Good-bye Facebook app, hello sanity

What a relief

Well, I’m halfway into my second week without having Facebook on my smartphone, and I realize I’m really enjoying it. I’ve been having some real issues with irritability and anger and aggression over the past months, and I think that my Facebook activity was really fueling those issues and making things worse.

And when I say “worse”, I’m talking about road rage that has been flaring up more and more over the past few months… blow-ups at home over little things that escalate very quickly… things getting tougher at work between myself and others… and more. These are just a few of the things that have been getting worse over the past months. They are not things that I can afford to just let run rampant. I’ve lost jobs over less, and it’s not worth it. Especially for someone with my irritability and impulse control issues.

But how could Facebook have made things worse for me?

Well, first, there’s the sleep thing. When I don’t sleep properly or have enough rest, it feeds my irritability and aggression. With Facebook, I was spending an awful lot of time staying up longer than I should have, and waking up earlier than I should have – and instead of going back to sleep, checking FB and reading everything that was going on with people. I was literally losing sleep to Facebook, which is not something I should lose to anything – especially not a social network where people are either posting inane crap or fighting.

The other big (maybe bigger) thing was the level of conflict and aggression that seems to have taken over FB in general. Especially during the election… geez, what a bunch of loons we all turned into. And it’s still going on, as folks continue to argue and fuss and attack each other about politics and who’s to blame for what. The thing of it was, even though at first I was really turned off by all the aggression and arguing, and I managed to stay above it, after a while, I got sucked into it, and I found myself starting to act like other people there — which was NOT what I wanted.

At all.

I found myself actually posting things and responding to things that I never would have bothered with before. It wasn’t just disrupting my peace of mind – it was totally wrecking it. And over what? A few sentences that couldn’t be properly discussed or understood more deeply?

The other thing was the constant distraction. Having online media so readily available hasn’t exactly done wonders for me. And having Facebook on my smartphone at work, just gave me the opportunity to step away and lose myself in it for 15-20 minutes. Like smoking a cigarette… without the lung cancer. But even with milder doses of pointless distraction… still not the most productive use of time. In fact, it was breaking up the flow of my day — from morning till night. Not good.

The vacuousness of it just drove me nuts after a while. All those little snipes, back and forth, either for or against, for or against… just for the sake of sniping, like a martial arts match that’s just there for the competition’s sake, not actual self-defense. Social media, as entertaining and distracting as it can be, is not a place where I can really hone my own views and discuss with others to the degree I like. That just doesn’t happen online. And as a result, there is a lot of misunderstanding — and yet more resulting conflict. It just feeds on itself, like a wildfire. And what long-term good actually comes out of it? Sure, social media can fan the flames of revolution, but then what? Does anybody have a clue?

Who can say? I can’t answer that here in this forum. All I can say is, leaving Facebook behind has done a couple of things for me:

1. I am resting better now. I don’t waste as much time lying around looking at people’s blather/jokes/rants/truisms. And not only am I going to sleep when I go to bed (instead of lying there for half an hour reading FB), but I am actually giving myself time to wake up before I jump into the day.

2. I realized that the mindset I was getting into — combative, argumentative, aggressive — which was affecting my driving and personal relationships, is NOT what I want to have in my head. When I was on FB, my mindset was like a WWE match. All the time. And I thought that was okay. Because it’s how everyone was, and it was fun. Energizing. Entertaining. But after getting off FB, I realize that my mindset was pretty corrupted — wasted, really — and I need to change.

See, the thing that hurt me the most with FB, was getting used to the bad behavior, the fighting, the insults, the accusations, the protests, as “normal”. That is NOT how things have to be. It’s how some people are, but it’s not how I want to be. I don’t want to be that person who sits with an electronic device and praises those who share my opinions and snipes at people who don’t agree with me. I don’t want to be that person who posts wildly about all my pet causes and gets into shouting matches with people who don’t agree with me, or simply have a different perspective. I don’t want to be that person who thinks that just because I have very strong opinions, that makes me right and it gives me the right to go after others who disagree with me.

For a long time, I kept Facebook at bay and didn’t get involved. Then I gave in. Now I remember why I kept it at arms’ length. And I’m getting back to that old way of being. Seriously, I have so much going on in my life right now, the last thing I need is yet another leech on my time and energy and peace of mind.

