Ok, so I am definitely straying a bit from my brand with this, BUT I think it is somewhat connected to this suddenly popular travel/nomad lifestyle. Every single person with a social media account should be able to relate.
Welcome to the 21st century! It has become completely normal to have everything including your dirty laundry hung out to dry on the internet. What would be absolutely terrifying to someone in 1901, is now the social norm. In fact, people who aren’t using social media are laughed at, and seldom taken seriously.
I tried something. I deleted my Facebook for 7 days. That’s nothing, I know, but I realized how much of our lives depend on social media now. Here is what I discovered:
- The most common source of all news is Facebook.
- A HUGE amount of human interaction nowadays takes place on Facebook.
- I had less anxiety and depression and it actually cured a lot of my insecurities for the 7 days I disconnected.
- People are more likely to look at their phone than have a conversation with someone sitting across the table, or on the other side of the couch.
- Being without social media is lonely.
I was back on Facebook the second my week was over. I of course have some excuses as to why, BUT really none of that matters. One of the things I noticed more than anything was that I felt extremely lonely. I realized that I have isolated myself and my friendships are superficial, because it’s only through a screen. I realized Brandon and I spend more time on our phones looking at a newsfeed than we do talking to each other, doing things together, or just interacting at all.
It’s a catch-22 though. I feel less alone on my social media accounts, but the second all of that is taken away I realize how alone I really am. Everything revolves around taking the best photo to post on Instagram or Facebook. Downloading the newest apps like boomerang, or Tik-Tok to just keep up with everyone else, but is keeping up with everyone else really helping?
Travel blogs and other travel accounts are always so inspirational, and I get how hypocritical this is coming from someone who writes about travel themselves, but it’s also seriously depressing. A lot of people don’t know how to save money traveling and can’t afford to travel due to personal circumstances, and I think that is awful. Everyone should be able to travel. Don’t even get me started on the price of plane tickets, because it’s a rip off.
As a healthcare worker I have noticed 3 things in my short time working in a primary care clinic. Depression is an epidemic. Whether it is related to social media or not, the majority of the population feels inadequate and terrible about themselves and their lives. I can’t help but feel that addiction to social media plays at least a small part in this. Two years ago we were not screening for suicide unless a patient came in for depression or mentioned it during a visit. Today, more and more clinics are starting to screen at every single visit, and you know what? More and more people are being diagnosed with crippling depression and many people have SI (suicidal ideations).
Taking a break from my Facebook account even though it was only for a week, opened my eyes and showed me that there is so much more than just flexing about your life on social media or playing into everyone else doing the same. The truth is, what people post is a very small part of their lives and many people are hiding their sadness behind selfies of themselves and photos of them out partying with friends every night.
This experiment was very personal to me. I have been struggling with my own depression related to my self image as well as some other personal health struggles. I disassociate myself from my friends, my family and my husband frequently. Depression is very real for me and social media is a huge trigger. Seeing everyone else posting happy, perfect family photographs is hard to swallow. There are nights I don’t sleep and days I sleep for over 18 hours. There are days I go without eating and days I eat everything in sight. There are weeks I feel like I can take on the world and weeks I feel like a zombie just going through the motions with no feeling.
Deleting Facebook helped me regroup, rethink my future and look at things in a more positive light. Deleting Facebook for 7 days in no way cured my depression, but it made me feel like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel.
I want to urge everyone to deactivate your Facebook occasionally, even if only for a day here and there. If you don’t want to deactivate you can always delete it off your phone for a while and just spend time with the people around you. Go out on a date with your spouse, go on a cell phone free vacation, go out and see a national or state park, enjoy the outdoors, and find some light in your life that doesn’t come from your cell phone or computer screen. Whatever your insecurities are, whatever triggers your depression or anxiety, taking a break from social media can help you refocus your attention on what matters. Of course, there is also a lot of GOOD that social media has brought and I’m not saying it’s all bad, but there is also definitely nothing wrong with taking a break a few times a year to ensure your sanity. Especially if you are being constantly triggered by everything around you.
If you do not feel safe, or are in a bad place and need help,
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255