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Social Media ‘To Detox, or Not to Detox, that is the Question’ by Clare Fisher

One morning after another disturbed night’s sleep, I reached for my mobile phone and temporarily snoozed my alarm then proceeded to scroll through my Tik Tok, Insta, U Tube and Book accounts. My first thought that morning was why oh why oh why do I have The Pixies ‘Where is my Mind’ as a ringtone set to Krakatoa eruption noise levels. I then considered what ringtones other Psychotherapists use…… maybe ‘Under Pressure - David Bowie & Annie Lennox’ or something a wee bit more reaffirming like “I Won’t Back Down - Tom Petty’. The next thought that sprung to my sleep deprived mind was, do I have more likes, comments, follows and friend requests across my social media platforms…………… Ego much!

When did this way of being in the morning start? In the 70’s my parent’s went to work on an egg, in the 80’s I kissed my poster of Boy George goodbye before I went to school and in the 90’s I lit my first Silk Cut of the day and in 2000’s I was woken up by my daughters gurning and now it’s a morning dose of Pedro Pascal smiling unnervingly at a stoic Nicolas Cage on Tik Tok, which in its self is paradoxical.

I can deal with waking up to an online Pedro, but as Taylor Swift recently coined the phrase ’my passive narcissism’ I have to consider if it is showing when I am obsessively scrolling my personal and business social media accounts. What am I looking for; validation, belonging, popularity, relevance, dopamine or simply love?

Researchers have found that loads of us use our mobile phones in bed and this usage often lasts for up to 1.5hrs which reduces our sleep cycle often significantly. It has also been found that the use of mobile phones in bed unsurprisingly increases rates of depression, anxiety and overall quality of REM, which we need for processing and storing memories. (1)

On that fateful morning my tired impulsive ADHD brain took control of the matter, urging me to press the delete buttons on each of my accounts. Across the platforms I had about 4,000 followers, okay so I am not a prolific influencer, but I had a few thousand people and no doubt the obligatory AI bots all calling themselves Keanu Reeves subscribing to my mental health video’s, blogs and meme’s. Instead of valuing my diminutive but invested following, I deleted my accounts, my content and also my followers. Initially I felt an almost divine virtuous relief, but as a reflective practitioner or some might say a chronic overthinker my intrusive thoughts got their spikey wee hooks into my psyche.

Intrusive or Reflective Thought List

(1) I put energy, passion, hope, expertise and time into my content which now lays to waste. “People seldom do what they believe in. They do what is convenient, then repent.” Bob Dylan

(2) What if I was on the cusp of becoming a mental health influencer who could get their messages out to a wider audience? I will now never know……or realise my potential for doing good.

(3) How will I now make my mental health information accessible without a platform, as I have destroyed my Speakers Corner?

(4) Will my followers/subscribers (some of which I know and have worked with) think that I have blocked them? Rejection sensitive dysphoria central!

Then a whammy of an intrusive thoughts poured fuel on the fire which is my super ego – exactly who do I think I am, to indulge in these intrusive self-important imaginings.

Can I not just enjoy a fool’s paradise and wake up to an energetic ring tone (maybe ‘We are Golden’ Mika) , gaze gratuitously at my happy comfort character Pedro Pascal….. or kiss the image of the karma chameleon that is Boy George. Instead I am in a social media driven Pavlovian crisis of limited self-worth.

My soliloquy, Social Media ‘To Detox, or Not to Detox, that is the question!’ I question is the alternative to social media preferable? Slings and arrows and all that jazz.

I have managed to salvage my Tik Tok as apparently it gives you 30 days to change your mind.

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Check out my Tik Tok

I choose GOOD!

(1) Bhat S, Pinto-zipp G, Upadhyay H, Polos PG. "To sleep, perchance to tweet": in-bed electronic social media use and its associations with insomnia, daytime sleepiness, mood, and sleep duration in adults. Sleep Health. 2018;4(2):166-173. doi:10.1016/j.sleh.2017.12.004

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