Social Media Break from HELL!
Social media breaks always seem so glamorous. The idea that you cut off from the noise of social media and use that time to channel positive thoughts and energy sounds great. People presume that closing your accounts gives you immediate control over the content you consume and assume it means that you avoid the toxicity of instagram blog accounts, attacking twitter threads, fast delivery of world wide calamity, celebrity deaths and other devastating toxic information that social media feeds us. They believe that we get to use the time we spend on social media to journal, workout, try a new recipe, consume wholesome podcasts, learn a new skill, finish a TV show and other great positive things.
All this is true. We do get to do these things, but these things don't come easy to us. At this point, I'm going to stop saying 'us' and switch to 'me'. If you read this and can relate to it, disagree with it, learn from it, have to add to it - feel free to share - honestly please, but for now - let me tell you how hard a social media break really was for ME.
Leaving twitter was something I never struggled with. I've given twitter up for let a couple times in the past and there have been times when I'd deactivate, and other times when I'd just stop tweeting. In fact I've changed my @ a couple times too to reduce interaction rate. There are even times I'd delete the app from my phone - then I'd have my insta open, but with increased use. However, this time around, I went cold turkey. Twitter AND instagram - and I straight crashed.
I wouldn't say I'm addicted to social media, but when social media stands as your escapism for experiencing your reality - it's very very easy to become heavily reliant on it to cope.
Social media was essentially my coping mechanism from my reality - and my reality was not ever my favourite place to be. (That's a whole other post). Thing is, I went away for about 2 months, and in those times I was so present in an alternate reality and I managed to significantly reduce my social media usage. I was so busy doing stuff (still avoiding my reality) and creating a new present (which was fabulous and documented - mostly), that I didn't feel the need to escape - I was escaping already. There was no need to scroll endlessly to no avail - watch other people celebrate, and subconsciously be consumed by the spirit of failure. There was no need to engage in mindless banter on the TL, there was no need to see what others had to say about viral videos or whatever - I was just living in escapism.
So when I returned to my actual reality, it hit me hard that I was going to be sucked into the vast vacuum of online presence and exactly that happened. I began to avoid my reality and very quickly became reliant on social media to provide that escapism. Except it didn't work this time. Everything became a trigger - I was seeing more and more toxicity on a plain level. The subtle side comments, the fake relationships, the two-facedness - it all rose to surface level. A break was NECESSARY.
So I deleted my accounts, Twitter first, then instagram shortly after.
And that was the beginning of TWO emotional breakdowns. You see, on these platforms, you get to see people reaffirm your thoughts, and challenge you negative ideas. As toxic and pretentious as instagram posts and tweets can be, there is still validity in them. Forget WHO posts them for a second - but sometimes seeing words made on a Canva template are just what you need. Taking that away from myself and being left with my own thoughts and no knowledge of how to control them made me SINK. My head has always been the one place I'm afraid to go. While it's full of bright ideas, hopeful dreams and strong desire for peace - deeper within lurks the darkness of insecurities, failures, regrets and other depressive thoughts.
As social media has always allowed me to avoid those parts of my head, storing all the gory and toxic stuff I consume and conjure there, stripping my accounts away brought them all to light. I was left to face my thoughts and essentially dance with my demons. I couldn't keep up - they were moving at a pace faster than my brain had ever functioned. One after the other the thoughts jumped out - not even waiting for the previous one to settle. No matter what I did to distract myself, I just couldn't. Everything felt like it required active engagement - and my thoughts, they didn't need activity - they just needed time and space. Social media was passive functionality for me - mindless scrolling with unintentional consumption gave little room for these thoughts to fester.
Online is a weird space - you feel like you've got people, but the moment you're off it feels like heavy isolation, social exclusion and general nonexistence. Which all became alluring to me. However, when you combine these with negative thoughts, you get stuck in a loop of cause or effect - were people waiting for me to disappear or is my disappearance causing this. Nothing is person