This is a debate which I’m sure a lot of people will have different opinions on. Is social media beneficial for your mental health, or is it actually detrimental, and does it help or hinder your recovery? Personally, I think the answer is a mixture of both.
Some extremely supportive recovery communities have formed across many different social media platforms (Twitter especially comes to mind here). Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do without them and I certainly don’t know what I did before I discovered them. Opening up and discussing your problems to complete strangers on the internet is strangely comforting.
Before I joined Twitter, I felt like the only person in the entire world to be experiencing what I was experiencing. Everybody else my age seemed to be living life, they were so successful. I was always the odd one out. But then I came across a lovely bunch of people on Twitter who were just like me, and I no longer feel alone in my struggles.
They have helped me to vocalise my experience with mental health, providing a (mostly) safe place where I can express my emotion and feel reassured that somebody else would have gone, or is going through, something similar. The majority of people on there won’t judge me, and instead offer encouragement, hope and a shoulder to lean on.
Tumblr too, where I focus mainly on reblogging positivity, motivation and inspiration for recovery. Reminding myself of these things every day in the form of cute little images and quotes really drums these positive messages into my mind and is a constant reminder that recovery is not only possible, but also very worth it.
However, it’s not all sunshine and roses in the vast and all-encompassing land that is social media.
I sometimes find it all too overwhelming, especially during hard times where I’m really struggling with my mental health. When my brain is already overloaded with conflicting thoughts and emotions, the last thing I need is to add to this by scrolling through my Twitter timeline (and I can assure you there WILL be conflict on the ol’ Twitter timeline!).
And just like every other aspect of life, both online and offline, there are going to be cliques. What I mean by this is a very close-knit group of people, from whom I sometimes feel rather cut off from. Obviously they aren’t doing anything wrong. After all, it’s inevitable that some people ‘click’ more than others. but being noticed in a group of people is something I’ve always struggled with. I sometimes feel quite isolated from others, something that is true in real life but also seems to have transferred to the online world, too.
Then there is the darker side of social media.
Some aspects of social media can be extremely triggering and not supportive of recovery in the slightest. I’m not going to list those things here as I would hate to potentially danger other people or encourage them to look it up. Let’s just say, as much as it’s possible to immerse yourself in recovery and positivity on social media, it’s also possible to do the complete opposite and actually search for things that do much more harm than good. It’s a fine line.
And of course there are people that get a kick out of bringing down others. I’m a sensitive lass and if anybody directs ‘hate’ towards me, I tend to take it rather personally. I’m trying to work on this, and realise that the sort of people who do this are probably going through something themselves (or are just really shit people, in which case they are better off being ignored).
Like with everything in life, I think it’s good to seek balance. When I know I’m going to be easily triggered or upset, I stay away from social media for a few days. It’s important to realise when it’s becoming too much and be able to switch off your phone and leave it in a draw for a little while. At the same time, though, social media can be used in such a way that it enhances both your life and mental wellbeing.
At the end of the day, you are in control of the content you surround yourself with. If something or someone is having a negative impact on your mental wellbeing, make use of the features available such as block, unfollow, mute etc. Choose to utilise the positive side of social media and don’t invite the other side into your space (or allow it to stay enough to have a negative impact on you).
Do you agree or disagree with any of my points? Do you think social media is beneficial to your mental health, or actually worse off for it?
Thanks for reading,
– Lisa x