Escaping negativity. I can do that. Just let me set up this website blocker.

Commenting on one of the chapters of A New Beginning that I shared last week, a blog reader told me she likes to read my stories (and serial stories on other blogs like it) to escape from all the negativity in the world today. I told her that was the very reason I was sharing my book in progress on my blog. Not only do I use the story to escape from the negativity of the world, but I want to give others something a little lighter to focus on too.

Last year I deleted my Facebook. Four months later, I added it back to manage my blog page, which I had been managing from a “ghost account.” Here I am again, around the same time I deleted it last year, and I’m ready to delete it again. I won’t delete it again, however, because it is the only way my son currently communicates with one of his friends since I have a Messenger Kids account for him.

Since I don’t want to cut off their main way of communicating at this time (we live 40 minutes away from his friend so we don’t see him every day and this lets them video chat), I’ve instead set up blocks on my computer to remove the temptation of wasting my life away by scrolling on an inane site that often makes life worse, not better.

And yes, I do have that little willpower that I have to set up blocks to keep me off social media, or at least off Facebook. I don’t actually visit other social media sites. I loathe Twitter even more than I loathe Facebook and Pinterest is completely useless and stupid to me. I infrequently use Instagram. I used to use it two or three times a day but haven’t done that since sometime in the fall, I think it was. I finally got sick of caring about whether people cared about what I cared about.

As for Facebook, I get addicted to that not by being on it hours at a time, but by checking it briefly several times a day when I am avoiding doing other things – like packing to move and facing all the emotions with that and facing the reasons for my continuing lack of friendships. When you have spent the majority of your downtime for almost a decade logging into a stupid social media site to do something other than what you should be doing, it can be a hard habit to break.

It’s pretty much a built-in reflex now to wake up and type “Facebook” into my computer each day, which is sad and pathetic. I don’t know what I’m looking for on there anyhow. I never feel better after logging off Facebook. I almost always feel worse and even lonelier than before.

(Incidentally, I don’t click the app on my phone because I haven’t had the Facebook app installed on my phone in two, maybe even three, years.)

Instead of distracting me from loneliness, like I always think it will, being on Facebook fuels my sadness over my lack of friendships because I can see all of those former friends on Facebook, living life and laughing with each other and not caring at all whether I live or die. Yet, each day I believe the lie social media creators like Mark Zuckerberg have drilled into our heads — if you’re not on social media, you’re missing out. In reality, sadly, I am missing out on social media and off it, but maybe someday I will be in the inner circle once again. Like when I’m in my 70s and sitting in a sewing circle.

In the same way that checking out my former friends on Facebook is unhealthy and needs to stop, checking out the latest news about all kinds of bad things going on in the world today is also unhealthy and desperately needs to stop. That’s why in addition to blocking social media from my browser, I have also blocked news sites. My husband works in news, so if a bomb goes off somewhere or some politician gets shot, he’ll let me know. I don’t need to keep reading all the negativity about viruses and nuclear threats and wars and screaming politicians day after day after day. I can create enough negativity within my own mind without all of that. A person can only take so much of that before their mental health starts to be affected negatively.

Like I have done before, I am replacing social media and news with anything I can escape into. Well, not anything – not illicit sex or drugs – but I mean, entertainment or hobbies. I’m blogging (obviously) and often about stupid things (obviously).

I’m writing (books and blog posts).

I’m taking some photos (sometimes anyhow).

I’m reading books.

I’m watching movies.

The bottom line? I’m escaping as much as I can but I know that I can’t escape the bad of life forever.  (I went to check my weather app today and there were articles about that virus when on there!!) If I could live in my bathtub with bubbles and a cup of hot peppermint tea and book for the rest of my life, I probably would at this point.

