I have been very aware of the side effects of Facebook. For myself, that is. Because its so addictive, it was really hard for me to actually go and do something about not wasting so much time stalking people, putting up superficial status updates, waiting for people to like stuff on my profile etc. However much it helps me keep in touch with friends and long lost acquaintances, keeps me in the loop with world events, trends, hot sensations and other similar stuff, i don’t know if all of that should trump the state of my mental health. It’s pretty stupid when you think of Facebook driving you crazy- literally- but it’s true. One fine day whilst studying for some really tough exams, I kept logging onto Facebook for no reason- I realized that I needed to somehow find a way to STOP. So I deactivated my account on the condition that I would go back to it after my exams would finish. It’s been more than two weeks since the pact expired but I still haven’t reactivated my account. And I feel amazing. Here are some reasons why:
1) I can study for long stretches at a time without feeling the compelling need to check if anyone posted on my wall, replied to my message, or just to check if I have any new notifications. I also felt like i did a lot better in these past exams because I wasn’t distracted.
2) I feel less heavy inside. I was very aware of the fact that peoples’ lives upset me. For example, people going to parties that I wasn’t invited to or couldn’t go to, or people keeping in touch with those who I hadn’t made the effort with- and regretted not doing so. It made me feel heavy and jealous. I didn’t like the feeling and although I’m very aware of the fact that I am my own master I guess this is where my avoidant coping skills stepped in.
3) I was also very conscious about who could see what on my profile. There were pictures etc that I had kept on strict private settings but had people view them somehow or the other. I felt as if my privacy had been breached and didn’t like it. I made me worried and always trying to up my privacy settings. By deactivating my account I don’t have to worry about that kind of stuff.
4) I was a Facebook addict. There was always a feeling of anxiety about the stuff that I posted, whether I should post or not, what people would think about it, why people didn’t ‘like’ whatever I’d posted etc. it was ridiculous. So much social desirability. So much need for validation. It was sad. It was becoming cyclical and I was very aware of my thought processes and really felt as if there was a need to put an end to it.
5) I was very conscious. Overly conscious. Of what? To create an impression on someone specific. Someone who I keep writing about; someone who’s on my mind quite a lot. I was very conscious of what content this person would see, would try to make him jealous by carefully selecting ‘envy worthy’ stuff to post, would wonder whether he saw it or not etc. it was crazy. It was like a running header of a research paper you’re writing- just always there. So to break this chain reaction, I felt that it was better if I stepped back to put an end to it. I could delete him but something inside me doesn’t want to. Maybe in time I will find that strength.
I’m pretty happy without Facebook in my life. Sure I haven’t spoken to a lot if my friends for a while, don’t know about hot social networking trends, haven’t kept in touch with people who I can’t without Facebook, but I feel very happy and content. I like it better this way. I’ll probably go back to Facebook in a while when I can’t take it anymore, but till then I’m going to enjoy this vacation. 🙂