I have an addictive personality.
Now admittedly that sounds like a quality you wouldn’t exactly brag about having. But, while addiction is quite an ugly word, there are some occasions when addiction can be valuable. To quantity that with some context…I’m addicted to writing so I write everyday. It’s productive, it’s therapeutic, and even when I look back and realise I’m still guilty of using run-on setences, I’m pleased because I’ve at least written them down. Even a clumsy run-on sentence is better than no setence at all. And even a sentence about run-on sentences which contains a double negative, is better than no sentence at all. You see what I’m getting at…
Sometimes addictions can add value.
But then sometimes addictions can be fatal. And I’ve sadly had my fair share of these ones too. I’ve been addicted to the idea of being skinny to a most unhealthy degree (which then resulted in some very insensible behaviour), I’ve been addicted to some equally unhealthy boys (which again resulted in some very insensible behaviour – details of which could fill a thousand blogs over, which I won’t bore you with right now) with a load of other most unhealthy addictions in between. You know, all the usual offenders; can’t go two seconds without checking my phone, obsessed with what’s happening on Facebook, fixated on celebrity culture. The list could be endless. Now I know the things on this list – along with my other two examples – don’t necessarily sound like addictions at all. They occur so often they’re basically pardoned as being perfectly normal. Worse than that, they’re now so common they’re actually becoming the benchmark to determine normal. Because if you’re not obsessed with the number on the bathroom scales there must be something wrong with you. And if you’re not obsessed with your iPhone, going crazy over how many likes you have on Instagram, there must be something wrong with you. Because having your phone glued to your side, unable to contemplate even sitting through a meal without it, is totally normal millennial behaviour. And wanting to look like a Victoria’s Secret model – well – that comes as standard.
But if you stop and think about this one, and you honestly don’t have to think all that hard, they are – or at least on some level they can be – addictions. And they are detrimental. The level of that detriment depends on a lot of factors; if you have quite a strong disposition they might not have any impact at all, but the more exposure they gain (while they’re being beautifully gift-wrapped as ‘normal’) the more you need to have the demeanour of Mother Theresa to ignore them. Personally, nowadays, I think it’s close to impossible to not feel some sort of effect from these things. It can range from feeling a pang of guilt every time you walk past McDonalds, to winding up in a hospital gown diagnosed with anorexia; or scouring Instagram and feeling slightly envious of all those people who’ve turned globe-trotting into a day job, to feeling so disappointed with your own life you end up diminishing your self-worth to the point where you’re wallowing in a very real state of depression. Either way, there’s an underlying belief that you’re not quite good enough; a genuine trend of real deep down inferiority.
And it’s startling to think how readily accessible we’re making this kind of unhealthy thinking.
I don’t know all that many people in the world – it’s actually a microscopic percentage of the entire population when you think about it – but I know a lot of people (real people) who battle with anorexia, anxiety or depression on a daily basis. And that’s just the ones who’ve been open about it. There’s probably a lot more who haven’t been quite so forthcoming.
There’s no one thing we can blame for this. It’s deeply embedded into our culture in a way that makes it impossible to target one particular source. But there are certainly things which contribute to this mindset of inferiority considerably more than others. The number one offender in my opinion? (And there’s no real prizes for guessing this one.) The news.
And in a later post, if you care to know, I’ll tell you exactly how I came to give it up…