Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

I’m an Online Junkie

It’s official. I’m not a country girl. Eight days buried in rural Cedar, Michigan, without access to high speed Internet, was just too much for my online-dependent self to bear.
I’m not sure how my twin sister and I shared a womb: she is a gourmet chef, I can’t boil water; she fetches her eggs from the chickens in her front yard, I make Eric drive to our supermarket because even that task stresses me out.
I suppose it’s time to turn myself in to yet another support group—for those online junkies who can’t vacation without access to the cyber world.
Mistake number one: In an experiment to see just how many Diggs you need to end up on page one or two or 54 of, I e-mailed 100 of my closest friends to tell them to Digg my Depression Busters (if you want to, go ahead and click here and press Digg, and then set up an account if you don’t have one). This message entered the digital highway an hour before I left for the airport. Bad timing for a person with OCD.


I pulled out my laptop (which I told myself I would absolutely positively not bring) at Baltimore’s airport (that’s my airport, meaning I hadn’t even boarded the plane yet).
“Shoot, Internet access costs $9.99. Can we do it?” I asked Eric.
“Are you serious? That’s a rip off. That’s a buck per Digg.”
Back in the bag goes the laptop.
Until I hit Detroit.
Another $9.99.
“It’s worth it!” I tried to convince Eric, who accused me of my online addiction way back before I pledged to unplug during a week of vacation. “We have three hours to ride the aiport train back and forth and stare at this cool fountain.”
Two minutes later the kids were all over the computer, using it as a DVD player to watch “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles“—remember those flicks? Yuck.
A few hours later we arrive to the country. I can barely stand it. It’s been seven hours since I’ve connected to anyone online. So at the first available moment, I asked my twin sister to PLEASE direct me to the Internet in her lovely home situated on 12 acres of gorgeous countryside between a cherry grove and a white grape vineyard.
It’s dial up. IT’S DIAL UP! IT’S DIAL UP!
Checking my e-mails and Beyond Blue messages (which I’m more addicted to reading than any of you dear readers, trust me!) took maybe seven times the amount of time than my high-tech DSL connection back home.
Which meant what?
No sneaking.
Like I do all the time at home (my office is right next to the frig … not good, I know): “No really, sit still, I’ll get the milk …” (quick peak), “Sippy cup? I’ll get it” (another peak).
All summer I told myself it was okay to push, push, push, because I would take the week at my sister’s to decompress from it all, that I would disconnect from the Internet and try to find myself or center myself or yada yada yada: you know, become more spiritual.
As the week of vacation approached, my head was full of the same negotiations (or rationalizations) that happen during Lent (when I was supposed to have given up chocolate, but you get a dispensation for Sundays, right? So let’s just take that dispensation and stretch it from Friday night to Monday morning, especially given the Saturday’s dispensation that I didn’t use!).
By Saturday morning (before we left for the airport), I committed to checking my e-mail once a day. Tops.
By Sunday, it was twice.
On Monday I was up to five times. That evening my sister was entertaining some friends. I conversed with her guests, but I was tormented knowing that the “Your Peace of Mind” newsletter had been sent about 4:00 that day, as I was dying to know which Beyond Blue post was included in it (I’m featured on Mondays and Thursdays if you haven’t noticed). Plus I wondered if Depression Busters had been Dugg again.
So I tried to discreetly slide inside her house, using the excuse that I was going to grab a fancy fruit juice drink she bought for me (since I don’t drink).
“What are you doing?” my sister asked me two minutes later, when she caught me at the computer.
“Just checking in with my peeps. Seeing how they’re doing. Don’t tell Eric I’m on the computer. He already thinks I’m obsessed,” I said.
Damn it. I was busted. I hate this dial up connection! I thought to myself. But come on, I’m not smoking crack. Beyond Blue is a good addiction, no?
The next afternoon my sisters and I were browsing inside a children’s shop in Leland. I overheard a woman asking the manager about WiFi.
“Look at all the puzzles!” my sister said, pointing to three shelves of boxes, holding everything from 60-piece SpiderMans to 1000-piece Tyrannosauruses.
“Shhhh,” I said. “She’s asking about WiFi! It might be near.”
“You are so addicted,” she replied. “You don’t care about any shops that don’t have WiFi, do you?”
Earlier that morning we drove past a coffee shop with “Free WiFi” written on its window.
“WiFi!!!” I shouted. “It’s free! Stop!” My face was pressed up against the window, and I salivated like my dogs do right before I give them steak.
“WiFi. WiFi. Wifi,” my sister imitated me mockingly.
I pleaded guilty.
I could not decompress.
Not in the vines. Or among the pines.
Not with a fox, or among the rocks.
Not in the rain, or on a train.
Not with jam. Or with my fam.
I even read spam!
I love my Internet, Therese I am.

