Tag Archives: anxiety

Social Media. Let’s stalk about it.

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Me and my new boyfriend Netflix (no offence real boyfriend) have been having quite the affair lately. And oddly enough there seems to be a shit-ton of shows related to technology, social media, paranoia, needs and perceptions.

One of the shows I watch is about bullying in highschool and how technology makes it so much worse. In hindsight I guess I was bullied a bit, some rumours spread, some issues with girls, some issues with boys, some issues with girls about boys and ultimately some very poor self-esteem. Back then the rumours were spread in homeroom or late at night on a landline, if people isolated you, well you just spoke to nobody and if photos were taken you had to physically pass them around…nowadays it can be public, and messy, and graphic, and isolation is proven to you in so many more ways.

But, honestly, this post isn’t about bullying, it’s more about the technology involved and it’s effect on our lives. I’ve been watching the show Black Mirror recently, and each and every episode has some tie into advanced technology and how it does (or could) affect our lives. The episodes are dark, they are creepy, they are the modern day Twilight Zone and more scarily, some are a little too close to the truth.

One episode in particular has resonated with quite a few girls I know. Bryce Dallas Howard lives in a world where “likes” are a part of your daily interactions. And I don’t just mean a part, I mean the virtual equivalent of popularity IS their life’s work, their whole life. Every interaction they have with anybody…everybody…is ranked out of 5 stars. Your rating (think about your own personal Trip Advisor) decides not only how beloved you are, but what you can get in life. You can get a better car, better house, better flight, better price and hell, better man if you have a higher ranking. You spend your whole life obsessing over your perceived popularity with a fake little smile plastered on your fake little face.

Well, I’ve been Bryce Dallas Howard. I’ve been that person looking at somebody else’s photos, fiancée, new dog, new house, current trip and yearning. Yearning over their great career, their new car, their everlasting love and here I am sitting on my couch listening to the Cure. Okay, that’s a bit drastic, but movies, my music, my guitar and my Netflix. And so we’ve come full circle.

Tricked you again, the post isn’t really about Netflix either. Sneaky, sneaky.

Anyway. Did you know there are studies floating around stating that excessive selfies are linked to anxiety, self-esteem and overall intimacy and straight-up mental disorder? In fact, it’s called “selfitis”. No seriously. And though I am guilty of (let’s admit it) #awesome selfies, I can’t help but notice those people that post them 15 times a day. All it takes is 3 people…3 selfies a day can check you into the nuthouse. Read on, tis true.

www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/addiction-selfies-mental-disorder.html

It also turns out the stronger your relationship with social media is, often the higher your chances of depression are. The need to prove everything to the world is proof that something is missing, let’s call it a “virtual void” to be filled. Fake friends, fake articles, fake comments and fake likes on meaningless posts. “They” also say that the more you see other people’s shining, smiling, delicious, bright, filtered, deliriously happy photos, the sadder you will be….as you sit on your couch…and write your blog grocery list and feed your cat kids. #nofilter #reallife 

www.forbes.com/sites/amitchowdhry/2016/04/30/study-links-heavy-facebook-and-social-media-usage-to-depression/#695968544b53

And the worst part about this post is that I know these things. I know that getting likes on my Instagram, comments on my selfies and followers on my blog (oh please, oh please) doesn’t mean I’m a better person. It doesn’t mean that I’m smarter, or prettier, or any more talented, it doesn’t mean that I’m thinner, fatter, richer, more or less loved. It doesn’t mean these things.

The sad thing is, I do feel a little bit prettier when 40 people like my new glasses, I do feel a bit more loved when my boyfriend likes my photos (and imagine if he tagged me too, lucky gal) and I do look at other girls photos and envy their lives. I envy their fake lashes, I envy their pet’s Instagram page, I envy their seemingly loving boyfriend who posts hashtag after hashtag about his goddess and their uber perfect life. I envy their expensive clothes, I envy their free housing and I envy their size 4 figure.

So, deep down, I know that comparing your life is the most useless activity in the world, and envying somebody’s need to post everything that has every happened in their world with at least one #hashtagged couple-selfie a day is sad…but let’s be brutally honest, my desire to look in and care is even sadder.

So many struggle with this. We hate online dating, we hate feeling unwanted / unliked, we know when somebody unfriends us, we panic when we think we are blocked, we post our feelings on the bad days and our best pictures on the good ones. We know that more likes means more love, right? Wrong. Those of us smart enough to know it is a mental disorder filled with narcissism, anxiety, depression and meaninglessness know it’s wrong, but we yearn anyway.

Life is now one big photo album of people’s kids and vacations. There is no avoiding it short of having the guts to go media free. But as most jobs are posted online, most business profiles are necessary, online education is a thing, digital music is a must, smartphones are the norm…odds of us going off the grid are poor. So, in the meantime we will do our best to love our lives and remember that the more wonderful things you post, sometimes the less wonderful your life actually is.

Now, don’t say you’re too afraid or that you don’t feel comfortable doing this kind of thing, because guess what? You spy on people every day. We’re always watching someone. Following someone. And being followed. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, they’ve made us a society of stalkers. And we love it. – Hannah, 13 Reasons Why

The Ginga Ninja

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The Unfillable Void

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Void stampI’ve written posts here and there pointing out the occasional desire or maybe more appropriately put…emptiness we have filled with goals, aspirations, big dreams and pointless tasks. Somewhere along the way we are all taught there are certain benchmarks to hit in order to lead a “successful and fulfilling” life. Each and everytime we feel an uneasiness creeping up we try to tick off the next box on that list of fulfilling life moments and achievements, yet for some reason we are still left wanting.

