“I’ve had enough! I can’t take it anymore! You love that stupid computer more than you love me!” Jonathan’s wife is heartbroken. It is the umpteenth time she has seen him spending time his time online, reading the news online, playing online games, and catching up on all the latest on ESPN. In between his copious amounts of cyber activity, Jonathan manages to hold down a job that he never found fulfilling. Unfortunately, he "never had the time" to find a job that actually suited his abilities. How does he even manage to hold down a job with all the time that he spends glued to his phone and computer screen? Well the first things to go were all the activities that John liked to do in his free time – playing guitar and sports hanging out with friends and going to Synagogue. The next thing to go was his sleep. After that, his relationship with his wife and kids deteriorated – they were just distractions from his internet life anyway. Jonathan didn’t start out as a cruel and thoughtless person who didn’t care about his wife and kids, but the more time he spent online, the more he craved it. He began to fantasize about chatting online, even when he was spending time with his kids. He couldn’t stop it even when he tried. He felt guilty and ashamed and he vowed that he would stop! And he did – for a week. But then he figured he would go online for a just a few minutes to check on his fantasy football team. The minutes turned into hours and somehow the football turned into chatrooms. This happened time and again. No matter what Jonathan tried he could not stop. Jonathan is the quintessential prototype of an internet addict.
The phone call came from a rabbi friend of mine.
“Joe is dead, and they believe it was a suicide.”
My reaction was typical for my personality. I asked the rabbi some basic questions, expressed my sympathies without becoming overly emotional, and then I obsessed.
Joe had been a client of mine for close to a year. It all began with some testing required by Joe’s school because he was having difficulty, both academically and socially. The testing revealed that Joe possessed superior intelligence, but he also had a strong tendency to misread social cues. This led to social alienation and feelings of inferiority. Joe was becoming more and more reserved, which concerned his parents to the point of referring him for therapy. His interests had become narrower, and he seemed to take very little pleasure in activities that he once enjoyed. His siblings and friends had also noticed the change, but were too afraid or ambivalent to get involved.
One of the challenges active people face is trying to find activities that everyone in the family can enjoy. Too often, a spouse, parent, or child can be supportive of the active person in their life making time to pursue the fitness activity they especially enjoy, but without finding a common joy in it. I know that I personally have that struggle, so I’d like to share three tips for finding a fitness activity you can enjoy together.
If you’re like me, you’re probably feeling that perhaps the world at large and even your own world is unbalanced at the moment. Perhaps, like me, you find it is easy to feel a lost sense of equilibrium and balance. These feelings can be unsettling, and the body absorbs the effects of a constant state of flux.
How can one find balance when extremes become the norm? When our emotions and perspectives are constantly under assault by those who are not in agreement with us; when all the rules we knew, or thought were correct, seem no longer applicable by those who want to impose new rules–– it can be difficult to feel a sense of calm. Trying to keep up with information in a world that seems to be moving faster and functioning with less patience and more anger can be disconcerting.