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To Facebook Or Not To Facebook

young adult cancer

Social media!  Oh how art thou social media!

Social media, and book-face in particular, is definitely a double edged sword when you’re a young adult cancer survivor or a sufferer or a long term illness.  Seeing all of your friends…faces beaming, adventures underway, trips of a lifetime happening again and again, pregnancies being announced and children being born, careers being forged…while you deal with cancer, doctors’ appointments, scans, medicines, insurance, fertility concerns, friends being too busy and excited by their own lives to pay attention to you…is tough.  Especially when you’re lonely or hurt or sad, going onto social media and seeing how your friends and acquaintances are sharing their life milestones can be a difficult thing to stomach.  It’s not that your mad at them and you’re definitely proud and happy for them…but what you are dealing with can seem like it creates a chasm in between you and the rest of your young adult peers.

Here are a few tips on dealing with social media…

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[list_item]don’t compare your life to anyone else’s[/list_item]
This is a no brainer and yet so hard to keep in mind sometimes as well.  Comparing where you are right now to where someone else finds themselves is never a good idea.  You both have been through a different series of life events and your paths are not the same.  Comparing your life to someone else’s also implies that there is a right way to live…and there isn’t.

[list_item]stay off of book-face when you’re sad/mad/lonely/irritated[/list_item]
Looking at exaggeratedly happy pictures of other people will probably not help you to feel less sad/mad/lonely/irritated/etc.  Instead, do something that you like.  Watch your favorite tv show or movie, read a book, call a friend, go for a walk, relax in a coffee shop.  You are in control!

[list_item]know that people tend to only post about their happy moments[/list_item]
This relates to the previous tip…people tend to post happy moments on book face and other social medias.  That means that though your acquaintances aren’t posting pictures of their less than perfect left events, their lives aren’t perfect!  Everyone feels sad, fights with their spouse, has a lousy day at work or at home, you name it…they just probably don’t put that on display on the interwebs.

[list_item]if you want to interact with friends, go and do that[/list_item]
The interactions on the book-face don’t require much committment or attention.  This means that your interaction probably aren’t going to be very fulfilling for the most part.  Go out into the world and see your actual friends!  Call one of them.  Meet one out for a movie or a beer.  Having actual interactions will trump book-face ones any day.

[list_item]try and vary your time spent on social media[/list_item]
When I’m feeling down and really want to just zone out in the world of book-face, I’ve learned to stop myself from doing that entirely.  Instagram and twitter offer a much different type of interaction though.  My pictures of cuddly pups and picture perfect smiles can compare just as easily to someone else’s.  No words required.  No soap boxes, no horribly gushy posts about someone else’s perfect honeymoon to sift through!  Not sure what to post?  Take a picture of your favorite tree or house plant.  Snuggle with your puppy and get that perfect photo to match!


Have any tips to add?

P.S.  10 tips to feel less lonely

P.P.S.  For some supportive social media time, we are on facebook, instagram, and twitter 🙂 (and so are other survivors!)