I did an experiment recently as I was facing a lot of darkness in my life. I discontinued my use of all things social media for a little over a month. No Facebook. No Instagram. No Twitter. I only allowed myself to use our organization’s “company media” platform we network with each other on, and I was still on email. This is part of the reason I’ve been silent on my blog, too. When I write on here, I’m always tempted to have Facebook up in the background for some reason! But, now I feel as though it is time to talk about my experience. Let me tell you this was no easy feat, but it was exactly what I needed.
May was certainly not my month. If we are really being real, 2018 is not my year. I was worn out, depressed, and anxious even more than normal. I was facing uncertainty about my evaluation for bariatric surgery, and I was awaiting a different appointment to see if any of my hormone levels improved. This is a double edged problem, in a sense. At my current health situation — diabetic, hypothyroid, PCOS, clinically obese — I most likely would not be able to become pregnant or if I could get pregnant, having a viable pregnancy would be unlikely. That has been so hard for me to accept. My doctor is fairly certain that about a year ago I had a very early term miscarriage based on some reactions from my body. I can’t get that off my mind, and wonder if that truly was the case. I’m getting older (OK, I’m only going to be 27 in a couple weeks, but that is pushing 30!), and the more time that goes by the more defeated I feel about having a family. My husband, bless his heart, is patient and thinks that when the time is right and if it is meant to be, we’ll be able to have kids some day. So this leads me to my social media experience.
My summary of my Facebook feed: Everyone is having babies. Everyone is losing weight. Everyone seems happy. Everyone is head over heels for their significant other. Now, I am very happy for my friends and acquaintances, but as I scrolled, it was not helping my mental state at all. Essentially it looked like everyone was winning at life and I was losing. I know that it’s easy to LOOK happy on social media, hell, if you looked at my Facebook page, you’d probably think I was super happy, stable, and enjoying life. But, even so, I realized that I was living in the world of social media, dwelling on what others had that I might never have, as my husband and I got in yet another fight when I was feeling too fat to go to a BBQ. I needed to stop.
The first few days of my absence of a social media presence was SO hard. I realized just how many times I was reaching for my phone to just scroll through other people’s lives and how often I was ignoring what was right in front of me. It was habitual. The more time that went by the more clear my mind got. I was reading more, writing more, and even talking to my husband more. I stopped comparing my life to everyone around me. I stopped wondering if what I was doing or not doing was “right” based on the people around me. It was an incredible feeling.
A few days ago I opened up my Facebook page and Instagram page again. I’m happy to be back, but I have a new respect for these things. I no longer feel the need to spend hours a day on these platforms just in case I might miss some big news. I cut down my online social circle, and I’m actually happy being on social media again. If I find myself going down the path of borderline social media addiction again, I’ll put a stop on it. I encourage you to look at just how much you are hiding behind a social media persona, and to redefine your presence online. It might just clear your mind!