Social media addiction

I am hopelessly addicted to social media, I am on there all day, constantly posting, seeking validation, I live for those likes and comments, I love the rush of my notifications bell going off, it makes me feel connected in a world wherein reality I feel totally isolated ( even before Covid 19). I feel like people understand me online, they judge me less, I can edit myself, I can delete posts, I can create an image of myself that makes me seem cooler and more interesting than I really am. I can live a lie and omit my glaring flaws, that’s what social media is all about

A lot of people knock social media but I actually receive tons of positive support online and it’s such an amazing feeling, I feel like I belong, I run groups, I do live Facebook videos, I am vulnerable, I put myself out there for the world to see and people respond, I have never felt understood and now I do, I should be happy, right? I am but I’m not and therein lies the problem, the joy of feeling connected is short-lived and I log off of social media feeling exhausted and frustrated by the whole thing.

Yes, I get support and I feel connected but I also feel overwhelmed ( even when I get more than enough praise), too many comments, too many messages, too much being in the spotlight, it’s unnerving at times and this constant need to be heard takes everything out of me. Because when the notifications go from a flood to a trickle ( and it always does), I need to make the next post that will get even more likes or comments and I have to respond to everyone to ensure my posts stays in everyone’s feed ( that’s how social media works, you don’t interact with others, you disappear) And to make matter’s worse, the social media algorithm buries our posts so that only a few people can see them and we never see the posts from the friends we care about, so we miss 95% of the movie and only get the end credits. And it makes us feel we are being ignored when in reality social media is toying with our emotions and controlling what posts we see, while our mental health deteriorates as a result,  it becomes an obsession to stay relevant.

And if the amount of likes or comments doesn’t bother me, it’s scrolling endlessly through my newsfeed ( again interacting with others so they will continue to see my posts.) I  see nothing but smiling faces, people with stable relationships, better jobs, more money; taking nice vacations, eating really delicious looking meals, more friends, the list goes on. And of course, after scrolling, I tell myself that it’s a lie, people are only posting their best moments ( a greatest hits album of their life, while mine is the b side) and I’m at home in my pajamas eating microwave spaghetti. People are fake on social media, just like they are in real life, so it shouldn’t be a surprise but it certainly feels real while I’m scrolling. And suddenly I’m comparing myself to my friends on Facebook, I’m not good enough or handsome enough or have enough friends, I am perpetually focused on what I don’t have instead of counting the many blessings I do have.

Lately, I have gotten zero joy out of being on social media, it doesn’t matter how many likes or comments or messages I get, nothing can quell my loneliness or frustration, nothing can satisfy me and I am just numb to the whole experience ( aside from the advocacy work I am doing with other advocates, that gives me joy) I feel a sense of anger and resentment at social media as a whole and it’s no longer healthy, even if I am advocating for mental health, being on social media has become counterproductive and it has hurt my creativity as well, my blog has taken a nosedive since all my energy went toward Facebook and Instagram, it’s a shame, really.

I have been logged out of all social media for two days now and while I feel anxious, I also feel relieved that I no longer have to see highlight reels or worry about likes or comments. My only reason for being on social media at this point is watch videos related to mental health that are a part of advocacy, aside from that I am no longer making posts of my own, I am no longer scrolling, I am taking an extended hiatus from social media, it is the only way to get better and recover from the damaged caused by these addictive platforms.  I can heal, I know I can do it and so can you.

My depression is back ( video)

I write an earlier blog post on depression and I just uploaded a video expanding what I talked about in my post.  Depression is very real and destructive for fortunately for me I have learned to reach out for help and am making progress; like making videos; that would be have been unimaginable a mere few months ago.  Anyways check out the video and feel to subscribe to my Youtube channel. Thanks

 

 

 

My thoughts on social media ( video)

Social media is a wonderful tool for connecting with others but it also causes a lot of anxiety, depression and we end up comparing ourselves to others. And I find myself believing the highlight reels when I know in the back of my mind; it’s not reality. So social media is great when it’s used in the right way and used in moderation. What do you think?

Subscribe to my channel at  Revolutionary musings

Went on the suicide awareness walk

Yesterday I went with my parents on a suicide to awareness walk to honor my brother, other members of my family and a friend/coworker that took his life on the anniversary of my brother’s death.  I was so anxious about this walk;it has been on my mind since I registered over a month ago.  I wasn’t quite sure how I’d react or how emotionally I would be. My brother died over 20 years but the pain is still there and I have been effected greatly by it; I often write about and reach out to my friends who knew my brother.  I was a little sad because none of my friends live in the area and it would have meant so if they could have walked with me ( although I am not sure if they’d be comfortable with that).  Sometimes I feel so alone because I’m so far away from them but by the grace of God I communicate with them online and that makes a huge difference in my healing; I know they loved my brother and they love me as well; I am blessed to have that support.

