Going through depression myself makes it easier for me to link between my use to Facebook lately and how depression affected it or vice versa.
Why do you check your Facebook feed?
This is an open letter to all of you.
Have you felt how Facebook makes your life more of a competition to amuse people you never even in contact with anymore?
Have you noticed that whenever you update your status with things like “I am so down”, “I’m not feeling well” , “I had it with life”, people just go on and click on the like button?
Have you ever thought of why people on social media tend to appear happy, successful, joyful and seem to be traveling all over the world?
Not that I hate seeing people happy and successful. But it’s the online peer pressure, it’s the need to be present online at your best. Even your political and personal views would be altered to avoid cyberbullying and seek social acceptance.
Social Withdrawal and Facebook Withdrawal
Social withdrawal is a significant symptom of clinical depression, a patient tend to stay at home and avoid social gatherings, parties, hanging out with friends or even going to work.
Facebook withdrawal is what I suffered when I had my first depressive episode. It started by not replying, then no posting, then not interacting. Till ending up deleting the app off my phone. It’s as if I wasn’t comfortable with socializing online to the same extent as socializing in real life.
Was Facebook a factor that caused me depression?
Answer is: YES
I would say that Facebook was one of many factors, at that time I lost my job and was struggled with my only relationship.
Going through all of this and scrolling down my facebook feed on my phone seeing other friends and not very close friends posting about their promotion, their recognition at work, their honeymoons, newborn babies and new house, made things very difficult. Very bluntly, I felt I was devastated with every single happy post on my feed. Adding fuel to the fire, was when I knew my partner has decided to break up through her Facebook post, and how her friends reacted. I loathed myself. Depression symptoms includes hopelessness and worthlessness.
How Quitting Facebook helped me relieve my depression
I deleted my Facebook app,
and instead, I replaced it with other apps to keep me busy. I had to change this habit of waking up in the morning checking on people’s lives to checking up things that would really matter to me.
I downloaded Medium instead, Quora, and other meditation apps.
I used my Facebook app almost for more than 6-7 hours on a weekday!
I used to track how much I spent checking my feeds, On weekends I can spend almost the entire day lying in bed checking my Facebook. I was totally under the control of social media. I could have used that time doing other productive things for my career, wellbeing and REAL social life. That’s how I realized how I desperately needed to utilize the time Facebook consumed during the day wisely so I don’t go back on this time scavenger. I learnt how to have fun on the internet.
Create a Morning Routine and To-Do-Lists
What grabbed my attention was how I spent most of my morning lying on the bed checking my facebook! That was really astonishing it can take me AN ENTIRE HOUR (60 minutes).
So that’s the trigger, I gotta stop this. I wrote down on my Evernote app a morning routine list, for an hour before heading to work,
I take a cold shower – 15 minutes ,
Read articles of whatever on Medium – 15 minutes, I followed self improvement and mindfulness writers.
I meditated for 10 minutes,
and worked out for 7 minutes.
How I felt after a couple of weeks:
My head was full of positive vibes in the morning, I didn’t feel the need to check up on my friends’ lives. That all took less than an hour! It was an awesome feeling to get things done in the early morning it motivated you to keep on going for the rest of the day.
How I communicated with my friends and family without my Facebook?
10 years ago, no one would have asked such a question.
Do it the same as we’ve always done for our entire lives. I picked up the phone and called. I went down and met up with people who really mattered to me. Emotions were real not virtual. This made things easier and we even met together on weekends more often than we used to.
What was personal stayed personal and what I was meant to know was known. I controlled the extent of information I knew about my friends, I really wasn’t that bothered to know every single detail of their lives at least till they ask me for help. Don’t get me wrong I will do whatever do help out my friends and family. However it didn’t make sense back then when I knew what they had for lunch today and what movie they were watching.
I may have taken this drastic measure to deactivate my 10 year old account, and it felt good and it helped me through my depression phase. It got me back my life, I have done things I didn’t think I would have done in my life. I ended up learning German and played tennis. Time is valuable, waste it on what really matters.
However other people may assume, I suppose, that Facebook is more integral in their lives than to completely eradicated it entirely.