Can Social Media Make You Depressed?

Published on 06/15/2016

With the surging popularity of the internet, social media has become an integrated part of society. Websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter form the foundation for active, second, digital lives that are lived by people of all ages. On the surface level social media allows users to stay connected with one another all over the planet so long as they have an internet connection. But rising research has shown that too much social media can lead to some severe depression. Mental health issues are not growing more common, though reports would make you think so, instead they are growing more diagnosed. We decided to dig into why social media may lead to mental depression in order to find some understanding for ourselves.

Constantly comparing yourself.

A huge facet of major depression is that unavoidable comparisons that you will consistently make with those around you. When you are depressed you tend to see everyone else for all of the traits that you feel you don’t possess. So if you are struggling at work and you see a bunch of your Facebook friends get promotions, dream internships, or even raises — then you can start to feel like a failure. This comparison isn’t healthy in any way, no matter what the comparison is actually about. Remember that you are only seeing the moments that these people choose to share with you. So it is entirely possible that they are struggling with issues of their own. The key here isn’t to hope that these other people are struggling, it’s to understand that you aren’t alone if you feel down.

Constantly comparing yourself

Feeling rejected.

As a side effect of our need for validation from peers, we also come to a point where we feel rejected when they don’t validate what we had to share. Speaking anecdotally, I know how bad I feel when my Facebook friends don’t give attention to a picture that I shared which means a lot to me. This feeling of rejection permeates the rest of your mood and you begin to second guess yourself. It sounds silly, but one of the foundations to a major depressive disorder is the feeling that you can’t be right and that nobody appreciates what you are doing. Depression itself doesn’t always work in logic and, in fact, quite often it does not. Rejection isn’t limited to lack of social media interaction, it also comes to you through feeling left out. On Facebook you can see your friends talk to each other, so how would you feel if you saw them planning a get together without you? They are in the right to do whatever they wish, but it still stings to feel left out.

Feeling rejected