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My Social Media Addiction

I have a social media addiction. I am pretty sure of it, and probably my friends and family would agree. And I am also pretty sure I am one of thousands..

Since I joined up to Facebook in 2007 and later upgraded to my first smartphone, there has been no looking back for me. And since then, Instagram and Twitter have joined the party.

There is so much I love about social media. It has enabled me to re-connect with old friends, maintain relationships with my extended family and help develop new friendships. It keeps me up to date with local and national going-ons, and provides an easy and convenient way to share our life in pictures with my fabulous brother who lives up in Edinburgh.

But there is also so much I hate..the distraction, the trolls, Britain First Posts utter wankers and how checking it day after day can make you lazy with your relationships. You may think you are a good friend because you like and comment on Facebook, but when did you last meet up and have an actual proper conversation? I am so very guilty of this and I am ashamed of it. I know it works both ways and efforts must be made by both parties, but I really haven’t made the best of efforts in recent years.

This last year, since I have been feeling better in myself, I have tried to make more of an effort to arrange to physically see some of those friends who I ‘see’ all the time on social media. It was tricky meeting up due to everyone’s schedules, but I did have some lovely catch-ups with uni friends, old work colleagues and old school friends.  And I hope to continue this into 2016 and beyond.

At home, in the evening, hubby and I will often be distracted on social media and not engage with each other. We have to make a real effort to spend quality time with each other, and I am not entirely sure we take this seriously enough at the moment. *looks over at hubby on the Playstation*

I believe that social media to some degree has not helped some of my mental health issues. Growing up I have always been a paranoid individual. Some of my close friends and family will know that I may have inherited parts of this trait from one side of my family. I have had no obvious reason to be paranoid, for example I have had a happy stable upbringing, both parents continue to be in a loving solid relationship touch wood, and I myself am lucky enough to also be in a similar relationship (15 years and counting) touch wood again. But I am, and continue to be, paranoid about my ability to hold onto friendships and relationships. I struggle to believe that people might like me or enjoy my company. I struggle to believe that my husband loves me and wants to stay with me, and in my very dark days, I have felt that my girls don’t love me or won’t want me as their mum when they are older.

Social media does not always help reassure my paranoia and anxiety. Most of the various apps give you facts and figures about your ‘friendships’ and interactions. You can also compare your facts and figures with other peoples. You see everyone else’s lives played out on screen and that makes you question your own. You see other people’s interactions with each other, and don’t feel your interactions with them are ‘as good’ and then it plays on your mind. And there is the constant fear that if you leave social media you will miss out on exciting events and lose friends etc. You read too much into comments on posts and you look for hidden meanings or accusations.

Since I have been taking medication to help my mental health, my paranoia has improved massively (to my husband’s great relief!). I wasn’t expecting this to happen. I had never linked the paranoia with the low mood and anxiety before. But I have now accepted that all three go together and that my low serotonin levels have affected my feelings over the years.

Since medicating, I worry less about the ‘success’ of my friendships and have been able to enjoy them more and feel more confident in my ability to maintain them. I have also been able to accept and understand that some people won’t want to maintain a relationship/friendship with me, but that is ok and is part of life. My counsellor helped me a lot with this issue last year.

Feeling a bit better in myself about this issue has helped me deal with the challenges of social media, and I have been trying to use it for more positive reasons, such as starting this blog for example. I don’t focus so much on my friend count and following every post all the time, and I am trying to use it to connect better with friends and family and share positive stories and useful information.

I am ignoring the posts that would make me sad or angry by using advances in the app facilities to hide them from my news feeds. I am trying to use Instagram to practice photography and enhance our family photo collection. (I really like using Flickr for this as well but not many people seem to use it. A shame as I think it is a great app and there are some amazing photographers on there).

Our Instagram magnets

Unfortunately, at this stage in my life I don’t feel I will be able to remove myself from social media, and I don’t really want to if truth be told. However, there is a lot more I can do to live with it better and be more disciplined in how I use it. I don’t need to check all my apps as much as I do. I must try to use my phone and tablet less around my children. I need to lift my head up and look around me and interact more with those around me. I need to delete the Daily Mail Fail app!!

I read an interesting post by A Moment with Franca this week about disconnecting from social media. I think having a detox is a really good idea and I am going to give it a try very soon. I did deactivate my Facebook account this weekend. I lasted 3 days. It’s not bad for me, but I can do better.

Do you have concerns about your use of social media?

Have you ever tried to take a break, and if so, how long did it last?

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

22 thoughts on “My Social Media Addiction

  1. I broke my mobile phone about 2 weeks ago and at first I missed Instagram, one of my favourite apps and the only social media account I can’t keep current with my laptop. As time has gone on, I miss it less. I use Facebook, Twitter etc., but more for blogging than personal use. I do feel like I spend too much time ‘connected’, and while I don’t feel any negative effects in myself, I know my husband finds it frustrating and my toddler probably wishes my phone or laptop weren’t always in arms reach. Good on you for finding ways to use social media to suit you not hinder you!

