In part two of my Friday Guest blog spot we have another blogger, who wishes to stay anonymous, in which the author describes social media and mental health. This is another guest blogger in my series in May for Mental Health Awareness Month. It has been a pleasure to write.
You can find the author’s blog here: http://www.wherearemypillows.com/
The Upside of Social Media
In the context of mental health, it seems to me that society has given social media a bad rap.
I’ve seen countless new stories implicate the rise of social media with increased isolation, decreased self-esteem, and greater rates of depression and anxiety. Our mental health suffers from the use of apps like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter—or so the narrative goes.
But a major piece of the conversation is missing. As social mediamatures and more of us internalize the idea to “stop comparing your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel,” I sense thelandscape shifting. A growing number of people are figuring out how to use social media for one of its greatest strengths: the greater interconnectedness it enables between wider numbers of individuals.
It’s only been in the handful of months since I restarted blogging and identifying on social media platforms as a chronic illness writer that I discovered this strength for myself. By posting on various topics concerning health and noticing others on the web expressing similar struggles, I have gotten to know so many people across the globe who I otherwise would have never known about. This has done wonders for my mental health, allowing me to maintain a form of self-expression and human connection even during those times when all I’ve wanted to do ishide in my pillows.
Without social media (and specifically the ease of finding community and support amidst my attempts at self-expression), I firmly believe that my road to better mental health would be more challenging, more overwhelming, and more prolonged.
I have also come to realize something in a way I had never appreciated before: we all have our share of internal demons.
It’s so easy to feel alone when you’re struggling with your mentalhealth. When everyone around you seems to be holding themselves together just fine but the inside of your head looks like a warzone, it’s hard to escape the feeling that something is wrong with you—and you alone. This makes the idea of reaching out for help paralyzing, as the last thing
you want to do is make yourself feel vulnerable to someone that seems to have themself together.
However, I have now identified enough of my own anxiety- and depression-driven thoughts in other people’s words online to realize that the struggles I experience are not uniquely mine. They are shared by countless others before me, and will be shared by countless others behind me. And while I don’t wish mental health struggles on anyone,
there’s a sense of comfort in knowing that I’m far from the only one with internal demons to overcome.
If you’re feeling lost, feeling lonely, or could use another tool to support you in your journey towards improve mental health, I wholeheartedly encourage you to consider the upsides of social media. Get your thoughts and feelings out there whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a blog; you can be as anonymous as you like, while being true to your inner self, in a way that can feel impossible offline. Or if that seems daunting, start by taking a look around tosee what other people are posting and find ways to engage with them, little by little. I bet that with some patience, you’ll meet others with which you can identify and benefit from the human connection that having
those increased social links provides.