I was addicted to Instagram and Facebook on my smartphone.
I couldn’t ignore likes and comments of my friends and followers.
It was a drug for me.
After all, it was not illegal.
You couldn’t overdose on it.
I was addicted to my list of status updates.
When I waked up was the firts thing to see.
When I went to bed was last thing I did.
I was addicted to the rush I got from a like,
A comment, a retweet on my personal photos.
I’d never ate my meal before snapping and sharing it on Instagram.
I thought that my private moments were always good content for my followers.
I believed that the photographing and sharing of a cool time was more important than actually appreciating it in my real life.
I was addicted to having all the information right there at my fingertips.
I never had to know the answers.
Google told me everything that exists.
I was addicted to keeping the world up to date with my travel status.
After all everyone needed to know that my life was just so amazing.
I was addicted to the barriers and the easy connection they provided.
However it was so cool to have relationships online and then without reason removing those friends by one click.
I was addicted to the growth I gained as my fans went from hundreds to thousands.
And when my numbers went up it meant that I must be worth something.
I was so addicted with my virtual world that I was truly disconnected with my real life out there.
That’s the bitter truth.
All the “likes” in the world couldn’t inspire me.
And a million followers on Instagram couldn’t complete me.
No matter how full was my inbox,
I always felt empty.
I had a serious problem.
And I had to find a solution to take my life back.
I joked about my addiction to social media.
And I rarely thought of it as this, as something that could seriously affected my health.
So I went to clean. I took them all off my phone.
Infact, only when I reduced my social media habit, I realised how enveloping they are designed to be.
I started to understand the nature of my addiction.
It was an addiction just like any other to cocaine, alcohol, sex, or gambling.
I was addicted to highs and to constant stimulation that came with followers, push notifications and likes on my photos.
I substituted the word ‘narcotics’ for ‘social media visibility’, but the underlying need to numb myself was the same.
In addition to this the way I was using Facebook and Instagram I gradually realised, was downright masochistic.
When I was feeling bad about my life, I looked at pictures of other people’s “perfect” lives and felt even worse.
They take social pressures and conventions and amplifies them a million times.
Comparing other people’s timelines with my own, made me start to worry about the need to conform in a way that I never had before.
Now I still use social media on my devices, but I want to make sure they are not always with me every second and everywhere.
Reducing my social media habit and smartphone usage didn’t make me immediately feeling more better.
However it did make me see how little value they added to my life.
So, choosing to opt out of the constant noise, to reclaim my attention, was a massive relief.
And it also reduced my anxiety levels.
I finally stopped comparing myself with others so much.
My thoughts and conversations became more succinct as I was not constantly interrupted by the sound of a text message or push notification.
Anyway, after years of intense co-dependence with my smartphone, now I am eager to see how I can enrich my life without the constant need to have a phone in my hand.
I could finally enjoy a meal without first snapping a picture of my food.
I could travel without constantly checking in on Facebook and Instagram.
I could be truly present in the company of my friends and family.
I could read a book without stopping to look at my phone every few chapters.
Or simply I could sit quietly and be comfortable with my own thoughts and ideas.