It was a cold and rainy day and I was worried; it might impact the walk. But I decided rain or shine we going to go on that walk to honor my brother. So we got to the walk site and I wasn’t as emotional as I thought I would be. My sleep has not been good lately and I was really tired and sort of out of it.  But there were so many people there; with a loud speaker directing people where to go.  There were a lot of booths; one to register; one with different beads; relating to my relationship to the person that took their lives. They were selling t-shirts and armbands. I even noticed a lot of people with dogs stating “I’m walking for____”; it was a big crowd.

We made a walk around the city; we passed by the baseball and football stadium.  My dad noticed a woman with a t-shirt that had a quote about mental illness and that there was no shame in it.  I asked her about her shirt and she said she had a blog; I couldn’t believe it; a fellow writer. We talked for a bit and I told her I had a blog as well; it was incredible; she seemed really nice.  I told my dad that I was sad because there were so many people there; he didn’t get it at first. I explained it was sad that this huge crowd were affected by suicide; all these years I thought we were the only ones because no one talks about it and people seem uncomfortable when I bring it up; so I feel uneasy when I talk about my brother and almost ashamed as well.  Overall it was a nice walk and I knew my brother would be happy that we were honoring.  When we got back to the site; I put up a poem I made for my brother. As we were heading for the parking the deck; the sun came back out and it warmed up again. I knew it was my brother smiling and giving us a sign that he was ok.  It was a touching moment. I am hurt he is not here but at least I know he is safe and with God.  I am so happy I went on this walk despite the preceding anxiety and the fact I feel disappointed that no one could show up; it worked out well in the end.  Things always work out for the best when we have faith.

 

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When are you coming home?

I used to wait by the window for you to come home; I was worried. I scanned the street below; looking for your face; my mind racing; wondering where you were and why you were out so late. Sometimes I’d hear the door open and my heart rate would go down and I could go to bed and drift off to  sleep in peace. Other nights I just gave up and hoped eventually you’d come home. The last time ever i saw you looked scroungy and upset; they were arguing with you; either you clean up your act or you cant live here anymore; they said. You left for good that time; never to return home again. At least now I know you’re safe.

The girl in the mugshot

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I met her for the first time in my communications class; interestingly enough.  I thought she was pretty cute but was too nervous to talk to her.  In this post I’ll call her Natalie       ( not her real name of course)   There was another girl named Jenny ( not her real name) I liked her more but looking back she seemed kind of boring and a snob; I only liked her because she was  attractive.  She seemed really smart; kind of a book worm; wore glasses.  I have a thing for intelligent women and I am not threatened by it as opposed to some men.

During the class we were assigned to do some report about a movie of our choice and we had write about the communication in the movie.  Both girls I liked were in my group and the only I really liked was Jenny. You know that point when she walks in the room and doesn’t even look at you and sits as far away from you as possible? Yeah; that was happening big time.  But with Natalie; we cracked jokes and get along and I was thinking this is great but I’m still focused on trying to get the attention of Jenny.

A week or so later Jenny made a flirty remark right before we were to go on to spring break and I assumed she really was interested. I thought about it non-stop for a week; planning to ask her out because I had no sense at the time. When we got back I saw her walk in and very nervously asked for her phone number; I didn’t even really asked her out. I’m sure she assumed it was because we were in the same group and that made perfect sense. I called her a few days later and basically asked her out; she rejected me; saying that we should focus more on passing this class ( which was sound advice) and after that I got more anxious and she got more annoyed at me.

Around this time I began talking to Natalie more.  I sort of bad mouthed Jenny to her; she agreed and thought it was funny. ( looking back never a good idea to bad mouth another girl to a girl you like).  We started chatting online and we really got along. One night we had a really long chat conversation and it was personal and not about school. We talked about partying and how her current boyfriend was abusive; he had thrown her phone across the room or something; this made me nervous; talking a girl who had an abusive boyfriend who might be trying to kick my ass if he knew I was talking to his girlfriend but I ignored all of that because hey it wasn’t everyday a pretty girl wants to talk to me. The next day something unexpected happened; in class Natalie sat right next to me.  You know they have those two desks together in row and every other seat was open; so it was strange. I sound like a little kid here but it was exciting because most of the time girls I liked avoided me like the plague ( which hurt by the way) but she wanted to get closer.  At some point she grabbed my hand and we walked  arm to arm around to the school book store; like we were going out or something. I was confused at this sudden change of behavior and thought maybe my luck had changed. I never had any luck with women.  The class eventually ended and we talked online from time to time but suddenly she unfriended me from Facebook and I figured I must have said something and was hurt.  A year or so later I was still in school and I saw her in the hall; she ran up to me to give me a big hug and was very friendly and I thought hmmm maybe I was wrong.  After that I didn’t see her for many years.

