It hasn't been the easiest of summers for me. As I've mentioned before, my brother died unexpectedly. And then last week, a neighbor's house burned down in the most dramatic of ways. Watch those candles, folks. Who would think that a citronella candle outside could burn down an entire house in minutes? The people all got out, and the firefighters were spectacular. But it's all a reminder of how fragile life is, and how it takes but a moment for one's whole world to change. I go through life feeling very blessed, and losing my brother put a kink in that whole concept.
Last month, in the middle of a sleepless night, I had a temper tantrum and said something I would not normally say on Facebook. Then, I shut down my account. I've been asked why I did that, and even to me, it doesn't really make sense. I was momentarily annoyed and it wasn't well thought out.
The truth is, I'm addicted to e-mail, and I was addicted to Facebook. I'd checked it and then I'd check it again. I like being connected with people, I like being in the know, I like looking at pictures of everyone's kids, and I like getting news from my favorite media sources and from news reporters I follow. Since Facebook, I'm much aware of current events.
Suddenly, I was Facebook-free. Cold turkey, I surrendered. I figured I would re-open the account at some point, and I'm sure I will, someday. But what I discovered when I shut down the account was that life got different, in a better way. I hadn't realized it, but every time one of my kids said something funny, or I went somewhere interesting, or something extraordinary happened or caught my attention, I was posting a status update, a link, a photo. I was living my life for Facebook. Now I can be in the moment without having to get the perfect picture, without wondering if I should post that quote or not. Events don't have to be chronicled for others, they can be experienced for their own merit. I'm not constantly assessing what picture to take and then to post. Maybe it's because it's August and life always slows down in August, but I've felt my tension level drop and I think it's the relief of one less thing to attend to.
So there things I miss. I miss hearing how my sister-in-law is doing several times a day (we now resort to email), I miss knowing what's going on in the world (sort of, a little) and my account is linked to the Shrink Rap Facebook page, so I can't update that with relevant links. Roy can still access it, but somehow it's always been my job. I'm still tweeting; for some reason, that doesn't have the addiction issue, perhaps because I don't actually know any of my twitter followers. I've always been a Facebook fan, and I've encouraged friends to join, but suddenly, I'm not such a fan.
On another note, I wrote about addressing the concerns of the Anti-Psychiatry crew over on Clinical Psychiatry News. Here's the link.