We all have some sort of social media account these days (well, almost everyone), and I have recently come to realise just how much it dominates my life. With smartphones permanently glued to out hands, a laptop or PC usually within arms reach, and WiFi enabled televisions it takes a stronger person than I to log out of the grid and not suffer with some sort of withdrawal.
I’ve recently be finding Facebook enraging and detrimental to my mental health. As someone who had various mental illnesses, I try to avoid anything that I know will be a trigger for my PTSD, or things that could anger me or make me feel low. Lately, my Facebook timeline has been filled with xenophobia, racism, negativity and reminders from my past that I just don’t want to see. I was also witnessing several friends being manipulated into people so negative, controlling and vile, all because of certain adverse influences in their lives that they just cannot see as they’re completely blinded by the dominance of particular people. Watching some of the sweetest, kindest and loveliest people I know changing into something bitter, twisted and hateful was too much for me to bare. So I went on a Facebook Friends purge. Anyone that I hadn’t seen, spoken to or interacted with for 6 months or more is now gone. I have culled my friend count from 250 down to 180 people and I have to say, i feel like a massive weight has been lifted.
Do I feel guilty? Maybe a little bit. The people that I’ve culled have done nothing wrong. They haven’t hurt me in any way or directed any anger and hate at me, I just couldn’t stand to see them continue further down the road of becoming truly hateful people. I can’t watch as they lose their friends one by one because of their actions, until they become completely isolated with only their manipulator for company. It’s such classic Gaslighting and as someone who suffered at the hands of an abusive husband, I can’t have that in my life, i just can’t.
Yes, you could argue that a ‘true friend’ would stay no matter what. If I really cared, I would help the people that I can see being treated like I was: emotionally manipulated and slowly isolated, but what would that achieve? These people are so deep into their obsession that they wouldn’t listen to me. They would be immediately defensive and aggressive and I would always be the ‘friend’ that hated the people they’re obsessed with so I’d lose them anyway.
I have no time in my life for negativity, triggers or drama. Yes, I’m well aware that there will be a backlash because I went on an unfriending rampage, and I don’t have time for that either. I don’t have the brain space left at the moment to care. I need to cut all the shit out of my life and if that means unfriending people that I genuinely care about because they’re bad for my already fragile mental state, then so be it. It isn’t a bridge that can’t be rebuilt later down the line, I just need a break from it all while I get my (mental) house in order. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I care too much and I can’t stand by and watch the friends that I know and love become people that I barely recognise and don’t want to spend any time with.
Ultimately, I put myself first and I need to take care of me first and foremost. I need to get strong again, stable. I need to rebuild my mental state so that when the inevitable happens and the friends that I have purged get dropped for the next vulnerable person, I need to make sure that I’m strong enough to help them rebuild their own mental states and rekindle the relationships that they burnt along the way as they followed blindly.
Don’t think that I don’t care about the people I’ve just purged because I do, very deeply. I just care about myself more and I have to do what I feel is right for me in this moment.