Obsessive Comparison: OCD & Social Media

#love #beautiful #happy #like4like #fashion #foodporn #travelling

Some of the most popular hashtags and I think they perfectly show what social media is like and what challenges it has for all of us. For people who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (just like I do), for those who have other mental disorders – and even for those who do not have any mental health issues.

I grew up on social media and I think I will never be able to completely stop using it. I know it is not always the best place for me as it can sometimes be a place full of hate and superficiality but on the other hand, there are times when social media can be a real blessing as it can help you connect with your loved ones and at the end of the day, I think social media is a part of our modern life and it is not something that we can simply ignore.

And that is why I have decided to write a post about the negative side of social media and about how it can impact the mental health of someone who is suffering from OCD. For me it’s just the perfect time to talk about it because I have been spending a crazy long time on Facebook ever since the lockdown began and for the last few weeks I have been analyzing myself and I’ve been trying to find what are the biggest mistakes someone with OCD can make while using social media. So just keep reading if you want to see the conclusions I have arrived to! πŸ™‚

Comparing Yourself To Your Friends Or Acquiantances

Your Instagram feed is full of glamorous and apparently happy and successful people who post pictures of their honeymoon or their latest business trip while you are sitting at home and having a cup of coffee (or in my case a glass of wine), wearing an ugly pair of trousers and your favorite old sweater. And you just keep wondering about what you have done wrong and you can not stop thinking that you are a loser.

I guess comparing ourselves to others is something that most of us do. So please do not think it is a sign of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. OCD starts when this “comparing habit” becomes an obsession. Something that you just cannot stop thinking about or cannot stop doing. And well, we have to admit that when it comes to comparisons, social media is just the perfect tool that allows you to compare yourself to others. It’s available 24/7 and you can spend hours checking your never-ending newsfeed and looking at your friends’ pictures while asking yourself why you could not be as successful as they are, as beautiful as they are…or as rich as they are.

And please do not get me wrong. The feeling that I have just written about is not envy. It is not like..you want all those people on your Instagram to be completely miserable. It’s closer to self-loathing. You just hate yourself for being lazy and for not being able to make your dreams come true or for not exercising enough so that you would get the perfect body you have always dreamed of.

But There’s One Thing We Often Forget About

People on social media usually show their best face. Now, just think about yourself. When you post a new picture, you will normally pick one where you think you look nice or at least acceptable. And most of us prefer sharing positive experiences such as going on holidays or having a nice dinner with our friends.

And at the end of the day, you never know the background. You will never know how many hours that perfectly looking person spent on taking that amazing picture in front of the Notre-Dame and you will never know how they felt at that moment. I can just talk about myself: I look completely miserable in most of my pictures because I just hate smiling so if you look at my Facebook, you will surely think that this guy is totally desperate but I am not. It is just my style.

And apart from the fact that the people on your social media feed are not as perfect as they look to be…..

Why do you care?

I mean..let’s suppose you’re less successful than many other people you know but why should anyone care about comparisons?

When you have OCD, it can be extremely difficult to stop thinking about your obsessions. And that’s why it’s better for you to try to stop comparing yourself to others as soon as you notice you’re doing it. I know, it’s easier said than done but we all know what a vicious circle OCD is.

First of all, everything depends on the way you look at things. Nobody is perfect so there are things you are better at and things that you are not too good at and that’s perfectly normal. No human being is better or worse than another one. We are all at the same level, we are just different and telling yourself that you are a failure just does not make sense. And it will especially not make sense when your opinion is based on social media.

Furthermore, would you be happier if you were much more successful than others? Honestly, I do not think so. Or well, I guess it depends on person but now I’m talking about my experiences – as someone who has OCD – and what I have noticed is that when I am happier than others, I will often feel guilty for being happy while other people are suffering so my final conclusion is really that comparisons just do not make sense. The only person you need to compare yourself to is you! All of us have achieved great things in our lives and we should not forget about that. Just think about who you were a few years ago and who you are now: I think in most of the cases, people will grow stronger as the time passes.

How To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others?

Now, I hope that the points I made above will help some of you. What I usually do is just telling myself that I’m a much better person than I was back in the past and that instead of comparing myself to others I need to compare myself to who I was in the past. And if this does not work and your comparing obsession “goes out of control”, I think the best thing you can do is taking a break from social media. What I have noticed is that Instagram has a particularly bad effect on my mental health and I have stopped using it completely.

Do not get me wrong, I really do not want to create a negative publicity – I am just being honest. For me, Instagram is the social media platform that will always make me feel bad. It’s not just about comparing myself to others because that’s something that I try not to do but….the whole “atmosphere”, the superficiality and the meaninglessness. But I guess all of us are different and everyone can find a social media platform that works for them! πŸ™‚ So if you have any favorites, please share them in the comment section together with your thoughts/ social media experiences!

Further Reading

11 thoughts on “Obsessive Comparison: OCD & Social Media

  1. I tried Facebook years ago but dropped it after a very short time. I don’t trust their use/abuse of the data they collect and I have better things to do with my time.

    Sounds like you are a responsible social media user – may your tribe increase!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well yes – their data collection policies are a little bit scary, but despite that I am still using it as that is where I keep in touch with most of my friends so it does have its advantages.

      Haha thank you – trying to be responsible. Like I just try not to use any social media platforms that make my OCD worse. :/

      Cheers,

      Mark

      Like

  2. Thanks, Mark, not just for this post, but for being brave enough to write about yourself without trying to be a Public Relations Executive.

    As you know, I am very anti Social Media. I think the phrase itself is an oxymoron and has led to the increasing narcissism of the world and to the rapid increase of thought bubbles. I also think Fack Fucebook is a criminal organization and will NEVER use it.

    Stay safe and be well.

    Like

    1. Hi Alexandra,

      Thank you for supporting me & for reading my blog ❀ it means a lot to me! (since I published this post, I have uninstalled the facebook app as it was hard to control myself so..things are now getting better πŸ˜€ )

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know the feeling, Mark! I’m not using Facebook anymore and never had Instagram πŸ™‚

        Like I wrote in one of my articles: “Unfortunately, most of the individuals don’t understand that social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and common dating apps. Such as Tinder or OkCupid are made to addict our brain and change the way we relate and perceive relationships. The usage of algorithms is a common way that those platforms use to manipulate your emotions and needs. The neuroscience behind social media is to make you crave more, more validation, more attention, more praise, and for that reason, in your feeds tend to appear more the posts of people who you add recently to testify your compatibility.”

        I hope you are doing well now!

        Big hug πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well, I think I would probably feel better if I completely stopped using social media but I am not ready to do that at the moment.

        You shared a very interesting point in your article – my main issue with social media is usually its fakery however, you are absolutely right about the fact that it is very addictive.

        I have just check your full post about it and I love it! Especially the part about “Pure illusion” and the science behind dopamine levels.

        Do you mind if I place a link to your article in my post?

        I am doing fantastic at the moment πŸ™‚ hope you are doing well too!

        Hugs

        Mark

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Feel free to share my article in your blog.

        90% of individuals that use social media don’t know at all what they are doing and how addictive it can be. It is like cocaine, to be honest, and real. Also, social media has become a place where we can see the rise of pathological behavior, like narcissism. And believe me, subclinical narcissism can be even more dangerous than the clinical narcissism.

        I am glad to know that you are doing fantastic. I am pretty amazing and sexy all the time πŸ™‚

        Like

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