I’ve talked before about the hazards of social media for those with mental illness (See Signposts Along the Social Media Superhighway and Like This, Or Don’t). Today, I want to build on that by talking about another danger of social media. And that is the danger your social media page poses to your mental health.
Like most people, those of us who struggle with mental illness often don’t put our darkest moments up for the world to see, though that is slowly getting better as more and more people open up about their struggles. No, like most people, those of us with mental illness use our social media feeds as a highlight reel of our successes.
The down side comes, well, it comes when we experience our own downside. And in our darkness, social media decides to boomerang the happiness we once had back at us by reminding us of past memories, as Facebook loves to do. It is a pretty shitty feeling to be jealous of yourself, but I’m guessing I’m not the only one who struggles with mental illness and thinks, ‘lucky bastard,’ when confronted with a picture of myself looking happy on social media. In those moments I hate how good I look because it is a reminder of how far I’ve fallen.
But that doesn’t have to be the case.
I hope that this post will serve as its own reminder, a reminder that those pictures of yourself don’t have to be an image of how far you’ve fallen when struggling through an episode of mental illness. On the contrary, they can be a reminder of what is waiting for you when you pull yourself out of the darkness. From now on, I vow to look at those pictures and think, ‘look at that happy guy, I’m going to be that person again one day.’
And I hope you can tell yourself that too.