Social media and my anxiety – a hard truth

This morning, I read this piece in the NY Post about online lives vs. reality. What we post on social media vs. how we actually live. And how our friends’ posts can make us feel anxious or depressed about our own lives as we inevitably compare ourselves to others. I am definitely guilty of this across the board. My posts on Facebook and Instagram don’t necessarily reflect how I feel at the moment AND I constantly compare myself to others. It’s easier to post something lighthearted like, “I can’t wait to go home and take off my bra” than it is to post something terrible about your day like, “Well, I THOUGHT B3 and I were getting back together but then he made me split the check at the Hooters in Costa Mesa, so I guess not?”

This is where my anxiety lies. I look at posts of people happy in relationships, engaged or married, and they make it look easy. Like it was easy to meet someone, and it just worked. And their relationship is perfect, and I can’t find that. (Side note – don’t stop posting these things. It is important for us cynics to believe love is possible.)

I remember very vividly sitting in a meeting at work, in 2008, and being stressed. I wasn’t stressed about the topic of the meeting, I was stressed about how I wasn’t married yet. At 27. And now, at 34, I am no closer. Within a year of that meeting, I was sitting at a bar with a college friend who said to me, “you know you’re going to be 35 and single.” While that comment was hurtful enough, it was also said with the implication that being 35 and single is the worst possible thing that could ever happen to a human.

giphy

To make matters worse, I am now second guessing every single decision I have ever made because if I had done one or two things differently, maybe I wouldn’t have lost the opportunity to have my father walk me down the aisle. As I sat in the ICU on the day he died, I knew it was my fault we’d never share that moment. And there was nothing I could do to change it.

Maybe I’m not trying hard enough. Sure, I’m on a dating site, but yesterday I got a FIRST message from a guy and all it said was, “do you want to see my penis?” (Hard pass – pun not intended)

And then while I’m trying not to try too hard because it’s supposed to be easy with the right person, there’s all the advice I get that is well meaning but unhelpful:

you slept with him too quickly

you didn’t sleep with him soon enough and he thought you didn’t like him so he moved on

you’re too picky

you’re not picky enough

don’t text him first

don’t wait for him to text you

you have to wait at least 17 minutes to respond but if you wait 17 minutes and ten seconds he’s already met someone else

if he hasn’t committed after the third date, run away

you run away too fast

don’t pressure him

but if he doesn’t like you right away, he’s just not that into you

go online

online dating sucks

get a hobby

stand up for yourself

don’t be a bitch

act casual

you’re acting too casual

stop going to Chili’s!

ad nauseum….

I am not writing this for “likes” or sympathy. I am writing this to say that if you also feel anxious or depressed or like you’re not good enough – know you are not alone. Know that it’s easier to post a picture of Newport Beach on Thanksgiving with the hashtag #luckiest than to admit you feel like a failure because you’re not with the guy who made you think, for at least a brief period, that things would be different, and work out. Know that if you feel in any way close to what I feel, that you can come talk to me. And bring wine.

 

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A Lesson in Facebook Status Updates – What Not to Say

Thanks to Facebook’s timeline, we can now see all of our activity on Stalkbook since the first day we joined.

A blessing and a curse, rolled into one.  There’s those who never update, those who post seven things in four minutes, and then of course you have the over-sharers.  While I am guilty of all of the above, I have also seen and posted the most cryptic, passive aggressive status updates imaginable, solely for attention from like, four specific people who never cared, or for others to think, “oh my gosh, she’s sooooo tortured and deep.  I wonder if she thought of that while running through a sunflower field (not really).”

So, without further delay, I present to you (with commentary) my favorite least favorite status updates as a lesson in what not to do!!!

May 21, 2007

having serious concentration issues…HELP!!

May 22, 2007

still having concentration issues — blah

*** I get an F– for basically posting the same status two days in a row.  I know this was about John Doe because it was right after I met him and my head was in the clouds up until the day before my birthday when I came crashing down to Earth and saw him exchange numbers with someone else in front of me.***

June 5, 2007

very very confused

June 6, 2007

uggh

***Continuing with the F–.  Cryptic, meaningless, who cares?***

July 15, 2007

😦

Oct 3, 2007

sulking

November 8, 2007

is playing the waiting game.

***Okay, we can clearly see that I spent 2007 wishing, and hoping, and thinking and praying – to no avail.***

April 30, 2008

is thinking…if you could see, what’s come over me, then you would know

***This is also about John Doe (can we say PATHETIC) and is lyrics from this specific song:***

Although, in this video Vanessa Carlton says the song is supposed to be about letting go, I interpreted it to mean I should try to keep a vice grip on a relationship with the consistency of squeaky foam, but that’s cool.

Oct 14, 2008

is seriously, seriously being punished, clearly for actions in a previous life.

Nov 17, 2008

is check mate!!!!

