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Do you have SMAD? [Social Media Anxiety Disorder]


Last weekend on my drive home from a wedding with Drew, I found myself on my phone any minute that there was "nothing to do." Being a passenger in the car, I believe you can all agree with me, that it's just an instinct and so "natural" to do this. Let's face's an ugly habit and you'd be lying to yourself if you said that you don't do this. Well, if you're a're probably least likely to have this, but I bet there are some of you that will nod and agree with me in just a minute. I started to notice this instinct a long time ago, especially since I started blogging, instagramming, facebooking, and being more active in social media. I'm on twitter, but I can honestly say that I am not on it daily. I don't know why, but it isn't something I think, "OH I need to check that right now!" Some days I do, and some days I don't. Anyway, to get back to business...I will say that I HAVE made improvements...however, I can't stop THINKING about it. WHY is it so hard for me to just put my phone away and not feel like I'm missing something? It's just stupid and sick, really. I should just put my phone down, and just listen to the music and just watch the road with Drew and engage in the we used to do back before social media took over our lives. But then, I found myself reaching over to grab my phone yet again. Then I'd put it down and say, "GOSH, why do I do this all the time!? I am so annoyed with myself!"

Ironically enough, when I had this thought I saw a link that was posted by a guy I went to college with  on my Facebook feed. He is now a news anchor in Austin, and posts some interesting articles from time to time. When I read it, I couldn't help but think, "OH MY GOSH. I HAVE THIS!" It was just crazy to read, and I thought I'd share the article with y'all.

This is word for word from the link that he posted. I repeat, I did not write this (I wish) but it is SO worth sharing. You can also find the article here. 

"Social media has captivated the lives of millions of individuals around the world. Although the convenience and other advantages it offers are worth the time you put in the internet each day, there are also drawbacks to watch out for.
Social media anxiety disorder is one of the problems that can arise if you allow social media to dominate many aspects of your life. In fact, it can go so bad that you develop an addiction, which eventually results in mental problems.
You need to create a proper balance to adequately attend to your needs, as well as have a healthy routine outside the internet.

Signs That You Might Have SMAD

1. You’re inseparable from your mobile phone or device.

Many people today cannot spend more than 30 minutes away from their smart phone or tablet. They constantly check their mobile devices or simply play social media site games when there’s nothing else to do just to use social media. You might find yourself bringing the device with you in the bathroom, the dining table or in other unusual places.

2. You constantly post or send messages.

Some individuals are constantly tweeting, posting messages and chatting with others online. They send shout-outs constantly just for the sake of posting. They also get worried if they haven’t posted anything in the past 3 to 6 hours. And you don’t have to tweet about everywhere you are and whatever you eat.

3. You get upset over lost followers or online friends.

If you constantly monitor how many people are following you each day and then get overly excited if someone adds or follows you, you might have social media anxiety disorder. Worse, you might get depressed when you discover that someone chose to unfriend or unfollow you online.

4. Constantly checking for updates.

Getting updates is a good thing on social media. However, if you constantly log in your account every 5 to 10 minutes just to check if someone has responded or liked your post, you might be suffering from SMAD.

5. Failing relationships.

Some people are too engrossed with social media that they no longer have time to fulfill other obligations and promises. You might be leaving out important people in your life in exchange for social media time. Some individuals have experienced breaking up with their boyfriend or girlfriend because they no longer have time for the relationship.

6. Spending too much time.

You might have social media anxiety disorder if you’ve been sitting in front of the computer for several hours and no longer remember if you have eaten lunch or taken a bath. You might have a problem if you forgot what else you need to do for the day after spending too much time online.

7. The outdoors doesn’t matter.

Even if you’re out at the beach with family, taking a hike in the forest or taking a run at the park and you constantly stop to check on your mobile phone or device every now and then, you might have SMAD. You should learn how to balance non-internet activities with your social media time.

