Social media (in my personal experience) is highly addictive. I can almost feel the dopamine being released from my brain when I receive Facebook likes, Twitter retweets or Instagram comments.
And guess what?
I love it.
I never abused alcohol or drugs, but I do have a legitimate addiction to being on the Internet. In fact, I deleted all social media apps from my iPhone because the temptation to check them obsessively was too tantalizing for me.
So, if I want to check my Facebook et al, I have to literally go to the website to do so. But still, I refresh my browser and see if anyone commented on my shit.
It’s hard to stop
I feel conflicted about stopping checking my social media platforms. I have thought about why I am addicted and here is the reason:
I want to be liked and validated. This is a human need, and I believe this is the reason that many people are addicted to social media.
Quite simply – we want people to like us.
I want people to like who I am as a person. When I write things on social media I am searching for that love from strangers and also people who I know intimately.
I think about my life before social media. What did I do to get that external validation? I think I just asked people directly to validate me, but I honestly do not remember. That’s how indoctrinated I am into social media.
So what’s the solution?
There is none, actually. It’s up to us to monitor how much we check our social media. If you have an addictive personality he you need to be specifically mindful of how much you go online.
There is an element of this that is generational and specific to the millennial generation. Although it bleeds from generation Y to the millennial generation as well. There are a few generation X people who understand and participate extensively and social media in my experience.
I am on the cusp of Generation X and being a millennial. Because of this I struggle with being addicted to social media and also hating it.
Be mindful of how much you check online profiles, seriously go outside and enjoy the weather.
Sarah Fader is the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. She has been featured in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Quartz, Psychology Today, The Huffington Post, HuffPost Live, and Good Day New York.