I’m not too up on the whole Facebook thing these days. At some point, it became something that my parents’ generation use far more than those of us born in the 90s. But I remember that Facebook used to, and maybe still does, provides a record of how long you’ve been ‘friends’ with someone for. If you’re lucky enough to be tagged in pictures together, you may also receive a series of the worst ones put to some tinny background music for you to share publicly on your feed. Happy Friendaversary, you and the-person-you-went-to-school-with-but-drifted-from-and-now-don’t-really-speak-to-anymore, from all of us at Facebook.
This post isn’t really about Facebook. It isn’t even about friends. It’s about a relationship I have with a certain “pal”, that I really wish would drift and fizzle out like some of my Facebook friends.
Earlier this month, the pal in question sought to tell me that I’d been using her services to track my food intake for 365 days IN A ROW. Happy Friendaversary, MyFitnessPal.
I do wonder how aware the developers of MyFitnessPal (slash insert any other calorie tracking app) are that probably about 90% of their profits are made from exploiting people with eating disorders? Maybe they are blissfully unaware and genuinely think they’re doing a great thing, helping people reach their goals and yada yada. But, the cynic in me is highly doubtful.
Honestly, I kind of knew it had been about a year...but seeing that 365 on my screen was a shock. I remember downloading the app for the first time, “just to see what it was like”. Here I am, over a year later, utterly dependent...like a drug.
I’m not advocating that the app itself was a cause of where I find myself now. Much like a drug itself isn’t the cause of someone’s addiction...the dealer just profits from it being paired with a remedy of biopsychosocial factors in certain individuals. My relationship with food was disordered before the app. But the app certainly hasn’t helped matters.
I really wish I could end this with “and so I decided enough was enough and deleted the app, and I’ve never been happier”. But, the reality of recovery unfortunately isn’t that romantic. I will delete it. That is a goal I’m working towards...amongst many others. I’ll get there...but just like someone in an abusive relationship can know they need to leave, there are many other factors involved than simply acknowledging this need. These factors all need to come together before that person actually feels able to leave.
In my case, there are also many of these factors. They are coming together…just very slowly.
“Not why the addiction but why the pain.”
- Dr Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts