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Staying Healthy
Technotronic Purgatory
David, Aug 03, 2006

Computers are very powerful tools. They suck up enormous amounts of time and energy, for both work and play. For many, access to a computer is vital; one feels as though it could be classed with food, water, and shelter. For me, it was classed just a notch above.

There were a lot of things that led to me getting kicked out of my mother's house.
Most of the arguments, however, did originate from the computer. This powerful device allowed me to watch movies, play games, and have conversations with people at all hours of the day and night. My social skills were and still are limited in person, but online I felt as if I could truly freely express myself. I became accustomed to this type of social interaction, and as a result didn't get out much.

As arguments between me and the family over the computer got worse, I decided it would be a good idea for me to go to boarding school. I ended up picking the one that had internet access and a local area network. I remember my visit to the school, and seeing one of the kids playing Quake online. By the time I got there, they had changed the rules, and you could only play games on the network. I downloaded all my classmates' dance music in the blink of en eye, got Unreal Tournament installed on all my friends' systems, used an instant messenger to keep up with all my socializing, and in the midst of all this, tried to keep up with my studies. My eating habits were poor, consisting mostly of cereal, soda, and snack foods, with the healthiest choice being a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat. Occasionally I'd eat the cafeteria food, my favorite being the 'country fried' steak. My grades fell, and I got put into a special study hall for the kids who were falling behind. The dean was the proctor one night, and he got to watch me stare at the same page of my history book for a lot longer than any normal kid would. He figured I was getting stoned. At this time, I had never had a drink or drug in my entire life.

My mother had theorized that it was my nutrition that caused my unusual attention span. She saw me perfectly calm and focused on my video games, and figured I didn't have ADHD. She told the school that my grades were probably falling due to the excess of time I spend on the computer (true), and ordered a blood test for my nutrition. By this time, I had met with the dean one-on-one in an interrogation type meeting, during which I looked him squarely in the eye and told him the truth. At this time, my computer use was my shameful addiction, the thing I tried to hide from everyone; I simply couldn't focus on my schoolbooks long enough to get anything done, and I would regularly give up on trying and switch to the high-mental-stimulus computer activities which seem to relax me so well.

The school nurse (illegally) threw in a drug test. At the time, I thought it was my mother who ordered the test. This was a major insult to me at the time. My mother knows me better than that. I remember emailing her explaining to her how devastated I was, and then proceeding to research the drugs my classmates were taking on the internet. I learned about cannabis, which seemed to be the least damaging, I learned about alcohol, which before then I had only seen the effects of in people. I soaked up all the pharmacological information I could handle, and then made a decision to do some experimenting. Some of my friends invited me to go smoke, and I came with them. I felt like a kid all over again, bursting out laughing, full of euphoria, relieved of depression. From there, I created an image for myself of the slacker/stoner who doesn't really give a fuck. I rode this image into the ground.

My closest friend was into taking coricidin, and I tried that, too. We could relate to each other because he had the same trouble focusing that I did. The difference was that he was on medication. One of our older classmates suggested that he take it for fun, and soon I joined him in it. All of a sudden, I had the ability to focus like the other kids. I could get my schoolwork done for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately, by this time, I had already added to my lifestyle all the distractions that come with drug abuse. I went home to visit my mother, and stressed that I need to be diagnosed for ADHD. By the time I got the diagnosis, I was already so into drug abuse, that I hadn't any willpower left to moderate my medication and get my ass in gear. The addiction had taken me over, along with the social pressure to maintain an image that I could present to the world of my peers. I dropped out of boarding school during finals week, and thereby got to spend an extra long summer at home. I attended a biology class in summer school, and did very well there, but most of my time was spent in front of the computer, taking my ritalin in excess, and playing Diablo over the internet.

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