I recently got a message from a friend saying that she wished she had my discipline to stay off social media. That she got in a fight with a friend over something trivial and it was all because she can’t give up Facebook. I feel this sentiment hard, and so I wanted to share my journey to becoming less obsessed with Facebook.
Social media can be an addiction, yes, it can. Like anything out there, you can become compelled to spend all your time on it, even NEED it. All you have to do is google “social media addiction” and you’ll see all the resources out there for understanding this new phenomenon.
I have an addictive personality for things that aren’t drugs. (During my recent broken leg trauma, I was so adamant about not becoming addicted to morphine or oxycodone that I powered through most everything post-surgery on Tylenol.) Chocolate, tea, coffee, that new book I want? Yep, I love that rush I get from things that make me feel good. And in the beginning, social media felt good too. It was helping me connect with friends! It helped me make connections for jobs or my writing! It kept me in the loop about world events! In the beginning, everything was great. Now?
The downhill slide all started, as it has for most people, with politics. Without getting into details because most of you already know that I’m pretty far left, the elections ruined me. I was checking Facebook constantly. Watching people be horrible to each other became like watching a car crash. I was both repulsed and fascinated by the anger and vitriol. In a way, I felt like it was validating everything I believed about humanity. That we are all terrible and don’t deserve this planet, nor each other.
Social media began to sour. It was no longer about feeling good. It was about feeling guilty or not special enough. Yet, I couldn’t walk away from it because I remembered the feelings of happiness. I kept thinking, “If I just mute these news stories or this or that person, it’ll get better.” And I tried all of that.
It didn’t get better. It only got worse.
So I took some definitive steps to ending my social media addiction…
After two weeks of this, I feel like I’m finally breaking the habits that always brought me to Facebook first and foremost every time I picked up my phone. Now, I’m much calmer. I’m clearer. I’m definitely more happy than I used to be. I hope to come back here to the blog after the summer and say that I’ve successfully broken my bad habits and made newer healthier ones in their place.