YouTube Spirals

I sit down at my desk, wearing my pajamas, blankly contemplating my plans for the day. Eat food. Work out. Take shower. Write. Look for a job. My only accomplishment so far is getting out of bed, and already I’m overwhelmed.
One step at a time. Focus on getting to the gym.
The logistics of the one simple task seem insurmountable. I’m not sure which day I showered last, but I feel and smell gamey. It would be . . . inconsiderate to go to a gym with people and sweat through this funk. But, it seems like a waste of resources to shower before the gym. Do you know how much effort it takes to shower?
Plagued with indecision, I open my Web browser. You know, just to see what’s what.
Look! Dogs who really don’t want to take a bath. Hilarious! Click.
I let the video pour over me, wash away my morning indecision. It doesn’t matter if I shower before the gym. Right now there are only these dogs.
Then it’s over. YouTube has helpfully recommended some other videos I may find interesting. Oh look, a puppy jumping on a trampoline. Click. Is that really the original She-Ra movie special? MY CHILDHOOD IS ON YOUTUBE. Listen to my mighty, enthusiastic CLICK.
Turns out, She-Ra doesn’t hold up as well as I thought she would. That’s okay. We live in a world with Colin Firth jumping into a lake. Click. And doing an interview on Bridget Jones’s Diary. Click. No, YouTube, I do not wish to see clips from What a Girl Wants. But perhaps just one from Bridget Jones. Click. And another. Click.
My eyes glaze over, ever fixedly watching the computer screen. Strange; I feel no enjoyment, no happiness, even though my face is smiling. Then again, I feel no pain. No anxiety about being unemployed, without a purpose for my life, or even a reason to get off this chair. Letting the screen blur in and out of focus, I don’t feel the uncertainty of my future or that crushing sense of self-worthlessness weighing on my shoulders. There is me and YouTube—nothing else.
Until my dog creeps in the room and pokes her cold wet nose under my arm, as though to say, “What? Are you still here?” I give her a perfunctory pat on the head and return to my screen, because James McAvoy, that’s why.
Here’s that scene from the end of Penelope. You know, the one I’ve seen 152 times. I must see it again. Click. I’ll just rewind this a bit, shall I? Click. Again. Again. And again. Click, click, click.
Something deep inside my brain pings. Nobody spends this much time in front of YouTube. Why do I keep at it? Do I really want to see these things, or is compulsion in the driving seat? I click now, because I clicked before. I click again because there is something to click. If I don’t click, there is something I won’t see.
A distinctly cottony feeling takes over my mouth. I must be thirsty, but that could just be because I haven’t had anything to drink yet. It’s only been three hours. Should the back of my throat really feel all scratchy burny? Once I acknowledge my thirst, I must entertain the possibility that the dull, yet sharpening ache in my stomach is hunger. What am I going to do about that? Is there any food in the house? Do I even feel like eating anything? Too much. I can’t deal.
Dear YouTube, More James McAvoy, please.
Why, thank you! An interview! Who’s Graham Norton? Click.
Sweet lord almighty. Graham Norton is genius. Must. Watch. More. Click, click, click.
It’s been four hours, now. I don’t think I’ll make it to the gym. When I don’t have a job to go to, how is there not enough time to work out? I weigh my options and determine that, in order to eat, I must leave the house. Leaving the house means taking a shower, which means getting up off this chair. I mean, I could do all that, or, I could watch this interview with Helen Mirren.
PAUL RUDD JUST KISSED DAME HELEN MIRREN. Nothing I watch after this could be so good. But look…
Click, click, click, click.
Have I really been watching YouTube videos for five hours? Who does that? God, Megan. You are such a lazy bitch. Get up! Get up!
Maybe after this video.
Okay, just one more. No, this will be the last one. No, this one. This one. Click, click, click, click.
For real! It’s been seven hours! Get out of this chair! You stupid YouTube zombie, there is a world out there and a life for you to live and you’re wasting it all! What is wrong with you? You should be ashamed of yourself. Click click. Zap zap.
Is it really 5? Okay, you can’t let Husband come home and find you like this. If he doesn’t see, he won’t know. No one will know.
Only this fear of someone else knowing how I wasted my day, seeing how worthless and pointless my existence has become, motivates me off my chair.
As I shower the stench of who knows how many days off my skin, I feel like I’m coming to from a trance. Did I really forget to eat anything today? Me?! Images from the hours of binge-watching clips swim in my head, none of them offering insight or meaning, only lost time.
Tomorrow, I promise myself. Tomorrow will be better. I will be better.

One thought on “YouTube Spirals

  1. I wish I could say I wasn't intimately familiar with that cycle of depression=>compulsion=>anger=>self-loathing=>more depression. It's a mean rut to break out of, and all the more insidious for how self-reinforcing it is.

    I don't know if you saw, but there's a magnet on our fridge with a quote I really like. “Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the small voice in our head that says 'I will try again tomorrow'.”

    Here's to a better tomorrow. *hug*


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