Social Media: A Love / Hate Story

Facebook, a wonderful world to keep up with friends and connect with the like minded. It can also be a world full of triggers and pitfalls of peril for those of us with mental illness. There are so many support groups that are easy to access when you need to talk with people who understand your plight. It makes it easy to connect with your friends if you need a quick word of encouragement. These are amazing and wonderful things that social media and smartphones make possible. If I didn’t have these outlets so readily available, I doubt I’d be half as functional as I am today. If you are reading this I think it’s safe to assume that you have at least a passing experience with social media and can probably at least partially understand what I’m writing about. It took me a while to warm up to this whole idea of connecting with people via cyberspace, but I have fully embraced it now for what it has allowed me to experience and connect with.

Now it’s not all roses and almond milk (that’s a saying, right?). It becomes far too easy to allow my mood to take simple things and change them into a great big mess. When I don’t have someone across from me, it becomes far to easy for me to allow my blinding anger out and type words that can be hurtful and damaging to friendships and possible friendships. I know in my brain that there are always more than one perspective on hot button topics, but when I can’t see the person I am talking to, it is hard to take a second and calm down and think rationally. It becomes difficult to just walk away as I read the words the other person has said that I disagree with, over and over and over again, filling more and more with rage. It’s so frigging easy to lose yourself when there is nothing but a screen in front of you.

It’s not only anger that can break me while I invest time on social media. Worthlessness is a feeling that can be triggered while we watch our notifications or followers or mentions or views. Depression tries to impress on us a feeling of inadequacy and the longer we go without a new message or like, the more we “prove” that feeling right. I need to try to keep my more controversial views off Facebook, especially when I am already in a bad state of mind. I need to base my worth on things other than likes and follows. I need to learn to live life outside of my little universe that at times alienates my wife and kids. I need to use social media for what is constructive and not fall into my old patterns.

I had another “losing my mind” moment on Facebook today, which prompted this post. Please forgive me for any future outbursts. I promise that I am trying.

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