Someone said something to me the other day when I was explaining about turf and the Daily-5 medal. They suggested I was becoming addicted or might even be addicted already. Of course, I immediately said I wasn’t, but this got me to thinking. Was I actually addicted to turfing or not? One instance the other day had me wondering about the same thing. Cathryn and myself are heading up to Dundee for a few days to celebrate our 60th birthdays, mine being on the 12th November and Cathryn’s on the 14th. Cathryn wants to see the V&A museum, the Discovery and the Botanic Gardens. It was when I realised the first thing I did was check out the zones in Dundee that thoughts of addiction came to mind. I wanted to make sure I could continue with my Daily-5.
Not be a medical practitioner, I thought the first thing I should ask is what constitutes being addicted to something? The Internet, as usual, comes up with all manner of confusing and sometimes contradictory information, but it essentially appears to be (at least with regards to behavioural addictions) the inability to stop doing an activity when doing that activity that is detrimental to your physical, social or mental health and may also affect those around you, such as family and friends.
Personally, I cannot see that turfing has had any negative effects. In fact, quite the opposite. With all the exercise I’m slimmer and fitter than I was before I started turfing. I have found myself concentrating more on turfing rather than any of my other interests, such as sand collecting, street photography or brick spotting, but I don’t see that as a real problem. I’m still able to combine turfing with blogging on Planet Gary and Cathryn and I include turfing during our walks in the evenings and at weekends. But that’s from my own point of view, perhaps others might see things differently.
One thing all the online information does suggest is that you ask some questions about yourself and your behaviour, and often stresses very strongly that you answer them honestly and look beyond yourself when doing so. Don’t assume that your behaviour does not affect others around you. Some of the suggested questions are:
- Are you missing out on other activities you used to enjoy?
- Does your family or friends see less of you than before?
- Have you tried to reduce your turfing but found that difficult?
- Did you have withdrawal symptoms when you tried to stop turfing?
- Do you spend your time thinking about turfing and little else?
- Has turfing affected your physical health, for example, aches and pains?
- Are you defensive when someone suggests you cut back on turfing?
- Has your turfing affected your mental health or wellbeing?
- Are you in a zombie-tired state after long turfing sessions?
- Are you missing out on social occasions to go turfing?
- Do you plan your life around the ability to go turfing?
- Are you secretive or dishonest about your turfing activities?
- Do you continue to go turfing despite negative consequences?
- Are you experiencing mood swings, tiredness, defensiveness?
- Is your performance/attendance at work or school suffering?
- Has your physical appearance or personal hygiene declined?
- Are you encountering any relationship difficulties?
- Have you let people down in order to go turfing?
These are hard hitting questions and as I mentioned above I’m not qualified to give professional advice on matters as important as a behavioural addiction. However, I would suggest that if your answer to any of the above questions is yes, you perhaps should at the very least sit down and have a good, long hard think about your situation and behaviour. And while it might be one of the most difficult things in the world to actually do, speaking to someone might make all the difference.
If anyone does feel the need to chat about this, please feel free to get in touch. Consulting hours are flexible, take place in the Great Outdoors while turfing, and my hourly rate is a multi-pack of Chunky Kit-Kats. Right, must dash now, off for a wander around Dalhousie Castle for a spot of combined birding and turfing, and most importantly, to get my Five-A-day.
“Remember, turf will be there tomorrow, turf will be there new week, turf will be there next year and turf will be there until the End of the Universe. But life events happen just the once. – Anonymous”
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