In case you haven’t noticed, I disappeared from all social media platforms for over a month. Not for any form of attention, but to take care of my mental health.
At the start of March, life had gotten to an overwhelming point. From an ailing family member, being on the road every weekend, trying to handle family business, taxes, work drama and everything else in between, I became frustrated. I thought I had everything under control and that it was just a feeling that would pass. It never did.
It never did.
My breaking point was when a friend made a joke in a group chat when I wasn’t particularly in a joking mood. Now, I’m normally not one to lose my cool or even raise my voice, I typically ignore trivial things or remove myself from the situation before it escalates, but that day was different. I blanked on her and embarrassed her and she had no idea why. Even though I’ve apologized since then, that moment is one I still deeply regret. I cherish all of my relationships and do my best not to jeopardize them.
However, my emotions had gotten the best of me and I knew that in that moment, I was not okay.
Right after that incident, I uninstalled all of my social media platforms. It was time for me to unplug and have some serious me time.
I took time for deep introspection and realized that my life had been in an emotional limbo since December and I never took the time to fully address it. I’ll spare you any additional details but just know that I kept rolling through life just trying to get “it” right. I didn’t even know what “it” was, but I was trying to get “it” right anyway. Eventually, life slapped me in the face.
Dave Chappelle is life. Charlie Murphy (RIP) is me.
The stinging came in the form of me realizing not only had I been neglecting God, I also neglected myself.
I stopped working out, began eating poorly, stopped writing, stopped reflecting, stopped praying, stopped going to church. I stopped everything.
I somehow became unproductive and overloaded. As a card carrying member of #TeamBooked, I was literally on the road at least 3 weekends out of the month for at least 3 months. It can seem glamorous to always travel and be in the mix, but it also gets tiring. You return from one trip, barely unpack, endure a full workweek, just to turn around Friday night and drive to another destination.
If you just so happen to (barely) make it to church, you feel detached.
Couple that with feeling like you have to keep up with the Jones AND surpass them at every turn, maintaining your Serena Williams-esque physique (damn she’s pregnant now so in essence, she’s not maintaining either), trying to save one-sided friendships, making sure your online presence is consistent and inviting (wondering if people are even reading your blog posts)…there is a lot of self-inflicted pressure to be great and live your best life.
At least for me anyway.
I was struggling so much emotionally that my thoughts became irrational and I became overwhelmed. I felt like I couldn’t talk to my friends or family about what I was going through because they 1) didn’t care 2) would trivialize my anxiety and just tell me to get over it 3) wouldn’t understand. I alienated myself and felt defeated.
It was a rough place to be in.
Finally, I had to sit down and be honest with myself. I had to ask myself, “How did I get here?” and let the REAL answers start flowing. I was simply doing too much. I was focused on the wrong things and the wrong people and trying to solve problems that I couldn’t control. I wouldn’t have been able to do that had I not backed away from everything that was triggering my emotions. Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, GroupMe weren’t saving me, they were a catalyst as to why I was breaking down. It was a tough process and I had to deal with a lot of emotions that I wasn’t prepared to face. But I had to channel Sister Iyanla Vanzant and let her speak to me through her colored-tipped acrylics chanting, “Do the work.”
In an effort to turn my situation around, I had let go of every distraction with no disclaimers, no explanation. I was sick of the personal pity parties and needed to channel my personal struggles into something more positive. I sought out professional help, got active, and even tried to go out a few times to see how I would feel after being in hiding for so long.
It was uncomfortable, sometimes embarrassing, but downright necessary.
Overall, I learned a lot through my hiatus. It sparked a lot of creativity, reduced my dependency on my phone and the need for social apps, and most importantly showed me the lives I impact on a daily basis. A lot of people that I never expected reached out to me to see how I was feeling and to tell me how they missed my jokes. It may seem like a minor compliment to them, but for me, in that moment it meant everything.
For those of you out there that are dealing with similar feelings, please don’t feel alone. Even though everyone around may seem too busy to listen to your problems, find someone to talk to. Pray, write down your feelings, and in some cases, unplug from the social networks. The overexposure can do more harm than good. Try focusing your energy on something that can help someone else or just improve your mental health.
Life is too short for anyone or anything to take away your happiness.