Recently I took two weeks off from Facebook. OK, technically it was only a sabbatical from my personal news feed. I continued to return messages from worried friends and interacted on my blog page.
The results of that furlough were quite astounding. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m no scientist or statistician or what have you, but I can say without a doubt that the outcome exceeded what I initially thought was just a last-ditch effort in regaining my sanity.
I learned so much more.
I suffer from Bipolar depression and have a diagnosis of Bipolar 2 which means there are not many “manic high” days for me. I stay hypo-manic most of the time. My brain is excited to be busy but my body says “Nope.” Let me assure you though that there are not many chances of ever achieving any type of freaking “high” off of Facebook these days. Especially if you have people on your feed like I do. Correction. Did.
One day I woke up severely depressed. I was angry as well. The slow burn of dislike I had for people in general had been increasing rapidly over the past several weeks. I found myself posting pissed off status’ and responding in the like to other posts. I found myself gritting my teeth in disdain for all the “wrongs” everyone I knew on Facebook, were going through. How could the world be so cruel to them? Then it dawned on me! I was reading the SAME crap over and over that these people had been posting for my whole Facebook life! They were chronic complainers. Never having anything positive to say. As they were typing furiously about how their lives were being drained by circumstances, they were draining the life out of me.
That was it. I told myself I would not log on to the feed for a few days. I bought a puzzle and started coming home from work and actually sitting in my recliner to watch T.V. or working on the puzzle. Anything to distract me from Facebook.
I have to interject here that for the past year and a half I have been struggling with extremely high blood pressure and after being put on the fourth medication in six months and still no difference, I was willing to try anything. I thought to myself, “I wonder if I stop reading all this negative stuff online and surround myself with positive thoughts and quiet time to myself each evening if that will help?”
It was no easy feat. I’m a people person. I run two pages plus my personal page and to be away from a media outlet that allows me to interact with different personalities, allows me to laugh and bring laughter to others, was HARD.
By the second day my blood pressure was down 5-7 points both diastolic and systolic. The medication? Probably. The lack of negative posts about the same old shit? Definitely. My anger had dropped by 50 percent. I was still depressed to a point but I didn’t feel worthless. I felt a newness inside of me actually. I felt like I had taken my power back. I know it sounds silly that someone could let a social media outlet make them feel less than what they are worth, but it’s true! It could be happening to you right now! I truly think that part of the reason I felt so down was because I’m naturally caring. I don’t have to work at it. I want and will try to help anyone and everyone who I think may need it. I’m a problem fixer, or at least I try to be. I tend to take on other people’s problems a lot more than my own and this is exactly why this leave of absence HAD to take place.
Initially I gave myself a timeline. One week. I would only go back to my personal feed once I’d had the chance to delete most of the negative people from my page. The first week went by and I ended up spending a great weekend with a book! I hadn’t read a book in months and it’s quite frankly one of my favorite things to do. So I let the weekend slip by in bliss, no negativity. Week two started and my blood pressure was finally coming down and I began to feel so much better.
This past week I’ve been going through my friends list and have deleted seventy-one people. My outlook on life is better. I’m not as hateful anymore. I feel like I care about myself more. I realize that I can’t fix everyone’s problems and especially those who choose to not help themselves in the process. Those are the exact people who I was allowing to steal my happiness. I take complete responsibility for that.
I now have a different perspective of Facebook. It’s a fun place to be. Most days. I just have to realize which days those are and when it’s a foul day in Zuckerberg-land…I stay away.