Social Media & Mental Health - Matt
Welcome back to the blog everyone, As you can probably tell by the title, today I wanted to talk about a very highly debated topic when it comes to our Mental Health, and the age old question is Social Media Harmful or Helpful when it comes to our Mental Health. Now keep in mind everything you are about to read is my own personal opinion and I am by no means an expert on anything. So with that being said lets jump right into the age old debate shall we. I'm going to share 3 reasons why I think it can be harmful and 3 reasons for how I believe that it can be helpful.
So let's Start with the reasons why I think it is helpful, #1 Social Media can be very helpful in the fact that there is a great mental health community that supports each other. We let each other vent, we can remind others to take their medication, and all around just make new friends that understand what we are going through. This can often times make it easier to talk to someone about what is going on, especially if they also suffer with mental health challenges - they know what mental illness is capable of and can suggest things that may help them cope. I mean who doesn't love new things to try. The more weapons we have in our arsenal to fight mental illness the better right??
Reason # 2- Social media can give us an outlet to express ourselves creatively, whether that be through a writing a blog, creating videos or sharing our art projects, like painting, coloring and homemade jewelry. It allows us feedback on our work, and in some great cases, to sell some of the projects that we want to let go of. For me it is writing posts for this blog, as well as creating my YouTube Videos for my other channel. I love interacting with other creators, artists, writers, and people who give feedback. In some cases others see my work and it inspires them to share their stories with me, which I think is amazing.
The 3rd & Final reason I think it can be helpful, is that it can allow us to discover new sources of valuable information as well as resources. For example before I had started really getting into the Mental Health community on Instagram and Twitter, I had never heard of the Crisis Text Line. They provide free 24/7 mental health support via text message. Which is great because when it comes to phone calls a lot of people, myself included, can get really anxious and nervous. This in turn makes it a bit harder for us to truly talk about what's bothering us. Now there are so many other ones that I have discovered and that have been recommended to me along the way, but without social media, I probably would not have discovered these great and very helpful resources. I have now been able to utilize these services as well as share with others who are in need.
Now let's move on to the 3 ways that Social Media Can be Harmful. Reason #1 for me is the fear of missing out or as Most people call it FOMO. The reason I bring this one up is because I know it has really had an impact on my self-esteem as well as my Mental Health. When you see your friends and family having a great time, smiling and being happy, doing fun things without you, it can make you feel lonely and inadequate. It can also make you second guess yourself as to why you may not have been invited, for example, am i not good enough? Do they not really care about me? Am I that annoying or Ugly?? These are all things that can really hurt a person if they continually live in the 'what ifs' and negative headspace. Now I am by no means saying that social media has this effect on everyone, but for me, I know with my Illnesses it can effect me a lot. Sometimes we are not even aware of how much it really does. Not everything is about us and we do not need to be included in everything that others do. It is okay to have time alone and take time for yourself when needed.
Reason #2 Which is a big one these days is cyber bullying. It is a very big and rampant problem. It is happening everywhere we look and it is sad that it happens to so many people on a daily basis, people of all ages, as well as genders. I don't know whether people think that it is acceptable or funny, but it is just as harmful if not more, than bullying someone to their faces. I know that there have been several cases in the local news where I live about it happening to kids in schools, continually happening until the bullied individual completed suicide. That should NEVER happen. Another big thing which I have experienced personally is people making super rude comments about my weight, which I know does happen to a lot of people. I was bullied throughout every level of school, including college, so have developed a little thicker skin than most - but I should not have had to. I shouldn't have to put up with being bullied. If you see someone being bullied then stand up for that person, let them know that they do not have to face this world alone.
Finally Reason #3 Is that it can create the feeling of inadequacy or not being good enough. Now we all know that lots of pictures on social media can be doctored, filters can be added or even appearances altered. This can be a very dangerous thing for many people, especially those that suffer with body image issues, or even in some cases eating disorders. On social media we can create alter egos, and make things appear to be better or worse than they are, without most people being any the wiser. Just because someone looks a certain way on social media, that does not mean that they are revealing their true selves. We are only seeing what they want us to, the best thing that I always tell others and remind myself of a lot, is that "you can't compare your bloopers to someone else's highlight reel." Now what I mean is that everyone has different circumstances in which they live. We all have different issues going on and depending on where we live there might be additional factors at play. Always do you, make your own path, create your own destiny and set your own goals. Also remember YOU ARE ENOUGH!!! No Matter what anyone else tells you.
Well Guys those are just a few of the pros and cons of whether social media and mental health, I know that there are so many other reasons, but I did not want to make this super long. I know that everyone struggles with different things, so we may all get different benefits, and or harmful elements from social media. I shared ones that I have personal experience with, as well as felt most comfortable talking about. I would love to hear from all of you in the comments section. I want to know your opinions on this matter. So let me pose this question to all of you wonderful readers. What aspects do you personally think are harmful or helpful of social media???? I can't wait to see what all of you think.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this post and I hope that you all are doing well.