iPad + Depression = Bad Combo (for me)

CE3

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Original poster
Nov 26, 2014
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First of all, I love the iPad. In some ways it’s been the most personal of all the “personal computers” I’ve used. It’s been my favorite device for web browsing, watching videos, checking email, and shopping by a long shot.

But I think we need to break up. And it’s not the iPad, it’s me.

As I’m sure most of you already know, iPads aren’t just great devices for consumption, they’re also excellent tools for productivity and creativity. That’s why I bought my first iPad years ago, but that’s not what I’ve ended up using them for 95% of the time.

As someone who sometimes struggles with depression (and laziness), it’s been too easy for too long to lay in bed with an iPad when I’m feeling lethargic and demotivated, doing all the consumption things I love to do on it and avoiding life in the process. Again, I fully recognize that the iPad isn’t really the problem here, but the ways I’ve chosen to use it over the years..the role I've given it.. has enabled my procrastination and inactivity, and intertwined it with these negative behavior patterns.

My relationship with my phone, laptop and desktop is much more productivity focused. So while I"m sure I'll miss the iPad, I think it’s time to cut it out of the equation.

I know this is kind of a strange post, but I wanted to share and was curious if others could relate.
 

sracer

macrumors G3
Apr 9, 2010
8,664
9,377
Prescott Valley, AZ
First of all, I love the iPad. In some ways it’s been the most personal of all the “personal computers” I’ve used. It’s been my favorite device for web browsing, watching videos, checking email, and shopping by a long shot.

But I think we need to break up. And it’s not the iPad, it’s me.

As I’m sure most of you already know, iPads aren’t just great devices for consumption, they’re also excellent tools for productivity and creativity. That’s why I bought my first iPad years ago, but that’s not what I’ve ended up using them for 95% of the time.

As someone who sometimes struggles with depression (and laziness), it’s been too easy for too long to lay in bed with an iPad when I’m feeling lethargic and demotivated, doing all the consumption things I love to do on it and avoiding life in the process. Again, I fully recognize that the iPad isn’t really the problem here, but the ways I’ve chosen to use it over the years..the role I've given it.. has enabled my procrastination and inactivity, and intertwined it with these negative behavior patterns.

My relationship with my phone, laptop and desktop is much more productivity focused. So while I"m sure I'll miss the iPad, I think it’s time to cut it out of the equation.

I know this is kind of a strange post, but I wanted to share and was curious if others could relate.
Self-awareness is a helpful and healthy thing. What you are experiencing and dealing with is pretty common. I've noticed it with many of the "digital natives" that I interact with.

For us "digital immigrants" (who started life out with little to no computer exposure) we are less susceptible (but not immune) to it.

The thing to be on the look-out for is if your phone replaces the iPad in that regard.

Thanks for being transparent. I wish you success in the changes you are making and want to offer any insight/assistance that can be helpful.
 

Newtons Apple

Suspended
Mar 12, 2014
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Jacksonville, Florida
You got to just make up your mind to only use your iPad for a certain length of time and that it it!

Will not be easy at first. Get out and walk, ride a bike, run, go swimming.

You recognize you have a problem, that is the first step in fixing it!

Good Luck!
 
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Porco

macrumors 68040
Mar 28, 2005
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They can be quite addictive!

Maybe try limiting your use of the iPad to certain rooms in your house (exclude the bedroom). If you have the discipline to get rid altogether, you might want to first try limiting it to certain rooms. Or, maybe get a long charging lead and only allow yourself to use it tethered (physically) to the charger. Good luck with whatever you decide.
 
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MisterSavage

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Nov 10, 2018
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If you do keep your iPad maybe the ScreenTime feature in settings would help. It would make you aware of how long you've been using the device and lets you schedule downtime.

The thing to be on the look-out for is if your phone replaces the iPad in that regard.
That's the first thought I had.
 
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CE3

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The thing to be on the look-out for is if your phone replaces the iPad in that regard.
Fortunately, I can’t see myself being glued to a tiny 6” screen the way I can be with an iPad for hours. But I know a lot of people have unhealthy relationships with their smartphones too. I think many of us are still trying to figure out how to find a balance with all this technology (internet and social media) in our lives.

