Deactivated

I knew March was going to kick my ass. It is doing just that.

Only four more days until my spring break. I’m digging in my heals and just trying to get through. Right now four days feels like an eternity.

I deactivated my FB account yesterday. I came to the decision suddenly, and then, surprisingly, I followed through.

I was looking at posts and feeling shitty and it suddenly occurred to me that FB no longer provides me with any positive feeling, let alone one that resembles joy. I’m not quite sure when the shift happened, but as soon as I noticed it, I resolved to shut my account down for a while.

I’m feeling more ambivalent about actually doing it than I expected. Deactivating an account isn’t such a big deal; I can always turn it back on. But it does feel weird not to be connected to others, and the world, in that way. Part of me worries I’ll feel more isolated than before, but I suppose isolation is better than what I was feeling when I was on there, and the reality is, that feeling had nothing to do with connection.

I’m not sure when I’ll reactivate my account, but my guess is I’ll stay off for at least a month. I think I need a reminder of what it’s like to live without FB, to get through a day without scrolling mindlessly, to avoid the sad, empty feeling I get in my chest most of the time that I’m on.

Without FB I’ll be opting out of almost all social media. I haven’t been on Twitter or Instagram in many years. I still read blogs but most of what shows up in my reader is of the “how to” variety these days–very few of the personal bloggers I once read still post anymore. I can always email and text people when I need some connection, and of course write here. Otherwise I’ll be kind of off the grid, as far as consuming content is concerned. I think that will be for the best.

Have you ever taken a break from social media? What was it like?

27 Comments

  1. I’ve not gone off facebook (nor can I imagine I ever would, living so far away) but I did quit twitter a number of years ago due to similar feelings as those you describe. It made me anxious and I’m not an anxious person by nature. It was good for me to leave.

    My BFF who lost her son last year quit facebook a few months later just before her birthday because she couldn’t stomach the thought of all the “fake” good wishes. Granted she was feeling cynical (understandable) at the time, but she ended up staying off of it entirely. Just recently she commented on how much happier she was without because what contact she does have with the people she cares about is deeper, more honest. I dunno, I tend to keep my friend list quite small and up-to-date, and that makes a huge difference in my experience, I think. And I take everything on facebook with a grain of salt anyway…

    1. I’m much like NBR here, small friend list and I keep it trimmed down. Being a SAHM, FB is my lifeline to those who work and I don’t see much. And family… my sisters post pics of their kids there and I like seeing them. There was a time that it made me feel down and I deactivated it then (infertility years) but I couldn’t get off it now since it’s my kids’ baby books, essentially. And… I like it!

      BUT – have you ever seen a friends pic and been irritated by it and thought, “I’m not going to ‘like’ that.” and then thought, “why am I being such a bitch? What do I care that it’s a stupid picture?” LIKE. (What? You do that with my pics every day? Can’t say I’d blame you. HA!) I find myself doing that once or twice a day and I don’t like that feeling at all. I also don’t like the feeling that I have to ‘like’ everything either… I guess FB does cause me some angst. 😉

      You’re going to be happier for doing this, Noemi!

      1. I don’t actually have those thoughts about a picture or post. It’s more like, “oh, they are with their friends somewhere fun… We never do anything with other people (cue sadness and loneliness and wondering what is wrong with me that I don’t have any friends to hang out with). Honestly what it is is that lately I’m just not happy with a lot of parts of my life, and I see what I believe is missing in the pictures of other people having it. And it’s just not a cycle I want to perpetuate. So I’m choosing not to participate, at least until I’m in a better spot.

    2. I think keeping my friend list small would help, but I don’t think it would solve the problem (and the thought of out and out unfriending people causes me a ton of anxiety, so I unfollow people that is a different kind of awkward). But honestly, seeing everybody being with other people on there, or enjoying their families and marriages, it just makes me feel like I don’t have friends, or I don’t enjoy my own family. Sure, every once in a while I can catch my kids doing something fun and pretend like I have that happy life, but those moments and fewer and farther between these days. And the truth is I’m almost never seeing an actual friend. And I know FB does not tell the whole story, but it tells enough to make me feel bad about my own life. And while I’ll miss knowing what a few people are up to, and the links to interesting articles, those pros are very much overshadowed by the cons. I get that it’s a positive place for most people, and it was for me for a long time, but it’s just not right now.

  2. Hmmm. I definitely waste time on fb, but I think if I werent on it, I’d just waste time on something else. It wouldn’t suddenly turn into productive time. I think I must need to spend a certain portion of each day doing something mindless. I also really likethe casual connections on fb. I like reading about the girl who lived on my floor sophomore year, or my friend from elementary school, or my former coworker. There are only a few people I get jealous of, and come to think of it, I wasn’t a huge fan of theirs when I knew them in person, either.

