As an introvert with social anxiety issues, I find social media to be a wonderful creation. When the world gets to be too much, I can stay connected while curling up and hiding from the physical world. Yet it can also be extremely dangerous because it, like mental illness, lies to you.
People don’t typically put the negative stuff on social media. They may take pictures of their wonderfully affordable Chinese dinner for Instagram, but they probably don’t post pictures of the food poisoning six hours later (seriously people, there are many truisms in life and one of them is be very suspicious of under-priced and under-prepared Chinese food). And so, as an anxious introvert with depression issues, whose biggest accomplishment some days might be taking a shower and getting dressed, I see people getting married and getting promoted and buying houses and having kids and saving the world.
Okay, less so on that last one, but sometimes that is how it feels when the darkness surrounds you and it takes all the energy you have to just get out of bed. And you look at the shininess all over social media and you feel isolated, as if you’re the only one who can’t get your shit together.
But that is just a lie. And if you let it, your mental illness will take that lie and run with it, because it is a devilish liar itself. It wants you to feel like you don’t belong in the world with so much shininess, that you and your darkness will never fit in, that you are a burden to those other people. It wants to kill you, and that isn’t an understatement.
Social media is all about celebrating what is happening in your life. Sometimes it is about celebrating life itself. And the darkness wants to pull you away from that life.
People talk about how instances of mental illness and suicide are on the rise. This is a complex problem with many factors, but one of them is social media, and the disparity felt by those who are struggling when they see the happiness often displayed on social media. Similarly, it offers a wicked new tool that cruel bullies can use to further torment those who might already be suffering.
None of this is to say we should stop using social media. As I said it can be a wonderful tool, especially for introverts. But maybe reconsider how we use it. Maybe, sometimes post that hey, this isn’t the best day. And you may not get as many likes, but you might get something even better, you might get others whispering in the darkness, “‘me too.”
P.S Spell check tried to change, “get your shit together” to “get your shit to therapy,” and I’m actually very good about getting myself and my shit to therapy so I don’t need you judging me spell check. Geez.