I am resistant if you are willing. If you are willing, I am resistant. and so we dance around. and around. and around. Never do we arrive . We memorize the steps so we can begin again. -me
I am currently in my addiction and assessment class at school Fascinating because I have lived my 46 years surrounded by addicts that I love, and still I am learning the process of addiction. Bottom line…it sucks no matter which way you spin it.
One of our assigned projects is to give up something for two weeks. Read all about it…. (I am keeping a daily log/journal…can’t wait to share that). I am learning things about myself that aren’t the most pleasing. I am learning nonetheless.
I have chosen to give up all social media for these two weeks. This includes for me, Facebook (the biggest offender), Snapchat, Instagram (on these two to keep up with my kids and nieces), Twitter (to keep up with an old boyfriend’s articles) and all online dating sites (to meet ‘those’ connection needs). Even thinking about doing this for two weeks made my belly clench, so I decided it was probably the direction I needed to go.
Although we were not required to begin our abstinence until the morning of the class, I had been prepping myself for a couple of weeks. I’ve not decreased my social media time but I did let my Facebook world know what I would be doing and why. I was surprised at the positive responses I got and at the people who thought they might ‘try’ it too at some point. I know a slip up is a possibility but I don’t want to disappoint them. (or myself) I asked my best friend to help hold me accountable and I know she will. I decided yesterday (Thursday) afternoon to go ahead and disconnect. It had been an emotional day and I was doing lots of introspection…it just seemed like the right time to do it. Later that night, at home, I opened my laptop to do homework. Silly thing was opened to Facebook from the last time I had used it. I was mortified and made my classmate (we were working together) sign out for me. In no less than 5 minutes, I got a text from my best friend telling me to get off Facebook. Geez! She’s normally such an enabler for others, lol! Anyway, we called her on speaker because I did not want her to think I really was on Facebook. I struggle if anyone questions my integrity…always have. The internal struggle when my insides and outsides aren’t matching up is significant so when someone else questions that, it hurts me probably more than it should.
My ex-husband, left our home for the second time in June, 2016. My Daddy died in July, 2016. Going back even further, I had a stroke in 2009. There was an affair in our marriage in 2013. We legally divorced in 2017. I think each of these events strengthened the relationship I already had with social media, especially with Facebook. (lol! I just noticed how easily I referred to this possible addiction as a relationship).
That leads naturally into my next point…why is social media considered my friend? I don’t think I use it as my only way to connect, but it definitely is a way to connect. I’m super relational and I love to write. I post way more than I even look at things. But, looking back during those times of trauma, Facebook was an outlet for me to escape from my own reality, see how others were doing and post my journey…all of which were healing for me at the time. In hindsight, Facebook became a grounding connection when I felt lonely or afraid and it was always there for me. It was a way to disconnect from my own reality sometimes, and other times I shared my reality…but it was always there. I love the safety knowing that connection is always there and won’t abandon me. That’s really dumb. It reminds me of a client I had who struggled with serious mental health issues and constant loneliness. He told me that he hated when his cable wasn’t working because the people on t.v. were his only friends and they were always there. I get it buddy, I get it!
My compulsitory behavior of constantly checking Facebook…I look first thing in the morning and know that this ‘friend’ is there when I wake…even though my once husband is not. Now I remember toward the end of our marriage the emptiness I felt when I woke miles away from him in the same bed…we didn’t connect but I would connect with Facebook on my phone. I check it throughout the day and at night and at bedtime, as well as when I cannot sleep. I check it when I’m reading a book or doing homework or paying bills…no wonder I feel unfocused. I can see things that connect me, I read things that make me think or annoy me, or even touch my heart. It gives me a sense of being in touch when there is no one there to touch me. It fills my empty voids sometimes, other times it’s just positive, and often it’s only a distraction from life. So, I guess it appeals to my senses through the provision of memories of sweet times, tender touches, comforting smells; I can even hear and see the memories play out it my head. This is triggered through my own Facebook memories and also through current people and what I see. This refers to the constant clicking and scrolling part. Honestly, Facebook is also a way to keep up with the guys I date. Have they been on and they aren’t talking to me? Are they just talking to me? Are they honest? I’m validating my already existing walls and keeping score, whether they know it or not…and I’m feeding my insatiable curiosity. Writing this out, I feel like a voyeur and like I’m cheating myself from truly moving forward.
I think I have already addressed a foundation for how my behavior provides healing or is a balm to my emotional wounds. Now, as I am really healing, I enjoy reflecting on things I once wrote and seeing how far I’ve come. Yet, those memories that pop up can sometimes sting a little bit. As I just realized above…how much am I healing and how much am I holding on? I guess there is a fine balance. In sharing, I always hope that I am offering someone else healing and I hear often that I am. Hearing I am an inspiration is lovely but not what I seek. I am who I really am on social media but I find it’s easier for me to get my full feelings out in the written word sometimes, easier to find vulnerability there than in person which is probably part of why it continues to heal. I should be sharing that by working more on my blog or a book, like I always dream of. I am seeing though that I need to see how much social media is a true healing mechanism vs. how much social media is a band aid.
I don’t know that my social media addictive behavior really makes me feel helpless, but entrapped, yes. I guess because I realize it’s such a thing I reach to without even thinking and also that it made me nervous to think about giving it up, even for two weeks. That means it manages me more than I manage it and I don’t like that. That’s where the feeling of entrapment comes from. As I reflect on this with as much self-honesty as I can muster, I am wondering how many feelings social media helps me keep confined.
My consistent relationship with social media, Facebook in particular, costs me perhaps more than I have considered. I have goals and one of them is managing my time intentionally. Facebook clicking and scrolling steals from my time, and time is not a forever guaranteed thing. I heard somewhere recently that the average person spends seven years of their life on social media. Seven years. I don’t want that. In those terms, it kind of freaks me out. I could be writing, praying, connecting with my kids and others…instead I’m staring at a screen. How much of my life am I giving to the blue screen and what will the payoff for that be? Ugh.