Audience Submission: How Quitting Social Media Saved My Mental Health
TL;DR : Social media use had a negative effect on my mental health. I therefore decided to disconnect for a while and this is what happened…
Growing up a good bit of my late teenage upbringing was experienced through platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Social media is pretty cool cos it allows you to keep up with people you don’t necessarily get to see everyday. But if you use it a lot when you're younger, I find it can augment your worldview a little.
When the pandemic struck; my life began to fall apart and as Christmas of 2020 rolled around I had begun drinking excessively to find a way of dealing with the fact that I had become seriously depressed for the first time.
Meanwhile every time I’d open my phone it only seemed like everyone else was vibing and achieving stuff. Having to scroll through endless highlight reels paired with depressing news about the sh*t state that the world is in brought me to a crossroads.
A study carried out in late 2021 found 1 in 2 Maltese teens suffer from social anxiety, while the Richmond foundation found that 2 thirds of youths in a wider category suffer from anxiety as well.
What it's all about...
I sort of believe these days that social media is a place where the important term and condition that people regard; is that everyone pretends to care about what others do in return for what they think is positive social validation. This is done via primitive measures of appreciation of content (likes is an example) in hope that you’ll do the same for them; and so the cycle repeats.
Understanding that social media reinforced much of my worldview and then waking up to the fact that reality was not as 2 dimensional; posed certain challenges at first.
These days I find that likes, reactions and comments do not do the complex art of human interaction justice by any measure. So why care?
I like the analogy of many of us taking for granted that our friends wish us a happy birthday when the time comes around every year. Quitting social media also taught me less people cared about that too. But life goes on…
One of the main challenges you might experience upon leaving social media is feeling somewhat left out. It takes a bit for this to subside and you’ll notice it takes time for you to balance out your emotions and train of thought in the days, weeks, and months after you quit.
Your attention span will improve significantly though.
A few months later…
Within a few months of quitting Instagram, I found that my entire outlook on life had somewhat changed. It almost felt as if the world stood at my feet like it had when I was a younger version of myself. I also felt much more connected to everything around me than I had before making the switch to a less connected life.
I’d advise keeping WhatsApp in order not to lose contact with family, extended relations, as well as anyone who doesn’t want to waste credit trying to call you often. This can include colleagues, close friends and anyone else bothered enough to get in touch.