Thursday, August 6, 2015

discon.nected

"disconnected" was a handle I used for a while.  I shortened it to "discon" when I realized how big the internet is, and that too many other people were using the same handle.  Better to alter a word in some way, to make it more unique, so as not to be confused with random other people.  I haven't used that handle in a long time either, but that's not the point.

I was just thinking about how some people find connection online, and seem to be relatively happy with that.  When the internet was a new thing, I thought it would be great for meeting people, expanding my horizons in all directions.  When I went by "discon," I even felt that it was working, in a way.

It was via usenet, and old fashioned medium for discussion forums.  I tried lots of different groups to no avail, except for this one off-beat group for suicidal people.  It was like an alternative to the traditional depression support group, where people could express themselves, without fear of being told to be more positive, or being given lousy cliched advice.  If anyone came along and tried to suggest getting more sunshine and exercise, they'd be utterly eviscerated for it.  Some were persistent about it, but they were widely deemed to be trolls.  We had zero tolerance for that bullshit.  These were my people.

Least it felt that way for a while.  Things changed, I've wandered through all sorts of other online social gathering places since then.  From the alternate realities of countless MMORPGs, to all manner of forums and discussion groups.  Chatting about everything from mental health, to recreational drugs, to Buddhism, to video games, to current events and politics.  It still keeps me busy, to this day, but I don't feel that same sense of connection anymore, anywhere I go.  Little glimmers here and there, but the whole thing feels a bit like a mirage.  Get too close, only to find that it isn't real.  I don't know these people at all.

That almost feels like a conclusion of sorts in itself, but it's not.  There's still the question of why getting to know people seems to be problematic.  It's not just that it's difficult, but that when it does happen, it's never a good thing.  It's never a rewarding thing.  It's just depressing, and makes me feel very alone in the world.

It's indicative that something more serious might be going wrong neurologically.  A failure of the social reward system that facilitates people bonding with each other.  Some people are just socially reticent, and meeting people online works wonders for them, but for me.. the problem seems to go a little deeper than that.

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