Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Aug. 26, 2013
After an especially exhausting and lengthy debate with an acquaintance on Facebook, I came to a realization and decision that i'd been toying with for quite some time...taking a hiatus from the for me, highly addictive social network.  Over the past several years, the amount of time I spent there had gradually increased, and I was becoming painfully aware of the distraction it was in my life.  Back in about 2003 when I began homeschooling my older son Chris, I made the move into the technological age with our first computer.  I did well for a long time, then I discovered MySpace. I loved how you could personalize your page with all sorts of pictures and sayings that reflected your unique personality.  I didn't go in too much for any deeper involvement with friends, but loved using the site to post pictures, create playlists and write blogs, and promote the bands of friends.  Many changes occurred in my life over the years, job change, health issues etc, but I did notice I could easily spend several hours online without even noticing.

In 2009 I made the switch to Facebook, as people seemed to be drifting away from MySpace and going there instead.  The first few times I tried it I absolutely hated it.  It seemed like there was just too much printing all over the pages everywhere. It looked too "busy" for my ADD preference.  But I eventually grew to like it, not spending much time really, but a fair amount.  
In Dec. 2010, my boyfriend at the time, who had been living with me nearly 2 years, was in a horrific car wreck. He was comatose for some weeks, followed by three months of relearning how to eat, talk and walk. Then I brought him home to care for him. During the whole ordeal I began using Facebook as my "journal" to chronicle all the events, as well as keep family and friends abreast of what was going on.  I later started a brain injury blog, using my posts from Facebook as a way to go back for all the details.  Ultimately, two more years down the road, we separated due to severe behavior issues and I needed to make a choice for myself and my family to move onward alone.  It was painful. I loved him very much.  But I certainly didn't separate from Facebook, in fact I was becoming very addicted. I loved it...all the cute pictures and sayings, the ability to vent and debate issues, and the capability to keep in touch with people I hadn't seen or heard from in years.  I reconnected with nearly my whole high school class, communicated with old and new friends, and joyfully searched for and found family I'd never met.  Through net-working I found several new opportunities to grow as well, through music, acting and volunteerism.  I shared much of my life, shamelessly, since I believe I'd rather have people hear truth straight from me about my life rather than hear gossip from others.  (By the way, I continue to feel that way.)  I was without a doubt, hooked.  

Fast-forwarding to the present, I am alarmed at times how much I feel compelled to sit my arse in front of Facebook, knowing full well there are a vast array of things needing to be done.  I start things, but that little red number next to notifications or messages beacons me time and time again.  I tried to ignore this revelation, but in all actuality I knew it was a problem for me.  I justified it by thinking how many, many others were obviously on all day long too, since whenever I got on, they were already there...  That excuse isn't holding water anymore.  It does not matter what "everyone else" is doing.  It matters only what I'm doing.  I am responsible for my life.  My fancy for venting, ranting and debating needs to be quelled also in my opinion.  So although connections on Facebook have led me to and through a great deal of positive changes in my life, and they will continue to later, a habit needs to be broken.  I'm not leaving for too awfully long...just long enough to prioritize and break the cycle.  Long enough to clear some white noise and social static from my head, and to refocus on what needs to be worked on.

Aug. 27, 2013
Today I let everyone on Facebook know that I was going to be "leaving" for awhile.  I explained why as well.  Many of my closest friends and family commented and sent sweet messages voicing their understanding and encouragement.  I really wasn't expecting anyone to ask me not to go, or to please not stay away long...but they did.  They identified and related to what I was experiencing,  and offered much good luck.  Several left me cell numbers.

Aug. 28, 2013
Today at exactly 5:16 pm, I pushed the deactivate button.  Before doing that I made my daughter an administrator of my two pages and two groups on Facebook in order for them to remain in my absence.  That's ok.  So far I've only been working on this blog project, so I'm not experiencing any withdrawal actually.  I know it will bother me the long overnight hours at work as I sit in dark silence listening to my little patient breathing.  I also know I will be playing a LOT of Words with Friends on my cell phone.  I started a five-day juice fast too, but had to eat a little of the homemade soup I made today because I get such hunger pangs.  It was definitely an electric moment hitting that button.  Hopefully I can keep from "unhitting" it for awhile.

Aug.29, 2013
Its been 24 hrs away from Facebook. Sooo funny...I just sat down here (first time at the computer all day and its almost 5:30 pm) and I was wondering what the process will be when I reactivate.  When I DEactivated it made me answer questions, you know, "Why are you leaving? What did we do wrong?" types of questions. I also had to choose another administrator for my pages and groups lest they disappear along with me.  So I was just curious as to what will happen when I want to come back.  Well, I logged in and figured there would be a reactivate button...well, there wasn't. My page just came back bold and bright, quickly, suddenly it was there!  I felt like I got punched square in the chest. It was like the dreams recovering alcoholics describe having when they find themselves downing a drink...panic mode!  What a temptation...but I did great. I immediately  hit the "little gear" and deactivated all over again.  I didn't peek at the news feed, I didn't do a thing...I just left as soon as I arrived.
This is what I am pondering at the moment.  I have to honestly say I didn't have a hard time today, or even last night at work. I accepted FB was gone and refocused elsewhere.  That does not mean to say I didn't miss the things that were going on...particularly a friend of mine whose daughter is about to have a baby, and my friends in the Lyme community as well as brain injury communities and spiritual friends.  I miss all of them, and my new family I've found in NJ...but its not a "longing and sad" feeling, because I know I will be back.
What I'm curious about though, on a personal level, is why I didn't have as hard a time as I would have had FB been sitting there waiting for me all day...then I would have been feeling the urge to keep checking.  Its almost the same with my smoking addiction.  If I know I have a pack somewhere, they call to me...but if I know there are none around I could care less...I can go 2 weeks and not give it a second thought.  Is this some special or unusual feature of my personality?  Of course, my solution for FB is not going to be to not have it completely.  It serves me many gifts, as long as I can regulate my time spent.  So I suppose I am going to have to figure a way to rein in my desire to be a part of the social network... to make it a realistic and acceptable part of my time spent.  Its very odd, and more will be revealed I'm very sure...

The facebook deactivate I did in August, lasted a day short of two weeks. I broke a habit at the time, and continue to do, well, "ok"
As the cold winter months have come and stubbornly persisted, I have spent much more time here than I'd like, but am confident that when Spring arrives and all the busy plans I have, I'll be able to moderate myself...I hope so anyway...if not, then the above experiment may need repeating :-)