Monday, October 31, 2016
Stop & Chat - October
I was a big baby. So big, in fact, I earned a lovely nickname from my parents: Buddha belly. LOL The story of my big belly has been told several times through my life, and holds a special place in my heart. Michael even calls me that after a particularly hearty meal. You know, the one where pant belts and zippers need to be untied and you feel like you're about to burst.
In Itaewon, there's a restaurant named Buddha's Belly. Of course I've taken several pictures and sent them to my parents, declaring that I have to eat there at some point.
In our excursions to Myeongdong and Itaewon at the beginning of the month, I picked up a miniature Buddha. He sits with the UO-esque home on Michael's desk.
As you may or may not have noticed, I've been rather scarce on social media. Up until now, my mini breaks this year were due to being incredibly busy. While I've been busy this month, I can't say I was busy enough to warrant a social media shutdown.
Before moving to Korea, I used my desktop for 90% of my internet activities. My phone was usually used for school-related things like reading e-books or checking my email, or I would use it as a mobile YouTube/music provider. If I wasn't using the internet, it was completely disconnected from data or the house's wi-fi.
Moving to Korea, online became my new way of staying open to communication. Facebook, Google Hangouts, even Voxxer for a group of women I met here became my primary way of communicating with others. When I bought my Korean phone, the data plan came with 10 gigs of 4G and unlimited 3G per month (at much cheaper than American service providers, too!). All of this added up to me being hooked in all the time, so to speak. I found myself reaching for my phone more and more, until it was always in my hand, always on, always running some app, always keeping me connected to the world. I no longer turned off my phone's internet when I laid down for bed, instead letting myself fall asleep staring at the screen and letting the notifications wake me up in the middle of the night.
Last month I noticed a huge change in my mental wellbeing. Outside of the toll my post on depression awareness took, I felt wrong. I lost words continuously, something that came to a horrible breaking point when I found myself on the floor crying in anger after I had lost several specific words in a row while trying to write my book review on Peony in Love. The words in question? Fickle, social ecosystem, and befell. I know these words, and I'm no stranger to having a word stuck on the tip of my tongue. For it to happen so frequently and in such quick succession, however, rang warning bells in my mind.
I no longer felt eloquent. I tripped over my words. I couldn't concentrate or process what was going on around me. When I tried to combat this by reading more, I discovered that I couldn't remember what I was reading, nor could I concentrate on the words longer than 5 or 10 minutes. That translated to my own inability to type out my thoughts on the computer, something I've always been able to do whether the words are posted online or not.
Going to the doctor is not something I like to do. I like to exhaust all other options before I 'bug' my doctors with any issues I have. That's what I did here, working through my own mind and activities to work out why I could be feeling this way. I knew my classwork had been particularly heavy this semester, and I was exhausted from some issues I had with an Etsy vendor who turned out to be a scammer. I don't like confrontation, so having to file four separate cases (two through Etsy, two through Paypal) weighed heavily on my mind. I'd done stuff like this before and never had this reaction! Why was it affecting me so much?
Eventually I concluded that I needed several nice bubble baths, a simple book, and a break from the online world. For the first time in months my phone was disconnected from the internet and I didn't bother to keep it near me as I moved throughout the house. I didn't stop myself from hopping on the computer to play some video games with family or friends, but the computer was the only way I allowed myself access to the online world.
This past week I've finally felt normal again. After struggling through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, I finally picked up a new-to-me book and have read through about 65% of it with no issues. I look forward to shutting out the world and sinking into a sea of bubbles while I gobble up the book or chitchat with Michael. I'm able to concentrate again, and I feel good enough to finally bring myself back to the blog.
It surprised me to realize how much time I spent online, and acknowledge how it might have affected me. I never discredited those studies or articles about the effects of always being online, but I was always too prideful to admit it could happen to me. I can pull myself away from the internet any time I want, you know! I'm above all of that. Insert scoff at silly ol' me here. It's okay, you can scold me. I'm scolding myself as well. Lesson learned, let's all hope I never have to relearn it.
I think that's all I'm going to write about today. I want to finally work on some haul posts that are about a month overdue. *shrugs* What can you do?