There are many causes of stress.
I don’t have to tell you that there are many causes of stress in the world. Money, health, relationships, jobs, kids…we could go on and on. However, what I want to focus on today is the stress that we bring on ourselves by participating in social media in unhealthy/unhelpful ways.
Here she goes again with the social media!
If you have read any of my previous blogs, you are aware that I am no fan of social media. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t ever get on it. The one I tend to use the most, though I don’t have an account, is Youtube.
The rabbit hole.
Most of us are aware of the Youtube video rabbit hole phenomenon. You innocently get on Youtube to watch a specific video but end up spending an hour or more watching things that are in no way related to the original video you got on to see. I personally have made some progress with that monster, so it doesn’t happen to me as often as it used to, but it does still happen.
Not all bad.
Now don’t get me wrong, after a stressful day, or if you aren’t feeling well, I see nothing wrong with getting on Youtube and watching some funny cat videos if it makes you feel better, though there probably are better things you could be doing like praying, reading, napping, meditating, listening to music, playing music, creating art, etc. I don’t begrudge people of a little funny video time though. It’s the amount of time and the frequency of doing it that will tell you if it’s just a relaxation tool or is in fact an addiction that is keeping your from living your life.
It had hold of me!
Some time ago, I felt like it had too much of a hold on me, so I started by getting rid of my account, that way I couldn’t be on there commenting and arguing with people about everything from politics to toothpaste…checking for notifications constantly and feeling the need to respond to every reply to my comments. (Yes, I did all of that). Frankly, my life was a kind of hell when I was doing it. I felt constantly angry and stressed out and developed a very negative view of people and the world in general. So, I got off of Youtube except for watching things like instruction videos (when I needed to know how to do something), music videos (nostalgic and relaxation purposes) and checking in on a few people’s channels that I had followed for years. No more commenting though…strictly watching.
Needed to do more.
Lately though, I have started to question why I am still watching some of the people that I am watching, so I decided to stop watching those that no longer taught me anything or made me smile/relax. I was down to just a few people. I eliminated another one yesterday, and this is where the self-induced stressed discussion comes in.
To protect this persons privacy and feelings, I will not mention their name, gender or illness. This will be a bit tedious, but bear with me.
I have followed this person for about 4 years now. They somehow came up in my recommendations one day and for whatever reason, I clicked (you know the feeling!). This is a 20 something year old person who had been diagnosed with a terminal disease. This person had a very positive and uplifting attitude, so I kept watching their videos, hoping for a miracle. Happily, after a year or so of surgeries and treatments, there was no trace of their illness. That lasted about a year. Sadly, it has recently returned and the situation to me (a previous health care worker) sounds grim. To make it worse, this poor person seems to be in denial, making this all the harder to watch unfold.
This person has been experiencing some troubling symptoms that the doctors haven’t been able to explain. In fact, this individual hadn’t posted for a couple of weeks, which was unusual for them, so I had been very concerned, checking everyday, more than once a day, for any updates.
Yesterday, they finally made a post saying the doctors finally figured out what was causing them to feel so bad lately and that they had been in the hospital for treatment. Well, problem is, what they said they were diagnosed with does not exist on this planet. Either their doctor was a moron or this person misunderstood/misheard (not unusual in the medical world, with all those awful long, strange words!). I saw that a few people who said they were nurses were trying to explain this to this person and that this person was getting very nasty in return. So what did I do? You guessed it. I decided to jump into the fray and made my own comment, of course. MISTAKE!
Let me say that this occurred on Instagram. I did have an account with them just so I could follow this person since they rarely post on Youtube (where I found them) any more. I do not actually post on Instagram and didn’t even know how to use it! Yesterday, for the first time ever, I commented on Instagram because I wanted to help this person. I explained things in more detail and a bit more clearly than the other nurses had and told this person what the situation/diagnosis actually was. My reward? My comments got removed and I got blocked, along with the other people who were trying to help them. Nice.
Let me clarify.