I never understood this void. And better yet, I thought it was just me.

In our own little myopic worlds, we don’t seem to understand that everyone, and I mean everyone, suffers. But, to what extent and what emphasis is put on which wrong syllable is often measured by wealth, education and the basic hierarchy of needs. The saddest part of this is that no matter how much you achieve, how many things you attain and how much money you make…you may still have a little emptiness sitting in your stomach that you just can’t explain.

And this, my friends, is called the human condition.

For some reason our brains are hardwired to want to reach some sort of next step, next need, next want. If we don’t know what that is, sometimes we try to shake things up with a new degree, new career, new spouse, new car or even a new country. But, the bottom line is that no matter how many times we change it up, we can’t outrun it. The best version of ourselves is always just out of reach.

There are too many articles out there about happiness, anxiety, the meaning of life, self-help and self-worth for this epiphany to come to me and me alone. When are people happy?  Well, if we look at the study of psychology, this is all people have been talking about for centuries. The world’s greatest minds have been trying to decipher the meaning of life since the beginning of time, so what made any one of us think we were so special?

I finally understand, I’m not.Red_Void_by_Gaurdian

But, I also understand that this feeling most likely isn’t going away. When it creeps up after a big night of drinking, a breakup, looking at bank statements or being bored at your job…you need to accept it’s part of you, it’s part of life and there will always be more to have, to be, to want. All you can do is try your best to dull the ache, soften the voice, follow your dreams and realize that you are exactly the same as everyone else. The human condition is a condition indeed.

Mark Manson, a favourite of mine, explains it and explains it well. Stop trying to attain happiness and just try to learn acceptance. Pleasure is mistaken for happiness, and achievements mistaken for worth. Trust me when I say, it’s not always worth it. http://markmanson.net/stop-trying-to-be-happy#sxjbVV:6Q9y

The Ginga Ninja

 

 

A Genetic Recipe for Disaster

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Redhead Recipe HeaderStress. Worry. Anxiety. Who comes by this naturally?  Is it born, or bred, or a bit of both?

Is it the pressure we felt as kids to be the best or to tackle the dreams our parents didn’t?  Is it societal pressure that our friends have wedding rings, condos, dogs, kids…oh, and don’t forget about 50% of them have divorces too.

C’mon, I’m only 50% kidding.  Or is it in us, in our genes, in our star sign, or even in our hair colour?

Yes, I said it, I’m a Virgo.  I am fiercely loyal to my friends, yet I put up a wall. I am an anal perfectionist who focuses on goals and extensive planning, yet….am also a Bohemian, emotional, music-loving, free spirit.  Put those two characters in a room and they don’t talk, put those two in a body and they fight like hell.  Virgos are planners, aaannnddd Virgos are dreamers – this is a terrible match that in turns creates those dreaded words….(shhh, don’t say it)…ANXIETY and DOUBT.

In a show I really like, The New Adventures of Old Christine, Julia Dreyfus comments:

“You put a dreamer and a chicken in the same body – you got problems.”

You called it sister. But, is that it?  Parents, society, successful siblings, analness, perfection, worry, and star signs?  Is that all that can cause you to react in this sweat-inducing, migraine-creating manner?  Or, could it be plain and simple genetics…

My grandmother was a redhead.  A fiery Irish redhead.  A fiery Irish redhead whom eventually went a little bat-shit crazy. Oh, I forgot to mention I look just like her. In her day and age, when you went through hard times, you didn’t talk about it.  You simply topped up your husband’s whiskey bottle with water and turned to your little yellow pill, or “Mother’s Little Helper” as Mick Jagger so eloquently put it.

So, what about today?  Maybe we don’t send people to the asylum anymore, but we certainly do encourage new and modern versions of Valium.  We are spending more time now than ever before (and more money than ever before) on trying to stay healthy and stress-free. Yoga, Prozak, Reiki, Vitamins…in fact, just today I read about pregnenolone.  Oh, the irony.  We are working our butts off to make enough money to…pay to feel better.

I once heard a parable.  A man on vacation came across a simple fisherman with a small boat and enough fish for dinner.  He said to the fisherman, “Why don’t you buy a bigger boat and hire another man?  In time you can catch enough fish to make money to buy a fleet of boats.  Down the road you could open your own factory, eventually sell it off and retire to a life on the beach where you can fish and sail at your leisure.”  The fisherman said, “Why would I do all that?  I already have a life on the beach and fish and sale at my leisure”.  The moral of the story is we spend all this time on grandiose intentions only to eventually spend our money on the basics that we had all along.

So, where does that leave me? I knew redheads had a weaker immune system (Damn You Darwinism) because they now actually teach that in medical school.  Seriously.  But, what I DIDN’T know is that same genetic flaw that causes the oh-so-ginger locks, and the pigment-deficient, oh-so-freckly skin…also causes higher stress reactions.  And only recently I found out that redheads are more susceptible to allergic reactions that can mimic asthma.  So, I say we start teaching those hideous little gingers now now and give em a head start.

http://gingerism.com/2011/04/how-red-hair-affects-your-health.html

So, even though you may feel occasional worry and be a lovely brunette, just remember that genetics plays a part as much as stressful jobs, poor diet and lack of sleep.  It’s survival of the fittest and baby, we are headed for extinction.

The Ginga Ninga

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