#NoFilter: Social Media & Mental Health

I have been, and will always try to be, candid about mental health on my blog and on social media. I would like to think it helps with stigma, but more importantly I’d like to think that reading my rambles might be helping someone else.

Sometimes my candid doesn’t mean everything that’s happening in my life, sometimes it’s too difficult to be a wide open book, but I try. I talk about my anxiety a lot, I don’t talk about depression. Maybe one day, but at this point that day isn’t here. But I want to at least share what I am comfortable with.

Because when I was in college and university, you didn’t see much about mental health out there.

And now when I’m scrolling feeds, it’s almost all I do see. And I’m still trying to figure out what I think about that.

Part of thinks that all the eyes mean that the stigma will lessen. But it’s gotten to the point that there’s so many memes and accounts about it that it’s being seen as a trend, and it most certainly is not.

I love that people talk about it, but when it’s all talk and jokes, where does that get us?

Sure, we talk about it more. But the stigma in work places and in every day interactions still exists. It also makes me wonder about self-diagnosing, and if that could be problematic. When I went to my doctor, I had ideas about what was going on because of articles I read online, but if people are going off of a viral tweet and not double checking with a doctor, surely that can’t be good. I don’t think, but I’m not 100% sure.

See it’s a tricky thing, balancing mental health and social media. Balancing isn’t the right word, because mental health should always come first and yet I find that these days they go hand in hand.

Why?

Because we are always plugged in, for better or for worse.

For me, a lot of it is work related. Blogging and social media management and doing freelance on trending fashion. It’s hard to stay up to date on trends even when you’re plugged in, I honestly don’t know how people do it. Sometimes I wonder how differently I would see social media if I wasn’t blogging, but I’ll of course never know.

How does social media affect my mental health?

First, I know that everyone is different. And would love to have a discussion about this, instead of me just talking to the internet, but this will have to do.

It changes day to day how my mental health is affected, and I don’t think anyone is immune, but they might not notice it right away.

I, and I don’t know how to word this truly, know that I am pretty strong-minded. Even if my brain chemicals aren’t totally correct. If I don’t feel like posting, sharing, answering, liking, I won’t. But I do know, especially when I was younger, it was different. And I do know that the instant gratification you can get from social media can be addicting in the worst way.

The comparison game is real, but it’s something that affects me here and there but not all the time. And usually has to do with career things! Also traveling, I get envious of seeing where people are knowing that I might never get to everywhere I want but that passes quickly. I think pings of emotion like that are human, but it’s when scrolling through a feed affects your anxiety (for example) that you should pay attention.

I have zero tolerance for following/being involved with accounts that can affect my mental health negatively. Mute button? Not me, I unfollow left right and centre. And there is no shame in that at all. I’ve had people slide into my DMs to question why I unfollowed and I just don’t respond. At the end of the day, while social media might get some fire for how it affects us, we control it. Sure it might not always seem like it, but you control how much time you spend on it and what you’re seeing. That’s when I find the screen time recording apps and things helpful, because it really opens your eyes to how much time you’re spending watching other people’s lives instead of focusing on your own. But my god, that’s hard sometimes.

For the most part, social media has helped me a lot. It’s connected me to people who have become friends I can depend on in real life. Okay, one friend. But still, I think that’s important to remember because we always hear of just the negative things, you know?

I still find that I’m not any more comfortable talking to new people in real life about mental health, which I find slightly confusing because I have no issue sharing with strangers online. But I guess in a way, even when rambling away on my keyboard, I’m still protected by the fact I am behind a screen.

But I still have to be in the mood to share and, even though it seems to be a trend, I don’t think you have to physically bare it all in a photoshoot just to share more about what you’re going through.

If anything, I’ve learned that looking at everything and anyone on social media is like seeing someone’s life through rose-tinted glasses. And I think it’s important to keep that in mind.

This really hit home for me when my sister’s friend said that I was ‘killing it lately,’ when really I feel like I have not been at all. And as far as bloggers go, my social media truly isn’t that curated. I hardly do sponsored posts, I only post when I feel like it and my Instagram “theme” is more or less non-existent. But it reminded me that even I, who puts a lot out there, can still put a filter on things.

January has been one of the hardest (and longest!!!) months in a very long time. There’s been a bunch of reasons, everything just kind of piling up. And I noticed that I just haven’t been as invested as social media, especially Instagram, as I have been in the past. Just kind of all seemed fake, even with my Insta ways of a lot of selfies and flatlays.

Recently I started a personal Instagram and while adding more social media to my life might seem like the exact opposite of what I need, it made sense to me. It’s amusing to me that it’s still very ‘themed,’ but it’s so much more fun when I’m not thinking of how a brand is going to look at it. And anything you do online should be fun, but I think we fall into patterns of taking it too seriously. Which is strange considering it’s all temporary, don’t you think?

I will always find comfort in sharing cheesy quotes that help me, seeing how my friends are doing in different parts of the world and getting inspiration from other people.

I can say confidently that, when my job hunt ends and of course depending which job I move onto next, I need to take a break. But until then, I think it’s good to check in with myself, make sure I’m okay but also that if I’m having an off day, recognize why and what can help instead of hinder.

 

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