Let’s talk about social media and ADHD.
Sure it’s great. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok, Pinterest, Snapchat… social media entertains us and connects us with friends and family all over the world. We learn dances or how to cook. Witness our niece’s first steps and get inspired. These apps can do so much good.
But for ADHD, social media can also be emotionally draining and waste your time. Instead of getting your work done, you scroll through videos for hours. Or you notice your friends had a cookout and feel rejected because you weren’t invited.
Social media apps are designed to keep you engaged. And the ADHD brain LOVES all the new content that is constantly produced so it keeps scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.
Before we go any further, I don’t want you to worry. I’m not going to suggest you delete your socials. They can be fun and interesting and informative and a way to stay in touch with things and people you care about.
Instead, I want to challenge you to step into awareness. To live successfully with ADHD you have to use social media intentionally or it will swallow your life. And intentionality begins with taking a look at how long you’re spending on social media and what that activity is costing you.
Because, no matter how much you want to deny it or argue that cute memes of baby kittens can’t hurt you, it is costing you and your ability to live successfully with ADHD.
The Costs of Social Media for ADHD Adults
So let’s pause for a moment and take a look at how the time you’re spending on social media is impacting your ability to live with ADHD. Most people pay these costs. But, with ADHD on your team, you will struggle even more.
- Not getting the important stuff done because time vanishes. You unconsciously grab your phone when the urge strikes and next thing you know, 30 minutes have gone by. Time that should’ve been spent working on a project, answering emails or calling a client.
- Your goals aren’t reached, projects are late or never finished (or even started!). Where has the time gone!
- You end up under-earning, not delivering, getting in trouble with work, relationships, etc. Your potential vanishes into a social media vortex.
- You are engaging with other people’s lives out in cyberspace instead of the people at the table or in the room with you. Your real-life relationships get neglected and unattended.
- You miss out on face-to-face social opportunities (and possible love connections) as you’re staring at the phone instead of chatting to the person next to you waiting for their coffee to be ready.
- You’re developing pseudo one-sided relationships and taking a vested interest in people who aren’t aware that you’re spending so much time ‘getting to know them’ or watching their videos. The attention is not reciprocated and you’re not receiving the support you need.
- Social media is a garden of comparison and competition and do they like me?! which can leave us feeling worse about ourselves than we already do. With ADHD, we rarely win in comparisons. Especially on socials where people usually only post the best stuff. Their lives look so much better than ours!
- We begin to associate ‘likes’ or followers with approval and attention.
- Fear of missing out and when we do miss out (or weren’t invited) and see the pictures, we feel terrible, unloved, unwanted, etc. Rejection sensitivity can spike.
Here’s what I want you to do. Get real and notice how many of these above examples are happening in your life right now (or in the last few months). Which ones can you relate to? Start by answering the following questions:
Get Honest About the Costs You’re Paying to Use Social Media
- How much time are you spending on social media? Your phone can actually track this and it’s rather eye-opening when you see how many hours per day/week you’re on the apps.
- Which apps pull you in and which can you let go? Do you really need ALL the socials?
- What time of day are you grabbing your phone? (And is it when you’re supposed to be doing something else?)
- What’s not getting done?
- What is it doing to your relationships and human connections?
- Are you only engaging with people on socials or are you meeting friends face-to-face or calling them?
- How often is your face glued to your phone when there are people around you? Are you using it to escape social situations?
- How do you feel when you use it?
- When and what on social media causes you to compare yourself to others? To feel less than? Jealous?
- Do some platforms have a different impact? Are you inspired by one but end up feeling upset by another?
Let me know! And I’d love to hear from you about other costs you’re experiencing.
Next week, we are going to talk about how we can shift social media into a tool that we use intentionally to work for us (not against).