Opinion / Technology / Top Posts

Your Facebook Ravings Are Giving Me An Anxiety Attack

I don’t like contention. I don’t like stirring up strife. I actually really dislike the fact that I’ve always felt strongly compelled to stand up for what I believe in. I know a lot of people love a good socio-political discussion; I do too in many ways, but it tends to make me feel like I might develop the trots (annnnnnd I was a Political Science major…).

Yes, I experience lots of inner turmoil. Surprisingly I have yet to develop an ulcer.

To be honest, I don’t believe the human heart was made to withstand the limitless barrage of opinions and verbal diarrhea we’re exposed to today thanks to social media and 24/7 news access. The world is a complicated place, and constant exposure to the worst of it is unbelievably taxing, it’s confusing, in a lot of cases it brings out the worst in people.

Social media and media hyperbole have probably done more to contribute to America’s culture of fear than actual world events.

Clearly I’m guilty of it. I opine on social media (I am aware that I’m doing it right now…). I know that social media gives normal people like you and me a voice, our very own forum to discuss issues that are relevant and pressing.

While I hate it in many ways, that’s exactly what I love about it.

But I’ve also felt emotionally drained on a daily basis simply because of constant exposure to everyone’s (and their mother’s) opinions (yes, literally your mother’s opinion…I’ve gotten in political debates with friends’ moms on Facebook…). It’s emotionally exhausting to constantly feel the need to validate your beliefs to others, to yourself. I find myself crafting my responses to people’s status updates all day long in my head, even when I have no intention of actually responding to them.

It’s silly.

Maybe I only feel that way because so many of my views run counter to the current uber-loud, uber-popular political leanings; whether I’m scanning headlines or trolling my newsfeeds, I can’t help but feel as though I and nearly everything I stand for are personally under attack on a consistent basis. And that drives an involuntary need to respond, which causes anxiety, as do the time and emotional investments required for the responses to the response, which tend to lead to even greater anxiety…

Trials and tribulations of the modern era.

I guess I’m simply saying that sometimes I just want to mindlessly check my Facebook feed to see pictures of your cat or your latest gym selfie without hearing your thoughts on the “Muslim Ban” that’s not actually a Muslim Ban (see what I did there?)…

I’ll admit, in the last several weeks I’ve begun “unfollowing” newsfeeds. It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s only that I feel like I’m drowning in your sea of political rantings and ravings. I want to hear your opinion, I do…just not all the time, and not at times when I don’t want to hear them (like when I’d rather just see your gym selfies…).

How do we keep ourselves open to hearing others’ opinions without being completely overwhelmed by them? It’s one thing to consider an opinion or two, it’s another to be bombarded by 8,000…

I’m asking because I haven’t figured it out yet…

But I realize this makes me a hypocrite, because when I have something to say, I would appreciate it if you would hear me out (although I know I’ve been unfollowed/unfriended by a whole slew of people…I get it…I ain’t mad at ya).

I guess that’s the beauty of sharing our thoughts on the interwebs…we have the freedom to hear who we want, when we want.

Let me be the first to say I’m not close-minded. I swear. I’d actually love to have a face-face discussion with just about anyone on just about any topic. But there’s something about discussing politics on Facebook that gets me extra sweaty and irritable…

So try as I might to burrow inside my hole of isolationist seclusion (I think I’ve deactivated my Facebook account about a dozen times…), I keep coming back to the fray because I believe our voices matter. And social media, whether FB or Insta or a blog or whatever, is the most realistic place to have our voices heard.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what a friend of mine told me a couple of weeks ago, that turning 30 was a turning-point for her; she’s since become more secure in her own convictions and has quit caring what other people think of them.

Good advice.

My voice might be small, but I’m beginning to realize that when tossed into the collective things get pretty loud.

If we’re not willing to speak up, who will be?

So while your en masse opinions might be annoying, I realize that mine are too. But it’s better that we speak up than say nothing at all.

ruskin (2)

Advertisements

34 thoughts on “Your Facebook Ravings Are Giving Me An Anxiety Attack

  1. I care more about the people in my life than the opinions I hold, so I refrain from “debate” in this forum, and opt for discussions in person. If I engage anyone on Facebook, it is something meant to improve the relationship. With the understanding that I am not responsible for other people’s choices or opinions, I simply choose to do what I can do to build people up and encourage them. Most of you know, I love a good debate, but I care more about my friendships and sincerely people would laugh more, love more, and dance more. Life’s too short

    Like

    • that’s a really awesome (and mature) perspective…this gives me a lot to think about. It’s true in all relationships, sometimes there are things that are just better left unsaid. thanks for sharing this john 🙂

      Like

  2. Hey Kelly, it’s your friends mom here ! I hope that I have at no time caused you anxiety or frustration by my comments, because if there is one person whose opinion I respect and admire it’s you! And while we may not agree on every issue, I feel, as you do, that it’s healthy to have honest conversations about our views so if we can’t agree we can at least understand one another. I think the major problem with Facebook is frequency, as you mentioned, as well as showing respect for the opposing persons point of view. Lauryn posted a very eye-opening article called “it’s not Trump…it’s us” ( or something like that) which pointed out that each of us are so deep into our own corners we’re not listening to anyone else’s point of view. I know I’ve been quiilty of that in the past.
    What I’m trying to say Kelly is keep writing because in this crazy world I love reading what you have to say. ( even when I don’t agree). You are kind, respectful, and you listen. The world needs more voices that yours!

