I finally did it. I deleted my Facebook account. I didn’t leave it derelict. I didn’t inactivate it. I deleted the damn thing. I’d wanted to for a long time because it was a soul-sucking time vortex. Time I should have spent writing. And also because I think it might be one of the worst activities someone with depression can engage in.
What finally led up to it was a contentious exchange over evolution (how to deal with the intelligent design/creationist crowd ought to be a separate post). On Facebook, I had a higher percentage of friends who were right-wing evangelicals than any other demographic. I, of course, am an atheist who used to be a right-wing evangelical myself. My newsfeed was constantly littered with Bible verses calling atheists fools, quotes from prominent pastors saying you can’t be a good father or husband if you don’t go to church, blind allegiance to Donald Trump, the word ‘libtards,’ gun advocacy, Rush Limbaugh talking points, prophecies of the end times, the occasional guarantee of hell and damnation, attacks on the LGBTQ community, and so on. So yeah, every now and then I’d share a meme or make a comment that was a bit of a fuck you to all of that. Of course, as one of the few voices of dissent among them, I think I was viewed as the aggressor. The bully.
Sometimes, I’d read something stupid and my heart pounded, joy and humor left my body, my hands shook, and I could count on a restless night’s sleep. My frustration would permeate subsequent posts which always fed the narrative that I was an unhappy, bitter atheist paying the emotional price for turning my back on God.
Why did it affect me so? It was silly, wasn’t it? I suppose I felt like there was an uncomfortable truth revealed. About me. About them. But I couldn’t quite grasp what it was.
Now I think I know.
Two words: Hopeless. Futility.
I wasn’t going to change their minds and they weren’t going to change mine. The very definition of an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object. Trouble is, with Facebook, these weren’t strangers, but friends. Quitting Facebook feels like a kind of divorce. Irreconcilable differences.
So I guess hitting that delete button was my way of saying, “You’ve been served.”
You can keep the house. I’m taking the car. I’ll make custody arrangements for the kids.
(The kids being those wonderful friends that had nothing to do with any of this. Stay in touch, kids. You know I’ll always love you!)