Poster reading: Escaping the social media trap & leaving the OCD maze

I made a decision in Dec that it was time to step back from social media for a bit. It can suck you down into a soul-destroying pit if you aren’t careful. I was already stressed and depressed by the years of helping mom through her cancer treatments and operations. When I discovered I had spare time, because of improvements mom’s health, I noticed how Twitter/FB etc were so depressingly stupid. I can troll with the best of them, but sheer level of insanity being actively promoted on social media began to crush me. It was like watching the worse bits of zombie apocalypse shows on an endless loop – hopeless, dark and paranoid. So, sometime in Dec I went to the doctor and am back on antidepressant after many years. They also calmed my OCD. Lately the obsessive compulsions had started to interfere with my life in major ways. Unfortunately I hadn’t noticed how bad things had gotten.

As my general outlook improved, I decided no social media for awhile. It seemed to aggravate everything. I also took a long break from web work, photographing, writing, everything. I’ve gone for long walks, listened to old radio dramas, watched trashy monster movies (Reptilica rules; Godzilla drools) and read. Oh my I’ve read. Prior to Dec, I was having difficulties concentrating long enough to finish simple novels. Now, I plow through books at a furious pace.

Breaking up with the zombie apocalypse

Before I logged off though, I unfriended a whack of people who I began to view as unhealthy to talk to. Let me tell you, the calm and quiet on this end of the computer has been enlightening. Getting away from social media was one of the smartest thing I could have done. My head feels clear, for the first time in eons. With mom improving to the point of being self-sufficient, I had difficulties refocusing myself. That and the worry cancer will return. In short, I was slowly driving myself insane, with the help of social media. Breaking up with social media was much easier than I thought it would be. I simply … stopped.

I’ve enjoyed the break and don’t think I’ll look at things the same way. I’ve almost attained a zen feel to my outlook. Things are going to happen; some of which I can’t change. That’s ok now. Having a sense of balance back in my head means I can cope with what gets thrown my way. Good days; bad days. I’ll talk about them both here. But right now? The good are far outstripping the bad. I suspect without the disconnect, the antidepressants would not have been as successful. I’ll tell you, I’d forgotten how loud the noise in my head was. When it suddenly stopped, I had problems coping for a day or two. It was so silent. A million different voices competing through the daily noise. Not voices like strangers talking to me. They were me, my internal voice on steroids. My brain was like a runaway train. And the outside noise, oh god the loudness of the world. I was living with my headphones in and a white noise generator running constantly. I was often frantic with anxiety when I got home. OH THE BLISS OF SILENCE.

The sounds of OCD

Want to know what the ‘voices’ were like? Think of 10 people yelling at you to do things a certain way or warning you things aren’t “right” and if you don’t correct them, you’ll be in danger. Complicate that with a sensitivity to noise on a level that makes me sound insane.

You didn’t check the door but you need to take the steps a certain OMG did you touch that. CLEAN YOUR HANDS YOUR hands you didn’t say that correctly please please stop the sink has dishes in it I feel paralyzed what do I do I can’t make dinner in this mess the water isn’t hot enough wash your hands again no again I’m tired but we need to get the phrasing right that’s not balanced try to set things up properly no no you lost count now we have to start over wow it’s noisy wonder if did you remember the sanitizer Oh god this bathroom no nonnononononon check that door again did you have to go this way there’s always dog shit here and you know it does things to you you need to align those pages correctly if I start straightening this out I won’t be able to stop

You get the idea. The meds halted all that. I often wonder if the OCD causes the depression or the depression causes OCD. I still can’t deal with the external noise well so I bought a pair of earplugs that dim the sound but still allow me to hear conversations. Its difficult to explain the quiet and it’s searing effect on me. When I realised how silent everything in my head was, I stood in the middle of my room with my eyes closed and thought “not going to go off the meds again”. The peace and order in my thoughts are magnificent.

I’ve tentatively dipped my toes back into social media again. A few posts on Instagram, a tweet here and there. But I can’t bring myself back to Facebook. The sheer amount of insanity on the platform is keeping me away. I’ll go back, eventually, because I have friends I like to chatter with. Maybe…

I’ve been working on new content over the last week and very happy with what I’ve created. A few new Instagram posts have already gone up. Now with the weather improving, I’ll head out and start taking photos, well, as long as the COVID-19 stays at bay in my area. Look for a few stamp posts, a new vlog post, and some great tech news. Will be fun.

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