It’s too attractive. Twitter grabs me, gives me something satisfying to do - right from the start of the day. It simply appeals to me on so many levels. This is not without a downside. In my case, the downside of being hooked on Twitter is dangerous to me.
After such a hyperbolic start to the day, at 0608, after falling out of bed with the phrase "the trouble with Twitter" lingering, what am I on about? Let me explain…
Regular readers of this blog know that my mental health is a vulnerable asset.
I’ve had many bouts of severe depression that have disrupted my life. The bouts have caused me to withdraw from social life. I’ve been lucky to get through them alive. The depressions have also given me valuable experience which I’m doing my best to turn into something valuable. This is an ongoing struggle. My life is dominated by the purpose of staying well in mind.
To stay well I do a wide variety of things.
Probably the most unusually important habit I’ve developed is to write an Intimate Journal first thing in the morning. I write whatever comes into my head and fingers, exactly as it comes. I sit, usually in the kitchen, well before anyone else wakes, often in the dark, as the light comes up. In a Moleskine Notebook I write my mood, my impulses, what I hear, feel, notice… Without fear or favour I write the swirling thoughts down as best I can. I make no effort to be coherent, no effort to make art or compose anything. I do this until I feel like stopping or have to stop because Grace or the Wiffe (omanimot) appears - and the day clicks into some sort of routine.
The Intimate Journal is intimate.
I don’t re-read it. I never edit it. By now I have volumes of black and red notebooks in my office. The experience of such writing has shown me how to transform my mood. Many times I’ve started the day in a mess, grumpy, irritated, disgruntled, bothered … not at all at peace with myself. I write my way through the thoughts and feelings that constitute the mood. Writing seems to bring up new thoughts and feelings that enter into dialogue with those that bother me. A new mood emerges.
The trouble with Twitter is that it’s distracted me from such writing.
I’ve got into the habit of logging on to Twitter first things. I say hello to my virtual "followers" - some of whom are real people whose friendship I greatly value, respect and love.
You can’t be tweeting and writing your Intimate Journal.
Which means the downside of Twitter is that it attracts me to neglect my mental health. It might be increasing my vulnerability to depression. I may be risking my health by tweeting. Maybe it’s time I got back wedded to the habit of free writing in Moleskine as the best start to my day?
This blogpost is fairly free writing. I’ve simply run with the phrase "the trouble with Twitter". The fact that I write about it means I’m aware. Being aware is half the battle.
I don’t need to write the Intimate Journal every day. Every few days is enough. If I start to feel wobbly, and worry that I might be about to be hit by too much, I can write every day, and several times if I need to. I think I can do both Twitter and Intimate Journal.
But there is a risk.