Anxiety, and why I quit social media

Hello hello and happy Friday,

As part of my healing processes as a growing up human, I’ve become more attentive over time to when I need to cut things out of my life. The latest for me is social media.

Four days after I quit social media I went a whole day without having an anxiety attack for the first time in maybe 6 months. The transformation wasn’t instantaneous, but the results have been tremendous.

But let’s jump back. Hi, I’m Schlomo, and I was a compulsive social media user.

I can flat out say that I had a social media problem. I spent an inordinate amount of time looking at and thinking about social media, allowing it to interrupt and permeate every aspect of my life.

Even worse, since becoming involved in the online self-help community a couple of years ago, I have taken truly ridiculous strides to appear more knowledgable, centered and spiritual than I ever really was. I have ascribed to the fake it ’til you make it school of social media attention-grabbing, using at best insignificant parts of my identity as hashtags to increase awareness of the important issue of pictures of me being totally fucking zen.

For me, as a person with anxiety and who has experienced some setbacks in life, being on Facebook felt like being in a glaringly white room filled with people I kind of used to know in college who were all doing much better in life than me, which meant my life was basically shit.

It’s not pretty but it’s real, and that’s why I’m writing it. I didn’t start I Won’t Commit to have another polite self-help blog. I started it because I’m mentally ill and my life is hard but sometimes writing it down makes things a little bit easier for me, and sometimes it even makes things easier for others.

The expectation of having always read that thing and taken that picture and having had my hot take while also repackaging my nostalgic memories as free ads for consumer goods was way too fucking much for my anxious mind to handle.

Not to mention:

Do you know how many amazing ideas everyone has wasted as throwaway statuses on Facebook? Don’t fucking spread amazing ideas around on the internet and write ‘lol’ at the end and never think about it again! If you come up with the best zombie movie plot ever, write it! If you come up with a way to better distribute aid resources, don’t just write ‘somebody oughtta’ on Facebook. YOU BEAUTIFUL HUMAN CREATURE, YOU ARE THE ONE WHO OUGHT TO.

I read House of Leaves in like 4 days because I don’t check Facebook once every 35 seconds anymore.

Don’t believe me? I checked Facebook so compulsively that Facebook started generating its own notifications about how people were responding to my posts. ‘Hey Schlomo, wanna see how you can get more likes?’ I mean, sweet fuck.

Facebook was very clearly trying to get me to position myself as some kind of professional who needed their analytics, which is nuts because I am an archetypal ‘just some guy’ with 200 acquaintances, and that’s when I finally noticed that Facebook and me had a bad, bad thing going on.

Trying to be Captain Social Media, His Enlightedness was like a neurotoxin, and living for an audience of really well and truly random people was holding back my real development as a person. Getting off social media has allowed me to reevaluate and listen for the voices in my life that really matter.

I want to make art, and I don’t want to care if you like or share it on social media. I want to go on my daily walk and not think about where’s the best lighting for my selfie. I want to say I go on a daily walk without positioning it to you as some kind of meaning of life thing that you’ve just got to try, but probably wouldn’t get anyway.

I’m just going on a fucking walk, you know? And you don’t need to know about it!

Anyway. I can’t tell you what’s what in your life, but I very seriously doubt the answer to the big questions in your life has anything to do with filters, brand deals, or subscriber counts. Shucks, I’m not even telling you to quit social media, but please remember your soul is not sponsored by Casper.

I feel significantly calmer day to day without worrying about what’s going on on Facebook. I work in the news~ish, so I’m always up to speed anyway, and my friends who count can get at me other ways.

Facebook and Instagram was almost like a double life for me, and I don’t have to live it anymore. Those resources have been rechanneled into my artistic and spiritual growth, and I am seeing the payoff.

There’s a lot of growth going on in my life right now, and I can’t attribute it all to kicking social media. But I can say that the peace I got from quitting social media has meant that voice inside doesn’t have to shout as much!

How long do you think you could go without social media? Does social media play a role in your anxiety? Let us know in the comments!

 

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