“I’m not okay. I need something else.”

A close look at what compels the scrolling, and how to stop.

6 min readJul 27, 2022


image courtesy of adobestock.com

The other day, I got some scary news about something. Hellbent on putting some distance between me and it, I went on a scrolling spree. That whole day, every free minute I had, I opened one of my Big Three (Facebook, Insta, Twitter) and went to town.

When the reels started, (they know my weaknesses: comedy and tender dogs), that was my free fall into the rabbit hole. Before the reels, I was at least ‘engaging’ with people I knew, commenting, reacting and whatnot. But once I started with the reels, that was over. It was just about me.

Then I couldn’t stop, even after I wasn’t having fun anymore. I’m waiting at the doctor’s office, I’m on the john, I’m in a long line, I’m ‘going to sleep,’ or I’ve just opened my eyes in the morning — scrolling. I think to myself, Okay, that’s enough. It’s junk food. Stop. I keep going. Scrolling, scrolling. What the hell is going on here? The loop is this:

1) I watch, 2) I like, 3) I want more, 4) I scroll.

It doesn’t even matter whether Step 2 is “I like,” “I don’t like,” or “I don’t care” — it always results in a scroll for more. Why? Why can’t I stop this rat-in-a-cage-clicking-for-the-treat behavior?

The answer is my brain’s been hijacked. By my own habitual dissatisfaction (something that all humans share). I actually believe that if I just scroll to the next thing, I’ll feel better.

I’ve fallen under the spell of I’m not okay right now, and I need something else.

It’s an unconscious, insidious process, and it’s running our lives. Because on the back end of this thumbslide, someone is watching. Not someone, but a series of algorithms created by millions of programmers, engineers, and marketing/sales execs. They measure everything — what we click on, how long we watch, what apps we use, all our searches, when we put down or pick up our phones, everything.

We’re being watched. So what?

I used to think only criminals needed to worry about being watched. I used to think, I’m not doing anything wrong. Go ahead. Watch my clicks




Novelist. Poet. Musician. Buddhist. Quilter. Animal lover. Visible grownup. Hidden child. Secret dancer when all alone. Makes good bread.