Youth Stories & Experiences
Dr. Meredith Sagan has collected numerous stories and experiences from youths who intimately understand the impact of living in an artificial world and have witnessed the degradation of human intelligence within themselves and their peers.
To understand the magnitude of what we are facing today, read their stories below.*
*Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals.
“Ever since I had a phone I stopped paying attention to people. Every time my mom took away the phone I would be quiet and not social. I did not have a phone for 2 years - that helped me change a little bit, no social media so I started talking more to people. This year I got a phone and now I don’t go outside anymore so I don’t know how the real world is.
When I look outside nature looks like another screen. When I look out the window, everything is the same and nothing is new. I told my siblings that everything looks the same, all flat. No dimension in nature. I was staring at the phone 24/7. Now that I am out it feels like nature finally and I am not used it - I am in the process of getting used to it. I am coming more alive - I smell things better, I see things better than I used to. It was a flat land that had become gray and one dimensional. Now it is becoming more colorful and dimensional. I can taste and smell better. I had lost contact with my senses through using social media so much and now I’m regaining the ability to feel real again.”
“I did not want to go outside because I preferred the phone over real things in the real world. The sky was flat and strange and the world became dead and flat.”
“We feel it in the school system: no breaks, you have to conform to societal standards and you don’t know how to be yourself. It fogs the clear vision of what a teen should be. Sex is easy to find, love is hard to get. Teen suicide is over this. You have false trust in somebody then they moved onto someone else - as if none of it was real - we can’t tell what is real and what is artificial because it’s all on our phones. So many kids are living in this fake world - I can’t break away from it.
The next day after I took [the medication] I no longer felt the frustration. My mind was always running and now it is not. My attention has slowed down to the point I can focus on one thing and move onto the next without feeling aggression. When you can’t focus on one thing you lose control. With my OCD, if I don’t have control over a situation and it doesn’t go my way I feel frustrated at it. But the next day [after starting the medication] when I woke up I was no longer feeling aggressive. I could see how to respond and how to handle things. Now I am able to be social, coherent, listening and understanding. I helped the group and the kids by getting grounded. I’m able to talk more clearly, directive and lead. Because I lead balance within myself now I lead balance with others.
Before, to ground I was slamming my head and fists into walls to get the thoughts out of my mind, or I’d clench my fists to stay calm. I think that the trend towards pain and violent sex is a way of grounding into the world. Everyone has their fetish that keeps them connected sexually and makes the feel normal. I liked the aggression of choking someone and having an aggressive connection. It made me feel normal and they were ok with it too. It was helping me feel more normal in what I was dealing with. It was a grounding tool because more people are getting into aggressive sex to feel real. Not everyone should do it, it’s just a way kids are coping. They don’t know how to cope so they use sex to deal with their problems, then they are always looking for sex to fill the void. We’re missing the physical connection with other people, so sex gives us that connection more, to let out emotions. With putting aggression into sex it’s private and it feels normal. There’s no diagnosis or way of understanding it. They wanted to put me on ADHD meds. I didn’t do it and now I am here getting my intelligence.”
“We’re so used to digital formats and copies, the ungrounding is a symptom - the copy of the copy is not the thing but is the thing. It is an essence of a thing but that can’t be trusted because it is photoshopped.
We have the perspective that we are not grounded so we are working to ground ourselves, desperately clinging onto stuff. With alcohol and drinking the feeling is stable because I can feel it in my body.
It started in 2012. The Millennials started breaking apart and when Gen X was in their 20s that’s when we were coming up and digital was getting bigger. I grew up with analog images, then it transitioned into digital. We are fractured because our parents didn’t know how to do digital, our formative years were analog, and then in our teens it all changed to digital. We grew up with VHS and film as children then it was all of a sudden digital. There is something weird and fractured about knowing both sides. It is a weird switch of worlds between analog and digital. There’s an analogy in postmodern art theory and post-postmodern art. The 90s were obsessed with Xerox and copies of a copy. Now it is the acceptance that nothing is real. It is all an image and unconscious experience, like this Instagram girl is so hot but you know it’s not real. There’s such a deep acceptance of what’s not real that it messes us up then makes me compare and feel suicidal. When I flip through a magazine, how is their skin so nice? It leads to chronically wanting something you don’t have that is not real. Set designs become real, you get tricked in the image. It is unconsciously knowing it is unrealistic but consciously acting as if it is real.”
“The influence is in every layer of social media. Layers of social media change culture. It is a revolving wheel that keeps going faster and faster. We’re aware that we’re changing cultures very quickly.”
“Before meds, it felt like I was floating. Like you are connected to people but you are really not. When you are talking you feel slow and people looking at you like you have a problem and you are not in tune but we are - we are focusing , we are 3 steps ahead, they can’t talk to to us - that is why we need the meds and why we are put on the meds versus them, yet they need the help, not us. It’s like music. It started off with live instruments - bands, jazz, Amy Winehouse, live shows - and now we use beat machines and have DJs. We didn’t use it back then and now we have it. Some artists believe those artists are not artists. We don’t know what real talent is anymore.”
“It feels like I was floating, like my feet weren’t touching the ground. It started 15 years ago. I was not synced up, I was out of touch with reality. Time skips and time is off. Sometimes I feel completely out of sync. Things in the past felt slow moving or I felt things were moving quickly. It was hard to process and to get everything in line. It led to me acting impulsively because I had no time to process information. It felt like I was floating in the room.
We are not rooted so we act impulsively, and I would do things and behave in ways that weren’t in connection with my authentic self and it didn’t matter because I didn’t know if it even was authentic to me. I felt like I had been sucked up and away. I wasn’t connected to myself and that was why I was able to have this dark experience and do dark things because I was not connected to myself. I couldn’t connect. Why could I do this stuff to me when it is not me? It was because I was not connected to myself.
Now I feel more clear headed in my body. I would not stand to let anything ever penetrate my system again. It felt like there was a whole other energy that would take me over. I would say and do things that were another thing, not myself. It wasn’t me. I said and did things I would never do as a sober. I was getting the wrong medication and abusing drugs.”
“I feel like I’m drifting and loopy, wandering in space, not concentrating. I couldn’t learn, being out of sync created rage, I’d stay mad. The release of anger and adrenaline helped me feel grounded. I used to fight before doing drugs, then replaced the fighting with drugs. I didn’t want to be cooperative so I stayed in bed. The drugs gave me energy and focus and I sped up beyond space and time and wigged out of my mind, I was going so fast. But it stopped the drifting because I was in my body. It helped me complete tasks. The other drugs made me calm and slow. It felt like flying on a cloud, it helped me to drown out life. I wasn’t dealing with it. It made me feel like myself: no anxiety, no fear, no resentments. I’d feel great, could talk and communicate without a pounding heart. I wasn’t angry when I was on it, I felt happy, I felt great. I felt more connected with people. Now I’m on meds to ground and I’m learning the skill set to relate to people. Everything the street drugs gave me, the prescription medications are giving me.”
If you feel compelled to take action having read these true stories, please consider making a donation to the MindAlign Institute today to help us raise awareness of the problem and provide experiential education on emotional, social, and human intelligence to directly support the youth who are most affected by technology, social media, and the artificial world.
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