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Last night, I was talking to my wife, and I told her I feel like I’m triggered. I’m just stuck in this position that is hard to unstick. I traced it back to being frustrated with work, but I feel like it has taken over my life this week, maybe even the past month.

She asked me if I was triggered or was there some other underlying emotion that is fueling my discomfort. I wasn’t showing any signs of being triggered, I was upset or offloading, nor was I walking around angry. It only took a moment for me to answer: disappointed.

Disappointed seems to be my keyword of the year. 

I’ve reached an age where I’ve been around long enough to have seen some things. I’ve witnessed the internet pull back the curtain on so many industries, and it’s ruined so much for me. It seems like most of the people I looked up to or were a fan of turned out to be pieces of trash. The companies I was loyal to and supported were of course money obsessed exploiters. Even the internet, once a quiet retreat from the real world, had the real world come crashing down into it. Ads, AI, exploitation… it’s just all so much.

It makes it hard to root for anything. It’s hard for me to support game companies, sports teams, or products. So, naturally, I decided to look smaller. Find some independently created items. Games made by small developers, apps and products made by tiny teams, and even creator owned comic books.

But even within the smaller, less tampered with worlds of independent media there is still drama. There are still people involved doing stupid people things. Greed still factors into the creation and execution, along with personal politics. 

I could just choose to overlook these faults and accept them, but I’m just not wired that way. I stopped watching the NBA as a teenager over ethical issues. I’ve never been able to get by them and now that I’ve reached an age where most everything I enjoyed has stopped being as enjoyable I’m just not sure how to respond.

In the past, I’ve balanced this by losing myself in books or movies. I’d fall into fictional worlds to find a little peace and maybe a little hope. I saw this quote by C.S. Lewis sometime back, and I think it applies to adults as well as children

I haven’t spent much time in fictional worlds lately. I haven’t been reading that much, nor have I been watching TV. Mostly, I’ve been online, writing, or meditating.

I got an email from William tonight with some words of encouragement about disconnecting from social media. It was unexpected, nice, and I took some time to really think about how things have been recently.

I’ve exposed myself to a lot of negativity. Like it or not, most social media, even Mastodon, is full of negativity. If it’s not politics, it’s technology. It’s bitching about new terms of service, or iPad ads, or transitions to AI. It’s just a slightly different form of negativity, but it’s still negativity. I must read a few hundred negative comments a day.

But I can’t blame Mastodon completely. I also fell into a hole that I’ve struggled to escape from many times, and that is reddit. When I began researching ancient coins a few months back, I decided to give a few apps a try. I found Narwhal to be quite effective in presenting reddit in an easy ad-free experience, and so I subscribed.

The problem was I wasn’t able to hide the r/popular or r/all. And since I followed only three tiny subreddits, there wasn’t much to see. I found myself opening up the app and hitting r/all. And then repeating an hour later, and then again. I kept reaching for those dopamine hits and I just kept taking in hot takes, negativity, and the worst of the world.

I saved this quote a few years ago, it was taken from the comments section of a blog post called What Batman Can Teach Us About Depression. The author (Tony13) was responding to a question about why depression seems to be more prevalent in young adults. I’ve always felt like this is one of the most accurate takes on the internet I’ve ever read.

…to summarize my ideas on the topic, I believe that through social media, electronics, and a growing need to be accepted, young adults are constantly being exposed to the harsh opinions, realities, and ideas that come when a world is shrunk down to fit inside a cellular phone. Not only is our personal life stressful, but now we take on the stress of others and the world around us.

I guess, maybe some are better than others when it comes to this, but I definitely fall in the camp of not so good. I’ve always been like that. I take in negativity, I’ll spit out negativity. I take in humor, I spit out humor. I am very sensitive to the content I consume, and I’ve been consuming a lot of trash lately. No wonder I’m pissy and disappointed.

So, what can I do about this? Well, it’s obvious Narwhal has to go. I already canceled the subscription, and I’ll go back to using the barely functional on mobile version of for my reddit needs. It’s so uncomfortable to use, I certainly don’t spend any more time on it than necessary. Maybe that friction is a good thing.

I’ve already made a few changes to Mastodon, but I’m going to take it a step further. I’ll be removing the app from my iPad, so I can get back to readings comics or my Kobo before bed, instead of scrolling the latest. I’m going to limit my time and adjust some of my follows. I’m reminded of Kev’s post from last year Anti-Social Update. I guess, in a way, I’m doing something similar.

I’m also prescribing myself a diet of positivity this week. I’m going to try and keep my music upbeat, read some Superman comics, and watch some positive/funny shows. I’m also going to set aside a few moments each day to make sure I do some offline journaling and hopefully these changes will boost my mood a bit.

Published inSelf-ReflectionTechnology


  1. I spent the morning going through a four-week backlog of emails from my TV streaming providers and recommendation services and now I have a serious backlog of shows to watch with Wonder Woman. I’m also trying out a new app, Serial, for maintaining a joint watchlist. I’m down to two subReddits, r/MacApps and r/ObsidianMD. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

  2. Oh nice! That sounds like a great way to keep track of shows. I really need something like that with my wife. She tends to get distracted halfway through a series sometimes.

  3. I can really relate to your thoughts. I killed most social media quite a while ago, but I was really affected by a shaming incident amongst our IndieWeb friends last week. It’s not what we are seeking here. It’s also bizarre the rancor people pile on Apple and developers. We aren’t owed perfection. Anyway, let’s keep curating as best we can to have some community.

    Good job on scheduling out some happy reading and viewing! I do spend a fair amount of time in fictional worlds.

    • Well said Dave! It’s up to us to curate a positive and friendly web. I guess we’ll keep doing what we do and just hope for the best!

  4. JD JD

    Ever wonder why you’re sensitive when it comes to what you intake and spit out? Has it always been like that?

    • I don’t think I’m the only one. It seems that most people are pretty sensitive to the media they consume (news, movies, books). There is even some research to say that human beings were never meant to be exposed to so much violence. For example, we see more deaths in an action movie than anyone human should ever see in a lifetime. I gotta imagine on some level that affects us.

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