On Thursday, the 29th of March I made a decision. I quit social media. I deleted my Facebook, I deleted my Instagram and I logged out of my Twitter pages. Why you may ask? Well, you see, a court case took place in Ireland, there was a lot of negativity online afterwards and I don’t just mean you’re regular amount of trolls or negative Nancys. I mean really harsh bullying, words that I’d never repeat or never imagine saying about anyone never mind thinking about anyone, never mind a victim.
As I personally had experienced something like the victim’s story, I was very much emotionally involved and a small part of me was living through her. I was so proud of her, her bravery inspires me still to this day. If you didn’t know she was a victim of rape. She was treated extremely badly in court, by trolls online and by the jury. I mean a jury who takes less than four hours to make a decision as serious as rape, to me, as a victim of the same crime, it’s just simply not good enough.
These messages people were tweeting or posting on Instagram were really damaging my mental health. I found myself crying constantly, looking for the negative comments, constantly reading underneath the news headlines, reading the hashtags and even though I was reading really nice comments too, the negatives ones were too loud to not notice.
I was so down, I lay in bed listening to Lady Gaga – Until It Happens to You, Kesha – Praying and Fletcher – I Believe You, on repeat, I couldn’t sleep and for some reason those songs gave me comfort. I was completely at a loss. I felt alone. I was getting flashbacks and I felt like it all had just happened all over again.
I made the decision to step back. To remove my self from the negativity of the online world and to focus on my mental health. This was an amazing decision. I felt like a new woman. I was confronting my emotions, I was more active, I found myself communicating more with friends directly, I was taking pictures for only my pleasure and I had time. I had time. I never knew how much time I wasted scrolling through my news feeds until I didn’t scroll.
I was appreciating reading the news, looking up different news articles online. I was appreciating nature, because I didn’t have my head stuck in my phone, I was looking around me at all the beautiful things around me. I was listening to people, properly listening, not scrolling whilst half listening, listening to them.
I wasn’t focusing on perfect pictures or having to get pictures, I was thinking about pictures I’d like to print off. For the first time in a very long time I felt a weight shift. I felt good. I knew now that I didn’t need social media, I wasn’t addicted, I know realised the inner peace that people had who didn’t have social media accounts.
So, why did I go back on Twitter only this week? Well, you see, there is a very important referendum coming up in Ireland and I am very passionate about this referendum and being on social media gives me the power to use my voice and help the campaign as much as I can. I want to do everything I can to help pass this referendum and being on social media felt like something I needed to do – so I choose Twitter.
Right now, I believe I will log off Twitter after the referendum, however, I may do more of a time managing situation on it – where I locate a certain about of time to being online.
The reason i’m writing this blog is to tell you, yes you, that if you feel like social media is weighing you down and comments online are really getting to you, take two steps back. Give yourself a break. I promise you, it will make a difference. Please do not be afraid to mute or block anyone online, even if you think they’ll find enjoyment out of it, you won’t know because they will be silenced. They haven’t won. It’s not a competition. This is your mental health.
It is so important to look after your mental health every single day. Taking time to yourself is so essential and stepping away from negative situations for your mental health – is more than okay. Look after you, not the trolls.
Lots of love, Belle x