***Okay, so now we’ve segued into Mr. Titspervert – I don’t know why I was checkmating him.  Probably thought I was beyond cool and bitchy for ignoring him at flag football or not responding to a series of Google IMs until he was all, “oh are you mad at me or something?”  Oh yes, all the power was clearly on my end.  Not.***

Nov 27, 2008

is wooo missed 2am phone calls.

Dec 1, 2008

is getting sucked back in please help kthxbye

Dec 15, 2008

is wondering

Dec 15, 2008

is nevermind I dont want to know

**Okay, really, this is absurd.  Why hasn’t anyone smacked me yet?  We’re back to JD again.  This was also during my period of unemployment so I clearly had nothing better to do with my time.  Oh wait, that was all the time.  Never mind.***

Dec 23, 2008

specifically said no games!! Game OVER asshole.

Dec 30, 2008

is not sure if this is a joke or not.

***We’ve now reached the point where even I don’t know what I was talking about.  I should be proud.  Or ashamed. ***

Oct 8, 2009

FB stalking has its advantages and disadvantages. Today, I lose.

***Again with the cryptic yet beyond obvious status updates…***

Dec 21, 2009

Maybe his grandma died or maybe he lost my number or is out of town or got hit by a cab…

***The above status is a line from the movie He’s Just Not That Into You.  I hope that I was watching it and taking notes.***

Feb 10, 2010

valuable life lessons from the Golden Girls: Blanche: Dorothy has been working with him for 2 whole weeks and he hasn’t asked her out yet…maybe he’s just shy. Rose: Maybe he just doesn’t like her. Thank you, Betty White!

***Yeah so…wish that had occurred to me sooner…***

July 25, 2011

life lessons from Will & Grace: “first, you offered to buy me a drink, and then you made me feel guilty and horrible about myself…THAT’s a date.”

***Was this my way of saying, “hey JD, even though YOU don’t think we ever dated, I beg to differ”?

And finally, the greatest status update EVER, that didn’t come from me, obviously, and came from my friend Brandi:

November 1, 2012
Getting really tired of seeing so many ambiguous posts on FB … This horrible thing happened but I won’t say what, you suck and I hate you but I won’t say who or why … either put your business on the internet or don’t. Stop hinting at the issue just for attention. That is all & have a nice day. 🙂
I really love Facebook because it has allowed me to stay in touch with and/or reconnect with friends I’d never have been able to otherwise.  But there are some things better left unsaid and posted – if you ever have doubts, it is better to err on the side of caution and say something like “O’Doyle Rules!”
That is all.

Brilliance is spelled F-A-C-E-B-O-O-K

No, that is not sarcasm above you.  Facebook is brilliant.

Allow me to explain.

Over the past two years, Facebook has changed a lot.  The layout, the features, the privacy settings – everything.

And you (and I) have bitched about it.

But here’s the thing – the new “timeline?”  Genius.

How else could I read through all my status updates, therefore continuing to help tie together the past 5+ years?

I mean, you can pick a year/month and see all activity.  It is fascinating.

For example, I had a status in September 2010 that said, “when it rains, it pours.”  Reading that today, I had no idea what I was talking about.

Was it:

A) Numerous new job prospects

B) Numerous random dudes e-mailing me on OKCupid

C) A weather report

After digging through email archives, I discovered the correct answer was “A.”  But that doesn’t mean I didn’t find some other status updates that were hilarious and jogging memory lane.  For example:

8/22/2009:  is pondering voicemails left at 3:30am that are entirely in Spanish.  (thank goodness I remembered 3-5 words and could barely translate it)

11/6/2009:  me: I tried to make it my profile picture and it kept giving me error messages. I think it was a sign. Katie: yes, it was a sign. from above or below, depending on who you ask.  (pretty sure it was a sign from both directions – no one wanted it to happen)

11/23/2009:  overheard the most awkward conversation on the bus this morning, starting with the guy getting on the bus. Girl: “omg, I didn’t know you took this bus, what a coincidence.” Guy: “yeah…oh by the way I got your text Saturday night.” Girl: oh hahaha that was NOT my idea, that was Liz’s idea.” Yeah RIGHT. It was your idea until he didn’t respond and you had to pass off the blame. Been there, done that.  (painful)

1/19/2010:  Courtney: How big was the bottle of rum? Me: it was a normal size. Is that a handle? Courtney: No. A handle HAS a handle.

3/13/2010:  is obviously being punished for a previous life. Miami just lost to Duke and Illinois just lost to Ohio State. Fail.

I could go on and on and on.  The point here is that Facebook is allowing me to relive status updates I otherwise never would have remembered.  I’m lucky enough to have that and GMail archives to tie everything together and remember things that I’d have no chance of revisiting otherwise.

Hate the timeline all you want, but it’s actually the key to many, many stories you may not otherwise remember.  Because, as Facebook just reminded me “whatever…we still have 1985.  Georgetown can bite me.”