Updates 11/26/16

I deactivated my Facebook a few days ago. I think it’s mostly a matter of improving the signal to noise ratio rather than anything specific. And it certainly does do that. Facebook is about 98% noise, as far as I can tell. I was thinking a lot about how people are influenced by social media, and while I like to think I am fairly self-aware when it comes to these things, I had to wonder why I still used it and to weigh the pros and cons. I’ll probably reactivate at some point just because everyone on Earth seems to use it, but for the time being, everything is great.

Am I getting things done? Sometimes. It’s not like Facebook was the only place on the internet to waste hours. But it was really the only unending stream of bullshit in my life. I think I may have been on to something when I thought about deactivating most of each day and reactivating for a few hours here and there, but that’s way too much work.

I don’t like or trust their algorithms. I wouldn’t mind being more in charge of what I am looking at and reading throughout the day. I work on the computer so I am on it a lot, and when things are slow there is a temptation to waste time on Facebook. It’s easy to do, and, unlike Amazon, it usually doesn’t cause me to spend any money.

The past few months have been disastrous, health-wise, and I have worried that I’d end up in the hospital again for skin issues. Thankfully, this did not happen, but since the doctors want so badly to reduce the corticosteroids, things got pretty fucking bad before they could be convinced to do anything that would actually help things (=more corticosteroids). And I’ve been having trouble making phone calls at all, but this has improved in the past week or two. And it seems like everyone on earth is trying to take all my money, which is stressful. Also, I dislike holidays and think they often tend to bring out the worst in people.

Things aren’t especially bad, but there is always a feeling of dread of the future, I suppose. I could try to be positive but it makes me feel like a fraud, and I think I’m just programmed this way.

Social media, work, and being reachable online all the time

I deactivated my Facebook again, then reactivated and deactivated again. It’s not that I hate everything about social media, but some days I just don’t want anyone to contact me and I don’t want to know what other people are thinking or doing. I think I just miss the times in the past when you could turn it all off. If you came home from school, work, or a friend’s house, then you were able to move on and focus on other things. These days, I’m trying to do my work and Chrome is displaying Facebook notifications. Yes, I figured out how to turn that off, but it’s only a small part of the problem.

Here is the problem, essentially: I don’t want to be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I don’t want people to send me private messages and then get mad when I don’t respond right away. Sometimes, I don’t want to know every single though passing through everyone’s mind. I often wish I could just move to a cave in the woods for a while and experience something like peace and quiet and being left alone.

My work doesn’t help much, either because I’m a freelancer. I am constantly either working, or looking for more work, checking to see if anyone’s contacted me about work, etc. If I wake up in the middle of the night with a dry mouth, I check for work before getting a glass of water. I seem unable to get away from it. I often don’t leave the house because that could mean missing out on possible work.

I’ve been so stressed out that I’m once again having trouble doing things like opening my mail and making necessary phone calls, such as for doctor appointments. I could go back into therapy, but I am too pessimistic to do so. I don’t have any energy. I feel like if I go back, that’s just one more thing I will need to make time for, and that it will likely result in just going around in circles for years like it did last time. For now, I just want to take a break from communicating with people at all.

I reactivated my Facebook

Woohoo. Additionally, I don’t like the inability to use HTML (or, in the case of forums, BBCode) because that makes it difficult to have any control over the way you refer to things outside of Facebook. But that’s neither here nor there. I think a good way to go would be just to unsubscribe from all the humans and only see stuff from groups. I’d like FB if it was just, say, the 60s/70s vintage advertisement group and the David Bowie group (which migrated from an actual website). It’s the real people posting random, unpredictable stuff that I don’t like. I like to see things posted in categories, and this doesn’t happen on Facebook.

I have been trying to move to other places on the internet. It’s nice to interact with people sometimes, but it’s too difficult for me to do that on Facebook. Anytime I try, usually by commenting on people’s posts, I am ignored. This often leads to me deleting the person because I don’t see any point in being FB “friends” with people who completely refuse to talk to me.

I also enjoy that forums, in addition to usually being based on a specific topic, feel less like a popularity contest. There are usually fewer people posting photos of themselves, fishing for compliments, etc. (Posting photos of myself is extremely terrifying for me, and bad for my self-esteem. Another reason I don’t leave the house is because people often think it’s ok to just take/post photos without asking me.)

This has been a terrible month for a number of reasons. I seem to have forgotten that it’s not necessary to be drunk or otherwise intoxicated every day. There is just sort of a cloud of despair that follows me around. I’ve been having anxiety-type nightmares. Yesterday I dreamed I was just standing in the kitchen, screaming as loud as I could. Not out of fear, just from being fed up with life and everything in it.

More reasons I don’t like Facebook

Another reason I don’t like Facebook is because things like this come up (from explosm.net):
withoutsex
I’m sure it’s been at least 15 years, maybe a bit more. Not just comics, of course, but I mean every time I see other people posting photos and updates on their Facebook it reminds me that I don’t have a normal life.

