Haji Mohamed Dawjee
Haji Mohamed Dawjee

Forget cyberbullying, I suffer from hit remorse

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?

Tags: ,

  • The cyber-war(s) being fought right under our noses
  • The early 21st century: Taking stock
  • Technocratic culture: ‘Disconnect’
  • The world has become an uncertain and ugly place
    • http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/kanthanpillay Kanthan Pillay

      I dunno. It’s kind of hit-and-miss for me.

      (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

    • Mohmmad Farooq
    • https://www.facebook.com/hyacinth.smith.969 hyacinth

      I think anything we do to promote equity and inclusion and an opportunity or a place for students to express themselves in a way that makes them comfortable is a positive thing for all of the students in our schools.If you are friends with a known bully and you do nothing to get your friend to STOP his/her toxic behavior—you’re suffering from the same fears, low-self esteem and intimidation as the victims your friend “The Bully” is bullying. Keep safe and be protected bring protection with you check this out at http://safekidzone.com/#!/page_home begin to be now what you will be hereafter.

    • http://www.sydneymajoko.wordpress.com Sydney

      Good read. Hit remorse, lol. I don’t think I suffer from that, but I do suffer from a psychological impulse to want to strangle the owners of any website/blog that gives space to IED sufferers. Maybe it is hit remorse of a different kind. An insulting racist-rant should never make it onto the pages of any self-respecting site, because it detracts from good writing. We all have our moments of wanting to raise the middle finger at some vitriol-filled piece of writing but that doesn’t mean we should be given the space to.

    • Jans de J

      I lately have a similar ailment you could call comment remorse. Every time I comment I have the urge to check back on the page to see if anyone else has commented too. This extends to forum threads too. Who wants to wade through tons of emails notifying you of new posts, when you can just manually click on those links again, and check? The easy answer is just to stop commenting, or get ready for about 50-100 extra emails every day. An ancy but short-lived qualm.

    • http://hellotypewriter.blogspot.com/ Nicole

      LOL, the internet brings with it a whole host of compulsions and weirdness! It’s definitely so much easier to be negative and critical online than in real life… sadly.