Video Production by Josh Melendez

In this video Dr. Reagan Anderson talks to his staff about digital dementia and comparing your life to others on social media.

Video Transcript:

Today, where our little thought for the day is going to be on comparisons. And how healthy or unhealthy comparisons are. How many of you have heard the term “digital dementia?” Okay, how about “digital depression?”

All right, so digital dementia is where we’re using our electronic devices so much that it scrambles our brains, basically. Or it doesn’t help us to remember things because we’re using our phone to add one plus two instead of just doing it in our head. And then digital depression is a well-documented, well-known fact for some of the problems that you can get into with things like Facebook, Instagram, all those.

Now those platforms can be wonderful to connect to you with your friends, and to teach you more information, but they can also be a huge source of depression. And this is why: it’s because we’re comparing ourselves to others. So most of the time people who post on Facebook don’t post, you know, “I just had the worst day ever.” “I did this dumb, and this was stupid, and this was, whatever, and this is how I’m gonna do to fix it, and if you guys can hold me accountable, that’d be great, because I don’t wanna do that again.”

Most of the time we have Photoshop pictures that describe a perfect life, which just isn’t true, and we’re comparing it to ourselves. And a surefire way of becoming depressed and sad about your life is to compare yourselves to others. Imagine if you were gonna compare yourself to Oprah Winfrey, Mozart, a number of other famous, famous people who’ve made a mark. I was reading about a gentleman who helped start PayPal, and at 26 after he had sold PayPal with a number of other people for one point something billion dollars, right? He went on to his next company. If I were to compare myself to him, that probably would lead down a path of depression.

What if we were to pick up a Cosmo, or one of these other magazines that have these perfect Photoshop celebrities. And then look at our bodies and compare ourselves to them. Or the romantic picture of two people holding hands, or the couple in the movie, where everything’s perfect, and you never see the in’s and out’s of life, the daily struggles. And in those daily struggles is actually where we show our partners love, or we show our employees love.

Guys, comparing ourselves to these made-up notions where we do not have a complete picture of what the other person has struggled with, or gone through, what we look like, what we our relationships could be like, when we don’t know about others, that’s how you get depressed. It’s also how you deliver poor care. It’s also how you are not the best employee, friend, spouse, fill in the blank. We need to compare ourselves to our own barometer. We need to ask ourselves if we’ve lived up to our expectations, our values, our beliefs. That’s how we need to compare ourselves. How do we do, for our measure, and if we didn’t do as we wanted, then we need to ask why. Delve into it a little bit, ask for help from the person next to us.

But when we start to compare ourselves to others, you will notice yourself starting to use like, “He deserves this or she deserves that.” Whether it’s positive or negative. You’ll want, quote unquote, justice for the other person and grace for yourself. You’ll want to know why the other person didn’t get the punishment you think they deserved? And why you got something you didn’t think was fair? When we start going down this path of comparison, when we do not know the whole story, it’s how we circle the drain.

So I’d like you all to just think about that for a second. How many of us have watched the Olympics, let’s do gymnastics. How many of us seen gymnastics, the Olympics? See the guys on the iron cross? Do you think that happened overnight? Talking years and years of back-breaking exercise. That’s what’s gotten that person to that point. And our years and years of back-breaking exercise? Could be, how do we treat ourselves? How do we live up to our standards or… it could be with comparisons, that just make us circle the drain.

I would pose to you that when you’re on Instagram, when you’re on Facebook, when you’re talking to the person next to you, whoever that person is in your life: ask yourself if you’re comparing. Then ask yourself if you want to be depressed, if you want to be depressed, keep at it, it is a surefire way of doing it. But if you want to live life on your terms, see if you measure up to your own standards. Let’s have a good day.

About the author

Dr. Anderson with Doctors Quarterly Magazine - Cropped
Dr. Reagan Anderson

Dr. Anderson is a Board Certified Dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic Surgeon. He serves as a Clinical Professor of Dermatology and is actively involved in patient and healthcare provider education on dermatology conditions and treatment.

Colorado Dermatology Institute
8580 Scarborough Drive / 1220 Lake Plaza Drive
Colorado Springs, Colorado