I was studying human services for disabilities at another campus about 5 years later; I was a in counseling class. It was one of the hardest classes I ever had to take; the teacher was really strict and some other girl gave me her notes just so I could pass.  So I was nervous; like everyone else.  All of a sudden this really cute girl walks in; which is a rarity in those classes.  And she looks like Natalie but I thought no way; that can’t be her but she kept looking back at me and not in a bad way. You know when someone is looking at you because you disgust them ( come on, we all have been there) but this wasn’t the case. At the end of class she came up to me excited and said “David?. it’s me Natalie!!”  She told me how good it was to see me.  She gave me this big hug and her phone number and said to call her to help with class; I was more than happy to oblige.

I have a past history of being too anxious and driving women away and I didn’t want to do this with her; I saw this as a second chance; so I waited. I didn’t call her but one day I get this call and she’s crying.  I couldn’t make out what she was saying but she was upset about class and being overwhelmed; I did the best I could but couldn’t really help her. Even after that I still liked her and I was curious to see if she was seeing anyone so I googled her name to see if she has a Facebook and a boyfriend and to my shock I found like 5 or 6 mugshots of her; drug arrests and dui’s; that explained the odd phone call and her overly friendly behavior.  I am not sure why but it made me angry; like I was judging her and thinking that she was a horrible person. After that I gave her the cold shoulder and when she asked me for help about something; I told her to go find someone else. I was really hurtful and I regret that because what she did had nothing to do with me.  Soon after that she dropped out of the class and I figured that would be the last I would ever see or hear about her. But of course the saga continues.

Last year I decided to get back on Facebook. I had this stupid notion that if I met a beautiful women I would have a social media account; that would make it easier for me to talk to her; stupid I know.  I had been to the bar once night and been rejected by every woman I approached; I went home feeling bad about myself.  I looked at Natalie’s Facebook ( I still thought about her from time to time) to see if she had been arrested again so I could revel in her misery ( I was different than I was now).  Low and behold she had a post about turning her life to Jesus; she had gone to a rehabilitation facility; found god and was turning her life around; I was floored.  It struck me like a thunder bolt; I wasn’t expecting it. Maybe she had gotten a new boyfriend or was dealing drugs     ( something crazy) but no, she was talking about God.  I saw it as a direct sign from God that I had meet this girl for a reason. I got on my knees and prayed and gave my life to God at that moment; started reconnecting from old friends from church and my life improved greatly. I messaged her a few times but she didn’t seem terribly interested in talking to me; I don’t blame her I wasn’t very nice.  After deleting some friends who I didn’t talk to on Facebook; I unfriended her as well; not out of anger but because I no longer needed to talk to her.

I realized God placed her in my life as a bridge to him; it sounds crazy; I know.  I am blessed to have met her and it took me awhile to understand the real reason we met; if I hadn’t of I wouldn’t  be where I am today.  She has no idea the impact she has had on me and I am forever grateful.  And to think if we had gone out and started a relationship; I would have lost my focus and never turned my life to God.   This is one those God things where I can’t deny he works in mysterious ways.

Have a blessed day

Dave

I accept your apology

This post may seem jumbled due to the fact I’ve had little sleep and I’m anxious about this incoming storm; the wind is starting to pick up and we are prepared for a tough few days. Anyways I decided to get back on Facebook so I could let people know how I was doing with the hurricane and to see if they are okay; I also messaged everyone I knew who lived in the area; I am anxious and I get overly concerned when storms like this come. As far as I know everyone is managing the storm or evacuated; that made me happy.  I also created a fundraiser for this Suicide awareness walk yesterday and had a goal of $150 to raise; the goal was reached within 5 or 6 hours; with only two donations; one person was so generous and gave $100 and I am so grateful to have friends who care so much; people who love me and are there when I need them. So that being said I plan on logging off  after the storm and only checking Facebook periodically so I don’t get back into that addictive cycle. I really want to continue giving myself a break from social media because I realize how much better I feel without it.