    1. Instagram is def my fave of the ‘big 3’ too so I would really miss not being able to use it. And agree with the husband and children comment. Mine def get annoyed! Thanks for the follow! Just starting out so appreciate the support ❤

  2. This is really interesting. For me, the most concerning thing about social media is the fact that everybody just shares the things that portray them the way they want to be seen. This sets unrealistic expectations for people in the same way as mainstream media has been acknowledged to do for many years. I do agree that social media has its place. As a blogger, I couldn’t work without it. But we all have to take a step back from it and take everything with a pinch of salt I think. Instagram is my favourite network at the moment, I’m loving following some gorgeous photography and travel accounts and seeing all the places I want to travel to in the future.x

    1. Thanks for reading Natalie xx I too love Instagram for all the inspiration it gives. I recently followed some of the National Geographic accounts and get some amazing pics on my news feed. It is almost impossible to live without the social media. A necessary evil.

  3. Fantastic post. A few years ago, around New Year I decided to deactivate my Facebook account and actually spend time doing things. I had said I would do four weeks but ended up doing six.

    I have “culled” a lot of people from my friends list over the past six months – many reasons and constant negativity and sharing racist posts were among my reasons.

    As a photographer and blogger I cannot really work without social media but like you I am trying to manage my time better. I am contemplating deleting the app, so when I am out I have no distractions

    1. Thanks Melanie! You did great lasting 6 weeks!! I have unfollowed a lot of my facebook ‘friends’ where they were sharing things I didn’t like to read. Some of them were extended family members and I found it really hard to understand why they agreed with such horrible views. But unfollowing meant ‘out of sight, out of mind’ *sigh* The apps on the smartphone definitely increase temptation! Xx Kathy

  4. It’s a double edged sword isn’t it, can’t live with it and can’t live without it. It takes over so much of our time that could be so much better spent but I’m not sure I could have managed a whole 3 days without it so well done you that’s good going! #KCACOLS xx

  5. Ohh I’m definitely addicted, so much more so now I’m a blogger..I have to be on it all the time otherwise growing my blog following is pretty much impossible. I definitely want to start using it less. I hope you find a way to too and we’ll done on your 3 days Facebook free xx #kcacols

  6. One of my favourite things about going to work is putting my phone down and not being ‘online’ so to speak for those few hours a day. I do spend way too much time online and could definitely do with a detox too! #KCACOLS

  7. i need to sort my life out with social media – I’m glued to my phone and it is terrible. I justify that I’m ‘working’ and I do have emails etc to sort and reply to but I need to set times for me I think #KCACOLS

  8. My relationship with social media is really complicated. When I’m well I enjoy it in healthy ways – I stay in touch with people, read funny posts, and when something annoys me I just move on. But… when I’m in a depressive episode I find it really difficult to look at it objectively. I try to stay away from it then as much as possible so I don’t focus on the negatives of it all the time. x #KCACOLS

  9. I never used to be bothered by social media. I even deactivated my Facebook account for nearly a month. Now I’m a blogger, I’ve noticed my relationship with it has changed. It’s hard not to be focused on it.
    Laura xx

    1. Hi Laura, thanks for commenting. Since I started blogging in December I have had to be really careful with finding the right balance. Well done on managing a month deactivating your Facebook. Longest I have lasted was a week over Christmas a couple of years ago! #KCACOLS

  10. I can relate to all of this so much – this is me! I am exactly the same with social media and I think I do use it as a bit of a crutch to boost my self-esteem – which if course then backfires massively if something doesn’t get the response I want. It’s a double-edged sword. Husband and I have phone free weekend evenings to try to combat it. But it’s something that I am very aware about. I know I need to be careful but don’t want to give it up either! #KCACOLS

  11. First thank you so much for mentioning my post! And as you know from it I’m completely addicted to social media and can’t stop holding my phone all the time and without it I feel my life is ruined! LOL It sounds crazy but it is true. During my 2 weeks break I really did my best to disconnect as much as I could. To be honest it was good and it felt good. I didn’t last the 2 weeks but it was good enough. I realised how bad I was with my family as I was not paying the attention they need it so now I really want to be careful and reduce as much as I can this addiction. At least have some breaks a few times a year. It was really nice to learn more about you and I’m glad to hear that the medication is helping you to feel more like yourself. Thanks so much lovely for sharing this at #KCACOLS. I would love to see you again on Sunday! 🙂 x

    1. It doesn’t sound crazy Franca..its exactly how I feel too! Well done on the two weeks. Even if you didn’t do the full break, even the attempt was good. I am trying to work out when to try mine..have the Easter hols off so maybe then..eek! Thanks for your lovely comments xxx #KCACOLS

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