There is a fickle beauty that lurks around social media. It is out there to grab you, get you addicted and mislead you. Facebook did that to me.
Living in Mumbai is very different from living in Baroda. I had never dreamed that I would live anywhere other than Mumbai. However, my husband Mihir’s business took me to a new city after just three years of marriage. A city I had never visited. I had to give up my job and move with my one-year-old daughter Riya, to his family home in Baroda. Adjusting to a new city and a new life is rather stressful. I could not connect with anyone there. The people, their mentality and their ideas never seemed to match mine.
Time passed and Riya turned five. She had kept me busy earlier. But as she started going to school, I had more time on my hands. That was when I discovered Facebook and rediscovered my friends. I started reading less and connecting more with my long lost school and college friends. I connected with my ex-colleagues and also with my family. It felt amazing to be alive again. I have always been an open and lively person.
Facebook helped to bring back my persona. The one thing I had lost in the initial years of married life. As they say, everything done within a certain limit is good. Go beyond that and you get ruined. As the smartphone entered my life, I started spending more time on social media. Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram; name it and I was there. Everything became easy. I enjoyed the attention and loved the easy access to everything.
Snap and post. Snap and share. Snap and show-off.
This was all that mattered. All I wanted was appreciation. If the compliments didn’t come in, I would get upset. I would wake up at night and check my notifications. If a friend went out on a date with her husband, I would force Mihir to take me out too. If someone went on a holiday abroad, I would demand one too. No one knew the reality behind the happy pictures that were posted online.
That was when our arguments started. The more Mihir tried to get me back to reality, the more I got addicted to the virtual one. I tried giving up my virtual life, but I couldn’t. I then started finding faults with my body. I would look at pictures of my friends who were thin and beautiful. This made me immensely jealous. I started disliking, and then, hating my figure. I kept trying to lose weight, but it didn’t happen. I told Mihir that I wanted to try a ‘tummy tuck’. That was when he put his foot down. Our arguments turned too angry. When I realised that my angry words didn’t work, I stopped talking to him. I even contemplated returning to Mumbai. I only stayed back for Riya.
Slowly, depression took over. Nothing made me happy anymore. I would sit in a place for hours and do nothing. My mind would go blank. Sometimes, when I was alone, I would talk to myself. Sometimes I would feel like my mind was going to explode. Riya’s studies were affected. Mihir realised that something was drastically wrong with me. He then took me to a psychiatrist who urged me to cut down on Facebook and other social media. He asked me to take up reading again. I was put on medication and started going for pranic healing. I kept myself busy with other things. I gave up my smartphone and bought myself a regular phone.
After a few months, I started getting better. I wouldn’t say that the medicines didn’t help me. But more than the medicines, I realised how much Mihir loved me. He would take days off his work and spend time with me. He took up all the responsibilities of looking after Riya who had also been affected by my behaviour. He saw to it that I started living a real life. We would go for walks and drives. We would talk and share our feelings. We bonded then. I fell in love then. This was real love. Devoid of materialism and exhibitionism.
(Krupa stayed off social media for a year after this. She is back now, but spends very little time interacting with people.)
Names have been changed to protect identities.
As told to Neha D for Bonobology.com