Why Do We Insist On Letting The Internet Control Our Emotions?

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You probably read the headline to this post and assumed it was something about how negative comments or negative tweets put me in a spiraling bad mood, because… well, I’ve brought it up time and time again.

But this post is different, it’s not about the things people say or do to us online, heck it’s not even about the sadness and inner turmoil that comes from comparing ourselves to our peers, it’s about our addiction to those little bars of WIFI on our phone. The addiction to finding a free open WIFI in a foreign country, to having full bars of 4G that actually work – our addiction to having access to the online world.

I’m writing this on a day where I am feeling more all over the place and emotional and rollercoaster-y than I’ve felt in a little while. It’s Tuesday afternoon and I’m writing this post ready to go out to you all tomorrow. I am a bit tired. I am *probably* due on my period as some point over the Easter weekend. I am facing that crash back to reality following a long weekend abroad, and a song has just come on that I listened to on the Italian radio whilst in a mini bus yesterday morning, winding through Tuscan hills on my way to Perugia airport for my flight home.

I feel incredibly lucky that I’ve been able to travel so much of late and that I have more adventures lined up, but also a little bit exhuasted and out of routine and flustered by the idea that I have the rest of the afternoon and evening to get all my blog posts and YouTube uploads sorted for the rest of the week because I agreed to work in London tomorrow and Thursday. Everything feels a rush and I am not mentally ready for it.

But mostly I am a bit of a mess. My face is stiff from dried, salty tears. My face feels sleepy from crying out said tears, and my bed is unmade because I keep getting back into it because life is just a bit much today.

Why? Because my internet keeps breaking.

That is all that is wrong. My internet is intermittent and slow, and sometimes there’s a full hour whether nothing happens and it’s driving me flipping insane.

I know that I’m addicted to the internet. I know that I have an unhealthy obsession with it. But I let the fact that so many of us have this same issue as an excuse that it’s not bad, that it’s not a problem, that maybe it’s unavoidable and it’s out of my control.

I have said the word cunt about 14 times today. I have thought about smashing my iMac. I have rung Sky and pretended to be married to my boyfriend with the hope of them fixing my WIFI. I have gone for a swim to destress. I have screamed into a pillow. I have eaten a Creme Egg. I have left my suitcase and all my washing strewn across the floor because fuck having the motivation for life when THE INTERNET IS DOWN.

I can’t get my work done, I can’t find out if this lamp is back in stock, I can’t listen to Spotify, or post the weekend’s blog entries to Facebook, heck I can’t even get upset about the internet not working and watch Pretty Little Liars to take the edge off because stupid online Netflix.

My addiction and need for all of these things in my daily life has caused me to have a full-on emotional crisis just because I can’t have them. Because I am out of control. Because things aren’t going the way I planned out in my head.

When I go on holiday I refuse to pay for add-ons, but I spend a holiday-ruining amount of time scouting out Starbucks and McDonalds branches because I KNOW I can get internet. I know I will get a fix. I know I will be reunited with my one true love. I know I will be able to check for exciting emails and upload fancy I’M ON HOLIDAY LIVING THE DREAM photos to Instagram.

And I have to do those things. I have to. I’m sure the world won’t break if I stop, but I’m afraid that my world just might. I don’t, like I’m sure a lot of you don’t, have much memory of life before the internet, of life before my need for the internet’s reinforcement that I’m good enough.

Back then I wanted to be in people’s MSN names, I wanted to be in people’s top 8 friends list, I wanted people to comment on my profile pictures and now I want Instagram likes in their hundreds, positive blog comments and exciting emails from PRs and compliment-crammed emails from readers. I’ve spent the last decade seeking positivity from the online world and I think maybe I’ve forgotten how to exist without it.

Today I have come close to falling apart in a way in which I haven’t done for months and months. I feared Chris would come home from work and find me swirled up in about three blankets begging for hot Ribena and Harry Potter like an ill 7-year-old. But this post has helped me, helped me get my emotions and the reasons for my emotions out of my head and make me see that they’re a bit stupid. Well OK, like a lot stupid.

Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it and sometimes I don’t want to believe it, but there is more to life than an internet connection. There is happiness and self-esteem to be found away from 3G signal and free WIFI.

The world will not forget you exist if you can’t tweet for a day, if you have to miss a blog post, if you can’t reply to emails. We need to learn that life is OK, heck it’s more than OK, it’s *gulp* EVEN BETTER away from our phones and iPads and laptops and computers. Our happiest memories, the things we will look back on, will not be the things we did whilst sat in front of a screen. They simply won’t be, and I know that because when I look back at some of the most exciting things lodged in my head, they didn’t involve the internet, they didn’t even involve photographic evidence that they happened.

The entire sprawling view of Ipswich – including Orwell Bridge and the football grounds – from the plane yesterday, playing N64 and drinking cider with my brothers, sitting in hotel bars scattered around Europe drinking Prosecco with Chris, having a solo coffee whilst reading a good book in a local Costa. All the good things in life, come without phone reception and that’s something we all too easily forget.

And for the things that HAVE to be done with internet connection, things like blog posts and important emails – they’re not life and death and it’s OK to admit that some things simply cannot be done. That some things have to be postponed. Life won’t end. The internet is not everything.

 

 

  • Grace

    This is a post that I think will hit home with lots of people. I remember moving in to my first house and being livid that I was without Internet for two weeks because my husband had messed up the billing details. But I can also recall that being without the Internet on a daily basis while we were in Norway on a cruise last year hardly bothered me. Admittedly, on day one I did make a mad dash to a Starbucks in Bergen for their free WiFi for Instagram uploading and to send a begging email to my mum as the bank had very nicely blocked my bank cards abroad. It’s an odd sensation.

  • Urgh so true, and I hate that it is! Love the positive message at the end though, I think it’s something we all need to remember. Also, just nearly spat my drink all over the screen at your pretending to be married comment. Nice post xx

  • I love posts like this because it really sums up how reliant on the digital world we have become without even really realising it! Especially now as companies and communication moves to digital – It kind of feels impossible to function daily without it. I find I can happily deal without internet if it’s a conscious decision (I’m out for the day or i’m with friends e.t.c) but the moment I have no distraction and internet fails on me – I am not a happy gal! haha. X

  • Natalie

    I completely agree – it’s impossible to ‘disconnect’ and this really isn’t a good thing – we should be able to enjoy life without feeling like if it’s not posted to instagram it never happened.

    P.S. Loving your wifi name 😀

  • I love your honesty about such relevant issues. I completely agree that we are all to consumed with the desire for internet constantly and I am definitely guilty of it too. Hope you’re ok x
    http://wearsheiz.blogspot.co.uk

  • I think it’s perfectly understandable that you feel that way. You’re a full time blogger, if you don’t have access to the internet you can’t work, and if you can’t work you can’t earn. I think your reactions are completely understandable, I’d be tearing my hair out! x

  • Miranda

    I hope you’re feeling better today & have working internet again 🙂

  • I feel like I could have written this post. I get so ANGRY when the Internet is down and it really does feel like the end of the world when I can’t load Twitter on my phone. I don’t even have important emails coming in but if I can’t access my emails I will be so stressed out. It makes no sense. Of course it is stupid but it’s just a part of life now so not having it is like taking your washing machine away and expecting you to wash everything with a mangle or whatever the hell they used in the olden days. Okay maybe not but you know what I mean.

    I am so much happier on days when we get outside and go places and I don’t sit in front of the screen so why am I so miserable when I do sit in front of it and it doesn’t work?! Arrrgghhhh.

    Anyway, this post = love. Hope your Internet is behaving itself now.

