I’ve gone back to work this week after a busy summer off. It’s a genuine time of fresh starts at work and so I applied this to Bird Therapy, took the plunge and deactivated the Bird Therapy Twitter account. Instead of tweeting and threatening to do it, in a conceited act of self-important ego-massage – I just did it. No fanfare, no bullshit, although the irony being that few will read this as I can’t tweet about it!

It simply had to be done. The behaviours I’ve written and reflected on, in my previous three blogs ‘antisocial media’ (pts 1-3), were getting worse. The impact was great. First thing in the morning – check Twitter, all day, periodically check Twitter, go back to work, keep checking Twitter. NO. I have too much to do. Twitter doesn’t pay our mortgage or provide for our daughter. Time to switch off.

The obsession had begun to burn, to sear a Twitter feed into my retinas, to replace meaningful outward interaction. The harshest thing that was happening in my brain was the comparing. I’d begun to really obsess about another person on there, watching their followers grow and grow, as mine slowed and then began to deplete. This made me think I needed to post more and more. More inane crap – drivel that nobody cared about. More taking of pictures JUST to post them on there, or writing of poems and haiku’s, that were lacklustre at best – further attempts to garner favour and interest. Sad really.

I’d sidelined other obsessive and compulsive behaviours with a new obsession – Twitter and my ‘profile’ on there, I’d become obsessed with ‘famous’ people and being on that pedestal myself (although my last blog states how that dream imploded). I’d ‘connected’ with some of these people and took it really personally when they didn’t reply to messages. None of that was real. My compulsions had transformed, compulsions to tweet and attract attention, compulsions to seek sympathy and gratification through narcissistic tweeting, compulsions to check, check and triple check – to interact for interactions sake. I think I’d rather be obsessed with going to the toilet again, than the mental anguish these delusions of grandeur and self-importance were bringing.

The book, which I sweated adjectives and dried up manuscript handwriting pens (thanks Berol), to write, isn’t out until July 2019 at the earliest. Social media can wait. The people I’ve been obsessing over can continue to grow – they have the capacity to do so – I, simply don’t! I’ve conceded that life is too short to be hung up on social media interactions. The real interactions happen at work – supporting students with SEN, teaching staff and families, to achieve better outcomes. Lots of people commented on my inanities and helped me to see this – thanks to the author Melissa Harrison, in particular, for her sage words of advice.

I can be emailed birdtherapy@hotmail.co.uk and reached through here on the contact page. I’m still developing a teaching resource to go with the book, so those that offered to make video clips, I’d still like them, if you see this. I’m doing a supper talk at Cley Marshes NWT – more info and tickets here (although they’re available at the visitor centre too). Logo tee shirts are available for 2 more days here and are definitely printing, as 32 have sold. I think that’s it. Stay positive and happy birdwatching.


19 thoughts on “Breaking things down…

  1. Hi Joe
    Really admire you for taking this decisive action. I will miss you on Twitter but will keep the flag flying for birding and mental health!
    I am still planning to record a video for you, and will email it to you once it’s done.
    The comparing thing you mention is really hard. You’ve got a great following on Twitter, which I know you have worked hard on. I have to watch out for this same problem myself – comparing really diminishes our own successes and makes us feel like we’re going nowhere, but it’s not necessarily true.
    Stay well, enjoy fatherhood, and keep in touch.
    All the best


  2. Oh Joe.
    I’m not going to argue with you except on this: please do not say that you wrote ‘inane crap-drivel that nobody cared about’. That’s manifestly untrue.

    Sometimes, yours was the one truly sane voice popping into my Twitter feed. I will miss it, but I guess this was inevitable. And good to go without making a Twitterstorm over it.

    Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess I must have. I was just alarmed that you might have thought it was all inane drivel.

        I’d rather read blogs tbh so hopefully you’ll continue to post now and then.

        Good luck with the Masters. I was for many years an SEN teacher and Head; did my Masters part time whilst working. Hope yours goes well.


      2. Hi
        I’d like to keep in touch. And happy to be a professional sounding board for anything that crops up in the Masters.
        I’ll send you an email.


  3. I enjoyed you on Twitter but totally understand you coming off, it is designed to be compulsive & it certainly is. I hope you keep blogging as your blogs are great but more importantly enjoy your daughter, they really do grow up so fast, mine is 41 & it seems as if it was only yesterday she was a baby & look after yourself.


  4. I think we can all learn from this as you say life is too precious social media can be too much mind I’ll miss your tweets and wise words but totally understand looking forward to keeping an eye out for the progress of the Bird therapy book Edward Kerrison.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Edward. It had become more of a topic than the crux of what Bird Therapy is actually about – although I might explore it in my future writing endeavors. The book is still all go – and I will update on it in the new year, although yes, Unbound should update.


    1. Thanks Kevin. I’ll be back, I just need to sort my head out, stop comparing myself to others, focus on work and on family life. Balance. I’m still going to post on here, hopefully with an avian focus again.


  5. A brave but sensible decision Joe. You’re absolutely right to concentrate on your own, and your family’s, mental and physical health. You have many exciting times of family and fatherhood ahead.

    I’ve found your blog & tweets both powerful and enjoyable reads over the past few years & the Bird Therapy message is one worth promoting. I know how much wildlife, the environment and bird watching in particular has helped me in my ongoing recovery from addiction issues (can we ever say we are 100% recovered?).

    I’m planning a short break in North Norfolk in the spring, so may be lucky enough to bump into you around Cley or Titchwell. Coffee & bacon rolls at Cley on me 😊. I’ll certainly keep my eyes on Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s events diary for your talks.

    Wishing you all the best for the future & hope to keep in touch. (My email is allingham5@yahoo.com).



  6. I read this with both admiration and sadness.
    Admiration for your self-awareness (although I do think you can be overly hard on yourself) and your decisiveness in doing what you need to do to protect your mental health. I share some of your concerns about social media, it’s a difficult environment. I have no doubt that you are doing the right thing.
    And sadness… well, you’ve been one of the highlights of my twitter feed, I will miss your writing, your insight, your openness. Was there a possibility of connection, friendship? I note your comment about the ‘realness’ of connections with famous people on social media. Touche! I guess I will wait for the book…
    Take care of yourself. Enjoy fatherhood. Keep writing. Best wishes for your studies.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words EE. I will be tweeting again, just not until the new year. I’m still here though and you can email me at birdtherapy@hotmail,co.uk if you ever want to chat. I enjoy our interactions. I’ll be writing blogs more often I’m sure – the last one I wrote was a wonderfully liberating experience. Joe


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