    Like

    • Sorry, but I don’t consider you a “friend’s mom”, I just consider YOU a friend 😉 the other ladies I was referring to are moms of friends whom I’d never actually even met, haha! But I can’t tell you how happy this comment makes me, I was worried I’d totally gutted our relationship over that abortion post I threw up a couple of months ago…I’m telling you, I’m the worst of the worst when it comes to Facebook political ravings, I’m aware of this! But you’re right, the frequency is exactly what I can’t seem to manage; social media and 24/7 news give us too much info too often, so I really have to be careful of how much I’m exposing myself to, because my little heart can’t take it. But like you said, I’m also guilty of wanting to talk talk talk without listening; I’m really working on not shoving my ideas down people’s throats and instead really listening to see where they’re coming from. My opinions might not change, but I might come away with a little more empathy and understanding of why someone thinks the way they do. Thanks for your support, you don’t know how much it means to me. You’re one of the most understanding and genuinely kind people I know and I have so much respect and appreciation for you! Lots of love to you!!!

      Like

  3. I empathize with the fact that a lot of my beliefs counter the vast majority of my peers…thus my newsfeed. It’s hard to see your beliefs under constant attack and know that you cannot engage in a *discussion* with people. It’ll become a personal attack. At least that’s what I’ve seen from the bleacher seats!

    Like

    • it’s really challenging for me…and then i have this constant internal battle going on where i’m arguing with myself, “do i respond??? do i not respond??? i HAVE to respond…keep your mouth shut and do NOT respond…” haha! that’s why every so often i need to just shut it down, it’s the only way to keep my sanity! but i also feel like those of us with “unpopular” views need to speak up, because right now most of us feel bullied into keeping quiet. i often think “i must be the only person who feels this way,” because i just don’t hear my beliefs expressed much, but I’ve been blown away by the number of people who private message me or email me after reading a post of mine who say “thanks for saying that..i feel exactly the same way.”

      Like

  4. I think most of us feel this way! I love discussions and to “hear” different opinions even if we can not agree. As long as it’s done respectfully but it can be exhausting. We all have those friends who post political things everyday and I just choose to keep scrolling. And taking fb off my phone helped. If I really want on I have to get my iPad out : )

    Like

    • It’s so true, limiting access has been really key for me; it’s just too much too often, and i’ve also deleted the app from my phone! but I agree, there’s a lot to learn from respectful discusssions

      Like

  5. I engage others very selectively and rarely. It’s easier to read the discourse, learn what I can from it, move on. I want to witness the contention to better form my stand, but knowing that throwing my energy into a conversation isn’t necessarily going to upset anything but me….

    Like

    • Love your approach, you still get a taste of what others are thinking without being totally invested in the debate/drama…i like it

      Like

    • And I will hand it to Facebookland on my strict terms. Why, yes, video of an otter eating, I so have a moment for you. Guy who called an article I shared sexist? We don’t even run into each other anymore, and since my words right now are an alphabet soup of rage….. Lol! No soup for you. Next!

      Like

    • haha! because who doesn’t have time to watch an otter eating?! but seriously that is what I need to get better at…i feel like i need to engage every opinion that differs from mine when really…i don’t…but I will say I am trying to be better about *listening* to other people’s POV’s as opposed to just talking, a.k.a shoving my thoughts down their throat…because I’m realizing I do that…

      Like

    • I’m guilty of being aggressive in my expression of my beliefs, for sure. I just feel that I have to do more listening lately because I’m curious, fascinated– and sometimes I just can’t come anywhere close to understanding! I’m waiting for the deeper reasons, looking for the roots. It’s a good way to find your own roots, and sometimes the best way to try to yank at theirs, if I’m so upset that that seems necessary. I’m also working to be more accepting of differences as so many of them are being laid out. I’m growing humble enough with age and experiences to see that what I “know” can change.

      Like

    • I feel the same way! I find myself genuinely curious where people get their opinions/beliefs/convictions from, especially when I feel like they make no sense, haha! but i have been schooled in many discussions and have come away realizing I have a lot more to learn than I thought I did

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s