Social media today is one of the top cause of depression and a couple of other mental illness like anxiety disorders due to its increased usage by a lot of people especially teens whereby the majority of them own smartphones which they use for social networking
Despite all the good things and advantages of social media, leading to mental illness is one of the bad sides and major disadvantages of social media
When was the last time you checked any of your friend’s Facebook or Instagram account and they posted something bad happening in their lives?
For some reasons it’s always the good things happening in their lives that are posted. It’s always the success that someone achieves that ends up on social media accounts
And when things go wrong no one ever posts that as people deal with difficulties privately without posting it on any social media accounts.
And even when someone posts something bad happening in their lives, the attention some people receive is different from what others receive and if you compare that to your own self, you are very much likely to feel bad
This article at looks at how social media is impacting our minds mentally leading depression plus also showing how social media is linked to depression and what you can do about it.
It would be absurd to talk about metal illness with clarifying on what it actually is as most people misuse the terms
According to medical news today Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.
Some of the symptoms of depression include;
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or an attempt at suicide
- loss of interest in hobbies
- Low self-worth
Other symptoms like sleeping too much, loss of weight or gain can also be symptoms of other things and not necessarily depression
1. Social media and validation
Most people seek approval from others that’s why everyone would post only the good things happening in their lives.
When one posts something good in their lives and everyone consents to it with shares, likes and comments, then the original poster will get a sense of worthiness, superiority and value from all those that interacted with post.
But how would you feel if you posted what you think is good like the best picture of you and it got ignored by everyone?
The truth is you will not feel good considering you posted it for other people to see it. It even gets worse when you can see a lot of your friends online and none of them is interacting with your post
You will start feel like you are not good enough or you post is boring which will lead to depression.
This can also lead you stop interacting with others as you could be feeling like you are not good enough after everyone ignored your post or tweet
Being ignored on social media is also one of the things that can lead to depression
2. Comparing yourself to others on social media
It’s in our nature to always compare ourselves to others. And if you don’t compare yourself to anyone at least other people will take the initiative to compare you with others which is okay anyway
The problem with comparing yourself to others is you are going compare your behind the scenes with someone else’s highlight real.
When someone posts a photo of them wearing their best dress, they will be showered with likes retweets and shares, well as when you post yours you only get 2 likes from your friends.
When you compare yourself to the other person that got over 1000 likes you are going to feel worthless because if you were of value as the person you are comparing yourself to, you wouldn’t get only 2 likes
And this when the feeling of worthlessness as a symptom of depression caused by social media comes.
We forget that at times these pictures are posted to seek validation from others so that someone can feel worth of themselves the same reasons you will not feel worth because you did not get a lot of likes
Or when someone posts a picture of them on their wedding and you have never gotten married. You are very much likely to feel like you are not worth even if there is nothing wrong with you but just as result of comparing yourself to others which will make you depressed in the end
3. The search for relevance and attention on social media
You might have come across social media posts about people’s personal lives that shouldn’t really be posted as they don’t really concern anyone reading it in any way but they are attention-seeking in a way that makes you compare yourself to what someone posted
For example, some posts how they found all first class seats in plane sold out, or how someone’s salary was reduced from 20000 dollars to 10000 dollars when you have never even touched that figure in your life
Even though that could true or exaggerated, you are going to compare yourself to what that person posted if it’s better than yours and you are likely to end depressed
But if this person lost the job, they would actually not post anything to do with their unemployment as that’s something looked down on in society.
This also shows you why people only post their success on social media and deal with their failures privately
In another instance if you post an attention seeking post on social media and everyone ignores it then you are definitely go to feel bad that no one has time to care for you
4. Social media stigmatizing leading to depression
Have you noticed when someone posts something bad happening in their lives or at times when looking for help they hide their identity or at least create a fake account
Well the truth is people will stop associating with you when they get to know something bad happened in your life
Well as when you post something good everyone will want to associate with you.
The feeling of being avoided by others because of something bad that could have happened in your life is going to make you depressed.
For example, no one would ever post that they are suffering from HIV Aids as most people will stereo type you and stop associating with you because that’s something bad that could have happened in your life and no one would want to be associated with you in anyway
So social media could be making you depressed because of the stigma you get there from the people you interact with
5. Social media bullies and trolls lead to depression
One thing is bullies are also other people with mental problems of their own; these are usually people with fake social media profiles hiding behind a keyboard that just come to social media to make others feel bad about themselves as they derive satisfaction and happiness from other people’s pain
These people usually inflict mental and emotional pain on others who happen to post something bad happening in their live while seeking help on social media usually through unnecessarily destructive criticism
And in case of discussion topics on social media, they tend to stir up trouble by just abusing someone if they disagree with them or start up off topic augments with others.
These trolls and bullies can attack you because of race, religion or gender
Well if you fall victim to any of these people you are going to want to avoid social media because of how you would have felt after being attacked by them
Bullying alone even if its not on social media is know to to negative mental problem on the affected people
How to avoid being depressed because of social media
The core aspect that causes depression as a result of using social media is because of comparing ourselves with what we see on other people’s social media accounts
The solution is as direct as the problem,
Unfollow, unfriend all people that are posting things that are making you depressed. You will not feel bad about something you don’t not see or know about let alone that you will feel better about avoiding something that is bringing you unnecessary emotional pain
You can also just remove that social media platform, be it twitter, Instagram or Facebook that is making you depressed.
And if that does not work, just stop using social media all together. I know of a couple of people that stopped using social media completely and they don’t miss a thing from their due to previous bad encounters with it
Don’t take bullies and trolls personally instead just block or report them using the help functions of which ever social media platform you are using
And lastly is always advisable to seek professional medical help.
Even though social media is one of the biggest innovations to ever happen, it comes with a less known side effect of mental illnesses that most people are not informed about up to date well as some people think depressed people are just weak or attention-seeking