This was my final post to FB, 13/1/17:
So, some people have asked why I’m leaving Facebook.
It’s a personal choice, I mean no disrespect to anyone who feels vehemently that it is the best thing ever or people who have a myriad of reasons for needing it, no hate involved.
If you don’t like reading long posts/ have a short attention span please stop reading. Best wishes.
If you do want to know, here’s why:
Over the past 3 years I have been through a lot of changes, the biggest has been the breakdown of my marriage.
During that time I felt, as I always previously had, that all I needed to do was keep going. I have felt before, in life, totally alone surrounded by strangers but came through and those experiences made me feel stronger. I have shared some of these thoughts with some of you and felt doing that had a positive effect for me and those people.
Luckily, I had lots of friends but because I had moved and lost contact many times with people for various reasons was neither geographically close to or felt able to just restart old friendships.
So, I kept in touch via Facebook. It didn’t matter, bring it on I thought.
But in the absence of actual social contact, I found myself after particularly hard days saying “Sod it, I’ll just retreat for a bit. Shut the world out, chill and let myself recover and I’ll feel better soon.”
I didn’t want to bring anyone else down with my issues and stresses, I have always been taught to consider others’ feelings and be there for friends when needed but to understand other people had things to cope with too.
Especially as some people are quite vocal, they would obviously need a sympathetic ear more than myself.
Others on Facebook seemed to be having such a great time that I’d be a selfish bastard to muck that up for anyone by laying anything on them.
So, I carried on. Regardless 😉
The coping mechanisms I had crafted since 12 years old would be dismantled, the pressure increased. I spent 1000 days on call in the care provider industry.
Before I knew it I was spending 1 day then 2 and later 3 days at a time alone in my flat.
Ordering food/ ingredients from vendors that I would pick on the basis they would come to my flat door so I wouldn’t have to go downstairs and interact with anyone else on the way. I would kick calls from friends and family and text back saying all was okay.
All the while I was continuing to work sometimes a few days a week, sometimes much more. I attended any mandatory functions where I was my “normal” jolly/ crazy/ fun self for everyone else depending on the occasion. Sometimes I got the type of role I was supposed to play very wrong, looking back I probably didn’t do as good a job of being “normal” as I thought…
However, this did not work for me. I will leave the details out as I am still quite a private and mostly shy person even though many think I’m very self confident. I may write about those experiences later but not here.
Then a very wise and good friend introduced me to interpersonal psychotherapy (I was a mental health worker in the 90’s and hold a BSc in majoring in Psych) which after reading gave me a structure to deal with those issues.
One important aspect of this approach is to include people in your journey.
At roughly the same time, another friend introduced me to Giles Ripley (film maker) who has produced some amazing work on Anxiety and Depression, talking to him triggered a deluge of repressed emotions. I had not ever shared my deepest feelings with those closest to me but I could to a complete stranger who wanted to include me in his film! I have lost some good friends to suicide and am fairly articulate, so had a lot to share (I declined in the end for various reasons).
I realised I had been in various states of anxiety since I was a child and a lot of my behaviour was a result of coping with that. When I couldn’t, I would feel down and if I couldn’t connect with people close to me at those times I would go further down or substitute kindness and love for other things.
When I met up with a group of previously very good friends who I hadn’t seen regularly in years, I felt able for the first time to actually tell people what I had been through and how it had made me feel.
Most of those friends are on Facebook, most of those people looked like their lives were fantastic, full of love, holidays and children.
One friend then told me each and every one had been through some very tough times.
It was like a light bulb had been switched on! Reading this you may think, what a dick? Doesn’t he know everyone does that?
But that became the only view I had and without my significant other and a family with health issues that I didn’t feel I could show that side of myself to for fear of making those issues worse, that view was reinforced
Recent studies have recently shown that the chemical, dopamine, is released when constanctly using social media (Google it if you like). Posting/ sharing/ commenting then finding a reaction, then replying etc reinforces the behaviour. If you do this enough times your view of the world can become quite distorted.
Dopamine is intrinsic to addiction.
I now have regular meetups with a few friends and have told my family about all the above in more detail. I am the closest to my family that I’ve ever felt. I’ve let people in and been humbled by the kindness shown to me.
I will not reply to this post or post anymore items.
Am not posting this for any other reason that to hopefully, make at least one of you feel better about any situation you’re in. To let you know you’re not alone and you won’t always be rejected if you just reach out to the right people.
To all my friends on Facebook, if I don’t hear from you again good luck and keep on shining like the crazy diamonds you all are! Much love x
(will be deactivating the profile tomorrow, removing assets and then deleting the account)
*Please note the image is from:
and was not taken by me.