Are you becoming smartphone-dependent? Have you ever wondered how that affects mental health?
Our phones have become a digital drug that is with us all the time. For me, it got to the point where, if I were watching a movie and it didn't keep my attention, I would pick up my phone. And that would happen every ten minutes. I used to do that while driving, too. Not anymore, thank goodness.
The Big Question
For those struggling with a depressive episode, additional questions are very important: Is Social Media in general a good idea for me right now? How do I feel after using it? Do I know when and how to stop or will scrolling down the endless waterfall be too hypnotizing and depleting for me to stop? Or: Can I possibly find a way to use social media as a means to connect with people I care about and find support and encouragement?
There is so much I could say on this subject, but this article sums it all up: Scrolling Down Into Oblivion
I wish I had that emoji with the girl raising her hand right now. I know I'm not alone. I've scrolled meaninglessly, more than usual lately due to quarantine. For me, I had to finally step away because a lot of the news posted (fake or real) was getting too depressing and some of the things in groups I'm in on Facebook was giving me anxiety.
Increases in screen time have been found to be associated with increases in depressive symptoms. However, longitudinal studies are lacking.
This study indicated that adolescents’ social media and television use should be regulated to prevent the development of depression and to reduce exacerbation of existing symptoms over time.
Questions to Ask Yourself
Do you find yourself looking at your phone to ‘zone out’ or to avoid unpleasant or uncomfortable emotions?
Rachel O’Neill, an Ohio-based licensed professional clinical counselor recommends asking yourself these questions:
How do you notice you feel when you’re somewhere where you can’t access your phone?
Do you notice an increase in anxiety or depression symptoms?
“In many cases, if you feel like you can’t be without your phone, that could be a sign that it is serving an escape-type function for you,” O’Neill says. (Ladan Nikravan Hayes Jun 06, 2018 Why Do You Constantly Reach For Your Phone? www.talkspace.com https://www.talkspace.com/blog/why-reach-for-phone-constantly/)
What should you do?
Hey, social media isn't all bad. You can catch up with friends and family. There.s the funny or cute kitten memes, and who doesn't love Tik Tok. I'm just saying, limit your time on social media and stick to your schedule. When you're at home, eating or relaxing, keep your phone out of sight. When you feel bored, depressed, or anxious don't grab your phone. Talk to someone. Don't waste your life away scrolling through social media. Read. You'll be surprised that one chapter can turn into two and tow into six. Get outside, in nature--take a walk or jog.
It's not just you. I'm a victim too. But we can get through this.