For at least five years, the medications caused me to have no sex drive, which was very nice. Before that, I guess I just never figured out how to initiate relationships, or had bad luck. Any time I expressed interest in another person, they would say they were not interested in me. This bothered me a lot and I’m sure I made posts on my Livejournal about it. I liked Livejournal so much better than Facebook. Not just the anonymity, but the fact that you saw every single post that each of your friends made, in chronological order.

People suggested things like dating sites, and I did have some dating profiles up maybe 10 or 12 years ago. No one contacted me through them, so I decided you probably need to be good looking or fabulously wealthy or successful to meet people on the internet.

Now I’m older and even less good looking/successful, and my mental illnesses make it hard for me to leave the house at all. I can’t drive so I can’t travel. These things mean I also can’t meet people in real life, not to mention I wouldn’t know what to do with a significant other if I had one; I have almost no experience with sex and no experience at all with relationships.

I try not to think about it too much, but Facebook makes that hard. It’s hard for me not to compare myself to other people. That’s why I prefer to use internet forums about specific topics (movies, music, etc.) rather than deal with Facebook, where there is no way to know what people are going to be posting about. I can’t think of anything in the world that could be worse for my mental health than Facebook, yet I still feel compelled to go there because it’s taken over the internet. It’s like Walmart coming to town and all the local businesses close down. Facebook happened and people left most internet forums and stopped using email. I am still working on transitioning to only using internet forums and not looking at my Facebook newsfeed, but it’s difficult. It’s like an addiction, especially since it’s so convenient and because I work on the computer so I’m online all day anyway. I am often tempted to check Facebook during slow times between work projects.

In addition to that, I really hate all the memes about the idea that happiness is a choice, or to cut negative people out of your life. Maybe that’s why people don’t talk to me anymore; I’m too negative. I can’t really help it, though, due to circumstances and mental illness. I think it’s kind of shitty, like telling people if others are having a bad time, just cut those people out of your life instead of trying to be understanding. I don’t expect people to want to listen to me complaining all the time, and that’s another reason I am not able to talk to people out loud, in real life (even therapists). I don’t want to bug anyone. But that’s what I used Facebook for, and I feel like these memes are trying to make me feel like a bad person for it.

Many times when I look at Facebook I either get angry or start crying. The pain medications I’m on right now are also doing terrible things to my state of mind, and I spent most of last night staying awake crying for no particular reason. The pain from the kidney stones isn’t doing anything good for me either, and I guess I have 3 fractured vertebrae and that’s another reason I’m in pain all the time, which also contributes to my shitty mood and general sense of despair. When the kidney stone was hurting especially badly and causing me to vomit from the pain for a few days (before going to the hospital), I spent about 10 hours curled up next to the toilet, thinking this is all I have to look forward to in life. Pain and sickness. And it’s only going to get worse as I get older. And then I laughed about it a bit.

I deactivated my Facebook again

I sometimes feel like I’m being held hostage by Facebook, but I decided that, if I feel deactivating is good for my mental health, I should deactivate. A lot of people act like I’d be unreachable, but I have quite a few websites, including one with my name in the domain. Many people have my email, some have my phone number, many know what my websites are (if not this one, then the others). So when people say “I will miss you,” what I hear is: “I don’t even care about you enough to spend the time it takes to write a text message or email. I can’t be bothered communicating with you unless you use a site that you passionately hate.” And if I’m not worth the time it takes to write an email to me, then I figure, they aren’t worth my time, either.

It’s more of the same shit I’ve done my entire life: continued to do things I hated and be around people I don’t like just because otherwise, there would be no people in my life. I don’t care anymore. If there aren’t any people in my life, that’s fine. That’s better than being subjected to things that upset me all the time. And Facebook does upset me a lot more than it should, especially since having more mixed and manic episodes since last summer

I think it’s partly just laziness, though; people are used to not having to write emails anymore. I don’t care. I’m sick to death of Facebook. I’m not going to keep using it just because it’s convenient for other people.

I had a page for this blog on there, but Facebook only shows posts to 10% of followers anyway, and probably not that many unless they interact with the posts in some way (liking, sharing, commenting). I think I only ever had one post “like” on there, so I doubt anyone even sees the links I posts on that page, so it’s no big deal that the page doesn’t exist anymore since I deactivated my personal page.

Additionally, I think it’s nice to have to practice some sort of restraint with writing on the internet. If I post here, I feel compelled to write in full paragraphs and to more or less stay on topic. Facebook encourages people to either share things from other people, or to post one-sentence statuses fishing for “likes.” As stated before, people never really like or comment on my posts, probably because of either my attitude problem or the fact that I write entire paragraphs (often on disturbing on controversial topics). I never really integrated into the culture of Facebook, I suppose. I used it for things it wasn’t designed to be used for (discussion, posts with more than two sentences, etc.).

Birthdays

I’m not very fond of birthdays. I usually deactivate my Facebook and hide my actual birthday on there, but I decided not to this year. My Facebook wall can’t be posted on, I don’t think. I changed my settings to avoid a bunch of “happy birthday” posts. I do post on other people’s walls to be polite and because it’s expected.

