I’m not too up on the whole Facebook thing these days (in my humble opinion, it’s definitely becoming something my parents’ generation use far more than I do...no offence, Dad). But Facebook used to, and maybe still does, provide you with a record of how long you’ve been ‘friends’ with someone for. If you’re lucky enough to be tagged in pictures together, Facebook might also provide a series of the worst ones put to some tinny background music for you to share on your feed. Happy Friendaversary, you and person you went to school with but drifted from and 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 off of 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 bit of 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 hooked and dependent...it was like a drug. Now, 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 its combination with a remedy of biopsychosocial factors within certain individuals. My relationship with food was disordered before the app. But the app certainly hasn’t helped matters.
I wish I could end this post 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...and you’ll know about it when I do.
Just like someone in an abusive relationship can know they need to leave...there are often many other factors than just knowing that need to come together before that person actually feels able to leave.
In this case, there are these factors, too...and they are coming together, albeit slowly.
“Not why the addiction but why the pain.”
- Dr Gabor Maté, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts