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This article explores my personal experience of using social media as a person with ADHD. I then go on to explain my decision to manage my usage and limit it; which has proved to be an excellent choice.

Life with ADHD can be confusing and overwhelming. I always strive to be kind as I wish to have a positive influence on others through my work and while online in my leisure time. Unfortunately, not everyone follows these values and I have encountered upsetting and distressing content while using social media. Explicit and disturbing sexual content; hateful vitriol and unrealistic imagery/words are all far too easy to stumble upon even when using a filter.

Having an ADHD brain means I often take things to heart. Instead of simply scrolling forward, reporting the content, or shutting it down; I ponder over it. I am aware that most online platforms are poorly regulated and often not monitored rigorously, but I still take whatever I read or see seriously (in the sense that I ruminate on why it was upsetting/poor quality/ridiculous).

It is easy for me to rack up excessive screen time, which only intensifies feelings of stress and melancholy. The internet is an easy distraction and I find it difficult to avoid the lure of going online when procrastinating. The internet itself is a place of stimulation, which my ADHD brain is lacking.

My solution to this problem was to only use social media during the evening and come off all platforms which were causing me to worry. I like YouTube as I can be selective over the content I view or use it to watch comedy and positive life advice vlogs, which cheers me up when I feel low. Instagram allows me to communicate with friends and Reddit is full of helpful communities, such as a ‘get studying’ community and an ADHD support forum.

My other solution was to use an app called ‘Forest’. This is an app that allows you to grow various plants if you stick to the task at hand. You can block distracting apps, your browser, and only allow helpful apps such as the dictionary, to run. I can set a timer, choose my plant, and then enable pop up reminders that tell me to stick to my work. The interface is cute and if you save up enough ‘focus coins’, you can plant a real tree through the developer’s give-back program.

Deciding to lessen my use of social media has increased the time I have to relax at home. Therefore, avoiding a potential source that would have set me back further with my progress to improve my mental health.

The main positive effects I have witnessed are increased motivation for important tasks such as fitness and reading; improvement in rational thoughts toward my body and positive feelings towards my lifestyle instead of ruthlessly comparing myself to others. Overall, sticking to limiting my usage of social media has had more benefits for me than detriments.


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