I can’t believe I’ve done it again. I’ve gone ahead with the not-so-good old hand slam. Flipped the bird to every fibre of my not-so-absolute sense of morality and reared the ugly head of the secret monster. Immediately post-contact, post-hit, post-click, click, click boom I find my heart starts to beat a bit faster. It pumps blood hot and steady and upwards until I can feel my neck turn scarlet from the temperature. My breathing gets shallower. My brain starts to squeeze. Why? What have I done, what have I done?
This is hit remorse.
Along with information overload, deteriorating eyesight and for the frantic bloggers and Candy Crush addicts early-onset arthritis, the internet and digital age has brought with it psychological disorders. Many of them just variations of ones that already exist like HPD: histrionic personality disorder or more loosely termed attention-seeking disorder. HPD has formed part of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) for a long time. We know these people, we know how they behave. And now we know them on the internet. They lead fabulous lives, they love themselves and their profiles are filled with things that unashamedly force you to love them too (at least, that’s what their incessant posts are supposed to do) but you really, really don’t.
Cracked.com also mentions (among others) the online behavioural version of IED (intermittent explosive disorder) — another personality disorder classified in the DSM-5. IED is clinically defined as people who have disproportionate outbursts of impulsive rage and anger. On the internet, a cyber IED sufferer comments on a news article about Nkandla for example (and in my personal experience) will go a little something like this: “You racist pieces of trash, I can’t believe you would f***ing write such bull***. You are in bed with the DA. Hellen Zille probably ****ing pays you to publish **** like that. You white rat … ” And so on and so forth. I am brown by the way, very brown, but things like this don’t matter to cyber IED sufferers. They need outlets to spew forth drivel like this incessantly. And they take the opportunity. All the time.
DISCLAIMER FOR TROLLS AND FELLOW IED SUFFERERS: In South Africa, people with IED are not just ANC supporters or DA supporters or political or a-political. They take all shapes and forms and sizes.
Then of course there are the little mental niggles that creep in and don’t necessarily form part of the DSM-5 model … yet. They are definitely native and specific to the internet. IGD (internet gaming disorder), or IAD (internet addiction disorder), or FAD (Facebook addiction disorder), or my personal favourite, Fomo (fear of missing out), That special breed of anxiety that’s dished out by social media updates and statuses with the ability to make you feel like social pond scum at the drop of a “like”, or retweet for that matter.
I could lift my hand coyly, or sometimes quite proudly at all or many of these — depending on the time of day. I will not lie to you; I am somewhat of a social media addict myself. Luckily I can always use the fact that it’s part of my job description as an excuse. (*Clears throat, *whispers under breath: addiction denial 101). But I will not update my status with my location if I am at the hospital … or anywhere for that matter … location updates suck. A lot. There you have it. These updates turn me into a cyber IED (see above) sufferer like that. (*Snaps middle finger and thumb together quickly.) Although in my defence I don’t actually ever post my evil, rage-driven rants. I mostly just think about the comments I would post to people who check into the gym, for example.
The one thing I definitely suffer from is hit remorse. Yes, ladies and gentle things. You heard it here first. Hit remorse will be the trendiest thing in pathologising emotional instabilities. Watch this space. Hit remorse is definitely not so far advanced in definition and terminology as the above-mentioned basket of eggs, in all their Google search awe and splendour. But that’s because I just gave it a title a couple of hours ago. And it’s basically that deep sense of regret and shame and sadness and even (in my case) anger you feel when you’ve given a piece of not-so-great internet content just one more hit. You have added to that page’s statistic and for no reason. Crap content. Hit made. NOTHING you can do about it. NOTHING.
I’m not clicky — in Haji’s internet terms (look out for the book a little later, in life) this means I’m not big on clicking on everything and anything. I guess the nature of my job has taught me to read between the not-so-elusive lines and evade, tactically, every dangled carrot in every tweet. #MustRead? Hashtag. No. I’m very specific about who I’ll take referrals from when it comes to content that’s shared on Twitter and Facebook. And when I do, it’s from people or publications I generally respect in my line of work or specialists in their fields.
Oh, but when I do … and it’s crap … I boil. I fume. I gasp. I imagine little minions climbing out of my brain and dispersing into the cyber universe with tiny doll-sized zappers to remove that one hit. MY hit. The hit I wasted and cannot get back.
Do you suffer from this?