Drugs and alcohol seem to be the first thing that crosses one’s mind when they hear the word addiction. Webster’s Dictionary defines the word addiction as noun; the fact or condition of being addicted to a particular substance, thing, or activity. This backs up that singer Robert Palmer was right all along back in 1985 when he sang, “you might as well face it, you’re addicted to love.”
As you know, here at Jeff High we are teenagers. We have our education that is a priority, as well as our families, social life, extracurricular activities, jobs. Some people are fine being by themselves, they actually find peace in being alone. Others cannot stand being alone. What they can’t go without isn’t drugs or alcohol; it’s other people. It can be different types of relationships, friends and/ or significant others. Often times it can even be unhealthy relationships, just for the sake of being in one.
Apps with maps and locators, immediate status updates, access to live footage of what is going on. This has all led to a new condition: FOMO. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) is anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on a social media website. For some of our parents the connection was a pager, but they still had to make the effort to find a phone to return a call. Cell phones were common in the late 90s and now they are an expected social norm. Add in the various methods of social media and now someone always knows what everyone else is doing.
The fear is real for those individuals; they are scared of not knowing everything going on with everyone else and not being included all of the time. Some have to interact or be around other people to function, they can’t make decisions or act on their own. They want to be included, and want to belong. Sadly, our society has become one where people value their self worth based on how many likes or retweets or shares their social media posts get. Our generation has the explosion of social media avenues to easily see what our peers are doing all of the time. There really is no escaping it.
It’s been called being codependent; being needy, awkward and insecure are just a few of the words used to describe feeling the need to be around someone. It can present to other people as desperation, nagging, clinginess. I’ve heard it referred to as being approval seeking, attention seeking or sometimes just downright crazy. There is a fine line and a difference between loving someone, being addicted to someone and obsessing over someone. How do you know if you are addicted to someone? At first it isn’t easy because just like drugs there is the high and good feeling in the relationship. Regardless of how that friend or significant other treat you, you keep running back to them to get that fix. When it’s good, its rewarding but when its bad, it’s usually very bad and unhealthy. You are left with a psychological dependence where you think you need the other person.
You lose your sense of self which can affect your mental health, your education, your successes and other relationships and friendships around you. Just like with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there are 12-step programs, rehabs and books to help you learn how to stop being addicted to people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Written by Hannah Thibedeau