Facebook is not evil. Some of the most meaningful friendships in my life wouldn’t have moved forward had we not added each other on Facebook after the first time we interacted. In my opinion, 2006-2009 were the good Facebook years. After one point everyone and their dog had a Facebook account, old ghosts were chasing you down and some of the people on your Friend’s List were those you would pretend to not see if you were at the supermarket! As a ‘sweet’ soul, I didn’t want to seem rude Ignoring requests but annoyance broke that wall ages ago. Now I’ve deleted over 50 people from my Friend’s list and I don’t feel sorry. These are people who,
1. added me but never spoke despite me having sent polite ‘hello/how are you messages’
2. updated constantly
3. published annoying status messages
My best friend deleted her Facebook account, only a few months after creating it. Back then I thought she was overreacting. Some of my closest friends aren’t on Facebook and lately I’ve begun to question-Why am I sharing personal stuff with people who are just my ‘facebook friends’ and not really my close ones? Suddenly, I don’t want to publish a word on Facebook! Well that is a dramatic reaction but the more I read on how Facebook messes with your psychological make up, the more I wanted to get away.
Facebook doesn’t directly lead to depression, I believe it leads to anxiety which can eventually cause depression. We are all faced with disappointments in our ‘offline’ lives but to see other people ‘vacationing’, ‘getting married’, ‘having babies’ makes us feel like the universe sent the ‘happy people party’ invite to everyone but us. Our anxiety leads to insecurity which leads to negative self talk and eventually has us stuck in a miserable depressive cycle. There have been instances when I’ve been in a cheerful mood until I logged onto Facebook. By the time I logged off, I was either miserable because everyone but me had a ‘perfect’ life or angry because of the jealousy caused by misconceived notions of others’ happiness had now turned into rage . After a while, your heart basically starts racing every-time you type the Facebook URL because your subconscious is anxious…anxious…anxious!
NOTE: People seem ‘happier’ on Facebook because everyone tries to portray their best image.
Facebook is like high school all over again. Most “Facebook Friends” won’t tell you the truth because they don’t owe it to you. Every-one wants their peers, exes, old high school mates, ex co-workers to see that their life is far better than it was before. Research confirms that on Facebook, we perceive others to be a lot happier than they really are! Now I’m not a mean spirited person who can’t stand others being happy, in reality its the opposite. As a karma fearing, genuine believer of universal love, I want everyone to love and be happy! Yet somehow my subconscious compares my situation with that of those on my Facebook. It is absolutely unintentional but last month I realised, it was high time I brought this under control.
Today’s therapy for the soul is a Facebook Fast for people who can resonate with my Facebook Anxiety story.
Honestly, the first two weeks I struggled. It wasn’t a punishment and I hadn’t banished myself from Facebook so I took it slowly. I’d log in for a couple minutes and log off. Even after a month, I open my browser and sometimes end up typing ‘Facebook.com’ in the URL box! I fear it’s engrained in my genetic code now.
Has my anxiety disappeared?
Mostly. I suppose hormones are responsible for a little anxiety now and again but my usual negative self talk has gone down. I’m more focused on my work, I’m spending more time listening to the people in my life and I sleep better. For a change, I watch more television, I get out of the bed as soon as I’m awake instead of lying there checking my Facebook, when I get up in the middle of the night I do reach out for my phone to browse some random sites but not Facebook, I listen to more music. All of a sudden, there are quite a few many things I’m doing which makes me wonder-Just how much time was I wasting on Facebook, making myself feel anxious?
I read this article a few months back. Its quite a long read but one that will make you think. Is Facebook Making Us Lonely written by Stephen Marche for The Atlantic.