It's been over a month since I deactivated my Facebook account.
I guess you could say that I'm somewhat of a social media addict. I spent my teenage years arranging my top 8 friends on Myspace and writing every little detail of my life on LiveJournal. And these days I still have an array of social media accounts including Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram.
For the past few years, I've used Facebook pretty religiously. It was the first thing I checked when I got up in the morning, and the last thing I would look at before I went to bed at night. I enjoyed posting pictures from my holidays, checking myself in when I was at gigs and keeping up to date with what my friends on the other side of the world were doing.
However while that side of Facebook was great, I found there was a darker side of it that was starting to make me feel really unhappy.
I know that Facebook only shows you the edited version of what people are doing with their lives. And let's face it, the majority of the time it's the parts that people want to brag about. It wasn't like I had nothing to brag about myself. I have a great job, an amazing family and supportive group of friends. However even with all that going on, I was starting to feel like everyone was leading a much more exciting life than I was.
Then there's the issue of relationships. If you're lucky enough to be in one, then Facebook can be a wonderful thing. But if you've broken up with someone, then there can be nothing worse than seeing that person you used to date all loved up with their new girlfriend. Even if you're friends and no longer have feelings for them, there's still a part of you that's going to feel slightly weird about the whole thing.
I've also lost count of the number of my friends who have sat on Facebook waiting for their crush to appear online, only to then get upset when they don't talk to them. And if there is someone on your Facebook who you like, then you can send yourself crazy overthinking the motive of every girl who likes their latest profile picture or comments on their status.
There wasn't one particular thing that made me decide to finally delete my account. I had previously deactivated it for a week here and there, but always ended up going back. This time though I was starting to realise how much anxiety I had over things I was seeing. Then it got to the stage where it almost seemed pointless to keep my account active when I was hiding so many people from my timeline and purposely not looking at particular profiles.
So after a month of being logged off, do I actually feel different?
I definitely feel like it's good for my mental wellbeing as I'm no longer worrying about what I see and comparing myself to others. I also feel like I'm making more time to actually talk to my friends, rather than just reading what they're doing online and thinking that counts as catching up.
It's not a decision for everyone, and I still know lots of people who love the site. But maybe this has given you something to think about next time you find yourself upset over something you've seen. Or when you realise that you've wasted an entire evening comparing yourself to the people from school that you really don't care about any more.
There's a much wider world outside of Facebook, and it's about time we put down our phones and started to realise it.