  • Ugh, tell me about it!! The other day, I pretty much had a nervous breakdown because I couldn’t get my iPhone to work for a couple of hours after putting it in safe mode. When I got it working again I felt like a MASSIVE weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Addicted much?? I miss the days when I was happy to curl up with a book for, literally, hours. What the heck happened to my attention span? Oh, look, I have a Twitter update!
    Great post, Hannah x

    AmandaSays

  • You have just made me realise how much of an ADDICTION it is. Its so true that because we’re all so reliant on it you don’t realise how totally weird it is!

  • Gemma

    Our internet broke the other day, I turned into girlfriend from hell. Asking questions like ‘what do you mean it’s broken?’ ‘Well can’t you fix it or something?’ What do you mean no?! Ia thought you’re supposed to be an electrician?!’ ‘How the HELL am I supposed to catch up on poldark?!’ ‘You know I don’t get signal here, I won’t get ANY iMessages!’

    So yeah, I’m totally with you on this post, but I did survive the night without Internet and I am here to tell the tale!

  • Nice post! It’s okay that you reacted like that. I once was on Tenerife for two months and the first month I didn’t have internet. At first I got crazy because I thought I had to get in touch with my friends (every day) to tell them everything and I didn’t know what to do in the evening. After a while I got used to not having internet. I went outside more often and I actually started reading. Something I didn’t like doing so much because watching a film or videos was easier. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to “love” the internet as long as we don’t forget “real life” and that the internet is not everything as you say. XX

  • Katy

    This is so true and something I completely relate with. I often celebrate the fact that I have gone more than an hour without checking social media. Lately I’ve been trying to use ‘do not disturb’ mode and sometimes (sometimes) I forget about my phone as it is not notifying me of every single thing that is happening.
    I think this is a sign of the times but also quite scary how addicted I have become!
    True story. I ACTUALLY had an alert while reading this post that the page was not responding = blank screen + heart attack

  • Daisy

    I used to have Facebook when I was like 15 but then when it was coming up to my 17 birthday I deactivated my account. I couldn’t stand the fact that I was thinking about how many people might post on my wall on the day of my birthday.

    I have great family and friends and knew full well that they would wish me happy birthday face to face. All the important people in my life would do that for me so why think about who wouldnt.

    I’ve never had twitter or Instagram so when I deactivated my Facebook before my 17th birthday that was it. I had nothing to do with social media. I still have my boyfriend my friends and family and I’ve never looked back.

    I’m not reliant on the internet and couldn’t be happier (and I’ve also recently got back from Italy with my boyfriend and I didn’t think about getting on the internet at all! Definitely the most relaxed I’ve ever been!)

  • Kate

    wow i love this post.
    People might think we are been over dramatic here but without the internet many of us wouldn’t be able to do our jobs! infact most of the job applications lately have been followed by online assessments or they have to have an email response so stuff like that is my justification of needing the internet.. but then theres things like instagram and twitter which i am just addicted to.. I want to get the best selfie or I want to get the best photo of my dinner.. it is kind of sad really but we are all doing it and its like we are all competing. Me and my husband try and give the iPhones a break when we are out and about..but it is really hard . I think good and bad things come with the internet, I’ve met some great people because of it and i’ve met some horrible people who cause trouble on there..

  • nueyork

    I related to this instantly when you said you were crying because your internet wasn’t working. I have found that same emotion come out in me when it happens, and when I think back on it it just makes me sad. It’s a bad habit of mine, and it’s definitely high on my priority list of things to change.

    nueyork.blogspot.com

  • ^-^ Really love this article, you have said lots of people’s heart. Hope you are getting better and better.

  • i loved reading this! Pretty much describes what happens to me when my internet is down!! Basically my world ends lol! Its a nice reminder reading this though that the world does still go on outside this internet crazy world were all addicted too!

  • Aoife

    Hannah, you’ve got it spot on!

    I think we’re all addicted to the internet and somehow we justify our self worth with petty likes from strangers we don’t even know.

    We shouldn’t feel bad about not updating on social media or letting our blogs go.

    I think everyone forgets to live a little and it can seem daunting and scary because you feel like you’re letting people down but you have to live for you and not anyone else.

    P.s hope you’re feeling better.
    ~xo


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