A hiatus from Facebook
Updated: Mar 11, 2020
I was tired of rooting through all the trash on Facebook; I was tired of trying to clear up the misinformation that my “friends” were posting by way of memes. I was tired of thinking differently about people who I knew in the “real world” because the anonymity of the internet allowed their worst proclivities to come to light. I was tired of not being able to control my access to Facebook -bookending my day- being one of the first things I looked at in the morning and one of the last things I read through at night. I was dealing with heightened anxiety and depression. I knew I needed a break.
I took that break about two months ago. At first, it threw my day for a loop. My muscle memory wanted to search for the application first thing in the morning. I instinctively attempted to look for the Facebook app through my day. I struggled with not being able to share my favorite moments on a platform where I had 800+ “friends”. I felt like I was missing out on events that other friends were aware of such as, friends whose relationships became “Facebook official”, pictures of newborn babies, or trips friends were taking. Facebook felt like such a large part of the communication I share with the outside world. I felt isolated and alone, the same feelings I had when I was at the height of my anxiety and depression while on Facebook.
Slowly, as my time away from Facebook elongated, those feelings subsided. I learned to enjoy the moment I was in. I stopped whipping my phone out to capture a “Facebook worthy” picture. I recently went on a trip to Hawaii, where I am from. I tend to take a ton of pictures, but on this trip, during 2 weeks gone, I took less than half the pictures I would’ve taken had I been on the Facebook platform. It was a relief. I got to enjoy my family without the added distraction of Facebook.
This break from Facebook also allowed me to renew and refresh my opinions of my family and friends, many of which have different ideologies and beliefs than me. I can see that displayed clearly with my relationship with my mother; she tends to share memes that I do not agree with, ones that in my opinion, are rife with misinformation or slanted points of view. I recently shared with her that I felt our relationship had strengthened. I explained that I felt the renewed sense of our relationship stemmed from not having to wade through the bullshit that she posts. She agreed.
I believe that it is healthy to take a hiatus from social media on occasion -both to regain a sense of the real world and to re-center ourselves. I found relief for my fragile psyche, a centering of my personality, and a sense of much more control in real life and online.
I wrote this opinion piece as something to reflect back on. Today, I am going to log back in and engage on this platform that I have taken time away from. I wanted to be able to remind myself of the control I have and the relief I feel when I take that control.