So I’m at work and I waiting on replies to the numerous message I sent.   So people are replying and I’m answering some messages making sure everyone is ok.  I haven’t slept well and I am just not functioning; maybe it’s anxiety.  I had my phone off for a while to save the battery and as soon as I check Facebook; I get this random message request from someone I don’t know. I am always hesitant to accept message from strangers; last time it was some guy trying to sell me medical marijuana or some catfishing account. I open the message and he said “David I want to apologize for being mean to you when were younger; I had low self esteem and you were a good guy”  I’m thinking who is this guy and when did he bully me? The only bullies that really affected me were in elementary school and I remember all their names and to be honest I would never respond to them ( even after 25 years). So I asked him when did he bully me. He said middle school; now at that time my home life was chaotic; my brother was away at a treatment center and he took his life when i was in 8th grade ( 14) so I don’t remember shit from that time in my life; there was too much going on and I mentally blocked it out. If anything I was the one who bullied others; not the other way around. I thought about it for a second and how I should respond and I basically said ” I don’t remember you and I don’t care when you bullied me because it doesn’t make a difference; I accept your apology”  He said thank you and that was it.

In my exhausted state; I sat for a minute and thought about the courage it took for this person to contact me after 20 odd years.  He must have been carrying this around for awhile; feeling bad; not realizing  I have no memory of it or grudge.  But I hope now he has found peace in regards to that and I was able to show grace and mercy; just like Christ calls us to do. It’s an amazing thing to be on the other of that for a change. I can’t tell you how many times I have said hurtful things and wanted to make a amends so bad and the person didn’t accept my apology; like i poured my heart out and was sincerely sorry and you’ve shown no mercy; you know how much that hurts? I stated earlier in my other post about an old friend who was upset at me because I said something hurtful on Facebook.  She was clearly upset and I just remember feeling so bad I had hurt her.  I apologized and instead of holding it against me; she had enough grace to accept my apology and reconnect with me; that’s an amazing thing; it shows that this person cares and has a good heart.  With a few exceptions; I always accept people’s apologies given the right amount of time. Because when we hold grudges; it’s like poison and it eats away at us and who knows how bad this guy felt for bullying me. I mean we were kids and we were are assholes, right? I know I was.  And so many people have their definitions of what a man is and in my opinion a man recognizes when he is wrong and has the courage to apologize when needed. So while I won’t be adding this person; I now have the utmost respect for him.  What a powerful lesson on grace and humility today. God works in mysterious ways

Have a good one

Dave

 

 

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Late nights with my brother

A memory just popped up in my head as I was humming an old tv theme song in my head

I thought of that summer before my brother was sent away to a treatment center; it was the last time we had spent any quality together; I was out of school so I would stay up late in the night watching tv; sweating from the hot summer heat that seemed to be relentless. I have little snippets of memories which I am sure from different times; this isn’t coherent so I’ll just write what I remember as it’s in my head

I was about 12 at the time and I remember my brother smoked cigarettes back then and I have this memory of him going in the backyard; by his bedroom window; out of view of my parents. I thought he was so cool and I will never forget stepping outside one late night; being curious and asking him for a cigarette.; he obliged. I took a long drag and coughed; they were Newports; which are probably the worst cigarettes to start out with; it’s like smoking mouthwash.  Anyways I got that really dizzy buzz you get from your first cigarette but I felt cool and I wanted to be like him. I’m sure if my parents had found out they would have been so mad.

I remember we would watch a lot of tv; like old shows on Nick and Nite. At the time they were running episodes of Welcome Back Kotter and Taxi ( this was 1995) and I always loved the theme songs more than the actual tv shows; they were magical.  Or sometimes we’d turn the volume down and make fun of the tv shows. I had one of those mini tape recorders and we might do skits or slow down the audio of a tv show and laugh our heads off; we had a lot of fun. Just little memories like seeing those Time Life commercials for “Hits of the 70’s” or whatever.  It’s etched in my mind. They had songs like “All right now” by Free and “More than a feeling” by Boston; I have been trying to find that commercial on YouTube to no avail.  I even remember watching the very last episode of Full House one night with my brother during that summer.

Although there were good times where I felt close with; there were dark times too.  Sometimes my brother would just say I gotta go; don’t tell them; I’ll be back soon. When he left late at night; I would always get worried because I knew he was up to no good. I knew he was seeing friends that were bad influences but what could I do I was only 12.  I just would get a knot in my stomach when he’d go; I wanted him to stay with me; home where it was safe. And he’s come back giggling; looking spaced out and I knew he was on drugs. And I wondered if he was high all those times we had laughs and bonded; did he even remember it?. I really loved my brother but not like this; it broke my heart and if I could back in time I would have tackled him to the ground and forced him to stay home and never talk to those druggy assholes again but of course I was a kid and he never would have listened to me.

Less than 2 years later my brother would be dead; he took his own life and I miss him everyday; he was my best friend. This week is national suicide awareness and although I talk about my brother a lot; I will use this post to honor him.

I love you Joe

 

And every time I hear the Taxi theme and those late nights watching tv; I think of you and the last summer we ever hung out together.

 

 

Goodnight Mr Walters