Sometimes its hard to blog about my opinion and my experiences without sounding like I’m on a “holier than thou” rampage. But I guess that’s the internet in a nut shell so, what the hell.
Mental health and social media.
I feel like those two go together like oil and water which is to say that they don’t mix well but at all. I don’t remember always having a complicated relationship with social media. I mean truly, MySpace was fun and not all encompassing. I think it all started when our phones became mini-portable computers and everything had an app. I remember nursing my #3 in the middle of the night and scrolling on my iPhone 3. I remember thinking that something wasn’t quite right with that but also I was trying to keep myself awake at 1 am so what else was there to do? Since then I have spent too much time and energy trying to incorporate social media into my life in a healthy way.
Where it enhances my life and doesn’t detract from it.
I have had many a conflicted feelings. On the one hand, I should be able to be on social media. Everyone else is and seems to enjoy it. It should be a positive force in my life. And then on the other hand, I knew that if I have to try this hard to make something work for me, then it ain’t workin’. It got to a point where the energy to like social media was far greater than the reward of scrolling.
And here’s where it seems like it gets a little high horsey because now I’m making a case for everyone in the entire universe to do the same. Actually, not really. I’m not taking on any social media giants. I’m pretty sure that dismantling the social media universe is impossible. But I think it’s important that we acknowledge what it does to our minds and inevitably, our lives.
Actually, I’m just gonna go full on high horse and come at this from a spiritual perspective because that’s what has been on my mind lately.
Ultimately, I feel like social media preys on all of the seven deadly sins. You know the sins: gluttony and envy and greed and lust and pride and sloth and wrath. I feel like I don’t need to elaborate on that because it’s so “duh.” Or maybe it’s so ground breaking and revolutionary that I’ll spend another post delving into my thoughts on this. I’ll get back to you on that.
Anyway. The thing about the seven deadly sins is that they are alluring. I mean really, I think we are drawn to them like the way I’m drawn to snacking when I’m PMS’ing. As such when we are given an opportunity to indulge, we do. And when we indulge in those behaviors it does feel good. For like a second. And then in the long run we are all like “what the fuck did I even do today besides lay on the couch and binge watch some grimy Netfllix series?”
We tell ourselves that we are staying informed and educating ourselves. Or we jump on some soap box and think that our words are making a difference in the world when really they just add to the noise.
And for me, that’s what social media does. It is so fucking loud that I can’t hear anything except my own anxieties. I used to avoid quiet and rest like the plague. And what better way to keep myself distracted from my internal chaos than by grabbing my phone and scrolling. What I didn’t realize is that I was perpetuating the chaos rather than calming it.
Here’s my ultimate point: social media stole my mental health. I know that’s a strong statement. That’s also a statement that maybe sounds like a cop out because maybe also I gave social media my mental health. But, the good news is that I reclaimed it. Since my mind is grateful I am just going to go ahead and tell you what I have filled my time with since I stopped scrolling every free moment and how that feels…mentally.
Yoga. I’ve been doing yoga so frequently and consistently that I dare say I am living yoga. And it’s incredible. It’s a practice that is so beautiful that I feel alive. And that’s a feeling that I used to avoid but it turns out that feeling alive is a pretty fantastic way to live.
Writing. I’ve been writing consistently. And my brain thanks me for it. My thoughts are being processed and I don’t feel weighed down by them. My mind isn’t jumbled and then becoming even more jumbled because instead of processing I’m scrolling and adding more to already overloaded synapses.
Meditation. Let me start by saying that meditation used to provoke me into having a panic attack. And now it doesn’t. And I think that’s important to mention because I never thought that I would be able to meditate or find benefit in it. So instead I distracted myself with, you guessed it, scrolling. But now I have taken to mediating and doing a 7-10 minute bedtime yoga practice and my nervous system thanks me. I am learning to slow down and find the beauty in the quiet rather than being afraid of it.
Faith. I’m exploring my faith. I’ve started a read the bible in 52 weeks type devotional and something about having a higher power involved in my day just makes it better. I have felt called to actually read and study the bible for quite a long time. But I never had time. Turns out that I have had the time, I was just filling it with things that depleted me instead of the things that have the ability to fill me.
And that’s what it all comes down too. Scrolling takes time.
And brain power.
And mental energy.
And it makes us think that we are busier and more fucked than we actually are. It lies to us and tell us that we don’t have time to do things that will make us better. And I kind of think that people who don’t have time to make themselves better are easier to control. They are easier to feed divisive and painful information. It’s easier to paralyze the masses because they are so focused on their screens that they aren’t looking up to see what’s really happening.
And now I went full on conspiracy theorist. That took an unexpected turn.
I mean, I don’t think that social media was invented as a mind control for the masses. But I kind of think that’s what it’s turned into. So here’s my actual, ultimate point:
Look up every once in a while so that you can take stock in what you are filling your time and your mind with and then ask yourself: is this what I want to fill my time and mind with?
Because maybe we all get too lost in the noise that we forget how beautiful and filling slowing down in the quiet can be.
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