I use Siri with my watch—it’s the only device where I keep “Hey Siri” enabled since I wear it all the time—and this keeps me from reaching for my phone a lot throughout the day.

I’m usually at a table or a desk if I’m on my MacBook. And I'll use the MacBook more if the iPad’s gone.

But whether I keep the iPad or not, I think I should establish a general “No Electronics in Bed” rule (besides my watch).

Better monitoring and use of the ScreenTime feature would probably be helpful too.

Thanks for the positive feedback and helpful suggestions everyone.
 

AutomaticApple

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Nov 28, 2018
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Fortunately, I can’t see myself being glued to a tiny 6” screen the way I can be with an iPad for hours. But I know a lot of people have unhealthy relationships with their smartphones too. I think many of us are still trying to figure out how to find a balance with all this technology (internet and social media) in our lives.

I use Siri with my watch—it’s the only device where I keep “Hey Siri” enabled since I wear it all the time—and this keeps me from reaching for my phone a lot throughout the day.

I’m usually at a table or a desk if I’m on my MacBook. And I'll use the MacBook more if the iPad’s gone.

But whether I keep the iPad or not, I think I should establish a general “No Electronics in Bed” rule (besides my watch).

Better monitoring and use of the ScreenTime feature would probably be helpful too.

Thanks for the positive feedback and helpful suggestions everyone.
Set downtime?
 

Richard8655

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
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605
Chicago
Your post is right on target. The age of screens has caused many sociological and social problems. We inter-relate less personally with other people and get our social and entertainment needs from a glass flat screen. Easy to spend way too much time there.

I have to guard against it too quite a bit. As previously mentioned, getting out for physical activity helps hugely not only to keep in shape, but mental state as well. Biking, swimming, walking, hiking, visiting a forest to absorb nature helps me tremendously balance life with an iPad (or iPhone, computer, etc.).
 
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jagolden

macrumors 65816
Feb 11, 2002
1,084
747
First of all, I love the iPad. In some ways it’s been the most personal of all the “personal computers” I’ve used. It’s been my favorite device for web browsing, watching videos, checking email, and shopping by a long shot.

But I think we need to break up. And it’s not the iPad, it’s me.

As I’m sure most of you already know, iPads aren’t just great devices for consumption, they’re also excellent tools for productivity and creativity. That’s why I bought my first iPad years ago, but that’s not what I’ve ended up using them for 95% of the time.

As someone who sometimes struggles with depression (and laziness), it’s been too easy for too long to lay in bed with an iPad when I’m feeling lethargic and demotivated, doing all the consumption things I love to do on it and avoiding life in the process. Again, I fully recognize that the iPad isn’t really the problem here, but the ways I’ve chosen to use it over the years..the role I've given it.. has enabled my procrastination and inactivity, and intertwined it with these negative behavior patterns.

My relationship with my phone, laptop and desktop is much more productivity focused. So while I"m sure I'll miss the iPad, I think it’s time to cut it out of the equation.

I know this is kind of a strange post, but I wanted to share and was curious if others could relate.
I’m pleased you are sharing your feelings and thoughts/experiences on this. Good to do instead of keeping it to yourself. You may actually help others with this post.

Do what you feel is right for you. I also suffer from depression, bipolar II, and other issues. My therapist has suggested setting an alarm for a specific amount of time for using the iPad or computer. The built in one is great for that. Or, she says use the device as a "reward" after getting something accomplished, be it a "simple" as getting up or showering (and those can be overwhelming tasks with depression).
I fully understand the procrastination thing, totally relate.

Good luck with however you proceed with this. You’re not alone.
 

baypharm

Contributor
Nov 15, 2007
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You would be a great candidate for Valerie 23 when it becomes available. I tell patients to get out and volunteer. Helping others is a great way to help yourself.
 
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K1221n

macrumors member
Feb 20, 2017
30
7
Agreed, just force yourself to walk a couple miles and get some resistance training every couple days.


You got to just make up your mind to only sue your iPad for a certain length of time and that it it!