To clarify, we were not trying to tell this person some awful news. We were not telling them that they were dying or anything like that. We were just telling them what the actual diagnosis was called. Many people have this particular issue and live, work and go about their business. So, again, they didn’t block us because we were being cruel or telling them something that they wouldn’t want to hear…at least we didn’t think we were!
Social media sucks.
In my previous posts about social media, I explained that I feel that all social media are havens for narcissist…stages on which people perform for attention and/or money. Thing is, these people only want you to watch, admire and tell them how great they are (and in some cases, give them money). They don’t want actual discussion, honest criticism or a real relationship with people. They just want to perform. for their audience.
Well, this situation proved me to be right about that once again. This person was honestly sounding very stupid by claiming they had a nonexistent illness and when some of us tried to clear the issue up for them so they wouldn’t sound so ignorant and would actually know what they had, we got rewarded with being attacked and dismissed. There is something seriously wrong with that.
Why am I doing this to myself?
So, I ask myself, once again, why are you doing this to yourself? Do you not have enough actual stress and concerns in your real life? Do you feel the need to go on social media and find more stress…the stress that results from growing to care and be concerned about people you don’t know, will never meet, and have nothing to do with your actual life? Do you need to be wasting your time and energy trying to explain something to someone that doesn’t even want to hear it? Do you like being treated like a nuisance, insulted and then dismissed when you were just trying to help a stranger? And, I think worst of all, do you need the stress of watching another person slowly die?
You see, this isn’t my first rodeo. I have lost 3 “Youtube people” in recent years due to their illnesses and resulting deaths. I mourned for those people just like I would mourn for someone I actually know. They left a hole in my life that I had to grieve and move on from. The problem with that? Let me explain.
My stress level was, and is, already high enough.
First, In the last 10 years, I have lost my mom, my only sibling (my little brother) and several pets. I have been watching my father slowly decline in health and needing my help, and I have been experiencing a decline in my own health that has affected how I live my life. So, needless to say, I have already been experiencing a high degree of stress and sadness in my life.
Thing is, these people and pets contributed something positive to my life. We had actual relationships. The pain of losing them is balanced out by the pleasure I had in my relationship with them. With social media people, there is no actual relationship. Not really. They perform, you watch and maybe leave a comment. Most of the time, they don’t even respond to your comments. You are just an audience member. Yet, you still grow to care for these people on some level, so you worry about them and you suffer when they suffer.
I asked myself yesterday, “Don’t you have enough suffering without getting on the internet and looking for more?”. My answer was, “Yes, more than enough.”, so I deleted my Instagram account and I will not be watching this dying person or any other sick/dying person again.
Yes, I feel for these people and wish I could make them well, but I can’t. They are in God’s loving and capable hands. I can’t really help them, and, it would seem, they don’t want any help.
It is basically like watching some sick, depressing soap opera. In fact, with this person, I noticed that their views dropped off dramatically when they went into remission. That made me wonder if there are actually people out there watching these channels because they WANT to see these people decline and die? Are people really that sick in the head? In any case, I am not one of them, so I had to ask myself why I am putting myself through this? Why should any sane person do this to themselves?
Please ask yourself some questions.
So, I’m going to ask you the same questions I have ask myself over the last few years.
Is social media giving you true joy or is it a crutch…an excuse for not putting in the effort to live your own life?
Does it really make you happy or is it just the thing to do (“everyone” does it), so that’s why you do it?
Do you feel better after you’ve been on social media or do you feel sad? Depressed? Angry? Jealous? Stressed in any way?
If it is not adding something positive to your life, why are you doing it? Why are you not out living your own life and spending time with those people around you that you love rather than wasting hour after hour watching other people you don’t know live their lives…well, at least the parts they want you to see?
So, ask yourself, are you stressing yourself out by participating in social media in ways that you would be better off not?
Only you can answer these questions. I hope that you are honest with yourself so that you can start living more of an actual life…a more fulfilling life… rather than causing yourself stress and wasting your time, energy and health like I was.
Please think about it.
I could talk more on this subject, but I think you get the point. Please do give it all some serious, honest thought. As for me, I need to finish this up and get off this computer because I have some art to create. It is a great stress reliever!