The highs and lows of Social Media: when is enough, enough?

I had a bit of a Social Media (SM) mental meltdown recently. I was becoming more and more intolerant of reading the same sort of stories, comments, questions, gripes and anxieties. Other people’s feelings and opinion were getting me angrier by the day and I was feeling increasingly judgemental which I recognise is not very therapeutic (I’m not a therapist 24/7 so I know to cut myself some slack here).

I found myself deliberately looking out for ‘annoying’ posts/comments/revelations with the knowledge that it would set off a chain reaction of uncomfortable feelings within me justifying that pissed off feeling. I wanted to be angry at the world and the angst riddled population.

I was clearly giving out negative vibes. Several clients decided to end all sessions with me, my general day-to-day responses felt largely ignored and even my own family were dismissing me. Or at least that’s how it was perceived.

I tried long walks, meditating, deep breathing, dancing, singing, seeking fun moments to lift me. The relief was temporary and would remind me that there was another life out there. But, that naughty nugget of anger and general discomfort clung on. I felt it on my back, on my shoulders and my head was so full of it there was little room for anything else. The simplest of instructions would go in one ear and fall out the other. I would read things over and over but couldn’t remember the content. My tongue was constantly ready to unroll and lash out.

What ultimately swung the decision to cut myself off all SM was that I’d have moments of inspiration but absolutely no desire to tell or share with anyone. I couldn’t be arsed I was that consumed with feeling angry, rejected, and, quite possibly, a tad depressed. I’d very low self-esteem, doubting myself, my career choice, questioning my ability etc… So, I removed myself from the things that seemed to fan the flames of feeling and acting pessimistic, intolerant, judgmental, angry, belligerent and all that plethora of challenging and difficult feelings. I took myself off the SM grid.

It was a risky move since SM drives business. Posting, commenting, and putting oneself out there attracts potential customers. Coming off it meant possibly dropping off the radar damaging my private practise. But for me, it was more damaging being on there. What I was feeling was important. My mental health was/is important and needed addressing.

It’s a dreadful place to be where feelings and reasons for existence depend upon SM interaction. There seems to be a pressure to be ‘seen’, have posts ‘liked’ and ‘shared’. Noticing how the lack of responses (even positive responses) or how surges of negative responses can pound away at self-worth and self-esteem is damaging.

I don’t know about anyone else, but there is a part of myself that slowly sneaks in telling me to compare myself to everyone else. Other people’s posts are better; better liked, more worthy, more interesting and, definitely more loved than my own. ‘Ha ha! Your posts are basic’ mocked my other self. How on earth people find the time to discover interesting articles or affirmations, dress them up with banners, photos, snazzy colours, and post once, twice, three times a day is beyond me.

After more than 6 weeks of being SM free I’ve come to realise that I don’t care about that anymore. I do my stuff and others do theirs, because in the grand scheme of things, I have to be happy and fulfilled by what I do and how I do it. I can but strive to do what I do, for myself, not to gain ‘likes’ or ‘shares’ or have expectations of responses but simply because what I find, what I post, what I write is meaningful and important to me. It may touch a chord with one person, it may be ignored. Ultimately there is no better or worse, there is just different.

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