After Having Left Facebook

Friday 22 November 2013

It's been three weeks now since I've quit Facebook (again). 

So do I regret it?

Sometimes.  I regret it in those moments when I'm feeling empty and I can't turn to it to avoid the feeling.  I've also quit Twitter recently, so I can't turn there either.  What am I doing?  Where is this experiment going, exactly?  I need to remind myself of why I'm doing this, to quell the rising panic tide that threatens to rear up when seven empty moments in a row happen and I Have To Just Sit There And Let Them Happen!

I have quit social media to give myself (a) more space in my head, and (b) to try to keep in better contact with people I know in real life.  Although to be honest, it's not like I'm really going the whole hog with (a).  For that, I would need to get rid of the internet entirely.  And books.  And the TV.  See, those things in themselves have enough within them to fill up six lifetimes of headspace and emptiness avoidance.

When I consider this, and consider how I often feel a certain sort of emptiness that translates itself out into loneliness, I wonder why it is I am quitting social media, where Real Live People are, albeit pixellated.  Shouldn't I quit books instead?  Or the TV?  But then the TV has pixellated people on it as well.  And in my more cynical moments I think that that is all we become to each other on social media - like a TV that talks back.  As if we are all just packaged-up shows, not real people.  As if we are becoming our own reality TV.  That even though we interact with each other in those spaces, they make us to each other a little less like Real Live Boys and Girls and a little more like one more interchangeable pixel.

The problem with (b) is that I have hardly seen anyone in real life in the last three weeks outside of my lovely partner, and the dentist, and the assessing doctor at Centrelink, and the people I am doing a course with a couple of times a week, because I haven't had any extra energy.  So I haven't been able to put my non-Facebook-real-life into practice yet.

What complicates the whole situation is that when I am in periods of high anxiety, as I am now, my first instinct is to retreat from Real Live Boys and Girls in the flesh and go to something that feels safer in my anxiety for me to handle.  Which happens to be ... interacting with those same people online!  So you can see my dilemma, and why I'm feeling a little more lonely lately.

So do I regret quitting Facebook?  I regret it when I realise how many people don't seem to want to correspond with me unless I'm right there on Facebook.  I guess that's also the part that makes me glad to have left it. 

So I'm feeling a little bit Abandoned and Rejected and Not Loved and Not Cared About at the moment.  But perhaps my quitting FB made some other people feel Abandoned and Rejected and Not Loved and Not Cared About ... for seven seconds until they found another pixellated person to fill up the pixel-sized gap I may or may not have left.  How would I know?  I really don't know.  Perhaps there are people in my extended social circle who wish to keep in contact with me and who feel like I don't want to, and meanwhile I feel like they don't want to, and I will never know.

For all the awesomeness of technology, sometimes it feels to me that online interaction has taken all of our real-life relationships with each other and Picassoed them into a new version of themselves, where things that were once familiar are now all over the place.  Or perhaps it's just me.  You never can quite tell.  I mean, look at me - I'm complaining a little about feeling lonely and not cared about, yet I have a couple of people in my life who I call friends and who do do that.  So I am lucky.  But still this lonely feeling remains.  And what am I doing about it?  I am talking about it to the entire world.  Isn't there a disconnect here?  Feel rejected by people who in whatever fashion are within your social circle and you respond ... by talking about it online?

What a funny ole world, eh? :)

So, I am still to be able to see whether not being on social media changes my interactions with people offline.  Of course, what does worry me is that I will lose out on a whole bunch of stuff.  Stuff that people share online and then feel conversely like they have shared it with everyone and so then they won't share it with me when they see me.  Which would feel a little bit like being at a raging party without a drink ... or being out in the garden while the party goes on inside.  But still, I like it out here.  There is more space, sitting next to this tree.  And I hate parties anyway.  And I am not the only one out here.  Sometimes even those who are at the party come outside for the breather, after all :)

~ ~ ~

Edit:  Oh, and this.  This is why too.  With the Brittany thrown in as well, thanks.

A Wii Lad - one of JD Hancock's Little Dudes.


  1. OOOPS I am one of those people! I think we have been acculturated these days to little soundbites. )nce upon a time it was a handwritten letter, then it was a phone call, then it was an email, now it's 140 Characters Or Less.

    Also, I think Fb allows us to communicate with a whole mess of people with very limited effort. Unfortunately.

    I know my emails with you and Barbara and others have dwindled in the recent year or two, but I think it's more because of school on my end. I write SO MUCH for school that I sometimes don't feel motivated to email someone. But I will try to do BETTER. And no, you haven't put a guilt trip at my feet, but made a very important observation in which I see myself. :)

    1. Like I just said to you via that antiquated method, email, you're definitely not one of the people that I feel like I will lose touch with after quitting Facebook.

      I so understand not wanting to write when you've written so much for school. It's all good. We'll catch it up on the flipside :)

      It's so true, we're acculturated to little soundbites and I DON'T LIKE IT AT ALL. I can feel what it is doing to me. I'm an anxious person anyway. This constant zooming into so many other people's space (even if online) on any one day makes me feel frazzled even if I haven't left the room. So weird! Wow, we really live in some full-on strange times, don't we? Lots of awesome and wonderful and beautiful stuff happening too, beyond the margins. I think that's another reason why I have quit ... although I'm scared too that I won't see it, not being on Facebook 'n all! :P

  2. I'm very pleased to see you're still blogging, Sue, as I like the more substantial meals you serve up here. Whatever the truth about social media - and it's always going to be a mixed blessing, as with any human construct - when there are genuine folks like you around I'll always be mildly addicted to this way of relating:)

  3. I didn't realize you weren't on Facebook anymore because I haven't been there much either. For me, it's been that I'm just burned out on it. I still check it several times a day, but don't spend more than five minutes at a time there. I'm just tired of the constant onslaught of info blips. And, at this time of the year (which I realize for me is the opposite of where you are), I go into hermit mode. I don't particularly want to interact socially at all - in "real life" or digitally.

