Reliving desperation and admiration

I interviewed with a BBC Radio show today. (It won’t air until next week. I’ll let you know when.) The topic for the host started out as basically, people being almost addicted to their cell phones. Then by chance during an internet search she came across my story.

If you somehow aren’t aware yet, I first joined Twitter and social media in 2009 while I was homeless. What started out as me not knowing a thing about Twitter or how to even use it, quickly grew to experiences that I’d have never dreamed of ever having! I could use computers at the library during the day, but other than that, I mostly tweeted by SMS/text message from my phone. My phone was my life — my dire connection to the world in my times of need. I could call someone, text or email by SMS. I didn’t have a smartphone. Just a simple, basic phone. A dumb phone. In fact, that’s the type of phone I use now.

I had unlimited texting so I could post messages to Twitter as much as I wanted, anytime I wanted, all day and all night. Whenever I had a need to say something. Which, back then, was quite a lot! I posted about my activities, shared thoughts or information on jobs or things I heard about, and wrote volumes of tweets from my emotions.

Fear, anxiety, and prayers dominated many of my tweets. I shared a number of hopes and wishes, too. There were many nights I lied on the ground, afraid and paranoid that someone would come up to me in the night. Is someone watching? Is someone here? Who is here watching me? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affected me severely. There I was alone, but I couldn’t tell because my mind conjured up invisible people who might have been lurking.

I kept my “security blanket” tightly in hand all night. My phone was my connection to the world. Anytime I needed to say something, to vent, to express my fears, somebody was able to hear me. I couldn’t get their replies until I went to the computers at the library the next day, but they were there. Somebody cared. Another person suffered the same plight of PTSD once. I’m really not alone.

The tweets from my phone led to development of virtual and real-life relationships with people and businesses. Through my sincerity and openness of my life, stigma changed to acceptance, understanding, and kindness. I got to see God’s love in action, and emotion. These people — my social media followers — said that I changed them for the better. What I saw is how they changed me.

Sharing my story online and in real life at speaking engagements has helped me to open up. I am still shy and very socially awkward, but I am much more open with my emotions. Having constant access to my phone and being able to tweet by text has been extremely therapeutic.

I still tweet Clint Eastwood style — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Sometimes I feel that I share too much. But I need to get things out. Sometimes I need to vent. In a way, being able to tweet and vent my emotions is more than emotionally therapeutic. It can also be protective against bad thoughts so I don’t try to self-injure. I haven’t done any cutting in however many years. It doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes still have those thoughts about doing it. So I greatly appreciate the kindness and compassion from all of you, my followers. A small gift, a kind word, a hug. It means the world to me! God’s love in action, indeed.

I discussed all of these areas and more on the BBC Radio show. (Again, I will share the link to the broadcast after it airs.) Talking about these things have so much effect on me emotionally! Ever since then my thoughts have been on all of my followers and how you have affected me, the place you have in my heart. I am reliving the desperation of my past and the admiration and love for the compassion I have received. Thank you all so much!

PS: Side note to Joan of Real Time Paradigm, my blogging teacher at NextDoor:  I clicked “Publish”! 😜

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Bonus Post: Internet Addiction with a Twist

The following is just a little something I wrote several years ago.  I had no real reason for writing it.  I just did.  It could use some updating, but otherwise I suppose its still not bad for its age, considering how technology is obsolete after just a few months.  Whatever, some strange force is telling me to post it here, so I hope you like it.  I don’t understand what is making me do this, but there must be some reason.  I feel really weird doing it.  Here goes…

The Addicted Internet – Internet Addiction with a Twist
By: “Pads Chicago”

Internet Addiction. Can people be addicted to the Internet? Or, is the Internet addicted to people?

Think about it. People are drawn to technology. We have to have every gadget that comes out with a microchip. It doesn’t have to be essential to life; it just needs to make life more fun and interesting. It helps even more if our neighbor doesn’t have one. You are even more cool if you are the first person to even know that it exists.

Marketing today would go nowhere if not for the networks of servers holding every gigabyte of information that we just absolutely, positively have got to know. Every business, organization, school or individual has a message to sell you. They set the bait.com and reel you in completely hooked and throw you in the.net. Add some new flavorful content and you come back for more.

Remember that thing Alexander Graham Bell invented? You know, the telephone? It’s rarely used anymore. You see a friend, but you don’t stop and talk. You say, “Shoot me an email.” When you email, you tell your friend about the hot website that you just visited. Your friend goes to that site, gets hooked, and the whole process circles.

People don’t even go out to meet other people nowadays—they stay in and sit on their booties at the computer at an online dating service. To give oneself the impression of reality, we can chat with a potential partner via instant messaging or emails, all the while sitting home at our desks eating chips and drinking. Not to mention how some will also do this in their underwear. Most males will also enjoy being able to freely scratch themselves or make obscene noises, which they cannot do in front of a woman.

Online dating is extremely popular. Enuff said, sex sells. The Internet allows us to be romantic with our computers right in the privacy of our own homes. Here we can find a new friend to have warm conversation with, or anything up to an explosion of your hard drive in the fantasies of your own mind.

Finding these sexy new friends isn’t free either. Again, sex sells. People will try almost anything once, and web designers know it—a first impression counts. If Mikey likes it, he’ll come back for more, and tell his friends—by email, of course. There is a huge market for the gender, and the e-business society uses whatever tactic necessary to promote its product.

Yes, the Internet thrives on people like us. We are needed for its very existence. The World Wide Web is addicted to people. New websites open every day, each new site demanding more and more people to come Online. And every day we hear, “You’ve got mail!” 🙂