Why Facebook sucks

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. 🙂

23

I’m 23 years old. I’m a final year psychology major. I have my whole life ahead of me. But why do I feel like it’s slipping out of my hands so fast? Why can’t I get up and do the things that I want to do? Why do I feel something heavy pulling me down? Why do I feel so anxious?

I’m scared of ageing. I feel as if I already have. I feel the lines on my face although they’re not there. I sense the lethargy and pessimism that I hear accompanies old age. I already experience guilt for things left undone and words left unsaid. I pray to God to somehow turn back time so that I can relive the good times.

I’m only 23.

I’m single- looking for companionship; feeling the sense of loneliness that my grandmother says she experiences as a widow. The society I live in doesn’t really help my case. There are things people don’t know and will hopefully never know about me. My fear rests in the fear itself of these things being made public. I’m unhappy. I feel it. I’ve been in therapy for more than a year- somedays are good and somedays aren’t. I’m 23 and I’m tired. Exhausted actually. Physically, emotionally….spiritually empty..but in Spite of that, Thoughts overspill in my brain. They don’t seem to stop. They can’t stop. I try to make them stop but they don’t.

I’m also fixated. Fixated on a person who broke me while I was trying to fix him. I was 21. Ambitious to fix, eager to love and be loved back. I was good. Good was until I was used and abused and thrown aside. 2 years passed, and I’m still standing in a place I expected myself to have long left behind. Waiting? In a way yes. Hoping? Definitely. Regretting? Unfortunately.

I’m 23 and life hasn’t ever seemed this bleak. My misery makes me miserable. ‘Don’t tell me our youth is running out- its only just begun’ plays in the background. Ironic.

There’s not much to say. I’ve been trying for so long but on days such as today, I feel the weight on my shoulders- on my heart. My hands give in to compulsions as they pull at my beautiful hair- I want to stop. I’d like to be better again.

I’m 23. Hoping to get better.

Repost: 2012 and for the better

I wrote this last year (2011) but wanted to re-post it 🙂

In recent, I have begun to believe in the superstitious powers of the universe: karma, destiny, fate, signs and omens. I have come to believe that things happen for a reason- good or bad, often out of our control; I have come to believe that events occur to serve a purpose- a way that God communicates with us; I have come to believe that we will eventually reap what we sow; and finally, I have come to believe that our decisions and actions may reveal more to us than we could have imagined.

The year 2011 has taught me well, however cruelly. I began the year in a celebratory, cheerful fashion. “Happy hormones” were generously being excreted throughout my brain as my heart pulsated rapidly in my chest – it was great. The future looked bright and full of promise. I had recently stepped out of a bad chapter of my life and entered in to a newer, more exciting and, what seemed to be, a more rewarding one. I had finally rediscovered a social circle that I had previously been barred from having any interaction with. The lack of stressful factors and responsibilities that night was something that I had not even considered thanking God for because the feeling was something I had continuously taken for granted for a very long time. I remember being in a “good place”. It was all too good to be true. I still remember standing on my friend’s roof that night and looking out at the glittering Karachi night-view that was so graciously provided to me and thinking, “Tonight’s going to be the start of a better tomorrow. And the tomorrow after that. And the tomorrow after, after that.

Today, I have 27 days until 2012 pushes its way in to the limelight and it all seems too soon. Too fast. Too different. My environment and life circumstances have changed- in both, good and bad ways. I feel like I’ve matured and grown over the last 12 months in a collection of spheres of my “self”. I have made mistakes which have taught me more than any “How to Get Through Life” book could have ever taught me; I have taken innumerable faulty decisions for which I have had to pay hefty prices; I have experimented with and tried new things for which I am, both, regretful and thankful for; I have learnt to forget myself for the betterment of others; I have learnt to accept things that I had to concede were out of my locus of control; I have learnt the importance of certain people who are a part of my life which I previously ignored; and most of all, I have learnt to treasure the good things in life- my family, my friends and the bounties that God has blessed me with.

