Our posts are sent out to billions of people in an instant. It only makes sense that social media anxiety is becoming more and more of a thing.
Here are six ways OCD and anxiety-related disorders can manifest through social media.
Worrying that a photo will upload on its own
Some photos we want to share. Others, not so much.
Many of us worry about uploading a photo by mistake.
With our phones bouncing around in our pockets and bags for hours at a time, the lock function is our saving grace.
But that isn’t always enough, this fear can result in hundreds of checks a day.
Fearing that intrusive thoughts will autocorrect by mistake
The words we type are often the ones autocorrect suggests.
Our phones are good at remembering. Trying to make things easier when in reality it just keeps us on edge.
What if my last message had something inappropriate in it?
What if my friends and family block me for it? What if I get fired from work?
When intrusive thoughts are such a presence in our lives, it’s no surprise we fear these will spill into our messages.
The fear of 'liking' something by mistake
Scrolling risks the chance of ‘liking’ something we shouldn’t. Facebook’s new emoji reactions only made anxiety worse for us.
Before we know it, we’re scrolling with our finger on the right hand side of the screen so we don’t hit those reactions. The last thing we want is to tap the laughing face when someone posts about a loved one passing.
Scrolling back up to check we haven’t made this error only increases the risk of actually doing it.
It’s a vicious cycle.
Algorithms are getting better at noticing what we stare at the most. But with OCD, we often stare at the things we don’t like, to ensure we haven’t liked or shared it.
Now our feed is full of it. Great.
OCD-rituals before bed
Having a bedtime ritual isn’t unusual with OCD.
These checks can come from knowing we can’t check our phones and socials whilst we sleep.
These checks can last minutes or hours… often getting worse over time and repeating the following morning.
Checking social media before a flight
It still feels like the olden days when we fly. Is it really that hard to put WIFI on a plane?
To counter this, we do an hours worth of social media upkeep in the 15 minutes before a flight.
Social media usage can get more intense the longer we have to go without it.
Whether this is down to addiction, the fear of accidental uploads or that we will be hacked, sitting in a seat with little more than our thoughts can be a huge struggle.
Five hours has never seemed so long.
This is a logical fear, as the repercussions can really affect our lives. Saying that, OCD can turn this into an obsession.
This obsession can exacerbate the fears highlighted in this article, as a hack could occur in our sleep or during a flight.
Despite all the precautions and safety features we have to prevent this, the thought of this happening to us feels impossible to shift.
Social media is becoming a bigger part of our lives, giving anxiety a tighter grip on those of us with OCD and anxiety-related disorders.
Social media should be a place for happiness and connections. If this is feeling more of a worry and less pleasurable, seeking help or advice may help break the cycle.