My name is Catherine and I am addicted to facebook...
Well, friends, I did it again. Deactivated myself from everyone's favorite social networking site...I can't even tell you how many days sober I am, maybe a month or so. It has been a strange adjustment because I think I might never go back.
The reason for my abrupt deactivation was due to a series of event that dare I say, made me feel anti-social. I was going through a phase of "me against the world" and a touch of "nobody knows the trouble I've seen" kind of mood when I impulsively nixed my facebook account like whoa. Then, something miraculous occured...I started getting my never-ending to do list done in the course of a day. Could it have been that that 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there, here a 5 minutes, everywhere a 5 minutes self-rationalized ("it's only 5 minutes") checking of the statuses of my nearest as well as my not so dearest friends was robbing me of precious time to complete the day's duties? I know, I shuddered at the thought as well. But, alas, my seemingly impetuous check in the box next to "deactivate my account" was buying me time, precious, precious time.
Not to mention, my mind that once whirled with "I can't believe she posted that on fb..." and "why did so and so go to lunch with so and so and not even send me a textvite?" and other paltry thoughts and analyzations quit whirling so much in a cyclone of negative thoughts towards others. I didn't have the need to "fb gossip" (yes, I just made that up...). You know what I mean? It starts with, "did you see what __________ posted on fb?" and then spirals downward from there where your source of information becomes a glorified twitter update.
We love facebook because it connects us with people we would most likely severe all ties with. But, I have found, in a way it disconnects us with those who we should be more connected with. When I replace a phone call to a friend or loved one, with a status check to see how their life is, I miss the opportunity to actually hear their stories, thoughts, and ideas. When I choose a post on an imaginary wall over a sit down, face to face lunch to see how life is going, I miss a chance to connect. It is almost as the one thing we want most from America's network, is the one thing it takes away. Ironic, isn't it?
I did a little research to just see if my hypothesis was true, if in fact, I was an addict.
According to Elizabeth Hartney of about.com, "some of the symptoms common to addictions are:" (italicized text is my addition)
•"Tolerance - the need to engage in the addictive behavior more and more to get the desired effect" Check. I found myself starting to check my fb more and more, even in bed, way past my bedtime, when I couldn't sleep at night. And perhaps the reason I couldn't sleep, was because I kept checking my facebook.
•"Withdrawal happens when the person does not take the substance or engage in the activity, and they experience unpleasant symptoms, which are often the opposite of the effects of the addictive behavior" Yup. Not knowing the latest fb status updates would often make me irritated and somewhat difficult to be around. If my husband complained of me checking fb or told me to stop, I would become very agitated.
•"Difficulty cutting down or controlling the addictive behavior" Ding, ding, ding. I'd try the old "time limit" theory which would fail miserably as I would have to check just one more fb page.
•"Social, occupational or recreational activities becoming more focused around the addiction, and important social and occupational roles being jeopardized" Don't want to admit it, but yes. Daily topic of conversation amongst friends: did you see ____ fb status? Wife and mothering skills were hitting an all time low as I wasted time on facebook.
•"The person becoming preoccupied with the addiction, spending a lot of time on planning, engaging in, and recovering from the addictive behavior" Sitting at a stop light, checking facebook. Sitting in a restaurant, checking facebook. Kid napping, time to check facebook. Waking up, check facebook. Go to bed, check facebook. (A blackberry did not help)
Yes, friends. I am a recovering facebook addict. Maybe one day I will find myself back on the social network, in moderation of course, but until I can beat this addiction, I need to steer clear of facebook and all its time wasting glory.
Here's to kicking a bad habit...
Until next time,