Good-bye Facebook.

Hello sanity — it’s been a while.

Up early and moving on…

It’s a new day…

I’ve got two more days of work before my vacation. A real vacation. I’ve been sick and so has my spouse, so we are staying home and foregoing the Christmas-New Years journey this year. Doing all that driving does not do it for us. Not this year. At some point, you just have to say “enough” and do the most healthy thing, which is Just. Stay. Home.

In the midst of all the national debate on gun control, in the midst of the grief over those 20 kids and 6 teachers who were killed, in the midst of all the talk about how autistic/mentally ill kids need to be locked up, in the midst of it all, I come back to the fact that I really need to take care of myself in all this — and do the things that I know will keep me on solid ground:

  • Good food
  • Good rest
  • Good company and not a lot of “social filler”
  • Plenty of down/alone time
  • Good exercise

Good. Just good.

This is the holiday season. A time traditionally devoted to helping those less fortunate and celebrating the Light in our lives. Whether you’re celebrating the lengthening days, or a miracle of Light, or the birth of a carrier of Light, or traditions that enLighten your life, this is a time of reflection and renewal all over the world. Just biologically speaking, it is very much a time of renewal, as the days begin to lengthen again, and spring is literally just a handful of months away. It’s hard-wired into our systems. Our very bodies know, something is changing for the better.

In the midst of all… this, I do remember what matters most to me — staying centered and calm, even when things are going south. I had a bit of a meltdown the other night. I wasn’t feeling well, I’d been “off” all day, struggling with my balance and nausea, and I blew up over some little thing that needed to be done in the kitchen that wasn’t getting done.

I tried to avert it, but it escalated, and it felt like crap. I felt like crap. Everything felt like crap.

I went to bed early, and I woke up feeling a little better. Did the same thing last night, too — went to bed early… and woke up early this morning. I still feel a little “off”, but I am getting used to it, so it’s not so terrible right now. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning, so I’m hoping that will help. My ears seem to be better, but I want to get them checked. Now there’s more pain than lack of balance. And pain in my ears is never good.

I sometimes have a hard time detecting when I am in pain, so I sometimes let myself go longer than I should in reporting and addressing these issues. My doctor says I’m a “risk-taker”. I think I just have trouble figuring out how much my system is compromised. I am so accustomed to things being not-right with me — sensitive to sound and light and touch… headache, neck-ache, dizzy, foggy — I have learned to adjust and accommodate and not let it stop me from doing what I need to do. But when I’m genuinely sick, that old habit can get in my way. So,  I’ll have to have a talk with my doctor, when I see them tomorrow. I don’t want them to have the wrong idea that it’s a sign of mental issues or deliberate risk-taking behaviors. Seriously, we need to have that talk.

It’s not that I am consciously taking risks. I just don’t perceive risks the same way that others do. It’s just another bit of information my doctor should use to better understand me. And I need to find a way to communicate this to them, that doesn’t make me sound mentally deficient. They already wonder about me, thanks to the TBI info.

Anyway, it’s all a process… an unfolding and evolving process, which isn’t some cut-and-dried step-by-step thing. It’s a winding path through the woods that I have to continually walk, to keep it passable and keep the proverbial undergrowth from taking over. It’s about practice, about tending to the basics, keeping myself on track, day in and day out. It’s about never quitting and always looking for some sign of progress, to keep myself going.

And it’s about taking good care of myself, so I can keep on keepin’ on, so I have the strength and the resources to look for the good and act on it. It’s about not letting the world pull me down and pull me even more off-base than I am already… so that I can think clearly and interact with the rest of the world at my best.

I have a week and a half of vacation ahead of me — just around the corner. Time to relax and rest and unwind… to recharge the batteries and do the things I don’t have time for on in my normal life. Walk in the woods for hours. Read a book I’ve been wanting to read. Work around the house. Clear and clean out some things. Write about what matters to me most, as long as I like each day. Tend to my state of body and mind and spirit. And sleep. Long and deep and often.

There may never be an end to terrible things happening in the world, but that’s all the more reason to take good care… so that I can respond appropriately — if a response is indeed required.