Social Media Depression: An Addiction As Real As Any
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Politics and Activism

Social Media Depression: An Addiction As Real As Any

It's easy to get lost in our artificial world, but it's up to you to step back and take your reality back.

Social Media Depression: An Addiction As Real As Any

For as long as I can remember, social media has been present, adamantly, in my adolescent and adult life. I find myself aimlessly scrolling through my Twitter and Facebook feeds for an immeasurable amount of time throughout the day. My friends and I will pose for 100 snapshots before finding that perfect photo for Instagram. You name it, I have the app, and I am almost certainly on it. In fact, it has become such a normal part of my life that I have never thought to step back and ask myself, why? Why is any of this important to me? Why am I wasting my time creeping on someone's photos or picking the filter that best suits my selfie? I never questioned why I did these things (That is, until recently). As a personal experiment for myself, I went two weeks without logging in to social media. Although there is a significant amount of research surrounding this topic, this is my personal account of the emotions that accompanied my release from the shackle and chains of social media. As freeing and liberating as it initially felt, I started to notice the subtle, but present, withdrawal symptoms that immediately began to set in even on day one. There was a clear absence in my life that I couldn't quite pinpoint. I found myself unlocking and checking my phone incessantly, routinely, becoming almost irritable about the fact that there was no notification that popped up every time I clicked that home button. As time progressed, I learned that the new normal was to keep my phone in my backpack and that walking to class. Personally, my social media addiction stemmed from my inability to be comfortable alone with my thoughts. I had to constantly fill my mind with pointless information and entertainment just to step outside of myself, my anxiety, my depression. It was an escape, but one that was not even remotely fulfilling. It was a time filler, a "noise" maker, a responsibility shirker, and an emotion and thought avoider. It was an imaginary feeling of connectivity, something that created an illusion of constant relationships. A mirage that mimicked an escape from being "alone." What is it about the self validation (or lack thereof) that comes from the amount of likes on your selfie that makes it so addicting? Is this really a basis of which we should be viewing our self worth? Is ogling over someone else's bikini photos from vacation or seemingly-in-love relationship posts an accurate and reliable basis of which we should be comparing our own lives? Social media, as much as it seems to be a necessary connecting tool in our lives, can have some serious implications. Keep your wits about you and maintain touch with reality when feeling jealousy or any other negative emotions associated with social media addiction. The depletion of self-esteem, loss of identity, misinterpretation of others' lives, and questioning of our own based off of what our idea of a happy life "looks" like in these ways is a very real issue. As you scroll through your social media feels, please remember that an impressive social media account does not signify a an accurately portrayed successful or happy life. There is a reason that we are selective with what we post: we hope for people to perceive us in the way we intend to present ourselves. Often, this virtual self does not match reality. So put the phone down, delete the apps (if even temporarily!) and get outside to discover the life that you want to live rather than the life that you want to portray. Find hobbies that require a disconnect from the seemingly inescapable technology that engulfs us. You may not think you are addicted, but you may be surprised at the difference in your life when it comes to the elimination of it in your life. Above all, ask yourself this question: would you be living the exact same way as you are now if you weren't presenting it for others to view?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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