Social media is something many of us have been addicted to (whether we want to believe it or not) since the moment we got it. I remember getting Facebook at 10. Instantly I was hooked. I loved being able to share my life with people, a little too much in my opinion, and I loved being able to see how/what other people were doing all the time.
Then, two years later when I got my Instagram account, the same thing happened, and then three years after that I signed up for Snapchat, and yet again, I was mildly addicted.
Now, almost 10 years after I signed up for Facebook and after many long nights of crying or being angry at the ignorance of posts and models and their perfect bodies, I decided maybe it's time to take a break from these apps. And man, was I right.
With the recent climate of the world, coronavirus, the upcoming election, Black Lives Matter, etc. I felt that as I scrolled through my newsfeed and timeline or whatever each app calls it, I was no longer seeing factual and positive posts, but rather videos of unqualified doctors preaching about the dangers of mask-wearing and white people sharing "All Lives Matter" pictures.
Usually, I am a pretty level-headed person, not engaging in Facebook disputes or sharing controversial posts, mostly just because I know, at least in regard to the people I'm friends with, follow, etc., there are just some people in the world that you can't change, no matter how hard you try. Until recently, I've kept my head down and mouth shut on social media to protect myself, but with current issues hitting close to home, I decided that I wasn't going to stay quiet anymore, I had a voice that was meant to be heard.
Despite thinking that sharing my opinions and fact-checking people's posts and shares would help me feel better, it did the exact opposite.
I began noticing I was feeling sad all of the time, getting easily agitated at everyone and everything, and I began to not be able to sleep because I was so consumed with the ignorance I was seeing online.
I didn't feel like myself at all. Not because I was finally standing up to the intolerance that is my community, but because despite hearing logical and scientific reasoning for why masks work and why Black Lives Matter isn't a hate group, the people I was engaging with still refused to change their mind.
It was emotionally taxing to give all that you have to people to try to get them to listen and yet see no change in them.
So, after weeks of beating myself up while standing up to the Karens and far-right Republicans of social media, I decided that it was probably best for my mental health to get away from the negativity that now consumed the platforms and delete the apps for a while.
It's been exactly a week now without my social media apps, and to be completely honest, I'm not sure when I'm going to download them onto my phone again.
I'm starting to feel like myself again and now, when I scroll through one of the other, non-social media apps on my phone I feel carefree and happy. I now know I'm not going to run across a picture stating that COVID-19 will go away after the election or a post stating that everyone that votes for Biden is a sheep.
Instead, when I open my phone now, I know I'm only going to be met with my cute background of my cat, and that, already, has been so much better for my mental health.