How Social Media Gave me a Breakdown and it’s all my Fault

Photo by Zach Kadolph on Unsplash

By nature I’m a really angry person. Lots of things set me off, some of them big, a lot of them small. I’m a big believer in the ‘no worries and move on’ type of attitude, only if it doesn’t fuck with my plans. I’m basically an old man, swinging his fist at youths who dared to step onto my lawn. But in better clothes.

Often, my angry stems from the massive amounts of anxiety I have every day. I’m often trying to get my anxious thoughts under control, I’m trying to throw logic at my obsessive and obtrusive thoughts, which usually means I’ve little patience for anything to go wrong.

Usually, I can tamp that anger down, only snapping at those closest to me. The ones I can easily apologize to and explain why I’m so angry. The ones who will forgive me much more easily than anyone else. A few weeks ago I couldn’t keep it in. I could barely handle everyday tasks, as any fuck up made my blood pressure spike.

As an educated perfectionist who is judgey as all fuck and too hard on herself, I can’t stand stupidity. Not stupidity in that someone just hasn’t learned something yet, or is taking a while to understand something. There is nothing wrong with trying to educate yourself or trying in life. Those people do not make me angry, they make me hopeful for the future.

I’m talking about the kind of stupidity that makes you question how humanity got so far in life. The type of stupidity exercised by the ‘Karen’s’ of the world. Of the ones who read headlines and form an opinion, screaming it into the internet world at the top of their lungs. Of the stupidity that comes from total ignorance in everything around you.

I’ve done some stupid things in life, and I’m sure I’ve been ignorant a time or two (or 10 or 50). The difference is that I don’t comment in hate-filled tones, degrading anyone around me. I leave that to my brain to whisper to myself, or confiding in my friends and let them tell me I’m being ridiculous or need to take a step back and re-evaluate.

I’ve long been a comment reader on social media. Whenever I see a juicy headline, I excitedly read through the article, knowing of the fresh hell that will await me in the comments section. I can’t wait to open those gates to Hades and see what all the idiots out there have to say.

To say that gleeful obsession with ignorant and hurtful comments isn’t healthy is an understatement. I understand that I shouldn’t care, that I should move on with my own opinions, perhaps writing about them in a well-researched article, or at the very least, an article that isn’t riddled with such anger it muddles my vision and logic.

The last few months have proven how awful humanity can be. It’s also proven how wonderful it is. Unfortunately, the awful part sticks out far more than the wonderful. Like everything else in my life, my brain started to obsess on these haters, these trolls, these douches. I needed to read their comments, follow their journey, watch as others easily took them down with eloquent wording and *gasp* facts and logic.

I got too far into it, reading too many comments, reading too much fear and anger and hatred out there. My brain started needing more while feeling like it couldn’t take on another grain of stupidity. I found myself angry at everything. I found myself wondering why humanity existed, why any of us should continue to live. I found myself wondering if life was worth it in the grand ol’ scheme of things, if this was what life was like.

Though not suicidal, the thoughts were dark enough to snap me into reality. Because, living for the comments section — even if only to see a troll being taken down — isn’t reality. It’s fucked up nonsense that we, as an entire society, have begun to obsess over.

I couldn’t handle reading anything, anymore. I didn’t want to talk to friends in case I became irrationally angry. I looked for therapists to help me with my anger. I had broken down because of social media. Not only did that make me angry, but it made me sad. There wasn’t any reasoning for it. It was something that could easily be controlled in my life, that I didn’t have to look at, but was obsessively scrolling through.

The simple thing to do would be to just stop reading. Stop reading the news. Stop reading the comments. Take a little break. Which I did. But, when you’ve already lost faith in humanity it’s hard to crawl back to the surface, to the light.

I’ve yet to contact a therapist, but I have an online resource at the ready. I’ve stopped engaging in social media or looking at the comments on news outlets. I slip up a time or two, my hands getting jittery when I read an exceptional piece online. But, I’ve learned my lesson. Nothing good can come of it and life isn’t a comments section, filled with hateful people. Rarely, are facts or reasoning found there. The poison is out there, bolded and in italics, because they’re louder than the rest.

I’ve learned my lesson that some people can be the absolute worst, but that I don’t need them in my life. Of course I’m still angry at stupidity, but in a much more sensible way. Now, when something infuriating happens, my brain doesn’t feel like it’s about to explode. I can take a breath and look at whether it really matters in the grand scheme of things, or if it’s just time to smile and move on.

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