My brain suddenly felt like it belonged to me.

Nicotine. Barbiturates. Cocaine. Alcohol. Heroin. The five most addictive things on the planet.

I’ve never had a problem with any of them. Except maybe scrumpy back in ’87. The most addictive thing for me is my smartphone. Like a nightlight, it was always ‘on’. I was always ‘on’. Checking emails. Instagram. And Twitter, mainly. But also LinkedIn, WalesOnline and the BBC. Not social media per se, but apps that pump out news, information and stories 24/7. Always ‘on’.

Eventually it caught up with me.

Last October, my GP told me I was suffering from depression. Brain officially frazzled. Knackered. Too much time ‘on’. Wired. Not enough time ‘off’. Relaxing. And not ‘on standby’ either, but time well and truly ‘off'. With a smartphone in your pocket, subconsciously you’re always ‘on. Waiting. For that sound. That ‘ping’ that says you’ve got mail. Or a text. Or someone wanting to poke, follow, LinkIn with you.

So I did the Detox Challenge. Over 3 days.

It was like stepping through a wardrobe and into another world. Not quite Narnia. More like Utopia. It was quiet. Chilled. Slower. My brain suddenly felt like it belonged to me. My thoughts. My ideas. My voice talking. Not those pushed there by somebody else. Me. I felt like me.

I’m not phone-free, because I need it. Like I need a pair of scissors. Or a cup of coffee. But when it suits me, not when it suits everyone else. I’m never going back. Addiction is damaging, no matter what you’re addicted to. And I feel happier, fresher, brighter. 

For someone with depression, that’s a good feeling.

Stuart R. T.
Shropshire, UK

'eye' image by Brogan F. T., Stuart's daughter

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