Dave Annable unfollowed everyone: ‘Instagram can cause depression & anxiety’

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been pondering taking a Facebook break because it seems like scrolling through my newsfeed makes me alternately happy and anxious. I know there are reports that social media usage can contribute to depression and anxiety; I took a year-long break several years ago and it absolutely was beneficial for my overall mood. However, since I use social media to keep up with a lot of friends around the country and world, it’s hard to quit. One person who has had no problems deprioritizing social media is actor Dave Annable, who announced Monday that he’s changing his Instagram habits after realizing that they were contributing to his depression and anxiety:

Dave Annable is prioritizing his emotional wellbeing.

The Brothers & Sisters star announced Monday that he is scaling back on using social media after experiencing feelings of depression and anxiety.

“Turns out all of the articles and science about how Instagram can cause depression and anxiety is real,” Annable, 39, began his Instagram post. “I’m saying goodbye to all of the vacations I’m not on, all of that time I’ve spent mindlessly scrolling, all of the anxiety that can come with follows/unfollows/likes and unfortunately SO much more.”

The only person Annable still follows is wife, actress Odette Annable, with whom he shares daughter Charlie, 3.

“Still gonna follow the wifey to make sure she doesn’t talk too much s— about me,” he said. “Also, I heard she’s gotta a really cute kid. 😉.”

The actor added that while he’ll be staying “active with posting cause it’s now a part of our job,” he “won’t be comparing” his life to what he sees on social media anymore.

“I’ll be thinking of you guys who I followed but even better…I won’t be comparing,” he said. “See you soon, in real life. #freedom.”

In July, Instagram announced new features to combat online bullying. It is also testing a feature that would hide the like and view counts of posts from followers.

Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri told Buzzfeed News that testing the new feature is “about creating a less pressurized environment where people feel comfortable expressing themselves,” adding, “We do hear people worry about how many like counts they get.”

[From People]

Social media allows us to document, share and compare in ways we couldn’t have imagined before and that comes with so many benefits and drawbacks. It’s great that Dave recognized that Instagram was bothering him and that he took measures to scale back. I try to remember that there’s a certain “performative” aspect of social media, and that most people aren’t going to post often about mundane or upsetting things (which is fine, of course). But that means that if you are comparing your life to what people share, you’re missing the entire picture. I hope that Dave finds that changing his Instagram habits make a positive difference in his health.

Photos credit: WENN and via Instagram

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18 Responses to “Dave Annable unfollowed everyone: ‘Instagram can cause depression & anxiety’”

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  1. Erinn says:

    I ended up deleting and blocking a TON of people shortly after the US election. I used to hide posts from inlaws that were real bible thumping redneck fear mongering fake news sharing asshats – but I started just deleting them. I don’t want to be associated with someone who shares vile lies. And it was people from all generations. You shared something anti-vax? You’re gone. Anti-muslim? Gone. Anything about ‘libtards’ or false statements about Trudeau? Gone.

    I’ve been immensely happier.

    • manda says:

      I didn’t have the courage to actually delete them from my friends, because that would cause a confrontation for sure; instead, I just make it so I never see their stuff. It’s funny, my MIL is always asking, did you see that thing I posted on facebook? And I just say that I must have missed it.

      I would like to delete facebook but I do value the good things (like the cute animal and kid videos, the heart warming stories, keeping up with friends, etc) and so I haven’t been able to do it yet. I am getting there though. I don’t feel like instagram makes me feel bad or depressed, but I also don’t look at it very often.

    • Mgsota says:

      I deleted Facebook the night of the election…when we knew that b-tch was going to win. My cousin’s husband posted a celebratory post about Trump and I lost it. Instead of cussing out family members, I just deleted Facebook. I still don’t have it and I don’t miss it one bit.

    • Yup, Me says:

      I was always pretty selective about who I friended on SM and I’m glad for that. I’m ruthless about deleting people who share things that are hateful or justify abuse of others. I just deleted someone for an anti-trans women post this week. I have zero time for people’s hateful ugly bullshit.

      There was a slew of deletions from my list when Black Lives Matter was first speaking up. A bunch of former friends from college sharing All Lives Matter crap and “he should have just listened to the police” type BS got chewed out and instantly deleted and blocked. Not a single one has been missed.

      My not so stable aunt has tried starting ugly dialogues on a couple of my threads and I just let her know, right there on the thread, that she needs to stop or I will delete her.

  2. MarcelMarcel says:

    I don’t have FB (because it just causes anxiety and I’d rather go to a rally than use my mental energy on a FB debate).

    I recently deactivated my personal insta. I’ve keep my artist insta operational. However I’ve deleted the app. It has count down on mindless scrolling & unhealthy comparisons between myself & others. I feel better already!

    If you have to keep social media for whatever reason then maybe just delete the app off your phone. It’s one way of taking a social media break that allows you to still check in if you need to. I think FB messanger is a seperate app to the FB feed?

    Anyways (hopefully) this perspective is helpful for someone who finds social media draining but it’s not a viable option to delete it entirely.

  3. astrid says:

    I quit Facebook in the summer of 2016 before the elections. The posts were getting too much. I don’t regret getting off social media, it’s been relaxing to not deal with so much toxicity

  4. CharliePenn says:

    For me Facebook is a bummer because of politics and distant cousins wining about their rather privileged lives all the time… I go on their once in a while to check my messages and my local town page for events and stuff like that.
    Instagram is great though! Curate that shiz! I have lots of body positivity accounts I follow, art accounts, nature photography, friends and family who’s pics I actually like. I share my own journey regarding chronic pain sometimes, and get encouragement and I hope inspire others to know they aren’t alone with chronic pain and hidden illness. It’s been a really great way for me to open up about all that.
    Sure, I see people’s vacation highlight reels. I’m aware of that aspect, and I guess it just doesn’t bother me. I’m a homebody anyway. And when I do go somewhere beautiful I love to share those pics, too! Not to rub it in anyone’s face, but because it’s a special and exciting thing to share with people.

    I think banning all social media might work for some, but curating and making very personal choices about what/whom to follow is also probably a good option for most people too.

    PS his pregnant wife looks absolutely gorgeous.

    • Esmom says:

      That’s what I do. I deleted my IG account that had actual people I know as followers and went back on anonymously. I don’t post and I still follow my kids, although they’re not very active on it, but the rest of my feed is made up of foster kittens, national parks, a couple fitness professionals, a couple foodies and a few artists. It’s not stressful at all to scroll through, lol.

      I haven’t pulled the plug completely on FB but I have drastically limited my time there.

  5. Cat says:

    I deactivated Instagram in April 2018 and deleted the app from my phone. Eventually, in November, I deleted my account. 2018 was rough year for my mental health and deleting Instagram was a huge relief in lots of ways, helped my anxiety and my endless, mindless scrolling and comparing myself to other people. I do miss some news, occasionally, but really, I don’t mind.

  6. Naddie says:

    I mostly use my fb to watch mortal kombat lives, pick up fights and discuss in a feminist group. It’s working well.

  7. Esmom says:

    Dave Annabelle played such an utter creep in What/If that I actually felt revulsion at first when I first saw this post, lol. I think he’s on the right track to step back from social media. I think everyone should, me included.

    I just read the book Educated by Tara Westover (meh) but in doing bit of extra reading about her, I discovered a commencement address she gave at Northeastern called The UnInstagrammable Self. It’s not long and it’s not very deep but it’s a nice message about remembering that those IG moments are not the real moments worth remembering:


  8. Elaine says:

    Instagram makes me feel depressed because people are going on vacations and dressing up, etc. what i’d Give to go to a beach

  9. Valerie says:

    I went back to twitter and now I find I have to take breaks. I just take the app right off my phone or ignore it as best I can. It’s just too much. I don’t want to filter my reality to the point of ignorance but you really can only take in so much at one time, and my feed is overwhelmed by political news and all the dumb shit Trump and his ilk say.

  10. Carrie says:

    I’ll be the outlier. I did FB for one year in its early phase, years ago now. Had to cut it as it was nothing but complaining people mostly.

    I have twitter and IG but FOR mental health. I rarely tweet anything personal and if I do, it’s for good mental health and healing or an art or literature thing. Mostly I retweet non personal people who are there professionally.

    I’ve got a private Instagram which I rarely post to and nothing personal ever. Twitter and IG are used for art, wildlife, history, literature educational purposes. I’ve got a few mental health people I follow and a few for a specific narrow medical interest. I had Trump muted from his early days running for election and I mostly ignore politics. News is in a list plus twitter has news and trends anyway.

    There is excellent financial advice of inside baseball stuff I follow for economy and world heads up. Also Ebola outbreak et al world health news. Changes in society is what I track and read, worldwide (ie. cycling vs. Autos, housing crisis) But I keep lists and don’t follow those, so I can find them as they’re individual professionals who are not popular or well known. Also to avoid causes and issues overtaking my life.

    Mostly, it’s a therapeutic and educational tool for me. I rarely speak to anyone ever anymore. Lot of narcissists on social media. I don’t care for that. I cull those who try to follow me if they’re just looking to tag along for follower counts, writers seeking easy free ideas, etc. Cull often and block if necessary.

    Social media is hell I agree, but as a resource instead I’ve found it an enormous lifesaver during a horrific few years overcoming traumatic shock. Nobody knew mostly. And I regularly follow and unfollow at random. These people are not my friends nor real life contacts. No personal relationships.

    • Carrie says:

      Want to add – twitter is where I learned the depths of misogyny and sexism and how much we didn’t see, know, or realize was buried in detailed interactions and how harmful it has been. It saved my life learning that and I’ve discovered highly educated women of integrity and rich reading resources to further aid healing.

      To know how the world is evolving, or trying to evolve, or how it needs to improve – that’s what I use twitter for and it’s been an adjunct lifesaver.

      IG is for travel photos and other hobby interests such as art. Rarely look but to pop in and scroll a bit is sometimes a lovely treat.

  11. pottymouth pup says:

    I was crazy busy and just didn’t check twitter for a couple of weeks and then I just stayed off because I noticed I felt better not seeing the constant reminders of what utter shite so many people are. I’m still on FB b/c it seems to be the primary way of communicating rescue activities and, while the current political climate is heinous, I have been heartened to see more of my casual acquaintances speaking out against the white supremacy/misogyny and all those hateful things that Trump, McConnell and Tucker Carlson all spout as being as American as apple pie

  12. A Fan says:

    Like I always say, social media is the scourge of the Earth.

  13. Adrianna says:

    I signed up for Facebook and Twitter several years ago. A month later I deleted both of them and haven’t bothered with them since. I’d rather experience my own life rather than spend half of that precious time scrolling through and reading about how other people live theirs.