"Betty Leopard": My Relationship with Facebook: It's Complicated

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

My Relationship with Facebook: It's Complicated

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Facebook. Well, actually, that's not entirely true, it's more of a obsessive-need/hate relationship. Either way, it's complicated.

I check Facebook every day, not even just once a day, several times a day. Not just when I get a notification on my phone, sometimes for no reason at all - in fact, most of the time for no reason because I don't actually get that many notifications.

And that is exactly where my 'obsession' becomes harmful.

As someone who suffers with depression and social anxiety, and who has also moved around 300 miles away from practically everyone she knew, I desperately want social media to provide me with the social contact, love, care and support that other people get from actually friends they see as part of their day-to-day lives. Unfortunately, whether it's down to age or something else, very few of my Facebook friends seem to engage with Facebook on a regular basis and those that do don't seem to engage with me - it's from this point that the little depression demon in my head starts running round in circles yelling unhelpful comments like "They're deliberately ignoring you", "Everybody hates you", "No-one wants to speak to you", "You're annoying and boring" and other increasingly nasty and unhelpful things like that until I want to scream and shout and then curl up, cry and never show my face in public ever again.

Basically, for me anyway, Facebook is a depression enabler - it provides my depression demon with more than enough ammunition to totally destroy any small crumb of happiness or confidence I might have built up. A wonderful combination of images and status updates that show how wonderful everyone else's' lives are combined with an almost complete lack of interaction and much desired social contact for me.

I'd would like to point out at this point that my rational brain knowns that none of this is the fault of the people I know, this is all totally the result of how I (over)react to things. Unfortunately, no matter how hard I try, the result is always the same.

The only thing I have left is to seriously cut down on using the damn thing - which sounds easy enough but I have so far failed in this. Maybe because the occasional optimist in me always hopes that someone might have sent me a message but my phone has forgotten to update me (cos that happens all the time, right?). Maybe it's just become such a habit over the years that I just can't help myself.
I do go through periods of thinking it would be easiest to just delete my profile and never use it again - but then I don't know if anyone would ever contact me again, at least while I'm still signed up then there's a chance.

I'm sorry if this has been a bit of a whingy post, but it's something that I needed to get off my chest. I also hope that if I write it down and make it public then I might actually stick to reducing my use and ending this damaging obsession.

Thanks for reading,


  1. I don't think it's whinging, I totally understand where you're coming from, Facebook is the least 'social' media site I can think of. Where it started out being a great idea and great tool for keeping in contact with people, I think it has changed very much over the last few years. I think for most it has become a place to moan about trivial things or brag about stuff but not to engage for a general catch up how you doing kind of thing. Well at least that's my experience. I know not all people are like that on FB but most of those people I have found have moved away from FB.

    I also think FB is designed to make us a bit obsessed with sharing stuff and knowing what everyone is up to and sometimes we find ourselves being dragged into that without realising.

    I can imagine being far away doesn't help but I recently took an extended FB break, I literally just turned it off and deleted the app off my phone to stop temptation of excessively checking every five minutes to see if anything new had happened. Turns out it was the best things I did, after a month I actually stopped worrying about what everyone was up to, or getting mad at people for stupid statuses! Some people really need to fact check before they repost stuff!.

    Obviously I'm not saying you should go cold turkey and shut it off because everyone is different, I now try and check up on people twice a day, I mainly go on to update my page about work stuff but I don't think it's bad thing to take a break from it every now and again. We take holidays at work because if we didn;t it would wear us down, the same principle applies to everything else.

    Apologies for the essay but I really identified with what you you wrote and just wanted you to know you're not the only one who feels like that.


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  3. I agree often social media can be triggering. But its always important to remember that no one puts up the worst photos of themselves or tells us how bad their day has been. It's a platform for compliments and self validation when things are going well.



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