It’s no secret that we’re all a little bit addicted to social media – it’s our window into other people’s worlds, it’s great to see what our pals are up to, it’s perfect for showing off our work, achievements or family; but it’s also a breeding ground for needless comparison, envy & false advertisement. What I mean when I say this is, nobody’s life is perfect – but you wouldn’t know that if you judged everyone solely by their feeds, which is essentially what so many of us end up doing.
I for one, am a little addicted to social media; I use it to promote my blog, to see what my friends are up to, to see what’s going on in the world, to engage with people, & as someone with anxiety, it can be a bit of a lifeline – those months where I couldn’t leave the house meant I wasn’t socialising physically, but I did have social media as my “window” and link to the outside world. It kept me in the loop and made me feel like I wasn’t missing out so much. The fact is though, you can get too much of a good thing, and soon that ‘link’ became the only link I had, and it became toxic.
I don’t have a ‘perfect’ life, but take a look at my Instagram feed & you might think I do. The truth is though, you only get to see what I want you to see – I’m hardly going to document the depressive low I’ve sat in for four hours, the fact I don’t have all my family around me or the outbreak of spots on my neck that won’t do one. Because why would people want to see that?! (Though I do think I’ve gotten so much better at being real & honest.) I truly believe this is true of so many of us; we only show what we’re comfortable with people seeing – what we want people to know about us, what we want them to think. You might see me snapchat myself in Lush, but that doesn’t mean I’ve got bags of money & have gone potty in there. I wish.
Social media can be bad for our mental health because we as humans find it all too easy to compare our lives to others – we’re programmed that way I think. In fact I ran polls on Twitter & Insta asking the question ‘Do you think social media is bad for your mental health?’ & it was pretty staggering the amount of people that clicked ‘Yes 100%’. We judge ourselves by our social medias; by how many followers or subscribers we have, by the amount of likes or retweets we might get. It becomes validation, and we develop a need for it. We see someone else succeeding, gaining followers or doing well with their blog, and we might try to ‘compete’ with them. & for what?! All this achieves is the idea that we’re not good enough – that we don’t compare to so’n’so, that our lives aren’t perfect; it’s bulls*it & yet we’re all suckered into it.
I’m guilty of it, hook, line & sinker. I judge myself against others, I wonder what I’m ‘doing wrong’, I worry that I’m not gaining followers, I fear I’m not writing about what people like, I monitor what I say incase I say the ‘wrong’ thing; I get scared to publish a mental health post every time for fear of some form of bitchiness or judgement; I think my life is nothing compared to someone else’s. I get jealous, think I’m not good enough, I get upset, I throw my phone off the bed. It’s an ugly cycle & I’m fairly confident I’m not the only one to have felt like this.
I actually remember telling my boyfriend the day that I started my blog, that it would be for me; for my mental health, for my wellbeing & no matter what, it would be my passion project – I asked him to remind me of all that if I ever lost sight; & honestly, he’s had to remind me of that a lot. It was never supposed to be about likes/stats/followers etc. In actual fact he’s told me numerous times now, to get rid of all my social media & my blog because he’s said it has too much of a negative effect on my mental health – I seem to spiral when I’ve had too long a scroll session or I’ve spent too long comparing. You too?
I’m not saying by any means, that social media is awful – I’d be a bit of hypocrite to say that but continue using it anyway – I’m just saying, in short, that it’s great, but in small doses. It’s great as long as we remember that we’re only getting a glimpse of somebody else’s life – as long as we remember nobody has a perfect life. It’s great if we find a balance & try not to judge ourselves by it (although this is bloody hard). It’s great for meeting new people – I actually met one of my best pals through Instagram! It’s great as long as we don’t abuse it. The fact is though, it does have the potential to stop us living a little bit. We obsess over what we should be posting & feel compelled to show off ‘perfection’; we get lost in a technical desert and give ourselves headaches; we compare and compare and compare.
The comparison loop aside, it can also see people being picked on over, or because of their social media; people are all mouth behind a screen & it can hurt us. We can get judged pretty harshly and without real reasoning. It could make us ill, and sometimes it does. It’s a false sense of reality because it’s not always real life; it can be time wasted and it’s seen a fuck lot of cyber bullying, which makes me so sad. It can be dangerous.
I know I need to take a spoonful of my own advice here, but if you take anything from this post, just know that you’re so much more than your social media; remember that nobody’s life is perfect; take a f*cking break from it all every now & again; text your pal instead of just ‘searching’ what they’re doing; maybe have a real look at who you’re following & if they’re a good influence on your life, and if you’re a blogger like me that gets suckered in & forgets why you started, take a step back & remind yourself. Don’t forget to actually go live. Many an evening I’ve ruined because I’ve obsessed over social media, rather than spend quality time with my boyfriend.
Do you feel like social media is bad for your mental health? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Big kisses always,