The Mighty Logo

Why I Cry When I Open Social Media on Bad Health Days

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Social media – what was life even like before it? How did we humans function without filters for our pictures or a place to promote our personal life for the whole world to see? Do you remember what life was like without refreshing Facebook multiple times in one hour, just to see if you have any new notifications on your post?

When did we become so reliant on using social media to control our lives and to keep an eye on others? It has become so important to society in so many ways. I know I am guilty; I depend on social media every single day. I just cannot pull myself away from the obsession.

Having a chronic illness, I find myself checking social media more often than I should. It becomes a trance, something I just cannot stop. However, I have a confession to make. On a bad health day, social media has the ability to make me cry. No, not just the sob cry like when you see a picture of your ex-boyfriend with his new girlfriend. Social media has the ability to make me cry as though there was just a death in the family.

The simplest posts, pictures or achievements can cause me to break down in a split second. It is not because I am not happy for that person – of course I am. However, I begin to compare my life. I am not exactly where I wanted to be in life and I begin to wonder what I did wrong. Have my health conditions really set me back this far? While life could be worse, it
still could be so much better.

As I scroll through Facebook, a picture of a childhood best friend pops up. She is smiling and happy with her new set of friends and life. My heart crumbles and I wish I could go back to those times it was I in those pictures with her. I continue to scroll and see a picture of a group of girls from work out on a social event having so much fun. I swallow the lump in my throat knowing I too could be out on that event with them, but my anxiety has kept me home. Kept me home thinking about how I used to be close with them. Another post is about someone achieving something they worked hard to get. Tears pour out thinking of the years I wasted trying so hard to achieve a similar goal, with no success in the end. I come across posts of those in my life with children. That lump in my throat has now dropped down to my stomach. A part of me cries at the thought of never having a family. The fact that there is a chance my illness can prevent me from having that. Not to mention the exhaustion from my illness alone makes me not even want children. Memories pop up of pictures taken years ago and I look at the girl in the pictures – she looked so happy and healthy. I close Facebook and sit there feeling lost, alone and confused. Yep, I did it again. I checked social media on a bad health day.

Just like that, the vicious cycle begins again. My anxiety kicks in and I feel the need to keep checking social media. The pity party I throw each time I open up social media seems to have become an obsession, because I keep reading. I keep reading until my head is spinning, my eyes are sore and I feel sick. And really, I have no one to blame but myself.

Why do I do this to myself? What do I honestly think I will accomplish? A part of me does it to remind myself of the life I used to have and the life I want back. Another part of me does it because I want to win at life. I want to be successful and happy. However, it seems as though no matter what I try to do, life keeps kicking me back. And I am reminded of that each time I open up social media. I am not a movie star, I do not have an actual career, nor even know what I want to do with my life, I do not have kids, I do not have much money, and yes, I feel like crap 99 percent of my days.

These feelings begin to control my life; social media begins to control my life. I question my capabilities and wonder what my real purpose is. But you see, we are all so quick to believe everything we see on social media. The person,who just got the perfect new job or brand new Mercedes may still not have the perfect life. We only see what others want us to see. Many people are obsessed with materialistic things and showing off a great life. And that truly is OK. However, for those who struggle with anxiety, depression and other chronic illnesses, we tend to feel like we are failing at life. We lose sight of what matters the most and become caught in this vicious cycle of longing for a life others have. Social media becomes a place we just cannot handle.

However, it does not have to be that way.

I stop and I think about how far I truly have come, from receiving an actual diagnosis after being told for years nothing was wrong to becoming more confident and proud of who I am and sharing it through my writings. I think about how I have a beautiful house, with an amazing husband, and how I have a loving family who has been by my side throughout this whole journey. I erase social media from my mind for just a few moments and a sense of relief washes over me.

I have learned that on bad health days, social media is not a place for me to be. I have found other things to do to replace this obsession. You can find what I do instead of social media in my next post. Until then, I would love to hear how social media affects your life.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Thinkstock photo via SonerCdem.

Originally published: October 16, 2017
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home