I was surprised by how hard it was to do, that’s for sure. More than a little shocked, if I’m honest.
I don’t know if that says more about the medium or me.
I think it was just too exciting.
Which is odd, as that sounds like a positive thing, but when you’re (possibly) a highly sensitive person, sensory overload can happen pretty quickly.
I loved that each day felt like a party: I could switch on my mac and have a million possible fun interactions waiting right there for me.
For someone who finds real life social stuff hard, being able to log in to the online party at will (without actually having to show up in person) was quite the draw.
The truly rubbish side of coming offline has been missing all the friends and connections I’ve effectively said goodbye to.
I miss all that chatter. I miss the community. And I especially miss hanging out with people who just ‘get’ my whole paper obsession and don’t think Heidi’s last name is Swamp (ha ha, Kitts).
But I had little to no balance in my days.
I felt like I was constantly buzzing; I spent any time offline thinking about when I would next be online.
Any sense of ‘in the moment peace’ was shot to pieces and I was uncomfortable with the jittery way my brain had started to feel.
And while real life relationships weren’t directly suffering, they were being impacted, because I was being impacted.
My focus was split because I always felt that pull to be online. And real people – even little ones – pick up on that pretty quickly.
When you’re investing a lot of energy into the online you, there’s not a lot left for the real life community that is so genuinely nourishing for a stay-at-home introvert.
I think it was only when I tried to limit my social media use that I realised the extent of my problem. Because I really didn’t want to go without.
I noticed that I’d lost the ability to find depth and beauty in everyday things. The delicious fruit salad had lost it’s appeal, because I’d developed a taste for iced donuts instead.
Ditching social media was harder than I ever would have believed.
It was a ‘two steps forward, one step back’ process and one which felt a lot like a journey of genuine loss. There was real physical sickness too.
Would I ever go back online, beyond this blog?
Not now, no. I’ve struggled too hard to reach this point of ‘social media sobriety’: this peace and joy has been hard won.
I wanted my monkey brain to settle down; I wanted to experience each precious moment and be fully present.
I needed to feel like one whole person again: not two separate identities, one shiny and one somehow lacking.
I think most people can cope and even thrive in online environments, but I’ve come to realise that I’m just not one of them.
And as I’m realising with a lot of things as I progress into my late forties: that is more than okay.