How it feels

Do you suffer from anxiety? Do you feel like you are drowning?…………

Your existence is submerged in water. You’re gasping for oxygen but no one can hear you. Unaware and disinterested in the fact that you are beneath the surface, everyone else around you is afloat……laughing even.

I struggle with anxiety and panic disorder. Finally, I can write that statement without feeling a sense of shame. Shaking, racing heartbeat, obsessive sweating and feeling like someone was throwing my soul off the side of the Eiffel Tower every two minutes was normal. I avoided situations I knew I would enjoy, because I couldn’t face going outside. The worst part? I avoided friends that I really cared about, explaining ‘I’m too ill’. I was too ill, but not in the way they were thinking. Nobody understands an illness they can’t see. I didn’t have any bandages. I looked healthy to anyone I met.

Take care of yourself under a protective umbrella

Social Media

My anxiety and panic responses are sometimes triggered by social media. In my mind, my closest ‘friends’ are abandoning me every time they leave the status as ‘read’ with no reply. I know I care about them, but don’t understand why my so called ‘friends’ don’t care enough to reply.  I now realise that not everyone will be able to change their behaviour. If I can’t change them, I have to change the way I respond to them. Initially I felt that these people can’t be a part of my life if I was to overcome my anxiety. I moved away from many of those friends.

The ‘swiping nature’ 

There are many dating apps out there. Some have led to love stories and soul mates living their dreams. However many users have reported that these apps are impacting on low self esteem and experience self-doubt.

Dating apps encourage you to judge users on the way they look in a couple of photos. You need to  instantly make a decision of whether to swipe left (like them-which may result in you matching) or swipe right (rids you of their profile).

These apps increase untrue and unrealistic expectations and ideas of a person. I tried a Tinder date, – once. I could tell within minutes that it was never going to work out.

I saw you on tinder- picture

A poll of 200,000 iPhone users, this year, by non-profit organisation Time Well Spent found that the dating app Grindr was top of the list of apps to make you unhappy. That same article points out we spent most time on apps that make us unhappy.

Social Comparison

Do you evaluate how you feel about yourself and others by comparisons on social medics. Theories suggest we all do. Of course, social media encourages this by offering as metrics to compare success. for example how many likes, shares, number of friends, and retweets do you have?

oranges and apples balanced on a scale

You may have created a false sense of self. Perhaps you edit photos, update your status when you are having a great time etc. This creates on on-line presence which may be aspirational to others.  We project a life which is perhaps better than the one we are actually living.  People claim to experience low self esteem and decrease in confidence, when comparing themselves to others, online. This can mean that a person’s mental health may be impacted.

Self Esteem

Young people have claim that social media and the internet have had a direct negative effect on their self esteem. Digitally manipulated photos are all over the internet. Celebrities and public figures as well as many friends will all be guilty. Is that big bottom real?

Furthermore, if people consistently see images that are falsely constructed to look perfect, this creates false expectations of others, as well as, ourselves too.

Kim K with figure hugging clothes - creating anxiety for some

Kim Kardashion

In fact, more than two thirds of young people want platforms to highlight when photos of people have been digitally manipulated.

Are there any ways we could reduce people’s anxiety when using social media?

Wouldn’t it be good news if a pop-up warning advised you when you’ve been on an app for a set period of time?

Would you like a cap on usage of certain apps? maybe it could log you off when you’ve been on too long.

Perhaps now would be a good time to read my blog on addiction