it’s just racism got in the way.I was so angry at myself for so long about my social media and screen time addiction. But just like every addiction, it was rooted in my trauma and mistreatment.
How could I not become addicted to support? To be told I’m not alone? To being “held,” accepted and loved by others who identified with me?
It was just bad timing that it happened primarily through a screen.
After shock and acceptance, I find myself at that strange transitional phase. Humans are forever becoming but I’m being actively mindful about this transition. I’ve learned that one can transition into something unwanted if they aren’t careful…and I have a tendency for clumsy extremes. 😅
I did a lot of research, too much research and I broke it down to 5 important steps for me. I’m not done yet. At this point I’m unsure if I’ll ever be “done,” but I am
On my way.
- Define addiction – “physically and mentally dependent on a particular substance, and unable to stop taking it without incurring adverse effects.”
This applied. After talking to family and beloved friends, they agreed I spent quite a bit of time online. Even when I was with them, they felt I wasn’t really there.
- Call it an addiction.
I struggled with this. My mind wanted this word to be associated with something more severe, Drugs, alcohol, a lifetime movie special. I’m just on my phone. A lot. And unable to stop without incurring adverse effects.
- What is this doing for you? Why does it make you feel good?
We kinda covered that, it felt good to talk to and “be around” people who understood me.
- What are the adverse effects?
I asked my family and oh boy
“You don’t look at me when we talk.” – Marice 4
“It’s hard to get in contact with you” – my mom, forever 29
“Babygirl, you don’t hear me, god or anybody.” – grandma, never ask a southern woman her age. Just don’t do it.
“The group is talking and bonding. You’re trying to show us stuff on FB.” – Amanda E, 30
“Um, I can’t tell if you’re still open to conversation or not.” Corina T, 30
“ It makes me feel ignored when we are talking/having a conversation and you get wrapped up in your phone. Also sometimes it feels like you get on your phone as an avoidance tactic. Not saying you do but it can certainly feel like that.” Robert C, 35
- How can I stop?
This is where I am now and theydies and gentlethems, it has not been a straight line. I bounce back and forth depending on certain triggers (stress, rejection, anxiety etc) and I can’t believe how difficult it has been.
I mean, I’m an Aries Sun/Scorpio moon who likes a challenge but this is ridiculous.
It’s also beautiful.
Whenever I encounter big issues I tend to draw within myself to figure them out. Age has taught me the wisdom of reaching outside of my cocoons for additional nutrients when needed but inside my head has always been my safe space. A home I can always return too. As I take this addiction, flip it around and poke at its bits, I’m finding many things inside.
A scared little girl who knows something’s off but not quite what.
A preteen at soccer camp who just doesn’t click with the other kids.
A teenager at parties, hiding in the bathroom at parties.
A college kid, stressing herself out to fit in with her first group of “IRL” friends.
I recognize, love and forgive them.
And hopefully with a little mindfulness I can free them. 🙂
One thing I’m doing to keep my hands busy is cooking. Goal oriented and repetitive motion things are kinda my jam. So I’ll end this blog post with my favorite summer salad recipe.
And a video on how to milk your cucumbers. https://youtu.be/S1PupJHx6JQ
Cucumber dill salad
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (sour cream)
2 Tablespoons fresh dill (dried is fine. More may be needed.)
2 Tablespoons mayo (I recommend Dukes)
1 Tablespoon Oil (dealers choice, I like olive, sunflower or avocado)
1 tablespoon lemon juice (two of you like lemon)
Salt n pepper to taste
6 cups milked, thinly sliced English cucumbers (regular is fine, English cucumbers have a sweeter taste)
– toss in a bowl and mix thoroughly.
Serving size will vary depending on who’s eating it. I also have an aunt who swears adding a little brown sugar makes it perfect.
Whatever you decide, confine quickly. Cucumber dill salad is not a person who likes to wait.
Follow Jessica on instagram @poetry_plants_and_joy