Mental Health Facebook Break.

Dramatic “I’m Leaving Facebook” posts are so cliché, especially during a Presidential campaign. The whole, “I’m taking a break from Facebook because the internet is upsetting me,” status always makes me feel very mixed feelings. First? Extreme eyeroll because I’ve seen so many ugly sides of the internet in my decade and a half producing online content, Facebook is nothing. Second? BUT FACEBOOK IS AMAZING. It’s how I find amazing articles and hilarious memes. It’s how I keep up with my friends and family. It allows me to be social without anxieties. I LOVE FACEBOOK.

But the third thing I feel? Is always jealousy. Because y’all? For every 10 wonderful things I see on Facebook, I see one terrible thing that changes the way I look at someone I previously liked or respected. And I hate that.

Last week someone I would hug if I saw in person posted something basically saying that there’s nothing scarier in the world than someone who is openly voting for Hillary Clinton. ME. I’m the scariest thing in their world right now? ME? REALLY? And then this weekend I saw someone sharing out a story another Military Mom wrote slamming Ghazala Khan and included a comment about ignorant people who saw her husband’s DNC speech and “FELL FOR THE PROPAGANDA.” And so, you know, since I shared out his speech and posted 2-3 different statuses about it, then I guess I’m that person who is ignorant and fell for the propaganda.

And I just can’t.

The last few weeks have been tough on my kids. They both have needs that fall about 180 degrees separate from each other. My parenting life is like having one child deathly afraid of the dark, and another allergic to the light. Helping one seems to constantly hurt the other. My house still hasn’t sold but I’m trying to keep it show ready constantly. My husband worked 14 hours yesterday. I’m going to therapy once a week in an attempt to get my oxygen mask on before helping those around me.

Even without the election season and the ugliness Facebook dishes out at me, I’m having a tough time keeping my own mental health well enough to give my family what they need. But Facebook lately has been hacking away at my sanity one Hillary Bashing Meme at a time.

So, I’m going to be all melodramatic and take a break from Facebook. I’m going to roll my eyes at myself. Right now my mental illness is in remission but if I don’t make sure to stay healthy, it’s going to falter and so I’m recognizing the triggers and I’m removing them where I can. My kids and my husband need me to be at my 100% best for them and I can’t do that if I’m falling into these downwards spirals of anxiety and fear and sadness from stupid crap people post on Facebook. I take it all too personally. I have to walk away.

But I need you to do something for me. I need you keep an eye out for those things I love on the internet. Great articles about politics and empathy that help me keep faith in humanity. Funny crafts incorporating Harry Potter and Pokémon. Cute videos of pugs. News about my favorite TV shows. If I don’t get a steady flow of that stuff via email/twitter/my blog, I may find myself tapping that Facebook vein again and I need to stay away until I no longer scroll through my feed with fear.

“But just unfollow them!”
“Just unfriend them!”

I’ve done that for the first time – SEVERAL TIMES – this election cycle. But that feels shitty. I want to STAND UP for myself and for the people I support in politics and in government. But we all know how pointless that is. And sometimes relationships are tricky but also important. Sometimes the ripple that conflict starts can damage other relationships. And unfollowing someone gives me a false sense of safety which also makes me feel yucky. I’ve unfollowed several people recently and I kinda feel worse not knowing what they’re saying about people like me than I did when I saw the insults to begin with.

I just need a break. My kids, man. They’re so fragile right now and I wish I could write more about it because you all always give me the best advice, but I can’t. They’re getting too old and it’s too personal. Just know that some days (like yesterday) can be beautiful and painful and enlightening and terrorizing and I need to be as close to the top of my game as possible. And if I’m too fragile myself from the hateful atmosphere I’m seeing on Facebook, then I do them no good. And they didn’t ask for it to be an election year when they needed me the most, so I can’t punish them for that.

Keep an eye out for the good stuff for me, okay? If it weren’t for Facebook I would have missed out on Stranger Things which I adored so I need you all to keep me in the loop.

Much love. See you on Twitter and Instagram and – as always – here on my silly little blog.

14 thoughts on “Mental Health Facebook Break.”

  1. I’ve commented, “You know you are talking about me, right?” I get back, “I don’t mean you!”

    Uh, yeah, you do.

    I have become a world class scroll-past-any-politics-on-Facebook olympian.

  2. Facebook right now is WAY TOO MUCH. I totally get it. Which is why I mostly use my Facebook Groups app these days. There are some groups I think you would love, including One Bad Mother (also an incredible podcast about parenting, but skewed younger for sure) which is such an open and supporting group. They also have lots of off-shoot groups (there’s a document listing them in the main group). The Still Buffering Facebook group (and amazing podcast) is also a really great, supportive community. These groups have helped me so much when I just need to be heard and supported.

  3. See you back here in January, and hopefully before that at races. I have been able to manage the BS by deleting post, and calling out a few people Take care of those sweet kiddos

  4. That’s honestly one of the reasons I quit Facebook, and why I can’t watch the news first thing in the morning. I just can’t even. It’s not good for my health. Just like you wouldn’t hang around someone with the flu if you have a compromised immune system, you have to protect yourself when your mental health is compromised as well. People will still be out there doing and saying awful shit when you get back to it, unfortunately. But for now, do what you have to do to take care of yourself, and please don’t feel bad about it.

  5. “Just like you wouldn’t hang around someone with the flu if you have a compromised immune system, you have to protect yourself when your mental health is compromised as well.”

    DUDE. NAIL ON THE HEAD. THANK YOU.

  6. Why do people feel the need to make insulting and rude statements like they do? Why? I might feel the same exact way about someone who is openly voting for Trump, but I would *never* write that in a public forum. I love what Sherry commented above “You know you are talking about me, right?” I get back, “I don’t mean you!” Uh, yeah, you do.

    Yeah, you do.

    I’m not taking a Facebook break, although I understand exactly why that’s a good thing for many people. I am deleting people from my news feed and forming opinions about many of them. BTW – the opinions are social, not political. I don’t care what side you’re on. If you feel it’s OK to post rude and hateful comments, then I’m rethinking our friendship. Sad.

  7. I’m so proud of you for recognizing your triggers and running away from them, rather than straight TO them. Bravo! This is a true sign of taking responsibility for your own mental health!

  8. Our animal rescue activities require not only that I check facebook frequently but also that I loosen my stranglehold on my privacy settings. The 24 hour news cycle over the past several years has just been grinding me down until I’m ready to snap, so I applaud you for taking any steps you can to recharge your batteries 🙂 I admit being jealous a bit.

  9. I’m not avoiding facebook altogether, but I’m ruthless about sorting my “friends” into lists to manage my feed content. I’m also trying out a FB diet – I will check the groups I’m part of and the notifications from my close friends and family, but I don’t scroll during the day. Having to digest everything at once at night in a limited time window is a pretty good check on keeping from falling into FB rabbit holes. I agree though, that some of the things that people have posted lately have made me really consider to what extent [that person] should be in my life. There are some relationships that just really aren’t worth trying to overcome those differences, and I’m choosing to let them not be a priority in my life. On the flip side, there are other people who I realize that I share more in common with than I realized. It’s such a mixed bag.

  10. I wish I was more computer literate because I would so like to change each of the truly offensive ones I see on both sides to the other guys name and post it solely back on the offenders page. Every single time I think, “if I was saying this about your candidate you’d freak, but you have no qualms about saying it about the other guy?”

  11. Thank goodness I’m not the only one! I had to cut out network news a few years ago. And this political season seems worse on social media? Or maybe I’m just on more social media or have more diverse friends? But man, oh man, I just can’t.

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