Have You Heard of SMAD?

Have you ever suffered from Social Media Anxiety Disorder(SMAD)?

If never, well, congratulations, it means that you manage to deal with your online friends and websites pretty well and you have nothing to worry about then. However, according to a research, a majority of teenagers/young people suffer from it severely and some may have treatments to help them whereas others don’t.

As more and more websites/apps are designed and launched, our lives undoubtedly become more and more dependent on them so it’s very likely (and reasonably) to lead to certain mental illness. Thus, the most common one is SMAD. People with this disorder may  1)care about their followers on their social media too much so that the “numbers” affect them quite tremendously 2)post something cute or lovable but few people “likes” or “shares/retweets” them so they have the urge to check on them every 30 seconds or 3)multitask whenever they’re using their pages, for example, some people will check their webs out during class, studying, or even dining and hence, the increase in the number of UNfollowers or the pitiful less-than-10-likes on your supposed-to-be-popular-posts would make you feel low. If you have the above tendency when using your pages, then it’s highly possible that you’re one of the victims of SMAD.

Don’t feel bad if you realize you’re one of them, because I honestly admit that I am, too. Not until recently did I notice how those seemingly boring “numbers” influence me a lot. I realize that whenever I turn on either Facebook or Twitter page, (mostly the latter), the first thing I always check out is the number of followers(friends). It’s a terrible habit, you know, because there are many spam accounts which shouldn’t be counted in, but a habit is still a habit. So when I find out someone I literally deem as a friend on these social media unfollow/unfriend me, I get depressed. The feeling may not be that strong, but I still feel as if it’s my problem for such results. This happens more often especially for those who have low self-esteem like me. I’m told to have lack of confidence and self-deprecation in some aspects; unfortunately, I never try to make a change. 😥 Therefore, I think it’s the root of all these unnecessary emotions caused by social media.

What can we do to make ourselves feel better about social media?

Well, the first thing comes to mind when I feel extremely frustrated after browsing through others’ posts or keeping track of those numbers is deactivating the account(s). Yep, it’s definitely not the best solution but it’s what I’d do. Sometimes I feel so much better after knowing I don’t have access to any of them (like an ostrich, I know) and that hiding away or curling into a ball seems like a perfect idea under these circumstances. However, I think we need to know that removing all of them may not be the correct way to deal with SMAD. Because we still have to keep in touch with some people (i.g. for group discussions, important news, latest trends…) through these websites; if we completely vanish without telling people why, it seems a bit inappropriate and…mysterious.

Therefore, here are some FACTS we could keep in mind and tell ourselves in secret whenever we encounter the same stress again. First, remember that your real friends will always find a way to connect with you even if you decide to deactivate all of your accounts. Take myself for example, I have no problem deleting my Facebook account because people there are mostly “ghost friends” to me, that is, I only know them in school and never stay in touch after graduating. So no one will ever notice my absence, except my good friends. They’ll reach out to me when I’m no longer on FB or any other social media and sometimes I’m truly surprised that they even notice it. Anyway, what I’m telling you is that your true friends are always around you one way or another so it’s okay to just calm down for a moment and gather yourself.

Second, if you become aware of your sudden sadness, loneliness after skimming your online friends’ tweets or posts, why not shut your laptop or smartphone down for awhile, better yet, a day? Believe me, you don’t really need to spend such a long time with your 3C products and they sure won’t miss you if you put them away and lock them up in a drawer. Besides, they need some rest as well! Go for a walk, listen to birds’ chirping, bathe in the wonder of nature, take a nice break and get some fresh air! Mother Nature is truly the best remedy for clearing our minds.

Third, when it’s getting obvious that you’re suffering from SMAD, there’s something you could do in order to find out whether your emotion is inevitable. You could re-evaluate the impacts those websites you own have on you. To put it differently, you could think about your usual reaction towards the information these social media give you and see if they make you depress as often as you initially think. The reason is that sometimes it may be just a temporary feeling when it comes to a certain post, and in this case, you may not have to worry too much about your reaction. Try reflecting on yourself and perhaps, you’ll find that social media is still beneficial to you overall.

Lastly, it’s always a great idea to do something else than surfing the Internet and then produce all those negative hormones. So, for lots of people, reading a new book may work wonder. 🙂 It can not only distract your current thoughts but lead you into a whole, different world where there’s no useless competition of numbers (of followers/friends/likes/shares/retweets) and you’re the star of the story. Isn’t that just an awesome sauce?

To sum up, I’m  not sure whether those who have experienced the Social Media Anxiety Disorder are reading this or not, I’m still proud of myself for sharing what I felt exactly currently with you. Pretending I’m sharing something from me is a big deal to help me get rid of those terrible thoughts in my head so thanks to whoever is reading this! You’re awesome! 🙂

PS. Now that I’ve read Gave Up Facebook and Got a Life, one of the interestingly honest posts about curing SMAD,  I think I won’t delete my beloved Goodreads account on impulse (even though I didn’t do it and I’m glad I hadn’t) because everything there means so much to me. ❤

PPS. I hope y’all have a fabulous week!




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