Dealing with anxiety, depression and the loss of a relationship while being twenty something is difficult! Potentially more so with social media pressure in which the millennium generation has grown up and surrounds themselves within. However, I have been working with an extremely unusual and amazing client that has taken a risk with several beneficial and surprising outcomes.
After a unexpected breakup, this particular client found herself as most individuals find themselves doing after a break up, checking their Facebook and social media accounts for news of their old romance. This was causing more anxiety and depression than the break up. She decided in between sessions, to go cold-turkey, and “disconnect” from her Facebook account at first. Then proceeded to eliminate herself from other social media, such as snapchat and instagram.
What happened after that was shocking! She came back into session the following week, and was less anxious, presented with a smile, was more confident and not thinking as much about her lost relationship. She was more engaged in “real Life”, relationships and reconnecting to what she considered, “really mattered”, friends and activities that supported her life and ambitions. It turns out, social media was one of the root causes of her anxiety and stress. She had found herself constantly checking her lost love’s whereabouts, who he was with, if he was out, his relationship status, etc.. Not only that, it was a drain on her personal life and activities that actually was inhibiting her enjoying the real things that she actually use to enjoy in her life.
Without her constant beeping and buzzing of her accounts, and the knowledge that the social network was right at her fingertips, she was forced to go out on her own, forge new connections without the aid of false reporting’s, pictures, and updates of supposed friends, superficial relationships, she thought were more important than not, and learning about lives that were perhaps based on truths but sometimes were not.
Are the pictures of our friends, families, acquaintances are posted an accurate reflection of what is really going on in life’s that we are viewing? For some, are they representing what they do not have, and potentially not a true, accurate representation of the story behind the picture being portrayed? Over Christmas break, my son demonstrated just this truth; I was appalled and saddened by what I saw. A young woman, he knew, very beautiful, had posted a picture of herself, but looking closely at the picture, he pointed out that her legs were not the same size. She in fact and edited them to make them look smaller. So much so, that they were pencil size and out of proportion. The reality being, that what many people are viewing as happiness, health and well being, may not be reality at all.
Since this first encounter and experience with my client, I have been doing my own survey/research on social media within my own therapeutic and friend circle. Can you really unplug? What are the thoughts about this, how would you feel? Have you ever done it? There are some great articles written about how to do just this.
Daniel Wallen writes about 5 Psychological reasons you are maybe addicted to Facebook and how to break the habit! If you think this is you, read more about how he suggests kicking your habit in the following link and blog:
Carlo Cruz in his blog regarding disconnecting from social media, agrees with the sentiment of losing ourselves in the fasted paced internet and social world of technology by stating the following:
“But sometimes, you may get lost in your online life that you forget to live your real life. You may focus on being more connected only to end up being disconnected with the real world. Sometimes, you need to take a step back, disconnect from social media and connect with life once again.” (http://www.lifehack.org/280613/9-steps-disconnect-from-social-media-and-connect-with-life-again)
Once we realize that social media has taken a hold of us, our relationships and our lives, and it might be time to take a break, check out, what and how we have disconnected ourselves, and our interactions, there could be some monumental benefits waiting. Carlo gives 9 steps or ways to disconnect from social media in his blog and goes on to state…
“Most importantly, live a real life, interact with real people, and be awesome in the real world! Don’t stress yourself making your profile wonderful. Live an awesome life and it will automatically follow! Do exciting stuff. Write a book. Plan a trip. Whatever. Just be awesome! Most importantly, live a life that matters and you don’t have to get your satisfaction and fulfillment from likes and shares ever again!”
It is difficult to go anywhere and sit down without seeing multiple people all around on their cell phones, IPods, or any other variety of technical devices, even our two year olds are now not without their technology. What happened to colors and books at dinner?
There is nothing wrong with using our technology, at all! But my client started me asking this same question to many of my other clients who are struggling in relationships, and yearning for more intimacy. Just how much and how many times do you put down your cell phone or social media to listen to your partner or really reach out to connect to someone on a daily basis? That question could be shocking if you really are honest we with ourselves.
Carolyn Placzek, LMFT-C
Masters Marriage & Family Therapist
720 708 4865
<a href=”http://www.freestock.com/free-photos/happy-group-friends-gossiping-cell-phone-101409499″>Image used under license from Freestock.com</a>(picture)