Why social media is better than Prozac

I’ve discussed my anxiety disorders before. I’m pretty open about being on Prozac and all that jazz. I honestly don’t even want to remember how I functioned before medication. But there’s something else that has helped my anxiety a great deal, and I didn’t need a prescription. Social media, mainly, Facebook.

I joke quite a bit about my Facebook addiction. I really do spend a lot of time on there, but I have a good reason for it. Before finding social media, I had no friends. Ok, that’s not as pathetic as it sounds. Of course, I had friends . . . I just never talked to any of them. Old high school friends, college friends, work friends, or members of my second family (that some of you know about) . . . If I ran into them, we’d talk. If they emailed me, I’d respond. If they called me, sometimes I would answer. But the plans we made or the plans I was a part of were very few and far between . . . not because there was any issue between us, but because I shut myself off from everyone.

Social Anxiety Disorder. That’s what the doctor called it. The funny part is that when I’m around people, I don’t seem anxious. In fact, I’m mostly comfortable being around people. It’s the phone I can’t stand. And before social media, it was difficult to make plans if you didn’t talk on the phone that often.

People talk about how people are using sites like Facebook to replace real life connections. It’s quite the opposite for me. I’m using Facebook to make real life connections. Last December, a reunion with that second family was organized . . . and I didn’t have to pick up the phone once. It was all done on Facebook. When I miss one of my friends and want to hang out . . . I drop a message or post to his or her wall.

Life, family, work, (and lack of money) keep me from hanging out with people every day, but the truth is that since my Facebook addiction, I have spent more real time with my friends than I did before.

But wait. It gets better. I said that I’m okay being around people, and that’s true. But I will not purposefully go out to meet people. I’m plenty happy confining myself to my home, snuggling in my pajamas, and playing on my laptop. But social media has actually brought more people into my life . . . and I’m not talking about racking up a ridiculous friends’ list full of people I know nothing about. I’m talking about real connections with real people.

In the past month this has been more evident than ever. This wacky MomSquawk contest (ok, I know I said I wouldn’t mention it again . . . sue me) introduced me to some awesome people. One of those awesome people introduced me to GoodBlogs where I met more awesome people. From another one of those mommies, I found out about the WordCount Blogathon . . . . Which introduced me to some more fantastic writers. It’s just completely snowballing, and I love it!

What’s totally cool about this is that many of these people are people who I would probably never connect with if we crossed paths in real life. A good portion of them are Christian conservatives . . . people who I wouldn’t have seen connecting with the liberal Unitarian Universalist Pagan Agnostic that I am! In fact, one of those Christian conservatives wrote about this very thing today . . . from the other perspective, of course!

Prozac helps calm me. It keeps me from countless panic attacks on a daily basis. It makes me a functioning person. But social media has given me my friends back. Social media has provided the means for a socially anxious person to become involved . . . well, socially. And I couldn’t be more grateful!

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13 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Ginny on May 16, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Loved reading this Dayle. My husband and I met on eHarmony, and he said the same thing. If we had met in real life, we never would have gone out on a date. He’s on the “Right” and I’m out in left-field, but somehow we have made it work. Our differences have complemented one another. I, too, feel like I am connected now more than ever, and I, too, have a little help from the pharm industry. While I’m not much good without the latter, I would need even more of it without the former! 🙂 Have a good night!

    Reply

    • Thanks Ginny! . . . I loved the line, “While I’m not much good without the latter, I would need even more of it without the former!” . . . Amen!

      And congratulations to you and your husband! I really do believe in the whole opposites attract thing 🙂

      Reply

  2. WOW! I feel like I am reading part of my own thoughts here! We have a lot more in common than I even realized when I read about the weight issue yesterday! I also take Prozac but I take it for depression…I’ve never been diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder BUT I also hate the phone and hate making plans over the phone….I also tend to make plans over Facebook instead and I’m addicted to Facebook….I’ve made more friends through Facebook and my blog than I have in the outside world in years…..I’m very much a homebody and tend to be happier staying in away from the outside world but when I am around people, I am fine with them. So I’m not afraid of being around people….just sometimes feel more comfortable being at home and on Facebook….strange how I can relate to this so much. Speaking of Christian conservatives….I guess you could call me that, although I would like to consider myself more of a middle ground, open minded Christian with SOME conservative views.
    Oh and I met my husband on MySpace, LOL!

