Digital Negativity Audit

Thursday, 14 July 2016


Ahoy-hoy everyone, you all having a super week? I hope so. I want to talk about a little experiment I have been trying. But first it needs a little bit of background to explain it properly. At 15 I was first diagnosed with depression, this led to me taking medication for a few years. At 18 I went cold turkey off them (definitely a bad idea), and being really bad at managing my mental health for 8 years. But that's a story for another time. This year has been a turning point for me , I've started to take meds again (ones that actually seem to work), and have taken significant changes to help me become happier. Depression is weird and there is no quick fix, as I've seen with members of my family it can be something that needs to be treated on and off for the rest of your life. That really sucks the big one! But in the spirit of being happy and positive I'm going to fight back against the miserable bastard. This is why I've come up with the Digital Negativity Audit. Well I may not have come up with it but I sure as hell gave it this pithy name.


One of the problems I've had with depression is that as I became so used to the misery being there that it became a comfort. When that happened; all positive influences seemed like a naive look on the world. So I sought out music that made me feel worse, read about really horrible things and watched films with a hopeless tone. That to me felt honest. The self help things I read around then said things like "you can overcome this", or "this is the start of the new you", and that's fine, everyone responds to treatment differently. So if those types of things ignited the spark of motivation to change that's great. But what I wanted to hear that no one was saying, was "this is a shitty situation, this world can be seriously shitty, so lets try and find a way to get through the mess". I'm currently half way though a CBT course which brings up some interesting points, but doesn't fully get me to where I want to be.  

So with me starting treatment again, I became determined to find a way that works for me. So now after that rambling and long intro I'll tell you all about my media purge. I started to realize just how much negativity I consumed through music, Youtube, podcasts and twitter. This is why I decided to audit all these things and remove them from download lists, follows and subscriptions. The content that was being abandoned was not always bad, in fact the some of it was really enjoyable but was just being detrimental to my progress. I may even go back and rediscover all this media in the future.

But how did I decide what to get rid of? 
  1. MOANING - We all like a good moan once in a while and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, and moaning makes good content. People like to hear about and agree with things they dislike and argue with people who like things they don't. But all of this is as productive as teaching a cat to fly. 
  2. TROLLING/DRAMA- I'm a massive geg; something my girlfriend can attest to. I think we all like getting to listen into someones business, that's all reality television is. But when that becomes mean spirited or forces you to look down on other people, then it becomes a problem.
  3. MELANCHOLY SUBJECT MATTER- This may seem obvious but its the one that I've found the hardest to rid my life of (I'm still working on it). But negative subject matter is everywhere; a sad song, a traumatic news story or a tragic film. However some of these have extreme artistic merit, important and are mind expanding to experience. I still have not fully processed my feelings on the current use of the word "Trigger", but it is evident the importance that a good frame of mind can bring to viewing this content. I still have to fully figure out the best way to handle this type of media.
So that's what I've been trying out. I'm not completely sure how well it will work in the long term but for now it's going well. Again, it may seem like an obvious fix, don't look at things that make you feel sad and you wont get depressed. But also most of the people who watched The Notebook were not feeling miserable for days after. So until I can watch, read or listen to this stuff without feeling as dramatically worse afterwards, it's time to detox. 

Got any tips? YEP!
  1. GO JAPANESE- Turn your Twitter trends location to Japanese (for example) or a language you can't read. This way you miss out on all the shit that can fuck up your day like #Brexit 
  2. PURGE- I don't mean the worst idea for a film ever. I mean look though all your socials and media outlets and if there is anything you recognize as being negative get rid of it. Even if its something you enjoy! You can always go back and resub when you're in a better frame of mind.
  3. FIND MORE POSITIVE CONTENT- We are all spoiled for choice with what content we can consume. That's great! It means for every piece of negative content you get rid of, you can replace it with some really great, positive stuff. I'm relatively a fetus in the blogging world but have already found some positive blogs that are super well written and smart.
All this stuff is still totally new to me and who knows if it will work. But I'm keeping the faith and hoping that this will help. Even if this stuff seems obvious to everyone else it's hard for me to change the way of thinking that I've been stuck in for over 10 years, so wish me luck. 

How do you stay positive online? Let me know in the comments. ☺☺

10 comments :

  1. Great post Gary,well said, Good luck and hope it helps you by doing all of these things. It is difficult to stay positive on Social Media, that's why I love The Girl Gang on Twitter.
    Sharon :)

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    1. Thanks so much for reading. Yeah The Girl Gang is a really good way of surrounding yourself with positive voices. I kinda have to say that, but its still true. πŸ˜‹

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  2. I do believe you should look on the positive side of life, someone is always worse off than you. Such a cliche? But bring it back to your life, it makes you appreciate the things others may not have, makes you appreciate that every day, every thing that we hold close is a gift. A truly thought provoking post, thank you for sharing. X

    www.allurelavie.com

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    1. Yeah that definitely can help. It's one of those things that can be easy to forget in this day and age. Thanks so much for reading. πŸ™‚

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  3. Yes to this, I've been clearing out all the negative nonsense recently. My head is already feeling the benefit! It's so easy to get swept up in all the rubbish. Nice one

    Honestly Aine

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  4. Well written post with some brilliant tips. I actually don't go on social media as much as I use to due to negativeness and drama.
    My life since having a child changed and my everyday anxiety for me seemed to go as I use all my energy on Grayson but now I'm worried every time I see something in the News about children I think that could happen to him.
    Glad you are taking steps in the right direction and the meds your on are working this time.
    Carrieanne
    Beautiesunlocked.com

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    1. Thanks so much for reading. Yeah I think a lot of the news media portrays things in a way that forces worry on people. While it's good to be kept informed about dangers and current events, I know that I have a tendency to overthink and over-worry about situations that probably wouldn't happen. It's this kind of weird balancing act between worry and information that I'm still trying to figure out ☺.
      -Gary

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  5. Yes Gary! I'm definitely "guilty" of doing this too; watching all the sad episodes of Buffy and watching The Crow (I'm so Goth) but now I try and surround myself with positive people or read old notes from friends, which usually cheers me up!
    I'm glad that your new meds seem to be working!

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    1. Yeah, it's sad music for me haha. Sometimes I just end up listening to Elliot Smith even though I know it will make me sad. So getting a nice little list of things that would definitely cheer me up may be a good idea.

      Thanks for reading πŸ‘
      -Gary

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