Facebook and ED

Facebook: Why the frequent log-ins, status updates and friend requests seem so familiar…

Conquering an Eating Disorder is one of the most difficult challenges a human being can be dealt. Once the physical, emotional and spiritual elements are balanced in ones life everything else becomes easy…… SOOOOOOOO WRONG! Yeah, okay so once you stop the binging, purging, stealing food from grocery stores and the obsessive thoughts of wanting to kill yourself fade away it really seems almost like you’re on cloud 9…. that simply just being freed of the Eating Disorder disease itself is a priceless gift in and of itself. The only catch is that being someone with an Eating Disorder classifies you as an “Addict” and addicts are people with addictive personalities that need to watch their behavior in all elements of their lives. Facebook being one of them.

Surprise element aka “Log-In”

The addictive element of checking facebook is its “surprise” element. Much like the addictive element of gambling. Do me a favor and imagine yourself playing the slots in Vegas, sometimes you don’t get all the little watermelons in a row and sometimes “Yeah baby!”  You sure do! Cha-Ching! Cha-Ching!  It’s the times you hit the lucky strike of fruit slots that makes you excited to keep playing, because “just maybe this next time I’ll get more!” The “pleasure” hemisphere of the brain akahypothalamus is triggered and dopamine is released aka the player becomes addicted to the feeling the dopamine chemical puts off. Now instead of imagining yourself sitting at the slots in Vegas, imagine yourself sitting at the computer in your room. Waiting to log-on to facebook…you see the little red icons in the far left corner. The number of friend requests/ messages/ comments are simply the facebook way of gambling they are your “Cha-Ching” in cyber form if you will. It’s all same feeling, same endorphins, different addiction.

Connection aka “The number of friends number” 

If I remember back to my Eating Disorder …oh such a long 2 and half years ago…. I had no friends…well I had “friends” that liked to go to the gym, starve, binge, starve and steal each others boyfriends, but I wouldn’t really consider them “friends” they were the illusion of friends while I pursued what I thought I wanted: World domination of Thinness/Hotness/Crazy Chick ness! …Yes, I was scary…. And equally as scary is how similar this is to my connections on facebook. So lets say I put a comment out there, in my case it’s usually something that I consider witty and funny. Then someone else comments on it or “likes” it. This gives me the illusion that I have “connections” I have “friends” it makes me feel as if the person who commented cares about me and wants to interact with me. Maybe they do, but maybe they also have 500+ other people that they are commenting on who are also saying witty things as well. The fact of the matter is what I consider “bonding” and a “connection” really isn’t there; it’s false (especially since all of my connections with my friends on facebook are in a very bright, “witty” light) The problem with that is what happens when I really do have an issue that I need to talk to someone about? Who will my friends be? I have a feeling that like in my Eating Disorder I won’t have “real” friends just fake ones that expect me to be witty and funny.

Cry for help aka “The Like Me Button”

So what do you think happens when you are addicted to setting off the dopamine in your brain, have a disillusionment about who are your “friends” are and find yourself depressed and lonely one day from a bad breakup….you’re probably going to post some sad love song lyrics on facebook (Yes, I’m guilty as charged.) But, then after that doesn’t get the “Like” button what else will you do? You might just go around posting mellow dramatic yet serious posts like, “I hate my disgusting body.” “Men are dogs.”  “ I want to die.”

Can anyone find the “Issue” in one of those three posts?

Hmmmm…..the first one for me is that it’s a friggin’ post! When you’re upset you call a friend, you go on a walk, you meet up for coffee. You don’t post it in an open forum and expect help! But, that’s what we have learned about addictions right? They possess us and they make us do things that make no sense at all. Addictions are all rooted in the same button; “Like Me.” Please “like me.”

Conclusion aka “Log-off”

No, I’m not gonna suggest you boy-cot facebook and delete your account. I am gonna ask you to watch yourself. You have an addictive personality. You have a brain that wants you to find anything in the world to distract you and give you the illusion that people like you. Be aware of that, check in with yourself and ask yourself, “Why does this feel familiar” and when you see something that is familiar to our good for nothin’ Ex-Boyfriend ED than Log-off in that suckers face!