A break from a skewed world

As I said at the end of my feature on Winterwatch last week “job done” – well at least for a little while anyway. The video reached out to a wider audience than I ever anticipated it would, and the response has been phenomenal. To know that your words and story can resonate with so many people is an incredibly powerful thing and I’m forever indebted to the ‘watches’ team for offering me the opportunity. It also seems like the video helped other people who’ve had similar experiences, past and present, to feel less isolated and reinforced to them, that it’s actually ok to talk openly about our thoughts and feelings.

YT SS

What also followed was a surge of interactions on social media – of which I’ve tried to acknowledge and engage with as many as possible. It also brought with it a deluge of ‘followers’ and ‘notifications’ and so my ongoing issues with social media began to surface yet again. I keep telling myself that this is all genuine interest and I’m sure that some of it is, but I know deep inside of me, that success is just temporary and a new ‘flavour of the moment’ will rise in place. Many of these interactions are just a number – a click of a symbol – that ultimately means nothing. I reached 10,000 followers on Twitter, but less than 1000 of them have purchased the book. It’s such a skewed world.

But now I’m craving that constant ‘buzzing’ on my feed. I’m comparing myself to others on Twitter again, fuelling feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing; and I’m getting hung up on the concept of false popularity once more. I’m conjuring tweets in my mind just for the sake of posting them, not to actually do good and help people It’s self-gratification and it’s bullshit!

My ‘work’ – if you can call it that – isn’t about that and I can feel myself obsessing and mentally wobbling. I just can’t seem to find a happy medium. I’m ecstatic when someone feels they can message me to share dark and personal things with me, but then the ‘likes’ and ‘retweets’ slow up and suddenly – I’m thinking that nobody cares again. I’m checking my feed all the time again: toilet, after a shower, even in bed – it just ISN’T HEALTHY!

I just know that it is and will always be a constant and unwavering battle for me to have a healthy relationship with social media; so I’m going to drop out again for a bit and like before, I’ll return, stronger. The same person will change my password for me so that I can’t login and whilst this may seem extreme to ‘new’ followers, those who’ve been with me on this undulating journey, will know that it’s right for me.

There’s nothing consistent about social media. It ebbs and flows in fits and starts; and if you have issues managing your wellbeing around self-regulation and worth – it can become a pit of despair at times. What’s more is that the areas I ‘operate’ in, can often present as a bit of a closed circle, which feels ridiculously hard to break into. I just don’t have the energy to keep trying. This life of likes and figures just heightens my anxiety – it’s rubbish.

Before you ‘unfollow’ me – here’s some context. Bird Therapy isn’t my job. I’m a full-time SENCO in a behavioural school and currently studying for my masters-level practise qualification (with an action research project about to begin) and when I get home, I have a 7.5 month old daughter who needs lots of Daddy cuddles and playtime! I ‘do’ Bird Therapy because I love and live it. I write and share to try and help others, by trying to make it ok to talk openly about mental health. That will never change.

7522761920_IMG_2005 (Edited)

I aim to come back on here at the end of April, as I’m speaking at a fairly large local event in May and feel strongly about promoting it, as it’s a cause very close to my heart. In the meantime:

  • I have a run of t-shirts going on MerchT here which needs 7 more to sell and go to print. 50% of profits will go to local men’s mental health drop-in Norwich Mens Shed for materials to build more bird-boxes and tables
  • I’ve also uploaded the full video from Winterwatch on YouTube here so please do watch and share.
  • If you want to contact me about ANYTHING – then please don’t hesitate to do so. The best way is to use the contact page on here as it goes straight to my email, which is birdtherapy@hotmail.co.uk
  • I’ll probably still post blogs, if and when I get an opportunity to do some spring birdwatching.

Love to you all

Joe

3 thoughts on “A break from a skewed world

  1. For the soul, spending time on Twitter can be like playing in traffic.
    You are wise to withdraw from it as often and as long as need be, to keep your own better company, and the healing company of birds. Keep safe, Mr. Harkness. Keep on.

    Like

  2. I’m so pleased you have a strategy that works for you and that you recognise the time to step away. Take good care of yourself and we’ll look forward to seeing you again when you are ready.

    Like

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