Will not be easy at first. Get out and walk, ride a bike, run, go swimming.

You recognize you have a problem, that is the first step in fixing it!

Good Luck!
 
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subjonas

macrumors 68030
Feb 10, 2014
2,631
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I can relate to this. Our devices, especially the iPad which is designed specifically for personal consumption, can contribute to keeping us stuck in an isolated loop, too occupied to see life passing by. Good on you for doing something about it, and for sharing.
 
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CE3

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Nov 26, 2014
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Quick update..

I haven’t gotten rid of the iPad, but I’ve cut down my usage significantly (i.e. barely used) over the past 5 days. This has been on my mind for a very long time, so I think it really helped to make a declaration here.

I’m doing a good job of keeping the electronics away from bed at night. I might put a podcast on a sleep timer before getting in bed, but my phone will be charging across the room.

I enjoy regular physical activity, so I’m pretty healthy in that regard.

At least part of my depression is triggered by procrastination and letting tasks and deadlines build up to a point where I get so overwhelmed that I don’t want to do anything at all. I know my overall health will improve if I continue to take a more proactive approach to how I deal with stress / anxiety / depression.

Thanks again for the recommendations and suggestions everyone. It’s nice that MacRumors can be such a supportive community.

I read Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport a couple of months ago, and I found it very helpful. This is the link to the Kindle version, so you may want a paper copy if you're trying to get away from the iPad. :)

https://www.amazon.com/Digital-Minimalism-Choosing-Focused-Noisy-ebook/dp/B07DBRBP7G/ref=sr_1_2?crid=66MIEUWXV3LT&keywords=digital+minimalism&qid=1558120658&s=digital-text&sprefix=digital+minimal,aps,526&sr=1-2
Thanks! It's my next listen!
Screen Shot 2019-05-17 at 9.53.00 PM.png
 
Last edited:

Pipper99

macrumors 68030
Aug 14, 2010
2,800
1,343
Fort Worth, TX
Quick update..

I haven’t gotten rid of the iPad, but I’ve cut down my usage significantly (i.e. barely used) over the past 5 days. This has been on my mind for a very long time, so I think it really helped to make a declaration here.

I’m doing a good job of keeping the electronics away from bed at night. I might put a podcast on a sleep timer before getting in bed, but my phone will be charging across the room.

I enjoy regular physical activity, so I’m pretty healthy in that regard.

At least part of my depression is triggered by procrastination and letting tasks and deadlines build up to a point where I get so overwhelmed that I don’t want to do anything at all. I know my overall health will improve if I continue to take a more proactive approach to how I deal with stress / anxiety / depression.

Thanks again for the recommendations and suggestions everyone. It’s nice that MacRumors can be such a supportive community.


Thanks! It's my next listen!
View attachment 838124
Here’s the podcast where I heard the author discuss his book and philosophy:

https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/digital-minimalism-cal-newport/
 
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sonicrobby

macrumors 68020
Apr 24, 2013
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New Orleans
Definitely relate-able! Not so much with my iPad for me though, more with my phone and TV. I cycle through deleting my social media on my phone just because of the amount of time I spend on them. I get tired of living my life though other people's eyes. And netflix, well that **** is just addicting... I find myself coming home from work, plopping myself in my bed and binge watching whatever nonsense I find. Could also be the exhaustion caused by spending 12 hrs a day at work + the commute, and the misery from hating my job. Back to the point, I think its a good idea. If you're hesitant to get rid of it, I would suggest store it somewhere long term where its not easy to get to, just in case you change your mind again.
 
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CE3

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Nov 26, 2014
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Back to the point, I think its a good idea. If you're hesitant to get rid of it, I would suggest store it somewhere long term where its not easy to get to, just in case you change your mind again.
Yeah, I'm a little reluctant to let it go, but I think it's time to say goodbye for now. I "relapsed" a bit on Tuesday, so I've packed the iPad up and I'm selling it.

Of course I can still procrastinate and waste time on the MacBook and iMac, but they're much more connected to all the productive things I do.
 

