*Disclsimer: I know, I know. I still have Instagram…the land of filters and make believe. I didn’t give up social media entirely…that wasn’t the point of challenging myself to give up Facebook. The point was to rid myself of distractions and hold myself accountable to authentic conversations.
The goal was to log off Facebook and not log on again for a very long time. I’ve done the fasting. I’ve done 30 days here and there..logged out…removed the app, set timers, etc. Like a good junkie, I was right back on it before I knew it.
Why on earth would I give up Facebook, such a normalized artificial paradise, you ask?
First reason: I help people who are suicidal, homicidal, and/or psychotic for a living. Facebook is toxic for the mentally ill or unstable. I found myself completely convicted for continuing to participate in social media that allows the amounts of live suicides, and even homicides to continue to grow without shutting it down. Yes, all social media has a history of mentally ill people live streaming some crazy shit, but Facebook’s statistics are astonishingly high, and growing.
Second reason: I don’t think it’s healthy for people like me who struggle with social anxiety. It enables me to avoid actual conversation. By following statuses and liking this and that I may end up going months, several months without actually having a real conversation with the people I consider “in my circle.” That’s pretty bad.
Third reason: It’s a huge trigger for my anxiety and PTSD. The state of current politics, the constant influx of headlines, political movements, and social injustices stresses me right the f out. I used to have a lot more respect for those I was connected to, right before they had the power to voice ignorant, often false information about current t hot topics. It’s like a virtual playground of bullies and hot headed idiots constantly arguing over hate. Ugh. Good riddance!
Fourth reason: I was devoting more time to Facebook than my family. It’s too convenient to do a quick check, then next thing you know it’s been 45 minutes and I know what Jack (whom I still haven’t said a word to in about 10 years) had for dinner last night, and how Mary’s “angelic” (in real life awful) children won 10 trophies for participating in life. Meanwhile, dinners burning in the oven and the kids are starving because it’s been a 45 minute “quick check.” This was my life for far too long. I’ll be damned if I let some stupid social media outlet allow me to burn dinners and ignore my family duties. let’s face it;
Fifth reason: Facebook isn’t the best thing for marriages. According to Bustle, “Whether it’s because of Facebook usage or a partner’s behavior on it, for 25 percent of couples Facebook causes a fight at least once a week.” We have enough stuff to deal with in a fallen world. I’m done allowing virtual reality to dictate my arguments with my spouse.
I know…what you’re thinking; what about the good things Facebook does for the community and blah blah blah…yes there are good supports available on social media, I do admit that is true. But what if instead of a virtual community online we actually knocked on our neighbors door and built a community of our own? Hmmm. Sounds outdated just enough to be trendy ‘eh?
So what have I gained from giving up Facebook?
- Time. Time is money. Advertising elsewhere has paid off big.
- Self Care. My free time is better spent focusing on my writing and recovery.
- Reading. I’ve read two books since I’ve redirected my social media connections. This is the most I’ve read in a year (that fact is totally embarrassing for a writer).
Connection. I’ve called people I haven’t spoken to in a long time. I have more time with my family. I am present in the present, regardless of what I’m doing (it’s been really great to practice what I preach in recovery).
- Freedom. I feel free. I’m no longer obligated to take part in something that consumes me on an artificially satisfying level.
What kind of weirdo doesn’t drink or do the Facebook this day in age? This one right here, thank you very much. I never was one to follow the crowd anyway.