8. Fear of logging in after a long break.

Some individuals are scared of opening their accounts after they’ve been out for several hours or a day. They fear that there will be too many messages and posts to reply to and items to upload or update.
Social media anxiety disorder may seem silly at first; but when someone you know starts showing signs of a severe problem, it is no longer a laughing matter. It is possible for an individual to get hooked on his or her social accounts so much that any form of face-to-face interaction becomes painful. Seek professional help right away."
Crazy right!? Well, not really. It actually makes me scratch my head and go "WHOA! It's actually a real thing!" Sadly, a lot of these apply to me. I hate it. I won't lie. But sometimes the truth hurts. 
I'd like to know, do any of these apply to you!?
I am going to continue to make an effort to work on these things. I started making small changes a couple of months ago, and I will say that I am better at putting my phone in the other room for a couple of hours at a time so I can get work done, and surprisingly this has helped a lot.
I love it when I get a text that says, "Shay! I know that phone is glued to your hand! Write me back!" And then I get to actually surprise them and say, "Actually...Now that I am self-employed, I HAVE to put my phone in a drawer, or in the other room for hours at a time so I can train myself and GET WORK DONE lol." Naturally, they are proud of me most of the time. But, sadly, I can see why some people are annoyed when I don't respond right away, because that's how I used to be. I just can't be glued to my phone anymore though y'all. It's a lot of work. It stresses me out. My phone OWNED me (and some days, it still does!) and I am just missing out on the life that is RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. It's crazy to type this out, but it's so important that I be in the moment more. LISTEN to those who are talking to me. Not scroll through my phone and only hear half of what someone says to me. 
I don't know how many times Drew will start talking to me and I'll be staring at my phone. He will say, "So today this happened and then this guy wanted to know if we could help him tomorrow night...and I told him I'd ask you..."
Cricket. Cricket. I'd nodd my head and he'd say, "So it's okay if I move to Africa for 10 months!" JUST to get my attention. 
Man had a point. I'd look at him and go, "I'm sorry babe! I'm listening!"
Then he'd test me and I'd say, "Yeah, we are not moving to Africa!" Drew would then either laugh, or just be plain annoyed and said, "THAT had nothing to do with anything I said. I just wanted to get your attention..."
Then I'd say I'm sorry again, put my phone down, and listen. That is NOT okay. NOT okay. As Michelle Tanner would say..."HOW RUDE!" My husband, my family, my friends...they deserve my attention if they want it. My phone can wait. That text message can wait. I don't know how many times I would say, "Sorry babe! Let me just write her back real quick and I'll put the phone down!" 
It's selfish. It's silly. It needs/has to change. 
I have also found that I have had to set boundaries with my phone when it comes to business. I have to pretend that when it comes 5:00 (closing time), that I am no longer at my desk. I am no longer on the phone. I have shut down and gone home just like everyone else gets to do. If I didn't do this, then I would be working, ALL. THE. TIME. and it isn't healthy. Trust me, I've been there, done that...and I was proof of the word, "EXHAUSTED. DRAINED. WOOF!" No joke.  I have to have "off" time or I will get burned out again and hello, I'm human. I need time at home, cooking dinner, hanging out with my husband just like everyone else. Right!? ;) 
Anyway, I encourage you to start being more in the moment. Get away from your phone more. I promise that we can do it y'all! :) It's hard, I get it. It's a work in progress, but I am starting to feel like I have LESS of these symptoms above. We aren't going to miss anything, I promise you. 
I am going to start trying to only check my e-mails twice a day. I am going to only log-on to social media 3 times a day, knock out my likes, my love, my comments, my support, all that jazz at set times. The other day I counted how many times I opened my phone to browse social media...and I am embarrassed. SO embarrassed. Are you ready for this? 
THAT is ridiculous. I wanted to bang my head on a desk. I will say, that this isn't the case every day...really, it isn't. BUT, when I have my phone near me, and I hear a "ding" or just have a minute to look...I do. SELF control people. SELF control. 
Who wants to be my accountability partner with this!? Anyone? Anyone!? :) 
Obviously, I'm ALL for documenting things...but once you do. PUT it down for a bit. Go enjoy the moment.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I did.  Start being aware TODAY! Start making changes. Life is fun y'all...go out and live it! 


post circle 27 comments :

  1. Oh my goodness, I do this too. I hate to admit it but I do. My boyfriend and I only get to see each other on the weekends because he goes away to school and I used to stay on my phone all the time, even when he was home on the weekends and we finally made a rule that when we are together the phones stay up (unless we are using them to take pictures) It has helped so much for our relationship!! Great post!

