You might be thinking, "how can a person be addicted to the tv?" Have you ever watched tv longer than you intended, or feel mesmerized or "spaced out" as you're sitting in front of the tv? Watching tv can be calming and a nice way to relax. However, when it crosses the line into interfering with what we want to accomplish, or when we're sitting & feeling as though our energy is being zapped right out of us, then there might be a problem.
In our office, one thing that couples are able to identify that is getting in the way of them connecting on a daily basis is the television. It's not something that promotes conversation (sometimes it can, but mostly not) or connection. If you've found a good balance, then great! But, if you find that you need to get up and do something else but you can't seem to get up, then you might need to do an inventory on why you're watching so much, and if that tv time is filling some sort of void.
In our fast-paced, I-want-it-now society, the Internet is full of immediate feeds of up-to-date news, entertainment, sports & you name it. With smart-phones & free wi-fi at so many locations, the Internet is literally at our fingertips. The world is becoming more "web connected", however we are becoming less and less personal with each other. Do you feel closer to your online friends than your real ones? Can you tell the difference?
A person who is “addicted” to the computer is likely to have several of the experiences and feelings on the list below. How many of them describe you?
- You have mixed feelings of well-being and guilt while at the computer.
- You make unsuccessful efforts to quit or limit your computer use.
- You lose track of time while on the computer.
- You neglect friends, family and/or responsibilities in order to be online.
- You find yourself lying to your boss and family about the amount of time spent on the computer and what you do while on it.
- You feel anxious, depressed, or irritable when your computer time is shortened or interrupted.
- You use the computer repeatedly as an outlet when sad, upset, or for sexual gratification.
- You develop problems in school or on the job as a result of the time spent and the type of activities accessed on the computer.
- When you are not on the computer, you think about it frequently and anticipate when you will use it again.
Although there is not a checklist for the television, most of the ones above can be used for the television as well. The main message is this: Are you losing yourself and/or time in something, and deep down want it to stop but you don't know how? If you've answered yes, please reach out and get help. That is the first step.
Written by: Tamara Portee MA, LMHC, LCAC
*Tamara enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, & couples counseling at Imagine Hope. We also specialize in family counseling, child & adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield & Fishers.