Many people I’ve spoken to say the same thing about their excessive online use and chronic illness, whatever that illness is: they spend way too much time online when they are ill, and that ends up making them feel worse.

I am not saying the internet is the problem. I am saying that when you are ill, your impulse control isn’t what it ought to be and you don’t have the energy to do much else but web surf. You are confined to home, perhaps missing social interaction. Then when you go online, you end up in an endless spiral of politics and drama that is hard to get out of because you just aren’t firing on all cylinders.

What’s worse, is you went to the net to liven things up a bit, but after about a half hour of reading screeds on twitter, you are physically and emotionally exhausted. Social media is designed to make you respond to it like Pavlov’s Dog, and if you are suffering from brain fog, or depression, or any number of other ailments, you are going to have a hard time managing your net use.

There are times when internet drama has simply destroyed any enthusiasm I had to create that day.

Now that I am feeling MUCH better, I’ve noticed my net use has dropped precipitously. It’s not about my virtuous commitment to work, it’s that I simply have better impulse control because I am healthier.

I’ve always had a great work ethic, but when your work and internet use are tied in to one another, you really don’t have a choice but to spend some time online. When you do, if you are not able to manage your state, the next thing you know hours have gone down the tube. And that is REALLY depressing.

I use my new cell phone to set timers which keeps me on track, but one of the simplest things I do is I put a video of a burning fireplace on my computer when I am not online. For some reason, this discourages me from web surfing out of habit. Also, I often block the net for big chunks of time each day so I can’t see it. If there is an emergency, I can get to another computer in the house, just not to the computer in the studio where it is easy to web surf when I should be drawing.

You might want to try the fireplace trick, I find it very soothing to have this in my studio.