I have a social media addiction. I am pretty sure of it, and probably my friends and family would agree. And I am also pretty sure I am one of thousands..
Since I joined up to Facebook in 2007 and later upgraded to my first smartphone, there has been no looking back for me. And since then, Instagram and Twitter have joined the party.
There is so much I love about social media. It has enabled me to re-connect with old friends, maintain relationships with my extended family and help develop new friendships. It keeps me up to date with local and national going-ons, and provides an easy and convenient way to share our life in pictures with my fabulous brother who lives up in Edinburgh.
But there is also so much I hate..the distraction, the trolls, Britain First Posts
utter wankers and how checking it day after day can make you lazy with your relationships. You may think you are a good friend because you like and comment on Facebook, but when did you last meet up and have an actual proper conversation? I am so very guilty of this and I am ashamed of it. I know it works both ways and efforts must be made by both parties, but I really haven’t made the best of efforts in recent years.
This last year, since I have been feeling better in myself, I have tried to make more of an effort to arrange to physically see some of those friends who I ‘see’ all the time on social media. It was tricky meeting up due to everyone’s schedules, but I did have some lovely catch-ups with uni friends, old work colleagues and old school friends. And I hope to continue this into 2016 and beyond.
At home, in the evening, hubby and I will often be distracted on social media and not engage with each other. We have to make a real effort to spend quality time with each other, and I am not entirely sure we take this seriously enough at the moment. *looks over at hubby on the Playstation*
I believe that social media to some degree has not helped some of my mental health issues. Growing up I have always been a paranoid individual. Some of my close friends and family will know that I may have inherited parts of this trait from one side of my family. I have had no obvious reason to be paranoid, for example I have had a happy stable upbringing, both parents continue to be in a loving solid relationship
touch wood, and I myself am lucky enough to also be in a similar relationship (15 years and counting) touch wood again. But I am, and continue to be, paranoid about my ability to hold onto friendships and relationships. I struggle to believe that people might like me or enjoy my company. I struggle to believe that my husband loves me and wants to stay with me, and in my very dark days, I have felt that my girls don’t love me or won’t want me as their mum when they are older.
Social media does not always help reassure my paranoia and anxiety. Most of the various apps give you facts and figures about your ‘friendships’ and interactions. You can also compare your facts and figures with other peoples. You see everyone else’s lives played out on screen and that makes you question your own. You see other people’s interactions with each other, and don’t feel your interactions with them are ‘as good’ and then it plays on your mind. And there is the constant fear that if you leave social media you will miss out on exciting events and lose friends etc. You read too much into comments on posts and you look for hidden meanings or accusations.
Since I have been taking medication to help my mental health, my paranoia has improved massively (to my husband’s great relief!). I wasn’t expecting this to happen. I had never linked the paranoia with the low mood and anxiety before. But I have now accepted that all three go together and that my low serotonin levels have affected my feelings over the years.
Since medicating, I worry less about the ‘success’ of my friendships and have been able to enjoy them more and feel more confident in my ability to maintain them. I have also been able to accept and understand that some people won’t want to maintain a relationship/friendship with me, but that is ok and is part of life. My counsellor helped me a lot with this issue last year.
Feeling a bit better in myself about this issue has helped me deal with the challenges of social media, and I have been trying to use it for more positive reasons, such as starting this blog for example. I don’t focus so much on my friend count and following every post all the time, and I am trying to use it to connect better with friends and family and share positive stories and useful information.
I am ignoring the posts that would make me sad or angry by using advances in the app facilities to hide them from my news feeds. I am trying to use Instagram to practice photography and enhance our family photo collection. (I really like using Flickr for this as well but not many people seem to use it. A shame as I think it is a great app and there are some amazing photographers on there).
Unfortunately, at this stage in my life I don’t feel I will be able to remove myself from social media, and I don’t really want to if truth be told. However, there is a lot more I can do to live with it better and be more disciplined in how I use it. I don’t need to check all my apps as much as I do. I must try to use my phone and tablet less around my children. I need to lift my head up and look around me and interact more with those around me. I need to delete the Daily Mail
I read an interesting post by A Moment with Franca this week about disconnecting from social media. I think having a detox is a really good idea and I am going to give it a try very soon. I did deactivate my Facebook account this weekend. I lasted 3 days. It’s not bad for me, but I can do better.
Do you have concerns about your use of social media?
Have you ever tried to take a break, and if so, how long did it last?