Do you ever get that feeling...like life is kind of piling on top of you?
I find it pretty hard to put the feeling in to words, but lately I've found myself feeling stressed out pretty much constantly... I'll always feel a little on edge, there'll always be some major world problem weighing on my mind...something I'll never truly be able to resolve but nonetheless it hangs there in my peripheral vision - worrying me, niggling away at me.
I'm the first to admit I worry too much - about anything and everything really - it's something I don't seem to be able to help, no matter how much I might try. I've always been that way, ever since childhood. Some people are born worriers I guess and I am definitely one of them.
I also admit that I spend WAY too much time online - it's quite difficult not to when your job is internet based, it's necessary to spend a certain amount of time on the web, on social media and so on - but I often find myself spending evenings with my phone in my hand, always hitting refresh, always scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed...reading whatever happens to appear before me.
But lately I'm really noticing just how toxic a place Facebook seems to be - for me anyway.
Scrolling down my newsfeed on any given day, I'll no doubt be confronted by most of the following:
*Horrifying images, and even videos, depicting all manner of atrocities occurring through out the world - in recent weeks I've seen images of dogs being abused, dead children in Syria, a father & son being killed in a terrorist attack, local children losing their lives to cancer - these are to name but a few.
I understand that some people want to use their Facebook pages to promote a cause that's important to them, some people feel that sharing these things spreads awareness which is important, some people simply share these things out of sympathy - I'm sure that nobody I know shares these things with any malice or bad intent, but some people...people like me...simply can't handle seeing these kinds of things.
Particularly when they're thrown up before my eyes without any warning - some people may be able to see them, acknowledge them and move on with their lives but for someone like me it's not that easy - those images will stay with me for years, they'll never truly leave my mind - they'll show themselves again in my minds eye in years to come as I try to get to sleep, they'll cause panic attacks, they'll cause endless tears, they'll ruin days with my family when they'll be all I'll be able to think about.
*Arguments, backstabbing, bitching and general negativity - so many people seem to use their Facebook profiles as a way to vent their anger at any given situation.
I understand the temptation to offload to facebook when something has really got your goat - believe me, I've done it more than once myself - but sometimes it feels like I'm gawping in at other peoples marital problems, arguments and fall outs in friendships and even families. Passive aggressive attacks everywhere, cloak & dagger statuses clearly aimed at somebody else and then all the guessing and questioning on who it's supposed to be about...
It's tiring, it's exhausting and to be honest it just leaves me nervous a lot of the time. We all have our own negativity to deal with in life, do we really need to be so readily subjected to everybody elses too? is that really healthy?
*Unfriendings, bickerings, misunderstandings and feelings of inadequacy - Facebook really isn't the ideal place to have serious conversations with anybody, about anything but when so much time is spent on there sometimes it ends up happening anyway - and how easy is it to misconstrue somebody's intended meaning when you're simply reading their words on a screen without hearing the tone in their voice?
So often I find myself feeling paranoid, wondering if somebody has taken something I said the wrong way, wondering if somebody's angry status is meant for me, wondering if I've done something wrong when I don't get a reply to a message or a comment back on a thread.
I even find myself feeling worried if I post a photo that doesn't get many likes - how ridiculous, right?! But it's something that genuinely happens to me...I feel concerned, I wonder why, I start to feel paranoid and convince myself that nobody likes me...it sounds crazy I KNOW this, but these are the feelings I truly have...
And then there's the worry of being unfriended - it happens to all of us, but that feeling when you notice somebody is still on Facebook but you're no longer on their friends list? Yeah...that's not a pleasant one. You wonder what you did, you wonder what's been said about you behind your back...and if you're anything like me it can play on your mind for weeks, even months, and you'll drive yourself mad wondering what you're supposed to have done wrong.
All the better when you're on the receiving end of unfriendings from family members as I have been recently!! That's a special kind of hurt!
And so, when you take all these things into account...and you realise just how much toxicity there is on a simple website simply scrolling down your newsfeed on any given evening - you start to realise that it's really little wonder you feel so constantly stressed out, so constantly worried, so constantly insecure.
I don't think I'm cut out for Facebook - I'm not a confident enough person and I take everything in life way too hard - I worry about whether I come across in the way I want to when I write a status, I worry about chatting too much in groups incase people think I'm boring or they don't like me...I worry about not chatting enough incase they think I'm snotty - I worry that I don't have good enough conversational skills and my instinct to always relate something to a personal anecdote in order to keep a conversation flowing will instead come across as a "Me me me"-ness that I don't intend.
I worry...worry....worry. Constantly. Never endingly.
And the more I thought about it, the more I realised that for someone who suffers with social anxiety like I do - Facebook is no different than sitting at home with the front door open every evening, inviting the whole world and their problems, their opinions and their perception of you into your home and into your life...every evening...night after night.
You wouldn't do that, because it's not healthy...right? So how is this any different?
Last week I finally deactivated my Facebook account.
And I can't even begin to describe how much better I felt almost immediately.
I felt like I had room to breathe again.
And for the time I've spent away, I feel as though I can see more clearly again - I'm spending less time worrying about what people think of me, less time worrying about other people's problems, less time concerning myself with all manner of dark things I'll never be able to fix - and more time seeing all the good things in my life.
In these four walls.
Right here in front of me are my beautiful little boys, always happy....always smiling....always seeing the world through innocent eyes...
And my partner, who loves me and doesn't judge me and is always there for me.
These are the people that matter...they are the things that matter....
I'm too blessed to be so stressed by things that are only there when Facebook is activated....so its high time I stopped letting the outside get in so easily.
I'm sure I'll reactivate my account eventually for work and to keep in touch with family...but I'll be taking a GIGANTIC step back from it all.
Who needs to spend so much free time scrolling through page after page of negativity, when I could be spending my time looking at this.
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