So, how about you? How do you escape from the stresses of life? Good books? Good movies? Dumb movies (or is that just me?)? Hobbies? Let me know in the comments. If it’s something illegal or dangerous to your personal being, please don’t share here. Just get some help. 😉

14 comments

  1. I totally get it about social media. I do still use Facebook (I really do keep it because it connects me to far-away friends from all the places we have lived). And many of my friends and family read my blog from there. But I do try to limit my time on it because it is such a time-sucker and the stupid stuff people spread on there annoys the heck out of me. Twitter? YUK!! Hate it. I do have Instagram but don’t use it much.

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  2. I haven’t had a problem with Facebook addiction since college, which I deleted right after graduation. And then I ended up back on it for a social psychology class, so I just have a few classmates as friends and a few relatives, so I never really feel the need to check it over and over. Besides, my kids constantly “need” my attention, so I never have time to check anyways. My kids are great at keeping me from social media and devices; it’s like they know it’s bad for me. Either that or my cat will claim my lap and prevent me from seeing a screen, all while coaxing me into a half hour pet session. Strangely, no one and no cat bothers me when I read on my Kindle, so I always get to escape into a book. Unfortunately, I don’t get to escape into writing. But reading is good.

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      1. Sounds about the same for me. Though they have an uncanny sixth sense for knowing exactly when I want to get something done while they’re fully consumed with something else, even sleeping. Or maybe it’s just the toddler starting to have bad dreams.

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  3. I am trying so hard to do just this right now. My anxiety is through the roof. My husband actually turned off a lot of my notifications for certain topics and it is helping. Today is a bad morning. My son had two hours of therapy and instead of reading my book I read stuff online, which was a bad move.

    To combat some of this, I am trying to take more walks outside, incorporate meditation into my day somewhere (probably when kiddo is at school….lol), and finally start some of the projects I have been putting off. My husband was like look at all this energy you are putting here…can you imagine what you could do if you put it somewhere else? (He is trying to help but he is the coolest cucumber there is) So, I’m purging my home. I started a sourdough starter. I’m finally getting started on a project I wanted to do with a friend. I’m making all those phone calls I have been putting off. And I am not drinking as much coffee.

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    1. A few years ago, I had to have my husband block the internet on my phone with a passcode only he knew because I couldn’t stop looking up information about a health condition I was being tested for. I was convinced it was something worse and had some sort of mental break. Reading the news, Facebook, social media really are addictive. Our brain tells us we have to know what is going on. we have to be informed and to a point we do, but not as informed as we are in society today. We don’t have to know every little detail about every little subject, every single minute of the day. Not at all.

      I wasted so much energy last year on crying over lost friendships, trying to figure out health issues, trying to figure out family and what was so bad about us they couldn’t talk to us. I can’t imagine how far I’d be in my writing or anything else in my life if I had focused on that instead of all those things I coudn’t change anyhow. The health issues are still there, the family and friends still don’t talk to us, but I have better things to focus on now.

      I’m writing books, I’m taking photos of the kids and we are packing to start a new life somewhere else. That’s plenty for me to focus on right now. The other stuff is like your husband said – a total waste of energy!

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  4. When I quit Facebook, I started working on crochet every time I felt the urge to check the site, and it was astonishing how quickly the finished projects piled up. I was never even a big user in the first place!

    I do a lot of writing (mostly fiction) to help keep my mind organized, but I also enjoy sewing and crocheting to give my hands have something to do when I’m feeling more fidgety. I also just try to be aware of the small pleasures, like when my kids spontaneously start singing together, or watching the cats play.

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    1. I take photographs for the same reason – something to keep my mind busy and also record memories. Keeping myself off social media helps me to focus on the small pleasures more – including when the kids actuallly get along 😉

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  5. I had to delete FB too! Found other and much healthier ways for keeping in touch with people. I also have to do things like this… I just deleted a game from my phone because my screen time went up an hour a day every since I started playing it. I got rid of a stack of books that are beautifully, but that I feel have such bad language I need to get them out of my house. I think we’re made this way, to need to make definite decisions to stay on the right path. This helps us to learn to live intentionally, through the struggles, rather than just supernaturally win all the time with our crazy self control 🙂

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