Tomorrow will mark the seventh day I have been almost completely off Facebook.
The overwhelming reason, at least in the short term, for me to finally break away was the election. In the weeks leading up to it, my feed became more and more filled with political content from all sides, until I was spending more time hiding posts than actually browsing the things I do enjoy. The morning after… well, that was pure sensory overload, it was too much. I couldn’t deal with all of the angry, bitter, and anguished posts from those who were as horrified and appalled as I was about how things turned out, I couldn’t face the family members and friends who voted for a man who has run on a platform of hate, fear-mongering, and disrespect, and I couldn’t bear seeing that face plastered everywhere. It just overwhelmed me like a tidal wave… so I quietly excused myself from the noise.
At first, the pull to constantly scroll through my feed whenever I was bored, or nervous, or feeling awkward in a social setting was really strong. And I felt like if I wasn’t coming on there to like friends’ posts or acknowledge things they posted on my wall, that I’d be offending people. But I really didn’t want to be there, so I stayed away. I also deleted both the apps from my phone so that I wouldn’t get drawn in by notifications.
I had a couple of friends reach out via text to make sure I was OK, and I appreciated that. I also had a couple of other people try and draw me back in by trying to relay messages through my partner that I should log in and check out something they posted, which I didn’t appreciate so much.
By yesterday, I realized something: it was actually a relief not to feel compelled to spend so much of my day scrolling, trying to make sure I didn’t miss anything, or make some social blunder by not responding. Hell, we even went into town to run errands and halfway there I realized I’d forgotten my phone – and I didn’t really care. I hadn’t realized that not only was it a huge time-suck, but it was also contributing to my stress.
I am not saying I am staying away for good; I do enjoy the fun stuff in my feed, it’s the only way I have to really keep in touch with some of my family, (no one seems to do email any more, and I don’t do phones) and there are people I’ve met via Facebook that I consider real friends. But I think I was spending more time on there than is healthy. I did get on briefly to share a picture I took of my partner and one of the dogs so that her family could see it, and when I did, I saw a couple of funny things that previously I would have shared. I just couldn’t bring myself to share them or even hit ‘like’… it felt like if I did that, it would suck me right back in, and I’m enjoying my hiatus too much to break it.