May 31, 2013
My challenge yesterday was my desire to consume against a background of happiness and relaxation. It's one of the more difficult aspects of this addiction. I use fanfiction to avoid feelings of anxiety, sadness, fear, etc. And when I'm under the gun of some kind of deadline, work related or otherwise, I get particularly itchy to consume, jittery to the point of physical jittering.
Yet, in moments of relief and freedom from anxiety, especially when I've just completed something or things long overdue or at least pressing, I then also want to turn to fanfiction. Because it is indeed pleasurable, flooding my brain with dopamine and feel-good chemicals, and I think my more general pleasure and sense of relief and relaxation sort of reaches out to a known way to relax and reward myself. Of course, that use sets me up for the anxiety-driven use, because I typically can't stop at one or two or three stories, and even if I do, my use has lasting effects that I want to write about another time. But my point in this entry is to start to reflect on what I almost would call my more "gratuitous" use, when I'm happy and don't "need" fanfiction. The relief and anticipation of knowing that I actually have time to reward myself, my turn to a method of reward that is tried and true, my pleasure in the reading (and it's in these instances that I am closest to "reading" instead of "consuming"), my affection for the pairings that I favor, my enjoyment of the good writing that is out there (mixed amongst the slew of poor writing), and my sadness, now, when I consider and remember that I can't have those experiences again. And most important, what I need to end with, my growing understanding that I must find ways to have that reward, relief, pleasure, and affection that will not just stand in for fanfiction but bring me to a place where fanfiction is truly not what I think to turn to when I'm happy and free to choose my pleasure.