    Reply

    • I just read your blog and realized that I never responded to you here! My brain has been so mushy lately!

      Do people look at you like you have 3 heads when you tell them about the phone issue? I won’t even order a pizza over the phone! 😛

      I never thought I would connect with so many conservatives! LOL . . . I am most definitely a bleeding heart liberal, but it really is true that reasonable people can have reasonable differences. I think those differences make it all the more interesting. . . . . And isn’t it pretty cool that we can connect with so many similarites (the anti-tanning, weight issues, love of social media, and prozac) but still have all of those differences? I think it helps to remind us that just because someone seems different, doesn’t mean that they don’t deal with the same issues!

      I met my ex-husband on aim and my current boyfriend in a chat room on aol 😛

      Reply

  3. One of my friend’s mother-in-law’s worked with me on the 2010 Census and through that, we became really good friends..She’s 51, I’m 27….She’s really liberal and like I said, I’m more on the conservative side but we just really clicked because I’m a pretty open minded person. I like to hear different viewpoints instead of blocking out everything that seems to be apart from what I’ve been raised to believe and I really try to think about situations from both sides. I respect all my friends that have different beliefs than me because it shows that they think for themselves and can form their own opinions on things.
    I also don’t even like calling to order food or anything..my husband gets frustrated with me at times because I will beg him to call instead….my mom was always the same way so I guess I inherited it from her. It’s strange because once I am on the phone because I have to be, I talk just fine and there’s not a problem, I am just secretly wanting to get off the phone as soon as possible!

    Reply

    • People think I’m exaggerating about the phone thing. It’s so hard to get people who don’t deal with anxiety to understand it! Do you know how awesome it was when I discovered that Dominos and Pizza Hut allow online ordering?

      My mom could have talked on the phone for 10 hours a day, so I don’t know where I got this from!

      As much as I’m not happy you have the same issues, it’s still nice to know I’m not alone!

      Reply

  4. Wow! How cool, Dayle! =) It’s so exciting to hear how things have snowballed since the MomSquawk contest. And it’s amazing that the digital world can bring about real connections with others. =) Have you seen Eric Whitacre’s TED talk on his virtual choir? It was such a powerful story of people feeling true connections with others around the world. =)

    Reply

    • It is pretty awesome, Sam!

      There are so many other benefits of social media for me . . . this was just one little highlight. I really am grateful for the age of technology.

      I am not familiar with Eric Whitacre, but I will definitely check him out! Thanks!

      Reply

  5. […] I wrote about how my social anxiety makes me feel guilty over ridiculous things. I wrote about how social media has helped me as much as if not more than Prozac. Each of those posts offered a small snapshot into […]

    Reply

  6. […] diagnosed with. I wrote Social Guilt to express how one little moment can penetrate me. I wrote Why social media is better than Prozac to explain . . . well, why social media is better than Prozac. And I wrote The automatic negative […]

    Reply

  7. Just a quick Hi to comment that I’m really glad you mentioned the phone issue..
    I’ve never been diagnosed with social anxiety but using the phone make me utterly terrified – I would never choose to use it to connect with people and definitely avoid using it to make appointments or order food. Drs appointments used to go unmade, friends ignored, and even at my most agoraphobic I was more likely to walk myself in PJs to the cornershop to eat than ring someone. Gods bless the internet.

    Reply

    • Hi Byghan and thank you for reading and commenting!

      I’ve always thought I was completely off the deep end with the phone thing. My ex-husband (who also has an anxiety disorder, just not social anxiety) never understood it. My boyfriend of nearly 5 years doesn’t understand it (he’ll still says to me like, “well, why do you just call . . .?” and I want to smack him!). But as soon as I became more vocal about my anxiety issues (and by extension, the phone issue), so many people have told me they deal with the same thing!

      It’s really nice to know we’re not alone!

      Reply

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