QUITTING SOCIAL MEDIA IS SO HAAAAAAAAAAARD.
You guys. It’s weird. I had no idea I was so emotionally addicted to the payoff I get from… what? All the likes and comments? The simple knowledge that my endless stream of consciousness is being projected to a handful of people who kinda enjoy it?
I DON’T KNOW.
Even writing this is an attempt to sate that urge.
I stopped writing in my normal spot, too. I’ve written for a semi-anonymous journal site about 5 times a week for… 4 years? More?
Before that, it was once a week-ish. For a decade.
14 years of habit, y’all. I have done NOTHING else for that long, other than, ya know… Breathe?
I know it will get easier. I’m only 3 days in. Last time I did this, it was 2 or 3 days before I eased into my new life without constant validation. But it’s strange how big that void is. How much I feel like I need it.
Part of it, I think, is that I live alone.
When you spend most of your time alone–without spamming the details of your life to people–the days just… Disappear. It’s like they never happened. What few memories I retain from these unshared days will die along with me.
Apparently everything I do is a losing battle against my own mortality. Because Facebook statuses prevent death? IT’S A WORK-IN-PROGRESS, OKAY.
I also have pretty bad self-esteem. (Sort of? In a narcissistic way?) Having a bunch of people approve of my attempts to be funny/interesting reminds me that I’m not a big ol’ bag of flaming turds waiting to be stepped on by an unsuspecting prank victim.
But if I need literal constant validation just to get through a day without forgetting I’m awesome, PERHAPS SOMETHING ELSE IS WRONG?!?!?
I don’t know, man. I don’t know.
I feel like everything I do, every habit I’ve formed, every addiction I nurture, is just a series of off-brand bandages I’m slapping onto the gaping wound of my soul, and they fall off within minutes because off-brand bandages are shit.
I am really good at metaphors. I should add that to the list of my incredible qualities.
What am I supposed to do, though? How do I fix this?
Yanno, people say smoking is harder to quit than heroin. They use that fact to imply nicotine/tobacco are SO INCREDIBLY ADDICTIVE, even recovering heroin addicts scoff at the idea of quitting without help.
But I don’t think it’s about the strength of the addiction itself. I think there are 2 major reasons.
First off, smoking is legal. Thus, it is EVERYWHERE.
You can’t ask a stranger on the street if you can bum some heroin.
You can’t go into literally any grocery or convenience store and purchase heroin.
There aren’t poles full of used heroin needles outside of every bar that you can dig through and patch together into… new… heroin?
Secondly, the side effects of smoking take much, much longer to notice than those of Doing The Heroin Drug. You’re killing yourself in such tiny increments, you can justify it with every step.
“One won’t hurt me!”
“It won’t make a difference to the functionality of my lungs until I’m 30.”
“It doesn’t raise my cancer risk until I’m 35!”
Up to a certain point–a point that doesn’t come until you’ve spent DECADES with your habit–the damage is so gradual, it’s invisible to you. Just like you can’t tell if your hair is a different length from day to day. It’s only when you see a picture of yourself from 6 months ago that you realize the change.
But, unless Fitbits are a lot cooler than I think, there’s no way to take a picture of how you felt 6 months ago. You can’t maintain that perspective.
These (potential) reasons (that I made up in my head a couple years ago and are possibly bullshit) that cigarettes are “more addictive than heroin” apply to social media, too.
100% of the time I’m awake, I’m less than 5 seconds away from social media. Every single time I have the urge to check it, there is nothing stopping me from doing so, other than my own will power. OF WHICH I HAVE NONE. EVER. EVER EVER EVER oh I guess I’ve had it for 3 days now. NEAT. That counts, right?
And the side effects of social media aren’t quantifiable. There is no easy way to measure the toll it’s taking. At least, not without stopping for a while and remembering what life felt like before I was so dependent. But how do you motivate yourself to stop if you can’t determine whether or not you should stop?
It doesn’t help that everything I’m doing to fill that void FEELS just as empty. Like, jumping back on the origami train. Learning to knit. Writing this supposedly introspective public blog entry that no one will read because I can’t post it on Facebook.
What are these hobbies? Are they adding any more value to my life than, say, spamming jokes to Twitter?
I DON’T KNOW ANYMORE.
And yet, I DO know that my use of social media isn’t healthy.
I check my shit SO often, you guys. Constantly. And for every time I get that hit of happiness from a new notification, there are 10 times when nothing new pops up and I’m left feeling strangely empty.
I remember talking to my brother about the difference between an addiction and a passion.
We half-assedly decided amongst ourselves that addictions don’t create anything. You’re simply consuming. Passions might be just as obsessive, but they’re productive. You’re making something that wouldn’t exist if not for your participation.
Where the hell do I place my overuse of social media on that scale?
I know a lot of people just browse the stuff that attention-seekers like myself crank out at an alarming rate. But me? I’m definitely producing something. I try to entertain. I try to stimulate new thoughts or feelings.
So why does it feel like an addiction, rather than a passion?
Maybe “passion” and “addiction” are just different words for the same thing. Maybe doing anything obsessively, creative or otherwise, is simply a way to avoid something deep inside that you’re afraid to address. Loneliness. Inadequacy. Anxiety. Fear of rejection.
I don’t know, guys. But, whatever! Maybe I’ll spend the next month thinking about it while I sob all over my knitting needles and scream at origami paper.