When I wake up in the morning, the first thing I do after puttin on a pot of coffee and takin all my meds is check my e-mail. I don't even have to navigate away from my homepage, because my e-mail provider is my homepage! (I can haz dignitee??!11) Most of the time I don't have anything important in my Inbox, but there is this compulsive urge I get when I wake up to find out what people said to me or about me while I was asleep.
The problem is that, once I login for the first time, I can’t stop logging in all day long. Every time I open my internet browser, my e-mail page pops up, and without thinking I hammer my username and password into the little boxes. Part of me knows that I won’t have any new e-mail, and the other part of me realizes that what e-mail I do have will most likely be unnecessary Facebook notifications or little notes from my Dad asking when would be a good time for him to come visit me in the city. (Never) But checking my e-mail has literally become a compulsion. It feels almost like a chore to search through all the messages posted and e-mails received. It isn't something I necessarily want to do, just something I kind of feel like I have to do. I didn't even realize this until Josh pointed it out to me: "Is it like, part of your OCD that you have to check your email every time you open up Firefox?" he asked with mild concern. Yes, we were stoned, but still.
Not only do I navigate and login to certain websites obsessively multiple times a day, I also have certain things that I click on over and over again even though I know that their status won't change. For example, when I login to Facebook, I always check my notifications, then peoples' photos, then my friends with updated profiles. It's just the natural progression of the way I figure out what went on in the Facebook world since my last login 3 minutes ago.
The frustrating thing is that I know logging into Facebook 20 times in an hour will most likely not yield a change on the site at all. There is the slight chance that my ex-boyfriend will upload pictures showing how awesome his life is without me (it's not) within that one hour time-span, but most often, nothing ever changes. The most obvious example of this is in the status updates on the Facebook Homepage: Alex is [and has been] studying. Updated 36 minutes ago. Do I think that Alex will stop studying and that will somehow impact my life? Will the next new photo album uploaded by those girls I hated in high school help me figure out the kind of person I want to be? The answer is no. But I keep logging in anyway.
So what's there to do about all this? Deleting your Facebook account and delegating e-mail checking to only once or twice a day would be ideal, but when you work in an office, these are your only sources of entertainment and a little OCD is sometimes better than death-defying boredom. For me, I just try to put all this in a context that makes me feel a little crazy. As a self-proclaimed neurotic nervous wreck, I often fear I'm bordering on the psychotic, so asking myself "Is your behavior normal?" will sometimes help me take a step back and realize that logging into Facebook before even showering in the morning is a little crazy. Plus, there are always medications to assuage the pain of internet OCD. You could get an anti-anxiety prescript from your doctor, but my suggestion is to try smoking a J when you feel like you're going a little overboard on the internet front; the only website I'm ever interested in when I’m high is Youtube, because, well, that shit's just funny.