However, this road to enlightenment has not been the smoothest. In the midst of this ruckus, I fell off the path I had once chosen for myself. A path full of goals, codes, aspirations and glittering stars. I had always had a certain picture in my mind which had kept me focused in the past and directed; however, when things did cease to go the way I had planned them out to be, I realised that my energies were being channelled into a relationship which, now looking back, didn’t deserve the care. Time was spent trying to improve the situation, precious concentration splashed in to trying to rationalise every little ill-intended act that- it slowly became a ritualistic behaviour pattern of my personality. In addition to that, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer during the mid-summer months- which was a mixture of perfect icing on the cake and a tough reality check blended into one sour drink. “This is not what I’d planned. This is not what I had ever imagined”, I thought to myself. In a short time span I found myself becoming this ungrateful, pessimistic monster- someone I, somehow, could not identify myself with, but also a demon I could not detach myself from. My daily habits deteriorated, my performance in my day-to-day activities was a near zero. I was angry. And sad. And happy. And confused. All at the same time. I thought it would never end. But as I sit here looking back at the chain of events that occurred, I can confidently tell myself that I was wrong.

Monsoon clouds pass over once they’ve done their job; and although they may wreak havoc wherever they pause to relieve themselves, those who suffer as a consequence learn to cope. They may mourn and grieve at their losses for some time but in time they realise that, in order to continue living a healthy life, they must clean up the mess and move forward. So they take a breath of renewed strength and energy, stand up and begin the dreadful deed. They rebuild the homes they had once lived in happily and work towards making themselves financially sustainable in order to repair their lives. Although it is a mind-shatteringly tough feat which requires, both, psychological and physical strength, they may come out of the experience as stronger individuals. Similarly, in time, as I was able to overcome the shock of my mother’s health and face reality in the already-doomed relationship I was duelling with, I felt myself learning more than I felt I had learnt in the past year. I realised that life may throw dirt on your face, but unless you don’t make the effort to wipe it off, things would not change. I was able to foresee the implications of my negative stance on my future- I knew that the decision was up to me as to what I wanted to do with my current situation. My youth could either be wasted or utilized efficiently. It was hard to make the first step, to walk away from unhealthy habits, from relationships I cherished but could no longer make excuses for, distance myself from things that weren’t in my best interest and most importantly and most importantly- to put innate grief and fear in the background.

The road is rocky. It always will be. That’s life. But I’ve come to realise that there are events that we feel are out of our control when, in reality, they can be harnessed only if we want them to be. I believe in karma- I believe that whatever happened this year has repaid me in kind and will continue to do so. I believe in fate- things have a reason for playing out the way they do, however much we are unable to explain their occurrences. Lastly, I believe in signs- every event holds a significance that should not be overlooked or ignored.

However much I have hated this year, I feel like I have gained the most out of it than any other. I have come out a stronger, a more mature, and more grounded person than I was on the night of 31st December as I looked out from my friend’s roof. I look forward to what 2012 will hold for me, obviously in hope that it will be better than what this previous year brought forth. I cannot predict or control what God has in store for me, but I can only have faith in my credentials and belief in karma, for what goes around comes around.

Case #1

X is a 20 year old female who had been married off when she was about to give her last matric examination. According to her mother, who I had earlier mistaken to be her elder sister, explains how X used to be a lively, clever and intelligent girl before fights in her in laws’ family broke out. Her husband began receiving death threats from their neighbors due to a fight with X’s brother in law. The first time that her husband was threatened, her mother reports that X fell to the ground while conscious. Ever since then, X’s mental health has deteriorated profusely. What initially began with disorganized affect (anger outbursts, crying spells, irritation and high levels of aggression), slight insomnia and lower productivity levels has now blossomed into a complete inability to do anything more than sit in one place all day and stare off into space. Her mother and grandmother report that she often talks to herself, refuses to eat (vomits if forced to eat) and communicate with others, has begun urinating without control, takes off her clothes in inappropriate surroundings, does not know her own name when asked (gives some other name), and breaks into bursts of screaming (yells out her husbands name). She does not show any signs of physical mobility. It was reported that she had to be physically hauled out of the rickshaw she was brought to the hospital in this morning.


She has been sitting in front of me for the past hour and has remained in a static position all this time: eyes closed, expressionless with the back of her head resting against the wall behind her. As her grandmother asks her if she’d like to drink water, X opens her eyes momentarily but closes them again. Thus, she remains conscious but the medicines that she was given the previous day seem to have had a hypnotic effect on her. The psychiatrist next to me tries to make some sort of communication initiative by speaking to her, calling out X’s name, slightly nudging her- but there is no response whatsoever.


X’s mother and grandmother look dejected and disappointed as they watch X in the state that she is in. They are all that she has left since her husband and in laws chucked her out of their house. the doctor recommends immediate hospitalization in the mental health ward I am working in, so that a proper diagnosis can be laid out. for now, nothing can be said as to what X is suffering from but from the looks of it, it seems like a symptom of post traumatic stress coupled with psychotic depression.


A follow up in the coming weeks is likely to reveal more.