    1. I didn’t deactivate it because I was wasting time really. Like you, I’ll probably waste time doing something else now–I don’t expect it to make me more productive. Really I just didn’t like the way it was making me feel. I used to enjoy keeping in casual contact with other people, but lately that aspect hasn’t been bringing me much satisfaction. I think I’m just generally down in the dumps, and FB was exacerbating those negative feelings, so I thought I’d try not participating for a while and seeing if it helped. Maybe it won’t help and I’ll just go back after a month. That is what I’m assuming will happen.

  3. I fbk my family only. (I know my cousin’s children better when there are family reunions as a plus and I see where my children are when traveling for work and get pictures of my grands.) And, depending on where things got with elections this year I may have to move some family into the category where they are not defended but their posts are only seen when I go to their page; I do not remember name of category.
    But really I am hoping if you do not read fbk for a month you will post here even more often and I will love that!
    Social media is tough. Easy to be addicted to it. Good to take breaks. Good to weed down and recognize our escape mechanisms, avoidance tools, reduce overloading inputs and everything that comes between being truly present in the minute with those we love who are with us.
    Cheers

    1. I definitely need to reduce overloading inputs. That is definitely an issue for me. There is just too much coming at me most days. It’s overwhelming.

  4. I need to get off of Facebook but “can’t” because I’m scared I’ll miss something important. It’s WAY too much of a time-suck for me. I enjoy having it while pumping (but would probably enjoy reading a book as much or more), but HATE that I feel like I have to get through the whole news feed at night before I go to bed (seriously, I could probably get 30 more minutes of sleep a night if I’d give it up). Logically I know that news of anything big would make it’s way through the grapevine to me eventually without Facebook, but the idea that someone is getting engaged/married/divorced/pregnant/sick/new job/family death, etc. and everyone knows about it but me creates anxiety I don’t know how to manage… ugh.

    1. I’m definitely dealing with some FOMO. The idea that I might miss out on a big announcement because I’m not on stresses me out. But the reality is, if I need to know I’ll eventually be informed. And if I’m not informed, I probably didn’t need to know, and that is something I should be aware of… the fact that, outside of FB, a lot of my “friends” and I have absolutely no contact. And if that is the case, are they really in my lives at all?

    2. Polly, you are not alone. I worry about missing something too. And honestly, I just did miss something very important. My little sister had been calling and I’d been calling back but we couldn’t connect (we’re very close). We finally connected today and she asked if I’d seen on FB what was going on with her and she was sorry if that’s how I found out. I had NO IDEA what she was talking about because I’d just posted HEAPS of things to sell on the FB swaps and they were selling like hot cakes, loading up my feed. It took every bit of focus and organization to keep my feed read for the sale posts that I didn’t notice hers in there. Poor thing is getting a hysterectomy at the age of 37 and her big sis hadn’t called to comfort her. I feel terrible.

      So yeah, I understand your worry. And usually it’s so unfounded. So stupid, isn’t it, to read the entire feed before bed. But I do it. I do it every night.

      Ugh.

      1. Can I just use this as an opportunity to vent for a minute about people using Facebook to make major announcements? I don’t get it. At all. My sister found out that our grandfather had passed away because my uncle and cousin posted on facebook almost immediately!! Luckily I found out from my sister because she immediately called me to pass on the news in a kinder, more mature way. But, seriously, WTF?!? How on earth is there any urgency in most major announcements made on facebook? It drives me batty. (Okay, I’ll move on now, it’s just clearly a sensitive subject for me…)

        1. Yes, I am with you on this, NBR. I miss news all the time because I didn’t check Facebook and the person didn’t think to email out the news. OR I get news in the most awkward way possible. If there is news to give people, give people the news. As in, deliver it, to them, with a call or an email or a letter. But to post it and just hope everyone sees it? That is odd to me.

      2. But you didn’t miss that because you weren’t on FB; your sister would have told you about it regardless. And I think that is the point, you will hear about the important stuff from the people who are important. If you were only going to hear about it on FB, you probably weren’t that close to that person anyway. Or maybe not. Everyone’s FB experience is different.

  5. I really admire you for doing this. I’ve gone on 24 hour Facebook fasts and I like them, but otherwise am completely addicted. I find myself on parenting groups a lot, feeling bad about myself because I sleep trained, don’t care too enough about gender neutrality, and give my kid carb heavy snacks. But I keep coming back for more. It’s like I’m addicted to self-hatred.

    About people with happy marriages. I know two couples who seemed to have the best families ever on Facebook and later divorced. It’s so deceiving.