  2. Oh I totally do #4! I wouldn't feel too bad because social media is now part of your job...but I agree it is definitely important to manage it.

    I actually was reading another blog yesterday from Alex Beadon and she uses a website that blocks her access to social media during the hours she sets. I'm thinking about doing that! I think this is the one she uses

  3. This is SO me and I need to change it! I feel a panic set in if I don't have my phone within hearing distance so I can hear that little "ding"! And the little red notification bubbles drive me crazy... I can't stand to have any, so I check them constantly! Great article though and it definitely puts it into perspective! I wonder why my daughter always wants to be on her iPod and not outside playing... probably because she's watching what I do! Hmm! Great post! :)

  4. I have SMAD too.. lol Isn't that the first step? I'm horrible with my Iphone and Mac. I always need to be checking for IG, blog and fb updates. I enjoy doing it so why not? Well because my school work and family is getting the crapping end of the deal. Now that I'm blogging I want to be on my Mac all the time. Plus I love all the new friends I've made. But your right changes need to be made. So I will try to limit myself, especially when my family is around and I need to study or do homework. It's so easier said then done. But I will try!!!

  5. I pretty much think that if you're a blogger you probably have this! It is kinda depressing....why is the online world so much more appealing than the reality of our lives God has placed before us? It's like a disease! I don't like it...

    Thank you for posting this! I feel much more aware now and am going to try to make an effort to live more present in my REAL, OFFLINE life. I kinda just posted about this life is a juggling act. It can definitely be hard to juggle our online blog, twitter, instagram, facebook, etc. along with our real life relationships, jobs, ect. (Not that some blogger friends don't become real life friends..but you get my point) :)

  6. Oh my gosh I love this and needed this! I've been so busy the past few days that I haven't kept up with my twitter feed and it's like #8 is so me! I'm afraid to look and be sad that I missed something! Seriously cray!

    I have been thinking about taking a social media break and have officially decided this weekend it is! My birthday is Sunday so I'll be around friends and family and beautiful weather all weekend and my face needs to be out. of. the. phone! No questions!

    Such a good post!!


  7. Oh man. 1,4,6 totally hit home with me. I've made more of a conscious effort when I am out of the house to keep my phone in my purse. I'd be at the beach and have it glued to me. Dates... Both husband and I are nose deep in phones. It's bad. Def need to cut back on this!! Thanks for sharing :)

  8. Everything you said hits the nail right on the head for me. My boyfriend gets so mad because I'm always on my phone! I really try not to be but it helps pass the time when I'm bored (as I type this, I'm on my phone!). I really need to let go of this technology, turn it off when at dinner, things like that and not be so dependent on it. Thanks for the great post!

  9. My husband and I have a "we're moving to Africa" line too... ours is "and then I died..." which we say when the other is too busy with their phone or doing anything else to show that they aren't paying attention. It's a good reminder to the other without having to complain too much. And now I want to count the number of times I check my phone!

  10. I feel its espcially hard with our jobs. Being a graphic designer and photographer myself, I spend basically all day in front of a computer (on days I don't have shoots), which makes things super difficult. I find myself getting "click happy" and bouncing around from site to site, page to page.
    Also think its hard because a lot of our business drives from social media. blog posts, tagging people, comments, etc. its nice to see what people say about our work, and whos talking to who.

    Def. need to try and put my phone in another room. Great idea!

  11. I plead the fifth! However, like you I've been trying but it's hard so so hard!

    My mom has a rule that when we are there we must put our phones away or else she will take it. Trust me she will! I went three hours without my phone once because of her but I learned my lesson. Now when I come over it stays in my pocket while socializing with my fam and it gets checked during tinkle breaks.

  12. Proof I'm feeling this - I am reading your blog and surfing FB in the background when I should be working!!

  13. Hi Shay,
    Thanks for sharing. I have been conscious of this lately and trying to cut back and not be so "connected". I also wanted to tell you that I love your photography and enjoying reading your blog. I also love your journals and phone case in this post. Where are they from?

  14. I don't think I am that bad. But I do give myself a guilt trip when I don't do a blog post. It drives me nuts to not blog! I feel like I'm letting readers down!

  15. I don't really remember what I used to do in my spare time before I started blogging. I know I'm not THAT bad, because I don't have a smart phone and I don't freak out if I haven't checked facebook for a few days...but lately I've started thinking that its so sad that the only thing I do when I have free time is blog...even if theres something else more important I SHOULD be doing.

    My husband is a pro at this. Sometimes at night he likes to play video games and I like to search through pinterest (that's a pathetic thing to do together, I know) but EVERY SINGLE time I want to talk to him about something silly I see on pinterest, he'll stop, and look at what I'm talking about it, and respond. Such a champ. How do men to it?

  16. I think any blogger will suffer from a few of these symptoms to some degree. I know my temptations so I chose not to get a twitter account or get email/facebook on my phone. I could sit at my computer for hours, but I don't want to. You are wise to be aware and make sure you are living life outside of the internet too...even though online friends rock.

  17. Hi shay! I am wondering if you can answer a question for me??? I saw the video that I'm assuming you made of your grandparents on Vimeo, oh my gosh so so so adorable, but I'm wondering what the song was in the background? I have heard it before and I love kit....or even who it's by? If you could write back I would be so so happy! P.S I love your photography!

  18. Oh my! I totally have that!

    This is crazy.. thanks for the eye-opener.

  19. First step is admitting.....I' that tomorrow!

    Seriously, though, so true! Some are not applicable, but ahhh, is it only a matter of time?!

    Thanks for posting about this!

  20. So true and such a great post! I've been doing so much better about not logging in constantly but now my problem is #8! I panic at the thought of having 74987234 facebook notifications or emails since I haven't logged in for a while, ahhh!

  21. I don't have SMAD, but I do recognize a compulsion to check social media - mainly instagram. I got into the smart phone phase WAY later than everyone else (read: three months ago) and as a result I am seeing qualities in myself that I dislike. I love having the internet when I NEED it (like we can't find a trailhead of a hike) but I dislike how often my husband and I have turned away from each other to do our own online activities instead. The Car Passenger Scenario is a prime example.

    Is putting your phone in a drawer enough to stop that? I think I may have to leave it at home as I go out.

    Hope you can find ways to work on SMAD and I think it's great to see so many comments with people recognizing the issue. Maybe we can make a collective decision as a society to not allow phones in restaurants or something. Or, if you're out with friends, I read that you should put all your phones face down in the center of the table. The first person to check their phone has to pay for everyone's drinks. Then you focus on the socializing in front of you instead of on your phone!

  22. Um yeah...

    I can't be without my phone. ever.

    Tiff Ima
    Style Honestly

  23. I think alot of us bloggers suffer from this. I find myself needing to check myself and put my phone down.

  24. Reading this has definitely made realize I suffer from SMAD. A lot of these apply to me and it's baaaaad! I need to change this before it gets worse!

  25. I am so your accountability partner on this sweet girl!! Wow, what an eye opener!! All of the above applies to me and I am ashamed to admit it. My poor hubs often questions my time being spent online and that I am missing what is going on in real life... I listen to him, sometimes agree but I always seem to justify it with "bored time" - but I could still just sit and be content doing nothing.

    Thank you for this brilliant post. i am going to try my hardest...

  26. OMG! I totally have this! HAHA