Hitting the Reset Button

Hitting the Reset Button

My Break from Social Media

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This semester began to take its toll last week. I was stressed, fatigued, and rushing through my assignments; I'm sure many of you can relate. It took me going to an FCA event last Wednesday to realize that social media was a large part of the issue for me, I was constantly on it. It didn't matter if I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I still somehow found time to scroll through Instagram for hours! Seems innocent enough right? Well, what I began to notice was how much media I was consuming was having an effect on my mental health. It was making me more stressed and sometimes even moving that stress from schoolwork to more superficial things like how I looked in comparison to the two hundred celebrities I followed.

Once I realized that this was becoming more than just a time-wasting mechanism, I took action. I deleted my social media apps. At the time it was extremely difficult, which sounds ridiculous I know, but I was severely addicted to it. The mindless scrolling had taken a toll and I did not seem to have the self-control to stop it without deleting the apps altogether.

Hitting delete on each app was oddly therapeutic. I could feel my time coming back to me as well as my sanity. It helped that I had an accountability partner who deleted her social media apps as well. I felt as though we were on a journey together. A journey to renew our confidence. A journey to return to the simplicity of a life not consumed by social media.

Over a period of six days, including fall break, I refrained from re-downloading the apps and instead took time for myself. I went to the library and checked out books to read for fun! I picked up the journal I had been neglecting and took the time to reflect on my life and how I was feeling. Gosh it is amazing how writing your feelings down on paper makes you feel ten times lighter, like a weight has been lifted off of your soul.

During this time being social media free, I also made my friends a real priority. I opened up my home (apartment if you want to be technical) to them and we acted as though we were seven years old again. We had sleepovers where we watched scary movies, cartoon-movies, all the movies. We chowed down all the junk food we could get our hands on: pizzas, sour patch kids, soda, pumpkin donuts, etc. Venturing out of the coziness of my apartment, we played frolf, tried a new Mexican restaurant (it was amazing by the way), and went for a walk in the park amidst the fallen leaves.

It was during these moments that I felt truly renewed. I was able to have hours of life-chats with my friends about literally everything under the sun without distraction. It was blissful let me tell you! Growing deeper in my friendships and doing all the things that we missed from our childhoods was so as therapeutic as writing in my journal. It renewed my confidence, got my mind off the stresses of school, and reconnected me with my busy friends.

The six-day period that I promised myself I would withhold from using social media has now ended. I allowed myself to redownload a few of the apps, however to be completely honest, I was not as excited to get them back as I anticipated on day one. I scrolled for a few moments and then a tip from a podcast I had listened to this weekend came to the surface. The tip was after a social media break to go through and see whom you follow. I did so and realized I followed approximately nine hundred people. I do not even know nine hundred people! This fact shocked me so much that I went through and did an un-following spree. I went from following nine hundred people to about three hundred. Again, I instantly got that feeling of freedom.

So, if you find yourself feeling constantly rushed and anxious, assess how much you are on social media and what images you are digesting. Perhaps it'\]s time that you too take a six-day hiatus.

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ESA in College

I'm so glad I have her in my life, but sometimes I wonder what it would be to be a normal person.

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You have a cat? What's her name, how old is she, where did you get her from, what's her backstory? Are you supposed to have a cat in your room? Is it messy with a cat? How does she live in a small college dorm room? How do you get an ESA? What's wrong with you? Can I get one too?

Whenever people find out I have an Emotional Support Animal (ESA) all I get is questions. Yes, I have a cat. Her name is Kalani, and she is 1. I went to the shelter asking for a specific cat only to find out he was adopted the day before. I asked them what cat would be a good ESA that could live in a dorm, and they directed me to Kalani. I only had to meet her once to know that she was the one. Kalani loves everyone and is always full of energy. She always knows when something is wrong and is always by your side. Since she's so young, she's super curious and her curiosity/stupidity makes me cry laughing almost everyday. We don't know her backstory and since it seems there's nothing/no one she's afraid of, I'm okay with not knowing.

Yes, I'm supposed to have a cat in my room. I have done the paperwork and it has been approved. You're allowed to have your prescription medicine in your room, it's the same thing. She is for my health. The messy question always trips me up. Food, litter, etc. there is no mess, but if you're talking about toys, yes there's always toys on the floor. She's little, she likes to play, and I have classes so I can't play with her every second of the day. She's perfectly fine in a dorm.

The questions that always hurt the most is people asking "What is wrong with you?" or "I want a cat, how do I get one?". I have mental illnesses, I need her. If I didn't have to have her here I probably wouldn't. Yes, a cat at college is nice, but YOU are responsible for her care. You can't just leave for the weekend without packing her up and taking her too. You have to be aware of where she is everytime you open that door. You have to put up with the endless questions. You have to put up with her standing on what you are working on (laptop, homework, food, etc.) and pushing things off the table. You have to put up with every annoying thing an animal does and give it all the attention in the world, even when you want to be left alone. Don't get me wrong, an animal at college is nice, it's one less thing you have to miss from home, but it's not as fun as it seems.

I need her more than anything. She's better than any medicine I've tried, any friend I've called during a breakdown, and any therapist I've been to. I have depression, anxiety, PTSD, and social anxiety disorder. The collection of those things make life really hard, especially in a new place like college. An ESA makes it bearable, or at least it's bearable having something there to help with every breakdown. The nights when I'm sobbing for no reason, having panic attacks because of my past, overthinking about everything I wish I could change in my life, lonely, or having a bad day; she's there no matter what.

I'm so glad I have her in my life, but sometimes I wonder what it would be to be a normal person. To be able to out and have fun, not have to worry about an animal in my room,not be so scared someone will find out about Kalani and having to try to explain that I'm screwed up so much I have an ESA, and not be scared every roommate will leave me because they can't put up with either my moods or Kalani misbehaving.

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