The internet is destroying my mental health

(Image courtesy of Instagram)

I spend at least a few hours a day online everyday. No, literally every single day. I check Facebook and scroll mindlessly. I check Twitter, so I can be up to date on the newest Trump-related scandal that leaves the public’s consciousness as quickly as it seemed to enter. I browse friends, acquaintances and random strangers’ Instagram accounts, and subconsciously compare myself to the sea of curated realities I am compulsively exposing myself to. I can never seem to match up to their idealized projections of self, and it bothers me. Hearing about every single tragedy that takes place on a global scale, and every single crime that happens in a 100 mile radius makes me anxious and fixated on humanity’s collective mortality, but most of all, my own, and the mortality of the ones I love.

And to make matters worse, I know I’m addicted to it. I sometimes hope for lulls in conversations just so I can take a socially accepted look at my phone. To fill my mind with more of the same endless stream of information that led to my increasing social ineptness, which likely caused the lull in the first place.

When strangers engage me in casual conversation, I get this strange panicky sensation. Every part of me is trying to find an excuse to abruptly end the conversation. There’s no conscious reasoning behind any of this. And it didn’t occur before I was regularly on the net. So I believe my natural communication skills, something that I took for granted, started to deteriorate the more time I spent in front of computer screens.

Where does an individual opinion stand in a sea of globally monopolized thought that needs simple answers to survive?

Before the internet I never was afraid of being labeled an SJW or a Nazi. Now every interaction I have is prefaced with a fear of being taken out of context. Everything I say online or in person has the potential to be misquoted, just for the sole purpose to dehumanize me and my viewpoints, and to classify me as being a part of some negative monolith of thought; an echo chamber that values conformity over investigation and curiosity. Where does an individual opinion stand in a sea of globally monopolized thought that needs simple answers to survive?

Criticism is dead in a world where standing up against racism makes you an SJW, or denouncing some of the negative aspects of Islamic culture in specific Middle Eastern countries makes you an Islamophobe, Criticizing Israel makes you a Nazi, and depending on who you’re talking to, supporting Israel makes you a Nazi. Criticizing black on black crime gets you labeled a racist, while criticizing police brutality in black neighborhoods means you hate police officers. How the fuck did this happen? And why do I have to deal with the social ramifications of these detached narratives, sourced on the internet in the real world? It’s stressful.

The fact that, like it or not, Twitter is the dominant source of information in regards to the White House, or that we as a society are susceptible to fake news, accumulating from all ends of the political spectrum just to satisfy a bias is leading us all down a road to nowhere.

I don’t think like I’m alone in feeling this. I just don’t know where to go from here…

Bay Area native, Hip Hop nerd, literature and poetry enthusiast, freelance writer, gamer, caffeine addict. Follow me on Twitter.