I didn’t realize the survival skills I learned in the year before and year after my liver transplant would be needed again. Back then I went through a lot of discouragement and depression during so much isolation.
In the year before my transplant, it was my health that cut me off from humanity. I was too sick to join in on much of anything. After my transplant, most of the next year had me distanced to protect me from any illnesses others might be carrying. During that time, 8 & 9 years ago, Facebook was mostly pictures of families, recipes, and original posts. It helped me feel connected and was a mostly-positive input.
Now, we zip ahead 9 years and I feel as though I am repeating aspects of 2011-2012. The caution flags are back at full staff except now, the masks, sanitizers, and caution signs are for everyone, not only me. Today, Facebook has evolved into sparce original material and is mostly copy-and-pasted or forwarded posts, misinformation, and it is far less friendly. It’s also ad after ad after ad. For me, it is now a mostly-negative input.
From May, 2011 through April 2013 I experienced loneliness, loss-of-purpose and some pretty severe depression. I think depression is pretty common for those facing transplant or living with chronic illness but, for me at least, connecting online was a mostly positive interaction. I found my primary support groups through Facebook.
Now, again largely cut off from people going into six months, I am feeling some of the same feelings I felt back then. I am struggling with a loss of purpose to a degree even though I am still able to teach on Sunday morning. I enjoy teaching and speaking but am realizing how much I am missing all my coaching (Christians say “discipleship”) meetings. I sometimes wondered if local breakfast establishments would start charging me for office space!
During my transplant journey, my writing and online interaction sustained me to a degree. But, during this current time of separation, I have not been writing much and social media provides little positive input. I have been trying to use things like Zoom and Google Meet to bridge the gap with classes or live discussions online. At first, it worked pretty well but now everyone is tired of interacting with talking heads on computer screens. The result is that I’ve ended up being even more discouraged after planning meetings and classes that no one shows up for even though I can’t blame them at all.
What is the solution? I have decided to resume blogging while backing away from Facebook to see if I can get to a healthier place mentally. Though I have been writing almost daily posts on Facebook, using a mix of satire, humor and an occasional entry addressing a timely topic, I have decided that platform has become too unstable. I have decided it’s time for me to pull away from its constant barrage of outrage and misinformation.
I will link my WordPress blog to my Facebook account hoping to provide something positive, encouraging and hopeful but, I will not be posting much else beyond pictures for distant family.
What will my blog posts look like?
My blog will now be a little bit of everything. Sometimes it will relate to transplant and sometimes it will be the silliness and humor that Facebook followers have become used to but blog subscribers have not been subjected to. Sometimes my posts will teach, provide resources or provide more writing in the inspiration, motivational, and spiritual genres that Facebook users have not seen. It will be a smorgasbord of what is happening in my head.
If you are a Facebook regular, I invite you to subscribe so that you receive my blog entries by e-mail. That will also be the best route for others who have also decided to pull away from Facebook and spend less and less time there.
Of course, if I get tagged in things on Facebook pics or comments, I’ll still see them. I can’t dump Facebook altogether because so many still use it to communicate. My goal, however, is to spend far less time there so I will not be reading all the memes, forwards, mean-spirited attacks, slanderous assaults, and misinformation.
I’ve been noticing that garbage in is indeed resulting in garbage out in my own life. My garbage out is my increasingly-cruddy attitude, my lack of motivation, and a somewhat fatalist, cynical view. That is not like me at all.
Yes, YOLO (You Only Live Once). And, yes, GIGO (Garbage In: Garbage Out). If I only live once, I want to limit my garbage consumption.