CE3

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Nov 26, 2014
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A quick update: After reneging on selling my iPad, it didn’t take long for me to fall back into my old routines, so now it’s going for sure this time.

It’s no longer a question if the iPad can replace a MacBook for a lot daily tasks for me (it does), so having both a MacBook Pro and an iPad has felt like overkill and one device too many. Of course this won’t solve all my problems, but a MacBook & iMac setup is the more balanced and productive one for me.

Still, after many years of iPads (iPad 2, Air 1 & 2, Pro 9.7, 10.5 & 12.9) it'll be an adjustment not having one around.
 
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PrettyWings

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Nov 3, 2016
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First of all, I love the iPad. In some ways it’s been the most personal of all the “personal computers” I’ve used. It’s been my favorite device for web browsing, watching videos, checking email, and shopping by a long shot.

But I think we need to break up. And it’s not the iPad, it’s me.

As I’m sure most of you already know, iPads aren’t just great devices for consumption, they’re also excellent tools for productivity and creativity. That’s why I bought my first iPad years ago, but that’s not what I’ve ended up using them for 95% of the time.

As someone who sometimes struggles with depression (and laziness), it’s been too easy for too long to lay in bed with an iPad when I’m feeling lethargic and demotivated, doing all the consumption things I love to do on it and avoiding life in the process. Again, I fully recognize that the iPad isn’t really the problem here, but the ways I’ve chosen to use it over the years..the role I've given it.. has enabled my procrastination and inactivity, and intertwined it with these negative behavior patterns.

My relationship with my phone, laptop and desktop is much more productivity focused. So while I"m sure I'll miss the iPad, I think it’s time to cut it out of the equation.

I know this is kind of a strange post, but I wanted to share and was curious if others could relate.

You said you know it’s not the iPad, but you are cutting it out of the equation. What happens if this manifests in another way? You said that you see it’s the ways you’ve “chosen” to use it. Choose to take back control. You gave it that role, you can change it.
 
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CE3

macrumors 68000
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Nov 26, 2014
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You said you know it’s not the iPad, but you are cutting it out of the equation. What happens if this manifests in another way? You said that you see it’s the ways you’ve “chosen” to use it. Choose to take back control. You gave it that role, you can change it.
I agree that sometimes one bad habit goes only to be replaced by another. I experienced this when I quit smoking. But I also experienced things manifesting in its place that were quite positive.

Generally speaking, my moods have been relatively balanced over the past few months. While I have noticed my iPad usage becoming a problem again, right now I think the bigger issue is not needing both a MacBook Pro and an iPad Pro and choosing the most productive mobile computing solution for me between the two.

That being said, I do feel removing triggers for negative behaviors can be a way of taking control. It may not always work out that way, but I would liken selling my iPad to someone getting their favorite ice cream out of the freezer when they're on a diet. Yes, you can choose to be more disciplined and try to strike a balance with its presence in your life, but sometimes the triggers just need to go, so you can peel back that layer and get closer to the root of the problem.
 
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Cosmo M3

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Sep 4, 2010
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My girlfriend suffers from depression and anxiety and she is addicted to her iPhone. Constantly checking every 30-60 seconds when she’s not doing anything.
 

spiderman0616

macrumors 68040
Aug 1, 2010
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What a great topic for a post.

I don't have chronic depression or anything like that, but I do find that I waste time at night doing things I don't need to be doing on my iPhone or iPad when that extra hour or two of sleep would have done me a lot more good. I've found over the last year though that doing something creative, even if it's on the iPad, helps with that. I'll work on a design or drawing or photo project for about an hour while listening to a podcast. Eventually my brain just gets tired and I don't feel like doing anything else after that. At that point, I fold up the iPad and go to sleep.

The pitfall though is that I do still have that device in my lap once I've decided to go to bed, and since I do so much of my work stuff on it as well as gaming, reading, web browsing, etc., it's so easy to be like, "Oh, I can do this one more thing before I go to sleep." or "Well, one round of Vainglory isn't going to kill me."

The iPad is one of my favorite devices of all time because of how versatile, powerful, and portable it is, but that definitely can be a double edged sword.
 
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