I’ve got that “someone unfollowed me on Twitter” paranoia. Also the “I posted my opinion on Facebook” paranoia. Social media seems like a minefield of anxiety for a lot of us, and yet it’s also a great way to reach out and get support for the anxiety-inclined. People with similar experiences are just a few clicks away, a real lifeline when you don’t feel able to leave the house or pick up the phone.
Reasons Why I Find Social Media So Anxiety Provoking:
- The Pause: There’s always a wait for people to respond. You might not get any response for hours, day or weeks and then suddenly someone turns around and rudely disagrees with you, which brings me to the second point…
- Taking Things Personally: I have a special talent at this. It’s not necessarily a character flaw, I mean the personal IS political, and I am emotionally invested in the discussions I take part in online, but then disagreement and/or rudeness is really hard to bear.
- Worrying What People Think: This includes all the people who follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook who haven’t said anything (although they could still mention it face-to-face, that’s another joy to look forward to). I worry a lot about what people think of me in general, but this is a particular trigger.
Possible solutions/coping strategies?
- Reconsider what I’m posting and what emotional resources I have right now (and in the next few days) to cope with how people might respond.
- This might mean keeping my opinion to myself a lot of the time, which is frustrating, I feel silenced. That’s the kind of bullshit society we live in.
- Have other (safer) places to post about things you can’t talk about publicly – this blog is a prime example of that. A vent. A reaching out to other people like me.
- Re: taking things personally. True, the personal is political, but that doesn’t mean I have to read a malicious intention into people’s comments. Though what they say might hurt, it doesn’t mean they are deliberately trying to hurt me. If people unfollow me, it might be that our political views are too different for us to coexist happily. Let it go.
- Finally, I think I’d worry less about what other people think if I could hold on better to a stable view of myself. Easier said than done with BPD, obviously. But even that recognition of why my worries about their opinion of me is spinning me out so much could be helpful. I can say to myself that what I feel about my behaviour is important (maybe even the most important?) as well.
Well, I still feel horribly anxious about it. Though a little less after reading over my post once more. This too shall pass.