Fear of Missing Out…The Anxiety is Real


Our Opinions Editor, Kimberly, shares her bitmoji.

There’s a stigma surrounding mental health issues, and it needs to be talked about. There are more than 200 mental health disorders. Can you name them all? Neither can I, but someone in this school is likely suffering from one of them, and has no one in their corner.

It is important to acknowledge these mental health disorders, especially the ones that get the least amount of recognition and support, like Fear of Missing Out. F.O.M.O. sounds like a joke, but it is very serious.

The English Oxford Living Dictionary says the fear of missing out, or F.O.M.O. is “anxiety that an exciting or interesting event may currently be happening elsewhere, often aroused by posts seen on social media.” The likely-hood of having this disorder is very high for teens, considering the impact that social media has on our every day lives.

Think about it, what do you do when you’re bored? You grab your phone, scroll through Instagram, tap through Snapchat stories, and look at your favorite celebrity tweets. Imagine seeing a picture of your close friends, at a Wakefield basketball game, and you’re not in it. The picture was only posted minutes ago, and now you’re left with a feeling of loneliness and anxiety. Every five minutes, you’re looking for updates on your friends’ Snapchat in hopes of experiencing what they’re experiencing, through your phone. You wish that you went out too, and next time you will, no matter the costs.

This mental health condition is relevant to so many people. The Economic Times says the “studies show that F.O.M.O. leads to extreme dissatisfaction and has a detrimental effect on our physical and mental health – mood swings, loneliness, feelings of inferiority, reduced self-esteem, extreme social anxiety, and increased levels of negativity and depression.” If we continue to ignore F.O.M.O.’s severity, then all the other disorders that it can lead to will be ignored as well.

Inc. says that “in a new study of 1,045 Americans aged 18-34, nearly 40 percent said they have gone into debt just to keep up with their friends’ lifestyles.” This real condition has a real impact on people’s lives.

Fear of missing out is not talked about nearly as much as it needs to be. Spreading awareness of mental health disorders is so important because it may just be the thing that helps someone that doesn’t know they’re suffering.

Visit Psychology Today to find 10 new techniques for dealing with your F.O.M.O., like practicing mindfulness, taking one thing at a time, and being okay with not having it all.