Social Media and Mental Health

The social digital world is a scary place. You are one person amongst a billion of other users on social media at this moment all sharing snaps, funny one liners, thoughts, visions and stories through the click of a button. One click. A second. A snapshot into a persons life. Thats all we really see over social media. A snap shot, sometimes a second of a moment when a picture is taken. A picture taken in a second which gets 105 likes in a few minutes. Their life is amazing, right? Over 100 likes. Wow. They are so cool and live such an interesting life. Why isn’t that me? Why am I at home? Why am I not cool, rich, happy, with loads of friends on this boring Wednesday night at home? My life is dull. I’m so lonely.

Here comes the self hate. Its a snowball effect of self loathing, hate and shame. This is the power and control social media has created in so many of us. Social media can be great for the majority of the time. It’s a great way to meet new people, network and share information to a mass group of people at once. The negative side of it all is that it gives users the opportunity to compare themselves to others and to think less of their own lives. If you’re having a rough day and log on to one of your social media accounts and see the hand picked moments of glory of others, the holidays, the births, the promotions, the shopping trips, of course this will negatively effect your mood and kill your confidence.

In my opinion, the internet and social media has played a big part in the increase of poor mental health, especially in teenagers and young adults. The “fear of missing out” or fomo, plays a big part in the stresses and anxiety of so many young people who are very present on social media. Everything has to be documented and proven online nowadays, and if it isn’t, did it really happen? The pressures of keeping up and maintaining an online presence is a 24/7 job, and its taking over the way we live our lives. Constantly taking selfies, tweeting, snapchatting and checking in to places to prove we are living our best life. How many likes did I get? Did I use the correct hashtag? This will get me loads of retweets, I’ll save that to post at a peak time to get the most attention. Even waking up in the middle of the night to see what’s going on, making sure we haven’t missed some hot gossip or news. I’m guilty of some of these myself. I can’t answer why, but I can definitely tell you I feel very silly for it. It’s affected me so much, seeking attention and validation from people whom I’ve never met. Social media has made me realise, in the last year, just how lonely a place it really is. It’s the worse place to be when having a rough few days. It can make you feel worthless at times by comparison to people. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media, and all it can do, but recently I have been taking time to just step away from it all to ensure I remain in a positive state of mind. It really helps to just take a break sometimes and to remember life isn’t about proving to others how great you are or how fabulous your life is. Go for walks without your phone, go to concerts and leave your phone in your pocket, snapchat without filters and post to Instagram without comparing yourself to others. Enjoy it all without needing the clarification that you are enough.





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