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.

Obsessional thinking

For as long as I could remember I have always had obsessive intrusive thoughts; I used to constantly worry about everything and I still do. When I was a kid I used to worry about not finding the car or someone breaking into our house and hurting us; it was disruptive not only to myself but to everyone around me. I was in therapy and medications but the obsessive thoughts never waned; they just kept going.  The most obsessive thoughts related to how people think of me which is still with me in adulthood. I  go around in circles in my head; analyzing why people don’t like me or how I could improve so they’d be my friends. I mean, i lay in bed at night coming up with ways I could change my behavior so that my relationships would improve. Sometimes I  obsess about a social mistake I have made; wanting to back to change; what I could have said better; if i could go back in time I’d do it this and so on and so on; it drives me mad actually.  Obsessional thinking has kept me from having relationships because I get hung up on signals; is she interested? not interested? When she said that what does that mean? And when I tell others how I feeling about someone; than it makes matters much worse. The more anxious I get; the further I drive this potential relationship away; it has happened many times and it’s all due to this anxiety; I can’t control.  I can’t control my thoughts.  I can’t go through a work shift without constantly counting down the minutes until I go home;8 hours to go; 7; 6, 5/12 lol.  And then when i get home I obsessively think about work and how stressful it is.  I obsess about ways I can improve and how I can better react; and when I get there I obsess about going home; a never ending cycle. I even obsess about obsessing;  asking myself how can I obsess less?  I will give you an example about the little things that can trigger this thinking. I was joking to someone about how I wasn’t allowed at a certain store that had been shut down. I was slyly implying it was because I was caught shoplifting; I didn’t actually say it outright. Anyways I started thinking about all these places and people that I once known that are no longer there; the past.  I thought about how people changed and how I was felt the same; these thoughts circled in my head for more than hour; my head in the clouds. I can’t control my own thoughts and the more I try to control them; the worse they get; it’s hard to function this way.  How can you have meaningful relationship with anyone when you are obsessed and over analyzing every interaction?  How can you handle difficult situations when you are obsessing and spending more time thinking about the problem; than actually solving it.  It’s exhausting to be in my brain at times and writing seems to be only place where I can  get all these thoughts out. Whew that was a lot lol. Ok calming down.  Another rant.

Thanks for listening to my ramblings,

Dave

Health anxiety

As many of you know; I suffer from extreme anxiety that I face on a daily basis. Some of the anxiety is based on social situations; some of it is dealing with a painful past and sometimes I don’t even know why I’m anxious. But there is a part of my anxiety that I have yet to write about so here goes.  I suffer from health anxiety when means I constantly worry about being sick; every little bump or cough or dizzy spell starts the anxiety; I begin thinking I have some kind of cancer or virus and this could be sign that I might die. It’s pretty terrifying; my thoughts race; I start hyperventilating, I ask for constant reassurance, but it never helps.   I try to avoid reading or watching anything medical related because I start to for signs and symptoms in myself and can diagnose myself with anything.  A cold sore equals cancer; the flu with a fever is AIDS; its sounds funny but it’s very scary when I am in that place. I have been to doctors and been reassured over and over and yet it makes no difference. Even when they take my blood pressure I freak out because it is usually high; and it’s high because I’m nervous and the more agitated I become; the higher the reading. This anxiety is out of control at times.  And you can’t tell anyone because they will think your crazy; so you stay silent; suffering in silence.  I can’t even tell you how long I’ve had this but maybe it’s because I engaged in risky behavior and there is some guilt attached to it; and I feel that will make me sick one day; it’s a valid fear but not when it turns into an obsession than it becomes a problem.  I just hate to live like this because even if I was sick; there would be no point in worrying about it; it’s out of my control.  I’m tired of anxiety, dammit. This shit gets old and I know I’m not terribly ill so why do I obsess about this all the time?  Why can’t I stop? I wish there was a magic cure so I could be free from this.  I can’t be the only one who feels this way? Am I?