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jonsblond's avatar

Does Facebook cheer you up or bring you down when you are going through a difficult time?

Asked by jonsblond (38361 points ) December 29th, 2013

Do you think it is wise for a person to use social media when they are going through a difficult time?

My mother has been very ill this year and has come close to death many times. She’s been hanging in there, but she took a turn for the worse again on December 26th and she’s been in the hospital since. I’m a daily Facebook user, and I’ve noticed that looking at FB when I’m worried about my mother really brings me down. The silly complaints from friends, people who write “fml” due to the smallest things and political rants are really getting to me. I’ve found that I can’t look at FB because it just brings me down.

Is it like this for anyone else or does it bring you happiness to be connected to your friends?

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19 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

It makes me feel connected to my far flung friends. And my involvement with FB was because of two people dealing with serious health issues.

The first was a high school friend who was always well liked despite having poor health even as a teenager. 5 years ago he was in ICU waiting for a liver/bowel transplant, and reconnected with everyone he knew via Facebook. As a result, many of us who had lost touch with each other reconnected because of Hank. (After 18 months on the waiting list, Hank had his transplant but never recovered from the surgery.)

Another friend was found to have Stage Three breast cancer, and has used Facebook for support and communication ever since. So it has gone from the mundane to some deeply moving and spiritually enlightening moments.

I find that it’s a good way to let people know what is going on with me.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Neither. Facebook doesn’t affect my mood at all.

ragingloli's avatar

Its very existence brings me down.

hearkat's avatar

Because I have organized the ‘friends’ I have on FB and thus controlled what information I see from them, I don’t see many posts that annoy me. Those people who have petty concerns, are drama-prone or attention-whores are often relegated to a restricted group, or un-followed, or un-friended completely.

If you find no comfort in it, stay away and seek another means to uplift your spirits or at least distract yourself. Sending love and best wishes for your mother ((((hugs)))).

tups's avatar

It brings me down. Always. It makes me compare my life to the life that others present on Facebook. It’s an evil circle. When I need solitude, and if I can, I shut it down.

hug_of_war's avatar

Facebook is a cruel reminder of how lame my life is. I could post something difficult for me and nobody would notice (I know from experience). I don’t have many annoying posts or anything, it’s just it reminds me too much of how lonely I am. At the same time I don’t want to walk away from it like I did before or it cuts me off from what minimal contact I have with my peers and then I feel totally blind. So it’s a no-win for me.

livelaughlove21's avatar

You guys have the wrong Facebook friends. Reading about my friends’ lives makes me feel better about mine.

JLeslie's avatar

I can’t predict it, because it depends on what is popping up on my screen. I don’t spend a lot of time on facebook. I think it looks like I am on there more than I am. I usually post some stuff, but barely look through what other people are posting. If you happen to be on my screen when I log on, then I see your post, I don’t go back and back looking through lots of status updates. Sooo, for the most part I am self absorbed on facebook ~ post what I want, and then reactions to it.

However, when I am feeling especially depressed or sorry for myself or worried about someone, the trivial happiness on facebook can be upsetting, and the stupid anger some people show regarding politics and other hot topics can make me angry. It’s best I don’t get involved with some sort of argument, I try to ignore those posts or just log out. I totally understand what you mean.

Most of the people in my news feed I love and know fairly well, and they post funny sarcastic things which can make me feel better actually.

gailcalled's avatar

Neither. I enjoy seeing pictures of friends and the greater family and hearing of their news; I continue to be fascinated by the need of some people to broadcast vapid and dreary information interesting to no one; occasionally I learn something important or meaningful.

I love seeing rarebear’s astrophotos and snapshots of many kids (such as the babies in my family,Ian, Emily, @jca’s little one and Mama_Cake’s felines); I am less enraptured with my second cousin’s endless photos of wine bottle labels.

