Social Media vs My Brain: The Exhaustion of Keeping Up

Oh, social media, how I love you and despise you simultaneously!

When the internet showed itself in the ’90s, the big thing was AOL and we were all over it. Oh how I remember hearing that wonderful, “You have mail.” Checking messages, meeting strangers, and entering chat rooms to pretend we were all awesome.

It seemed so simple and we were happy with it. Myspace came along and changed the entire way we socialized online. Now we could interact with specific people and we had control over our profile. This is when it started to become a little harder for me to keep up.

Fewer letters, more Myspace messages

Communicating started to move more towards Myspace inbox and posts. The phone calls and letters (yes, people still wrote letters!) slowed down, resulting in the need to check Myspace 20 times a day. This does not seem like a hard thing to do for the average person, however being an undiagnosed narcoleptic, it became difficult!

Some people no longer wanted to chat on the phone. It was all about sitting in front of the computer and signing in just to get updates on family and friends.

Then Facebook came along

When Facebook became popular, I was not a fan right off the bat. When my friends would ask me to join, I was frustrated because I had barely figured out Myspace! Every time I looked at Facebook, I was intimidated by all the status updates and memes and advertising. How could I keep up with that?

Every aspect of my friends and family’s lives were on screen, to share and interact with. Posts turned from personal updates to social causes, politics, check-ins, debates, and information overload!

Social media changed how we stay connected

We used to have a handful of friends and we talked on the phone. We would set plans and that was it. Simple enough. Social media has changed all of that! Socializing is not just conversations between 2 people. It is now going to profiles, checking feeds, making sure we use that “like” button to confirm we are interested in their lives!

I no longer have a small circle. I have hundreds of friends to keep up with and it has become overwhelming. I do not think the human brain is supposed to keep up with that many people on a personal level, let alone a narcoleptic who has concentration issues!

There's an emotional aspect too

There are a lot of pressures to keep up with the people we see on our feeds. This can be anything from watching parents doing things with their children that you could never do or have not been able to.

Maybe you see somebody traveling and seeing sights you dream of seeing, but afraid to venture for fear you will have a cataplexy attack. You might see someone buying a home and it reminds you of the struggle to do so.

All of these emotions add up and can cause depression and anxiety, which of course the result is more narcolepsy symptoms. It is never-ending and exhausting! It's hard enough to keep up with my own life, let alone everyone else’s.

Check out part 2 of this series where Jenean shares how she simplifies her newsfeeds.

How do you feel about social media? Does it have any impact on your symptoms? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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