Deleting Social Media is Not Impossible


Elise Klint

It is a well-known and proven fact that depression and anxiety rates among teenagers and young adults are climbing every year. The Pew Research Center notes that anxiety and depression have increased a “massive 25%” in recent years. Scientists are looking into the various factors that contribute to the rapid increase of mental illness among young people, and it appears that the biggest factor is social media.


It’s no secret that social media is highly addictive and causes a physical response. When you get a notification from any app, your heart rate spikes,  and you feel the overwhelming urge to check it to see who has liked your post, or sent you a Snapchat. Over time, this constant anxiety of waiting for notifications to come through does not equate to a healthy mental life. 

Additionally, when scrolling on Instagram, you see dozens of pictures of people in their best-looking state and feel the need to look like them. You may question yourself — “Why don’t I look like them?” or “What am I doing wrong?” These types of questions are a clear trigger for depressive disorders and a factor that can worsen depression for those already dealing with it. It might seem impossible to be able to delete social media, but it isn’t, because I did it.


Back in January, I was in a place where I didn’t really want to be seen online. I felt like I needed to take some time to focus on myself and build my confidence up after some personal events. I had gone through cycles of deleting Snapchat for a day, but all I could think about was “Am I missing anything?” and then I would just download it again.  But finally, in January, I had reached the breaking point where I needed to do something for myself and stop worrying about other people. I decided to delete social media for an extended period of time after seeing some people say they were the happiest they’ve ever been during their break from it. I truly didn’t believe it would work that well for me, but I proved myself wrong.


Right before I deleted my apps, I texted a couple of friends, asking them to reach out to me via texting if they needed me for anything, and I disabled my Instagram account and Snapchat accounts.  


The first few days without using these apps, nothing changed. I didn’t feel any better. But about three days after I deleted it, something snapped and I felt fresh. I had no idea why I was suddenly feeling so much better because I couldn’t remember feeling that happy in a long time. I didn’t even consider the fact that it was because of not being on social media. I remained this way for weeks and continued to only focus on bettering myself. I realized quickly that I didn’t miss social media at all, and had no desire to get it back. I was less stressed and my head was clearer. 


Eventually, I decided that I would go a minimum of 6 weeks t before I’d let myself redownload my apps. As that date approached, I felt the growing desire to get social media back since I was doing so much better mentally. 

When the day came, I redownloaded Snapchat and put my Instagram account back up. But within hours of getting them back, I already felt myself slipping from that joyful state I had been in for a couple of months. I noticed I was pulling out my phone a lot more, and that looking at the phone sometimes causes a feeling of anxiety to rear its ugly head.

 It was then that I realized deleting social media played a huge factor in my mental state becoming healthier. Nevertheless, I kept it until, just a few weeks ago, I realized how far away I had gotten from that happy place again. I decided to delete Instagram and only get on it when I wanted to post something, which isn’t very frequent at all. Since I’ve done this, my stress has once again begun decreasing. 


Deleting social media for an extended period of time can seem impossible because you want people to be aware of what you’re doing and how you look. However, my experience taught me that no one needs to see what you’re up to (and vice versa) in order to be content. I didn’t believe it when people said that deleting social media was the best decision they’ve made until I experienced it. I can say that it is true. If you feel like you need a break from the outside world and need to decompress, or just have too much stress in your life, I urge you to try and go without social media for a while. Start with a week and if you find yourself not desiring it, go for longer. It can do wonders in the long run, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first.