  • Nancy

    Therese – That was great. Dr. Suess would be proud of your interpretation of “Green Eggs and Ham Gone Wild”. Yes – unfortunately,I can relate only too well. I feel as though there’s a tic in my head that says – go check, check your e-mail, recheck your e-mail – check Therese’s blog. Check it again, and again and again. At the end of a workday, when I’ve not accomplished tasks set out that needed attention, I promise myself that the next day (There’s always tomorrow – no? Scarlett O’Hara I’m not, and Rhett Butler is not knocking down my door) I will restrain myself and redirect my impulse to keep checking. There has to be something that was either missing or added when God was creating this creation (me). He must have been checking the internet when my brain pathways were in development !! Most things with me become an issue – Yikes – and a “problem” which must be tempered or could be another obsession. Oh well – I’ve told my husband about your blog, and he seems to think it’s a “healthy obsession”, even when I tell him I’ve read it 6 times in one day !! Nothing good in moderation for me – I’ll try again. The words DIAL UP CONNECTION were like reading something “horrifying” lol – as though you were placed on an island of the show “Survivor” with no resouces but the water and trees. My own reaction made me laugh. The dis-ease of “MORE”. There was a time when I was fascinated by the high speed connection. Now I just get aggravated if it gets a “blip” and hesitates. Nothing like an honest appraisal of myself to take a step back and go “WOW”. Okay – I’m going, but I’m sure I’ll be checking in several times more today.

  • Babs

    How troo, how troo! My husband calls my laptop “my new best friend.” Way too much truth to that!

  • Larry Parker

    Love BB, of course :-) but yeah, count me among those who spend too much time online, too …

  • Lisa

    Thank goodness for that, where would we have to go??? Even my beliefnet email have redirected itself to your blog. You go girl, God has given you the gifts to share. Sight unseen, you know when you show up here, you find a village of people who share and care.
    p.s. My work is in gardens, so remember to stop and smell the roses. teehee :)Lisa

  • Margaret

    Who gts to decide how much is TOO much? My compuyrt is the first thing I turn on in the morning and the last thing I turn off at night! As a primarily homeboud disabled individual, the internet is my main connection with the outside world
    And who cares how many tines i read your blog each day? I’ve been known to reread an especially good novel too, and I always seem to glean a little bit more from rereading your blog every time I log on. There’s always something that didn’t register the first time around. And YES, I sometimes go to the archives to go back over a particular pot which hit me on the head! Thank you for giving us that option, Therese. When one of my darkest days comes around, I sometimes spend hours going back through postings and comments. As i’ve said before, I feel a “connection with the people in this community which you’ve set up for us, and it’s like visiting with friends. (is there a limit to that as well?) After all, I wouldn’t send a friend away from my door just because I’d already spoken with him or her on the phone earlier that day, would you? There are WAY too many other issues I have to concern myself with in terms of my illness; I refuse to make rereading your blog into another one. At least i’m noy looking at porno sites over and over! And I doubt seriously that those who do enjoy those sites worry about how many times they return to them While it’s true that I also suffer from “internet withdrawal” when i’m at our cabin in the Michigan woods, it doesn’t stop mr from going there to be with family when I get the opportinity! as for email, i’m blessed t receive many uplifting messages from my online friends, and they’re often exactly the shot-in-the-arm I need at a given moment (I think my guardian angel must ne computer savvy and makes sure that I receive those messages at exactly the right time!
    While I’m sure spending time on-line can be as habit-forming as antrging else can be for those of us with a predisposition to addictions, I can certainly think of many worse addictions to have!
    I also believe that my access to the internet has broadened my knowledge base. As a voracious reader, I find myself researching settings and historical references mentioned in whatever novel i happen to be reading; it gives me a better mind-picture of places and time periods, especially in terms of historical references.
    So, I say that unless my internet time is interfering with my life or my relationships, this is ONE thing I’m not going to obsess overunless it does happen to get to the point where I’m neglecting my responsibilities or the people in my life.! So few things in life give me as much as the internet does, why deny myself at least a little pleaure in my daily existence?

  • sheri

    I need some help… I was in a bad bad harley motorcycle wreak 2 yrs ago. I died 2 times. I say my grandparents and my dad, he told me to come back here. I didnt want to, he had to tell me 2 times. I have always believed in jesus, god. I have also been an on drugs, and an alcoholic for many yrs. after my wreak i dont do either. I have tryed and cant. Iam not sure what religion I am, I believe all are really with god. I have a problem now with know of what to do. Like I said I believe all people are all the same and believe in different religions. God is there for EVERYONE. I dont understand how everyone thinks they are only to one religion, when god knows all anyway, I guess I should only read my bible when I dont forget too, and I do that all the time. I have a problem from that wreak that I cant remember too much stuff. Who do I talk to here in life????? I love you all Thank u Sheri

  • LeLe

    Your piece was truly engaging and kept my eyes flying down the screen. I wanted to know the end and I enjoyed the way you smoothly changed scenes.
    I am the same way, but I am only seventeen. I was introduced to internet since I was eleven, probably even younger. But I became an addict when I was about eleven, more so. It is a great thing! I have friends all over the continental US and even in some parts of Europe. Its fun to talk to different people and get away from real life for a minute, or hours in my case. I get online from when I wake up, to about 12 ish or later. I do go to school and still get excellent grades and still maintain honor roll, so don’t think other wise.

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