    1. Ha! I sometimes think I’m a little addicted to self-hatred myself.

      I know that FB is deceiving. I know that a picture shows only one minute in time, and the rest of the day or outing or week or whatever might have been awful. I put up tons of photos and think about how I’m perpetuating that deception, because my kids always look cute and fun, but most of the time they aren’t acting cute or fun. So it’s not that I look at someone else and think, they have it better than me, or they are more happily married, or their kids are more easy going… it’s more like I look at people with their friends and think, I don’t really have any friends. Or I look at people traveling and I think, we probably can’t travel for a looooong time, if ever. It’s more like, I am hyper aware of what I feel I lack in my life, when I see that other people have those things. I don’t know if that makes sense.

  6. Good for you. I am sure it will help, actually. Decreasing noise/stimulus always seems to help, as does decreasing possibilities for comparison. I probably need to do this too, but can’t seem to be able to make myself. Seriously, good for you!

    1. Thanks. I think I’m kind of in shock that I actually went through with it. But now that it’s done, I hope I stay strong and don’t go back on for at least a month. Next week will be tough, because I’ll have, gasp!, some free time. I hope one of my books from the library becomes available by then. 😉

  7. I think this is great news! Good idea. Less drama, someone else’s I may add, will be so much better for you. I deleted my Twitter off my phone b/c I didn’t need to know every single thing about people. Those who really are close to me, text me or email. I should follow you. Then I start thinking, how will I know about events going on in our subdivision? Surely there are other means to find this out. Anyhow, I’m hoping to get your courage soon!

    1. I left Twitter years ago and never looked back. I have never regretted that decision. I wonder if I’ll feel the same way about FB some day?

  8. this is very interesting to me! if somebody post something I don’t like I just ignore it… I don’t see myself living without FB, my family is thousands of miles away and it’s my only “link”. I don’t like to call and with the time difference it’s never a good time. My in-laws or my dad do not text, so I really have no other easy way of communication to keep them posted of what is going on. I keep my friend list small and post what is really going on in our lives… not just the pretty stuff… this week-end it was a picture of my kids in the car on our trip back home with there Easter bucket transformed into a puke-in bucket! yeah not pretty but real life experience!
    I also deactivated all notifications, so I only see what is going on when i go into FB and not being distracted every 5 min…
    if FB was not making you happy you are completely right to remove it from your life!

    1. I am pretty good at ignoring stuff I don’t like–and right now, in the middle of an election year, there is PLENTY I don’t like. It’s more the stuff that makes me notice things about my own life that I’m not happy with. It’s not the post I don’t like, but how the post makes me feel. I can easily ignore the ignorant shit my extended family posts, but it’s harder to ignore reminders of what I feel my life is missing.

  9. I deactivated my FB account a few years ago and I think I lasted a month. While it wasn’t that long I think it helped me realize how I should be using it, which is sparingly. I’ve also decreased my Twitter usage quite a lot and stopped blogging.

    Good for you! Unplugging, even for a little while is good.

  10. I have been off of Facebook for 2 months now. I intended to stay away a month, but didn’t miss it. I still don’t. I guess maybe I’ll go back eventually, but i’m not even sure. I just don’t really need to know the intimate (or faux) details about people who are not truly in my life anymore. I absolutely could rejoin if I cull my list way down and maybe I’ll do that, but I tend to get sucked into time wasting groups so for now I’m just happy being off altogether.

  11. This just makes me so glad I never got on Facebook. My husband actually joined a years ago and of course I was the one who had to help him load photos and stuff and it was way too much work even back then…he has since stopped using it. From what I read in the news etc. like every few months Facebook is making changes so it’s probably even way more work now what with having to change your settings etc….on the other hand there are certain people in my life that seem to mostly communicate through Facebook so I’m kind of missing out on that and losing touch with them – – for example the moms from my parent baby class. But I would have no patience for my SIL and BIL’s crazy right wing posts etc….I got a taste of that working with my husband’s account.

    The only social media thing I’m on is LinkedIn. I don’t actually post articles or anything at this point I just seem to collect connections and people endorse me for things and me, them occasionally.

    1. Never joining FB would definitely make it a lot easier. I think once you’re one there is an expectation you will participate at the level you always have participated, and there is a bit of judgement if you decide to opt out. I didn’t make any announcement on there before I left and I worry a bit about that. Oh well, it is what it is.

  12. I’ve never deactivated, but I definitely go through periods where I decide not to check it for a bit for whatever reason. As is, I try to only check it once or twice per day, and even then, limit the time because it’s a time suck. And I rarely feel the connection there as I do on the blogs: connection to the person, to their words, to ideas, etc.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *