Brain Health

Has ADHD Made Me Too Thin-Skinned for Social Media?

I’m hurt by Facebook, demoralized by Twitter, and envious on Instagram. Is social media making me feel bad about myself — or is a lifetime of ADHD-related hypersensitivity to blame for these daily blows to my self-esteem?

Neon thumbs up and thumbs down sign, similar to social media "like" buttons; social media can make people feel bad
Vector realistic isolated neon signs of thumbs up and down on the wall background. Concept of rating, network and social media.

I once thought that the biggest problem with losing myself online is that I’m wasting time and procrastinating my life away. I now know that there is deeper harm lurking on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media: the negative emotional effects and myriad of bad feelings brought on by a lifetime of attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), hypersensitivity, and interpersonal slip-ups.

Every time I log in to Facebook and there’s no personal message, I die a little. If my thoughtful post isn’t noticed, it’s a letdown. If other people hijack a comment stream, I feel steamrollered. There’s also worry about privacy, even if it’s not me doing the worrying. Who can avoid noticing the anxious words of others?

As a child, before I was diagnosed with ADHD, I was humiliated by one social gaffe after another. My pre-diagnosis years might have been called 50 Shades of Red. Losing friends without knowing why, feeling like the family pariah — I thought that was behind me.

[Self-Test: Could You Have Emotional Hyperarousal?]

Not really. Facebook gives me a glut of opportunities to again live through those social disasters. Who will flame me? Who will call me out? Who will prove me wrong? Who will misinterpret my message? Whom will I offend? The countless complaints about updates, being unfriended by real friends, and the wonderful photos of everyone else leading charmed lives are all demoralizing to my self-esteem.

I have been logging in with not just a password, but with memories from a hypersensitive past. I need a psychological firewall to keep me from going down in flames.

I have ADHD and I am a highly sensitive person, so I need to rethink my relationship with social media, or any place online where I feel judged and measured. I have to tell myself that the only approval that counts is my own.

2 Related Links

  1. This has been a really hard one for me, and I’ve gotten to a point where I’m pretty careful about commenting or even getting into a discussion that’s already heated or controversial. However, sometimes it happens, and I’m amazed at how easily some people are at striking out. They saw awful things without giving it a second thought.

    The one place I enjoy on FB is my ADHD group. People are supportive, kind and thoughtful. Whew!

  2. I don’t have adhd but am speaking to a counsellor for the umpteenth time here in the Uk next week.
    Isocial media is lpoison for me, as I am highly sensitive and feel only negative emotions including jelousy, I can actually be quite vicious and leave negative comments or just emojis under people’s pictures and videos, the vultures are quick to respond and tear me to pieces for daring to criticise their idol, I then delete my comments. I tend to be obsessive too, if I am jealous of someone I will keep looking at their account.
    I log in and out all day long and spend hours on it every day. I don’t have anyone from my past jobs/ education on my media. When I’m on a downer I can be very destructive and delete people, I then try to add them back, many don’t accept my invitation again. I keep following and unfollowing people, I delete my business and hobby page and then start over again, I should have thousands of followers by now. Because of my mood and procrastination I am not active on my media in a productive way, I am a freelance makeup artist and need to be updating pictures/ videos etc constantly by doing product reviews and networking with others but I just cant, I’m way behind others who started out in the industry after me.
    I get sick of all the women on there who flaunt themselves on there and are put on a pedestal, they are normal girls who are photogenic, wear tonnes of makeup and use photoshop, why do people still follow them? People are actually making a living out of social media. I don’t have a photogenic face or the confidence to do all of that. It burns me up to be quite honest.
    One girl is on holiday in the Maldives at the moment and she is literally updating her media every few minutes, I mean what kind of holiday is that ?
    I seriously need to get a website and delete my media or just leave a few photos on there and delete the apps from my phone. Why do I struggle with this so much, other people are not like this.

Leave a Reply