If checking in with F/B distresses you in any way, choose not to.

jonsblond's avatar

@livelaughlove21 It’s my state of mind right now. My feelings have nothing to do with having the wrong type of people in my life. I can’t even get excited for any of my friends right now. I’m depressed.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Do you want to feel better? It’s understandable you are depressed. Sometimes I just want; need; to be unhappy. Although, for me there is a difference between depression and just a deep awful sadness.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Got rid of my FB account years ago and have never looked back,so it doesn’t affect me at all.

jonsblond's avatar

@JLeslie I felt guilty for enjoying a football game today when I knew my father was sitting in the hospital with my mother. She gives us hope one day, then the next day my father has doctors saying there is nothing else they can do. It’s been like this since March. I don’t know how to handle my emotions anymore. I try to be strong for my family when all I want to do is hibernate in bed and cry.

tobycrabtree's avatar

Facebook is indeed a great way to rejuvenate yourself. I feel delighted and happy when I am using Facebook.

JLeslie's avatar

@jonsblond Aw, I am so sorry you are going through this. You and your family. I remember you saying when your mom first became very sick that your dad did not want to leave her side. As long as your dad is getting reasonable rest, I wish you didn’t feel guilty he is there and you aren’t, or maybe you mean you just feel guilty you could have been ther with them, but chose to watch a game instead? I understand why you might feel guilty, but as an outsider looking in, I wish you didn’t. It’s so obvious you love them both, worry about them, and do a lot to help. I know you visit her regularly, and you obviously think about her and your dad all the time. She isn’t alone, your dad is there, and your dad’s whole life probably revolves around her for years, while you have your own family, young family, and it is more complex for you emotionally trying to deal with life in general and your mom’s illness than for your dad.

Enjoying yourself at times does not mean you are a bad daughter, bad person, or that you love her or your dad less than you should. Being able to enjoy something is good for your body and mind. The state of being depressed and worried constantly harms us. Chemicals are released in the body that put us at risk for catching illnesses, disturbed sleep, changes in appetite, all sorts of negatives.

Have you talked to friends or family who have been through similar situations? Someone who can really identify with you? I haven’t been through a long illness with a parent. My grandmother was pretty bad in her final years, but she lived in a different city than I did. I have some guilt over that situation, but I don’t think it compares to your situation.

Smitha's avatar

I deliberately don’t post all my activities on FB. I hate when people post each and every minute details of everything they do in their life. Most people only post the good things happening in their lives and we don’t always get to see the bad so it may look like others’ lives are perfect. Like others said the only solution is to stop using Facebook and keep busy doing something else. Its just good to find old friends from high school. It’s actually ” FAKEBOOK”.

Aspoestertjie's avatar

When you know your FB friends well enough, you will know who to ignore and who’s postings to read. I do not read those who only rant and rave about silly things. If and when I feel down I read postings that will make me smile. Strange enough, FB is how I keep connecting with my family and friends. I went through a tough time this year losing my dad to a heart attack (or something else I am not sure of yet). Many of my family and friends keep in touch with me via FB and help me to cope with the situation. It really depends on how you use it.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I’m so sorry to hear about your mother. I was so pleased when you said she was coming home. I can only imagine how bad you are feeling right now. It can’t help but, for what it’s worth, I just hugged you in my mind!

People that constantly whine about minor (fml types) problems on Facebook really irritate me, the worst are the ones that constantly go on about how ill they feel or how depressed they are. If you are continuously searching for sympathy (AKA attention seeking) on Facebook then I am more than likely going to feel the opposite towards you. If I am really down then looking at Facebook is probably going to piss me off more than anything which is why I like it here so much. If I am down, I would feel much happier talking about it here and asking for genuine advice, rather than seeking false reassurance on Facebook. There is an honesty about Fluther (even though we don’t always want to hear it) that Facebook doesn’t have, probably because we are not all ex school friends or second cousins etc.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Leanne1986 I totally agree with you, being an anti-fan of Facebook myself. I remember several months ago I was so worried about my exams that I posted a status describing how I felt. What I got was a comment scolding me for being too lazy and just standing there and complaining. The truth was, I had been learning very hard (which I’d already stated in the status), still I felt worried that my learning method was wrong and I was just looking for some advice. And there are people in my friendlist that very often write some very short and very stupid status, sometimes even with full of grammatical and spelling errors, but they received so many likes. I am so irritated that I stop using Facebook years ago.
And yeah, I love Fluther too :)

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