10 Days without Social Media

September 9, 2016 ~ 07:13pm

Almost 2 weeks ago, I had a major personal disappointment that really affected me. Unfortunately it happened the night before the first year anniversary of my father's death. While the turn of events were incredibly upsetting, I didn't think at the time that it was anything that I couldn't deal with alone. I didn't want to outright tell anyone I was overwhelmed, but I did have the urge to say depressing things on my social media accounts, Twitter especially. As struggled to avoid sad tweets, I was having trouble concentrating at work. I became increasingly distracted and found myself just staring out the window or at pictures on Facebook. In a brief moment of clarity, I thought to myself that I would just quit social media for a while and try to deal with my personal turmoil. I firmly decided that if I had to say anything then I would say in person it to someone who cared. And if I had to write anything then it wouldn't be short tweets or posts - I would it write it down in complete thoughts.

And ... so I did. I signed off Facebook, killed Facebook Messenger. Signed off Instagram. Disconnected Twitter on all my computers and devices. No more Snapchat. Even stopped Google+, Untappd and BuzzFeed just to be thorough. The world became dark. Man, was it ever. But in that darkness I could hear myself think - or rather I could filter my thoughts from the constant random comments, pictures, rants or political jests.

So what was it like? Well everything went by so slowly. So painfully slow! I literally had no idea what was going on in the world or even my backyard. I don't have cable TV, don't listen to the radio much and haven't spent too much time talking with co-workers recently. True, I was trying to get over my personal issues and didn't show much interest, but I was still curious. I did wonder if anyone even noticed I stopped tweeting. I did feel some emptiness as it occurred to me that some of my family and close friends don't often text or call, but do constantly communicate or share info over social media. And I was missing that. Even as I write this, I feel anxiety about what all happened while I was "out".

I noticed for the first 3-4 days that I would habitually pick up my phone, turn on the screen, realize I had nothing to check, then I put it back down. There were some long days that I was excited to see a text or email (even from work). However now that I made to 10 days, I've almost completely stopped looking at my phone. In fact, the only time I did recently was to check the time. I'm worried that when I sign back on I might relapse into constantly reading Twitter. Of course, for almost the entire time I was disconnected, I wanted to tweet or post about what it was like to be disconnected. I even started keeping mental track of smart things I was going to tweet when I signed back on.

So looking back, I'm glad I did it. I did find it easier to get through my troubles by not being glued to a tiny screen. I did get a good break to reflect on my life and priorities. I talked more on phone with some of my friends in the past week or so, than I've done in months. I did rediscover that I have a (very) crappy blog which I really haven't spent any time on in years. All the notes I wrote down (on paper or electronically) were definitely therapeutic - and I'm not done writing things down.

I was surprised seeing how poor I had become at writing, but even so, I'm sure I want to write more. Does it help with the sadness? Yes, a little. Am I over the sadness? No, not really. I will write just for me. I hope my future self stumbles upon these words one day and realizes what a journey he's made from those 10 long and sad days.