I’m just going to stay away from Facebook. That shouldn’t be too hard to do since I got the DNS problem with my blog fixed. Sometimes (not always), I would get cards from my grandparents on my birthday in previous years. Now, 3 out my 4 grandparents have died and I don’t really expect cards and gifts anyway. I can’t even remember the last time I got an actual birthday gift, but it was probably well over a decade ago. I don’t miss those, either; I always found giving and receiving gifts a bit awkward. I honestly couldn’t think of anything I’d want and have too much junk anyway. I was never much good at giving gifts, either.

Birthdays just remind me that even more time has passed with me not accomplishing anything at all in life besides getting sicker and deeper in debt. I don’t really get upset on birthdays anymore, it’s just that it’s just another day without any significance to me.

A short post summing up why I dislike Facebook

I have been reading up more on corticosteroids and mental illness, but I’m not going to post about that today. I’m going to make a short post which sums up why I am not making long posts on Facebook anymore.

When I spend 45+ minutes writing and thinking about a post, no one ever responds to it in any way. And then it disappears from everyone’s feed anyway.

When I spend 4.5 seconds reposting nonsense about people eating from fake asses in Japan, people respond to it right away.

ass

And that’s why I won’t be spending any time on anything I post on Facebook from this point on. Not only do people not read or respond to it, but Facebook keeps most people from seeing any given post, anyway, so it’s a horrendous waste of my time to put any effort into posting there.

I’m not disrespecting the people on my friends list, I’m just pointing out that this is the type of interaction that Facebook encourages.

Why I made this blog

Over the years, I have read a lot of bipolar disorder (and other mental illness) related websites and blogs. I related to bits and pieces of them. What struck me was that a lot of them talked so much about health and wellness and living in harmony with their mental illnesses. That’s all well and good and I am not disrespecting them, but where were the ones who were not well, who were not living in harmony with anything at all? My guess is that they weren’t blogging much.

I have discussed this before, but I have been in and out of therapy for the past 25 years. I have tried dozens of medications. Nothing helped. Everything cost a lot of money. At great length I decided if I can’t find medications that make me feel better, and if therapy has not helped, then I will have to find a way to live with not feeling good, and in some sense, embrace the idea of not being well.

That’s why I am here, I think. I largely left Facebook because I couldn’t relate to anything on Facebook, not even in the mental illness-related groups. A lot of them seemed very anti-psychiatry, and I am not. I choose not to be on meds anymore, and I choose not to see therapists for the time being, but I am not against any of those things and I think people should try things that might help them. The rest of Facebook seems filled with positive-thinking memes and I’ve also discussed why I dislike those. Happiness is not a choice, and may not be attainable for everyone. Additionally, I think/hope there are things in life other than happiness to strive for.

But mainly, this is a place where I can say whatever I want. If you are reading this, it means you are on my turf and I don’t have to apologize for saying anything disturbing. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. I always felt that everything I posted on Facebook was probably considered distasteful by 90% of the people reading it and I find Facebook to be, on the whole, a very unwelcoming and ugly place.

Another big reason I dislike Facebook is I feel it encourages you to post and repost garbage rather than anything with any sort of content, and it encourages people to press “like” rather than participate in any kind of discussion. I’d rather be here talking to myself than promote that sort of thing.

On the other hand, I liked livejournal a lot when people still used it (which is to say, before Facebook became popular). It had the lj-cut option for longer posts, you could add images and links in the things you wrote, and so on. I think that’s because it encouraged people to think about what they wrote, rather than posting nonsense every five minutes. I’m not saying I’m not guilty of that, too, but leaving Facebook would largely solve that problem. If I’m going to post here, it’s going to be in complete sentences and paragraphs, in any case.

It is nice to not look at Facebook much anymore

I still update some pages and the page I made for this blog, but it’s nice to not look at my newsfeed much. For a long time, I was unsure about giving up Facebook because I felt like it was my only window into the rest of humanity, since I don’t talk on telephones, text, or leave the house. It was the only way I communicated with people. But, as stated before, the communication on Facebook was so lacking I figured it didn’t matter much either way, and if Facebook upset me I’d be better off dispensing with human interaction entirely (to the extent that anyone considers using Facebook to be interacting with humans anyway).

It’s nice, though; it is a type of peace and quiet. I remember a cartoon that went around at some point. The first panel was a person saying they wished they could hear other people’s thoughts, and then the second panel was Facebook, and the person then changed their mind about hearing other people’s thoughts. For me, the most irritating part is that Facebook tries to be all things to all people, and then everyone ends up using it for a different purpose. One person blocks anyone who talks about religion and politics, another only uses FB to talk about religion and politics, etc.

Having a blog again is nice because it means that I, too, have to think about what I’m posting and make one or two posts in a day, rather than how things are on Facebook, where it’s fairly normal to post twenty things a day that no one sees or cares about. Better to post one or two things no one reads or cares about here, because at least this space belongs to me. I figure my ego may be too large to post things on Facebook where they’re just going to disappear and no one is going to read them.

This past several months, FB has been disturbing to the point of being nightmarish due to the mania. I feel better already, though. I also have more time to do productive things. The problem before is that, since I work from home, I needed something to do in the downtime so I would end up on Facebook. Now I realize there are probably better ways to spend my time.