It's been months without social media, and now I can't imagine going back.
I remember posting a picture on Facebook and realizing that it would be the last one for a while.
I was sitting in the barn trying to catch my breath after a day of relentless panic attacks.
I was exhausted and willing to do anything to feel better. A little voice in my head was telling me that I needed to stop consuming trash.
So I posted this picture of our kitty Shyla, and then immediately deleted all social media apps from my phone.
I wish I could tell you that it gave me instant peace. But it didn't. I really felt like I was missing out on something, and even worse was the feeling that I now had removed my biggest source of distraction and "checking out".
I had inner work to do, and I needed to be in my own thoughts to do it.
You really aren't aware of the extent of energy it takes to consume so much social media content until you cut off your access.
So I was just there. With no distractions. With no mindless scrolling to numb my reality. With no accessibility from anyone except my closest people.
And I was afraid. Afraid of the solitude. Afraid of the quiet. Afraid of being forgotten. Afraid of being lonely.
There were many times during the first few days when I wanted so desperately to re-install my apps and feed my habit.
I'd get to that place and calmly talk myself out of it. "Just another hour Ang. Just for today Ang. Just until the weekend." And those little pep talks got me through those feelings.
I had left social media once or twice before, a few weeks, then a couple of months, but my need to feel virtually connected always brought me back.
I assumed this time would be the same. Just a little break to clear my head and I'd be back.
But now I'm on the other side of it, and the idea of being back on social media bring me anxious feelings.
So for now, I have no desire.
This detox has forced me to be truthful with myself about why I'd relied on such a distraction from being present in the first place. What was I avoiding? What payoff did I get? What was I supposed to do with my time? What ideas are really mine, and what was I absorbing from everyone else? Who should have access to me?
My answers were humbling. And most of them I didn't like.
My social media usage started harmless enough. It became a way to connect with people, share pictures and projects and funny stories.
Then it became a really easy way to market my businesses, celebrate milestones, create friendships.
Soon, I didn't remember how we ever survived without it.
But, like all of us who have ever spent time on multiple platforms, the energy it took to consume so many different opinions, stories, and news was all consuming.
Have you ever found yourself down the rabbit hole of looking at someone's life that you don't know? Or waking up in the morning wondering how so and so's brother's coworker's dog did in surgery?
The energy isn't just affected while you scroll, but it has a way of creeping into your time spent offline as well.
And I finally hit the breaking point.
I didn't have enough energy left over to take care of me, and it was becoming obvious that if I was going to feel better I was going to have to take a break.
A year ago I probably would have described myself as an extrovert. I was social, I could talk to anyone, I wanted to be in all the places with people who could keep a conversation going. And I documented everything.
Today I feel like I've probably always been the opposite, I just didn't realize.
My oversharing was a coping mechanism to combat loneliness.
My loneliness was a fear that I wasn't worthy.
Documenting everything was proof that I was alive and taking up space.
Now I feel peace with being quieter.
Loneliness has been replaced by enjoying solitude.
Life is still happening, but I'm not called to share all the details.
Maybe someday I'll be back. But not today.
The idea of logging in and seeing multiple notifications and unread messages makes me feel panicked and overwhelmed.
My mental health became important enough that I had to cut ties with the one thing that was keeping me from feeling better.
Some people can enjoy social media without it taking over. They are lucky. I don't have that restraint. For me it was more of a numbing drug and I needed to quit. It was distracting me, it was taking up time, it was preventing me from being present.
I have no regrets about giving it up.
I just wish I did it sooner.