Facebook and Its Negative Effect on Mental Health

no facebook

I gave up my personal Facebook activities last week. Note: You can still find me on Write into the Light’s Facebook Page, but, I have pushed my personal profile account to the side. Deleted the app from my phone. Haven’t checked status updates in five days which means…

I have no clue whose kid just made the honor roll, who is having a bad day at work, what everyone is having for dinner tonight, or how everyone’s nieces and nephews are doing in sports. I haven’t seen one photo-quote, inspirational or humorous. Not one recipe or emoticon from friends of friends whom I would probably not even recognize if I ran into them at the grocery store.

Top 3 Reasons to Give Up Facebook

1. The People in My House are More Important to Me than Those I Hardly Ever See

It is hard enough to filter through the minute details of my own life, let alone those of acquaintances. And that is what the majority of those on my friends list are: acquaintances. Knowing of their daily happenings makes no difference in the quality of my life. On the contrary, it wastes time and energy that would be better spent on the people with whom I actually live and on my own mental health.

2. I am a Highly Sensitive Person

Since I am a highly sensitive person who picks up on and internalizes the emotions of other people, I was finding myself being negatively effected by the sad events being shared on Facebook, from political cries to save the abused animals posts to the depressing events in people’s personal lives.

I am not saying that I don’t want to hear about the death of a dear friend’s father or the house fire of another. What I am saying is that I would rather hear about it through a phone call than on Facebook. As far as the political and social movement stuff – I don’t watch the news so as to avoid those things, so I definitely don’t want to see them in my Facebook feed.

And if you are that old friend from high school whom I haven’t seen in twenty years who has lost your job or been in an accident or gotten a divorce…I feel bad for you, but if it wasn’t for Facebook I wouldn’t even know what you look like now, let alone about the happenings in your life. No offense.

3. My Mental Health is More Important than Knowing Things About People I Haven’t Spoke to in Decades

My decision to cut Facebook out of my life came shortly after a high school classmate committed suicide, which triggered many negative emotions in me due to losing a very close friend to suicide two years ago.

After hearing about my classmate on Facebook, I grieved for a week, barely able to get out of bed some days. Grieved not really for my old classmate since I haven’t seen him in 15 years, but for my close friend all over again. It was very difficult to go through, and it could have spiraled my depression out of control.

(Thankfully, I did some mindfulness practice, talked to several people about my feelings, prayed, and wrote about it here, knowing that as long as I didn’t ignore or cover up my feelings, they would eventually pass and I’d feel better. And they did.)

However, I realized that if it wasn’t for Facebook, I never would have heard about my classmate’s suicide, and therefore, would have avoided a week of suffering because of it. No one called me, no one even directly told me about his suicide. I merely happened upon it by accident…on Facebook.

So, no more Facebook for me. How does Facebook affect your mental health? Have you ever even thought about its effects on you?

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17 thoughts on “Facebook and Its Negative Effect on Mental Health

  1. I’ve had the same thought many times. If it weren’t for elderly aunts and uncles, some cousins who all live long distance and my writer friends, I would shut it down. Couldn’t give two hoots no make that one hoot about anybody from high school or anything else. Sorry, there is just isn’t enough of me to go around so I shut it down when I have enough and if I miss something, I was meant to miss it. Less in, less to worry about etc. I so get what you are saying. It is not good for people with addictive personalities either because it’s just another addiction that interferes with real world health. Such a good piece. I’d like to share it on Facebook and I think I will 😀 Thanks, Jen, I wondered where you were! Glad to know all is well.

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  2. Too much happens there hahah and nothing at all! I am on FB every day however definetly limit it compared to the past. And hold it much lower on the scale on how I want to spend my time. GOOD FOR YOU!

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  3. I find it interesting that you have posted this as I reached the same conclusion myself a couple of months ago. I still access FB about once a day but skim anything political or activisty. I like to rejoice with my friends as they are important to me. I use FB to interact with the younger family members also. However, I strongly believe that FB does impact mental health when used too often.

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    • Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. I suppose rejoicing in the good news of others is a good reason to keep on but the controversy seems to outweigh the good stuff for me. Maybe I just need new friends – lol!

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  4. I am so sorry you went through that! Facebook affects me in another way. It makes me realize how behind I am in life. Where everyone is off getting married, having kids, I am still stuck in the same bipolar, fucked up place. It makes me feel inadequate compared to the rest of my friends. But great post. Kudos to you for giving it up! I still go on there and lurk around, liking stuff, or cringing at a new happy marriage. – L.

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  5. Facebook was posing a number of problems for me. One was that it became the only way that I interacted with my friends. Granted, I went through quite a long spell where I was just exhausted physically and mentally, so I rarely went out anymore. But FB even replaced talking on the phone with friends. We would shoot each other the odd message or comment here and there, where we used to talk on the phone every day. This ended up causing a lot of trouble between my longtime best friend and I, as typed words are just words and can easily be misinterpreted without knowing the emotion behind it. Also, it got to a point where I would see photos of some of my friends hanging out and I’d get jealous that they didn’t invite me. My fear of abandonment kicked in full gear. Another problem was Facebook “wars”. If someone said something on my Timeline that I took as an insult or judgement, I would be humiliated. I would start wondering how many people saw this post and what they were now thinking of me. I had to respond publicly, and it would turn into a big ugly public argument. I hated it, but I felt that if someone said something about me publicly, I had to respond publicly. I could go on, but I’ve gone on quit a bit already (sorry), lol. I still use Facebook, but nowhere near as much as I used to, and I deleted everybody except for my family and my closest friends. People that I met once or twice, or haven’t seen in 20 years, they were all deleted.

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    • Thank you so much for sharing your FB experiences! I relate to so much of what you said especially the jealousy thing. I didn’t engage in the “wars” , but I would quietly follow along with those at war which compromised my peace of mind. I have really considered unfriending everyone but close friends and family. I admire you for doing that. It gives me the incentive to really do it.

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  6. FB destroyed my mental health after a divorce… See-ing other people doing great/couples etc etc meanwhile an abusive ex just kept using it to spread vile rumours and create wedges with everyone, plus attacking an employers page! im still not better… nasty

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