I finally have internet in my home again! I officially went a month without internet, including data on my phone. I was going into work early to use the wifi there as well as using libraries, cafes and McDonalds to answer emails, post blogs, listen to my DBT class and stay connected.
Probably about halfway through the month I really began to ponder what having internet access meant to me and what had I learned about myself and the society I live in. This was especially important as I have been experiencing a depression this whole month and I believe limited internet access played a small role in maintaining the depression.
5 Things I Learned From a Month Without Internet
1. The majority of my social supports are based online.
I am a part of two DBT Facebook Groups, I have my DBT class, my blog and connections through email and Facebook that all serve as a way for me to receive support, give support and express myself. For many of us, online support has given us access to help we couldn’t get in our communities or it expands our communities. Being able to find affordable and effective online support has been an asset for many who experience mental and addiction issues. Without the internet, I had very limited access to the online supports that I had come to rely on. When I was upset, instead of turning to my blog or a Facebook Group, I would write on my computer. This is a good strategy, but I needed someone to talk to.
2. I use the internet for every little thing.
Aside from not having internet in my home, I also did not have data on my phone (I used it all)! This went beyond not being able to use Facebook or email on my phone, but it also meant that I could not use my maps app! I found myself frequently calling my parents, sisters or B to give me directions or find a new location for a meeting. I even needed them to check opening and closing times for the library as I kept finding out it was closed when I got there (huge waste of time). I didn’t have a fast way of checking my online banking either which is not the greatest. A lot of work basically did not happen because I had no internet. I have a lot of catching up to do!
3. There are other ways to occupy my time.
This seems like a no-brainer but for a bit I found myself sitting on the couch having no idea what to do. Even my tv watching is done using the internet (Netflix) so I went back to DVD’s. I have basically watched everything I own (which isn’t a lot but still). I did a lot of reading and did writing for the sake of writing, not writing to share with others (which felt good). B and I also did a lot of talking and played some games together of his Play Station 3. There are many other things to do that do not involve the internet! Actual human interaction :p
4. A fair number of places have free wifi.
This was an adventure to figure out and not something I really enjoyed doing, but it is great to know that a fair number of places in my city have free wifi. I found myself at the library, McDonalds, Starbucks, Tim Hortons and certain subway stations. While venturing to these places can be a hassle, not many may have the option of going out for free wifi!
5. Our society is online.
I spoke about myself in the first 4 points, but really I realized how digital our entire society is. The majority of our communication is online. We get our news, work updates, social time and more online. Many errands have become easier because of the internet (ie: doing your banking online). I don’t even think I could properly express with words how fast the reach of the internet is in our lives. It is simply everywhere.
It was good to unplug for the month, although it was a very depressing and lonely month for me. I am glad to be back online and hope to never experience something like this again unless it is something I choose!