Every now and then, there’s a Yahoo! article suggesting that too much time on Facebook can lead to mild depression. The “studies” suggest that looking into someone else’s seemingly ‘happier than mine’ life can be a source, a trigger, for depression. The illogical logic in the Facebook observer is supposed to go something like:
“oh, they’re doing more things with their family than I am, oh, they’re pictures look very happy, they must have a great life and mine sucks. they’re doing so much better than me, i should try harder because i’m doing something wrong. what’s wrong with me?”
If it doesn’t, then great, I believe you have figured out your internal boundary with Facebook and that’s a good thing.
If it does, keep reading, because I used to be in the same boat.
The problem isn’t that Facebook can trigger depression in the observer, the problem is why? Why can it lead to self-deprecating thoughts and a question of “what’s wrong with me?”
I believe the why comes from unresolved childhood hurts. As a sexual abuse survivor, I recognize that I can easily “go there” and irrationally believe that’s the root cause of all hurts, but that’s not what I’m suggesting. I’m suggesting than any unresolved childhood hurt can be triggered at any time by anyone or anything. Facebook fits that bill for those of us who weren’t empowered as children. Who weren’t affirmed. Who didn’t hear things like “I love you. You’re exactly who you’re supposed to be.” And all of the actions that follow suit like being heard when you’re physically or emotionally hurt, nurtured when you are hurt, and the like. Hearing those things, experiencing those things as a child are life affirming.
See, I used to scroll through my feed and read everyone’s post, see everyone’s pictures, and receive invites to everyone’s game. And I observed my feed at home. Alone. Lonely.
“I wish I were doing those things, have family pictures like that, and where does everyone find time to play these games?! Don’t they have stuff to do like I do?!?!“
I used to think that.
Now I don’t.
I believe Facebook is an awesome tool! It digitally extends the reach of our global community, making communication much more efficient and so much fuller and richer! Facebook can be a tool to keep up with friends from all walks of your life and hear from, share with and talk to as much or as little as you want. It can be a networking tool for work or a picture sharing tool for geographically separated families.
I believe Facebook is a great tool. I believe I have learned healthy boundaries with Facebook. I love myself and I’m no longer shamed while scrolling, I’m happy to see other’s happy times. I know they have bad times too. I digitally share their moments, I stay connected with them and I get ideas of things I want to try.
So why on Earth would I minimize Facebook time when connecting that way can be a powerful recovery tool?
Because the people who do those studies, analyze the data and summarize their findings in articles eventually finding their way onto the Yahoo! news stream presuppose that we are all destined to lead lives in which we can be easily shamed.
Unresolved childhood hurts reside in all of us and can be triggered at any time by anyone or anything.
So what’s the difference between the people who use Facebook as a tool and those who view it with shaming caution? Resolution.
The inner will to deal with their childhood pain, to bring it to the carpet and address it.
I once read an article on my Facebook feed that suggested the way to make the world a better place, to resolve wars, to resolve crises was to address trauma.
I believe them.
And so as I continue to openly share my thoughts and stories, I’ll do so cautiously, respecting the current social treatise but also striving to sever it, to renew it, to turn it on it’s head. The goal isn’t to “overshare,” it’s to challenge the existence of that paradigm at all. See, to a disempowered child, oversharing includes “feed me” or “I scraped my knee.”
We’re so careful in our social society not to be too social at all. Why hold back? That’s the source of our shame! Resolve it all, resolve it now so that you too can have the life you want!
I am not ashamed of who I am or the things I did as a kid. I was being sexually abused at home and was a typical kid given those circumstances. So, I will share all of me. I will share all of what I remember, how I think it fits and what I hope.
I will share it all so that all may share some.
Because if we start to pull the layer back on unresolved childhood pain, we’ll not only find predictable pain, we will find an unexpected utopia.