Time for a very lengthy and very deep post. Hope you’re prepared.
Most of the time when we think of addiction, we usually think of drugs or alcohol. Or at least that’s generally what comes to my mind when I think of that word. But when you really, truly, deeply think about it, there are so many things that a person can be addicted to. Someone can be addicted to sex, eating, shopping, smoking, gambling, and even working or spiritual obsessions. Yeah, sure, some of these are incredibly dangerous to our health or (in the case of gambling and shopping) our finances. A lot of these I just listed you might think are pretty dangerous or incredibly heart breaking to hear about.
However, when someone says they are addicted to social media, do you think it’s heart breaking, or funny? Or do you even think it exists?
I almost feel embarrassed to say I have this addiction, but it’s 100% true:
I am a Social Media Addict.
Specifically, I’m a Facebook addict. While yes I do spend time on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat, I do not spend nearly as much of my valuable time on these networks as I do Facebook.
Now you might be sitting here laughing at the screen, shaking your head, or possibly thinking something like “Oh my god just log off the damn site then. It’s not that hard.” But, honestly? It’s hard. It’s hard for me not to be sitting here and resist the impulse to pick up my phone and open Facebook so I can go into this downward spiral of watching endless funny videos, stalking someone’s timeline, and scrolling through the endless newsfeed of which a majority of the content is bullshit that really doesn’t affect me or mean anything to me. I can easily spend hours doing this to the point that I would look up at 3-5 hours of my time has been spent on a website. Doing nothing. Not achieving my goals.
If you aren’t convinced that Social Media Addiction is a real thing yet, check out these articles I’ve read. Who knows, you might discover something about yourself today:
- How Real a Risk is Social Media Addiction?
- 5 Psychological Reasons You Are Addicted to Facebook and 5 Ways to Break the Habit
- An Earnest Guide to Breaking Your Social Media Addiction
- Managing Your Social Network Addiction
- Break Free From Your Social Media Addiction
So why am I bringing this up on my very public blog? Well, as they say, admitting it is the first step in recovering from an addiction, right? And I want to share with you my own experience with this Facebook addiction of mine, how it’s affected my life, and how I’m working to get through this. Before I go any further please, please, please know that I am not posting this looking for pity, pats on the back, or whatever. I am not the type of person that wants to be doted on. More than anything, I just want to inform people of this very real addiction and hey, this might even help someone with their own struggles. It could be you. It could be your friend. I’d rather help people with my blog posts.
I’m also showing you a very real part of the person behind those costumes, for those that follow my public online profiles for cosplay. I feel more cosplayers need to be like this, but I digress.
Here is how bad my Facebook addiction has become:
Every morning right when I woke up as well as every night when I went to bed, I would check Facebook. Not only would that often delay my time to get ready for work (and often make me late to work/school), but it would also affect how much sleep I got at night or how well I slept. I easily spent about 30 minutes to an hour from the time I actually lay down in bed expecting to go to sleep and actually putting the phone down, shutting my eyes, and making effort to go to sleep. Why? I was surfing Facebook. The quality of my sleep was also affected because I would lay there in the dark and stare at a screen for an hour. If you didn’t happen to know, blue light affects our sleep patterns and essentially ruins it. Here’s a handy article chock full of information on how that happens from Digital Trends: Is blue light keeping you up at night? We ask the experts
Throughout the work day, my productivity would also be affected because I would get bored and when I get bored, my instinct was to always reach for my phone and open up that damned Facebook app. 20 minutes would easily go by before I realized what I just did.
Now here’s where it gets real for me – the absolute worst part of this addiction for my particular situation:
This addiction has affected my school work and study time. Studying typically did not exist because I would end up picking up the phone to check Facebook. Now I can’t contribute my lack of studying and homework efforts entirely to my Facebook addiction because I also have god awful time management, but it certainly didn’t help.
It has affected my relationship. I will not go into details here because we do like to keep our relationship pretty private for the most part. All I will say is my addiction has frustrated Steven in a lot of ways and now that I’ve realized it, I can completely understand where he’s coming from and I am extremely thankful that he has stuck with me for so long even when I did not see my own issues.
This addiction has also affected my ability to enjoy life and learn or do the things I want. The constant need to check and see what people are doing, to post photos or update people on “oh my god this really awesome thing I just saw/discovered/did today” has kept me from actually enjoying the moment outside of the internet. I am also fairly certain that I have developed a fear of missing out (FOMO) thanks to Facebook because I have convinced myself that the only way to keep in touch with my friends and family is through this social media platform. I can’t tell you how many times Steven and I have gone camping and the second I have internet access again I jump on Facebook to see everything I have missed AND to update everyone on how much of an awesome time I had because of our very human need to be the center of attention.
Every time I think about where I would be today if I did not waste those countless hours on Facebook frustrates me to no end.
I have done some very deep soul searching the past few weeks as this year comes to an end. I wanted to discover why I was never truly happy, why I feel that I may actually have depression and why I find in-person social settings hard to handle. I also wanted to discover how to improve my own relationship and become a better person for myself as well as for Steven. I finally figured out that social media has seriously screwed up my life. And it’s time for me to take my life back and get the hell away from Internetland when I have things that need to be done and dreams that need to be chased.
Overcoming this little addiction of mine is going to take some time. But I am happy to report that for the last week I’ve not only deleted my Facebook app but I have been actively working to remain conscious of the time I spend on Facebook. I am already proud to say that my daily time spent on Facebook has been reduced to probably about 10 minutes total, which is already a pretty large improvement from how much time I used to spend just two weeks ago. It’s still a struggle of course. I’ve been in this habit for so long that whenever I’m bored I have a mega urge to go check Facebook and see what everyone is doing or what they’ve found funny today.
It’s all about retraining your brain to find healthy alternatives to cure boredom and finding amusement in your free time. It also involves finding the will power to keep your mind focused on your goals or the task at hand and not get distracted. Easier said than done sometimes! I believe the articles I shared above have some great tactics for anyone trying to back off or quit social media completely. And while I absolutely am against using drugs for curing any kind of addiction, I absolutely think anyone struggling with this addiction (or any addiction really) should seek someone to talk to. Sometimes just talking things through with someone who isn’t a friend or family member can help you. A lot.
As a blogger and aspiring solopreneur, I can’t just quit social media completely. Any small business owner needs social media these days to spread the word about their products or services. So I will still, of course, have my public online profiles which I will continue to post to though I absolutely do not intend to spend all day on them. But as for my friends and family on my personal Facebook? Well, if you truly want to stay in touch with me, you’ll have to find another way. Eventually I hope to make my personal Facebook presence extremely rare for my own health. And I can only hope those that I care about will understand that – and stay in touch via email, phone/text, or some other way!
So yeah. That’s all I have. If you have a friend who might be addicted to social media, or if you think that you yourself might be addicted, please use this post and the links in it as not only a guide to help you break your own addiction, but to also reassure you that you are SOOOOOOOOO not alone. Trust me.
Facebook is the devil. You got this.