    And yet, here I am commenting on your blog. It's funny - I hardly ever come to Blogger anymore either, but something told me to check it today. So now I have the opportunity to let you know that you are one of the few people on the Internet that I do feel a sense of connection with, a desire to communicate with. I relate to a lot of what you say/post, much of the time. And I believe that if we were in the same geographical location, we would be friends in "real life."

    I'm jumping back and forth, topic-wise, but I want to say something else about this hermit-mode thing while I'm actually online and typing. I love and need these periods of withdrawal, of inner solitude. Right now I'm feeling inspired about a couple of projects in my life, and so my main use of the Internet has been for research lately. I've also been reading actual books again, which Facebook had, quite sadly I see now, replaced for a long time.

    Anyway. I'm glad you're in the world :)

    1. The constant onslaught of info blips - absolutely! Reality diced and sliced into a pastiche. I actually want at least a slice of it, if not the whole pizza. Facebook is damn exhausting.

      Thanks for listening to that something telling you to check Blogger, Susan. I was thinking of you the other day and wondering how you were going, and then here you appear! :) Thanks - I feel a sense of connection with you too and feel pretty confident that we would have a whole lot to talk about if we found ourselves in the same geographical location. Do keep in touch ... but enjoy your hermiting. It's funny that we feel uncomfortable about going into those spaces ... I guess we are taught that we should be "always on". Phoey. It's a part of the creative process to withdraw. Who wants every day to be the same? Not me!

      Oh, yes, books. They are such a different experience to being on Facebook. One of the same thing, page after page. Enjoy :)

  4. I do think that FB can help a lot if one is home due to not having energy/health to get out in the world. As an undiagnosed lyme person. I lost so many friends due to not being out in the world, not able to go to clubs or hobbies etc. FB has let me keep in touch at least vicariously. I figure my need for it will shrink as my health continues to improve. We'll see. :) I do like blogs, but i don't look at other sorts of websites much. I like the pretty pictures and cheery thoughts that pass on FB and i like keeping in touch with people. Some of my friends and family are so busy these days, I'd never know a thing about their lives if it wasn't for FB. Such frenetic lives, it almost makes me glad I have been too sick to join in. :) Now i just have to work out how to come back into life without getting back into the madness.

    1. I think FB is fantastic for helping stay connected when health issues keep you home. There are so many wonderful things about it - you're almost making me want to go back! :)

      I am not a good FB user. I wish I was. If I could use it properly and in a way that didn't interfere with my quest for my life not to be a random pastiche of three-second spaces, I would go back.

      I sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo get that space you talk about of almost being glad you've been too sick to join in. It's truly insane out there. Just ... insane.

      Sorry to hear that you possibly have lyme. I saw about a month ago while I was sitting outside a bullseye mark on my thigh. I really, really hope that doesn't mean I'm going to join your ranks. What do you do to manage your symptoms?

      Isn't it funny what being in an illness space does for you in terms of what you learn there? It's hard and it's dark and lonely, for sure, but I feel and I can see in your words too that there is a strength that we gain from being in this space that will be completely, totally and utterly invaluable when out in the "topside world" again. Here's to both of us getting there *clink*

    2. Sue I've thought for a while that you might have lyme. I had it for ten years undiagnosed (told I had CFS or it was all in my head) and then have been treating it using salt/C and homeopathy for two years. Hubby has it too and uses the Buhner herb protocol as well as he is ok with herbs where i am not (any more). I was pretty sick by the time we found out about the lyme so is a long road back but I definitely feel a lot more like my old self now. It is an amazing feeling to be coming back to life.

      Symptoms are many and varied and come about both due to the neurotoxins the lyme bugs produce, and due to the mess they make of your own systems. There is a lot of AI disease, gut issues, anxiety, mood swings, joint and muscle pain, dreadful fatigue, brain fog, MCS, balance and other brain issues, oh all sorts of fun depending how your own body reacts and where the bugs settle. Rashes or seen ticks are only seen in about 30 percent of cases. My hubby only got bulls eye rashes ten years after he had got the lyme!

      Yes long illness can temper a person into a fine diamond. :) You do find out what depths of courage you have to tap into (very deep) and I'm now confident I can handle anything else life may decide to throw at me. Along with that tempering comes a real sense of empathy for others and what they might be going through, sometimes invisibly. I wouldn't have chosen to have my life held up for a decade and more by lyme, but now it has happened, I will take the good things it has taught me and go on from here a changed person. Here's to us diamonds! *clink*

    3. So glad that you feel like you are coming back to life :) Fantastic.

      I have wondered in the past if I have Lyme and I plan on being tested for it in the magical future when I have more money. The only thing is that I did an antibiotic protocol back in about 2003, and so I would imagine that I would have knocked it on the head - it was a protocol that i think from memory pulsed one week on three weeks off for a year. It was totally hardcore and some of the abx made me feel like I was going off the deep end. But who knows? It's definitely a possibility and one I would like to rule out (although I seem to remember there being lots of false negatives that come along with Lyme testing but you know).

      Here's to your continued returning to your old self. I have begun doing trauma release exercises by David Berceli and all I can say is wow. I'm waiting for a bit to write about them but I really feel like I'm onto something here. Like I said to someone else, I feel like it's a piece of the jigsaw puzzle, but how big remains to be seen.

      Peace, sistah


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