Last week, I mentioned that I was going to go "off the grid" for nearly five days to see just how much my Internet use and blogging was affecting this wicked case of insomnia I have been experiencing this month, and without further adieu, here's the results:
- On the first night, I went to bed at 11pm and woke at 9am-ish, and it was the best night of sleep I have had in a month. The next night the insomnia kicked in, but the three nights after that I was back on a regular midnight to 9am-ish sleep routine.
- Therefore, my conclusion, the level at which I blog and use the Internet is having a much greater impact on my sleep than I ever imagined, and with the time off I got to probe, why?
On the first night, I met new friend Susan Mernit at this very cute and fabulous wine bar in Palo Alto, Vino Locale, and then later went out with some old buddies (all guys) from college whom some I hadn't seen in 15 years. We played pool, drank beers, laughed, and I felt not only happy but relieved that I did not have to write any posts before getting to bed. It was also fabulous to hang out with a group of men who I felt completely safe with. It reminded me that you can hang out with a group of men and NOT feel like a sexual target.
And this led me to the second night, where it started to dawn on me that perhaps, I may be using the Internet to curb emotional issues much like I've used food in the same manner...
The second night I couldn't sleep because I started to realize just how lonely I have been feeling lately, and not just because of the breakup with Matt. I have droves of friends online, and could literally go to any city in the US and meet up with someone, yet I do not have many friends in my physical locale.
As I have been growing and changing, I have been growing apart from many friends, and have not made effort to make new ones mainly because I have spent more time developing relationships online than I have here in my own town. I have been replacing physical intimacy with virtual intimacy and I believe that is one of the things this insomnia has been trying to tell me. This is where I started to self-examine. Have I been over-Interneting to emotionally fill the void as I have done in the past with over-eating? And the answer is yes.
...Have I been over-Interneting to emotionally fill the void as I have done in the past with over-eating? ...
I know the answer is yes because without the computer my first day
was like, "Well now what? What do I do with myself? Who am I?" Then food and my weight started to dominate my thoughts. During the insomnia I have also not been eating well or exercising regularly. I started getting back on the regular exercise last Saturday and that has helped. The Internet keeps my mind off emotional eating as well I discovered. It's clear that I have replaced one kick with another which is not uncommon with those who have addictive type personalities like myself. I believe it's called addiction transference.
The realization that I need to start getting out more and make more friends locally, lifted another burden of anxiety. On one had I was sad to realize that I have been relying on the Internet too much for companionship over human contact, but I also felt relieved because now I know the source, and I can do something about it. I feel more empowered on some level because I know what the problem is.
I don't have balance in my life, and the insomnia has been like a loud wake up call. Fortunately, I am maturing to the point where I listen more to what my body is telling me, and I am less afraid to get introspective. This is where food used to be my comfort. I'd over eat instead of probe into what is really bothering me so I can fix it or heal it.
During my self examination time off the grid, I also asked myself, "Do you even like being a professional blogger? Is professional level blogging what you truly want to do?" I asked myself this because a big cause of my anxiety is the pressure to blog every day and to write multiple posts for multiple blogs, as well, I have been busting my hump and the revenue is just not enough to sustain even a shoe fetish at Nine West let alone live financially independent.
The money anxiety has been affecting my sleep profoundly, and tomorrow in Part II, I will go into more detail as to how professional level blogging has been causing me angst leading me to sleepless nights. Right now, I just feel really happy to have gotten some good night sleep!