How does Social Media affect Mental Health?
I think this post is dependant on the individual.
It may act as a piece of awareness or be an alternate perspective into looking at your own process and how social media is actually affecting you.
It's difficult to say whether or not social media can be helpful or not for our mental health and it all depends on how you as an individual are internalising and processing what you see online.
What are the positives of social media?
Besides the obvious positives- the fact that social media brings about awareness, allows people to relate and feel less alone about their issues, as well as learn tips and tricks to manage and cope with triggers. It's generally a wholesome community.
What about the negatives?
The obvious negatives that social media include bullying and hate, competitiveness and trying to outdo one another with 'who is worse off?' can seriously harm your state of mind.
I have activated and deactivated several mental health accounts of my own and have finally concluded that the mental health community on social media is not for me. I see too many people being hateful to one another, causing arguments about silly things that are simply unnecessary. I've noticed how many positive mental health influences really struggle at times, forcing their mental health to fall back into unhealthy states due to inconsiderate messages or feelings of unworthiness (as if they are lying to their viewers about what is really happening for them) playing a vital part in their everyday mentality. And honestly, it's really hard trying to balance being supportive to others and battling your own demons. I have done it and I get that some people manage pretty darn well, but others simply spiral and I think 'Why are you doing this to yourself?'
The truth is that EVERYONE's mental health is completely DIFFERENT. It is UNIQUE to them and no matter how much you can relate to on social media, you are never going to find a person that expereinces exactly what you do, thinks exactly the same or feels exactly the same.
I follow positive influencers on YouTube and Instagram, where they talk facts about disorders as well as their own personal experiences. And as humans, our innate ability is to compare ourselves to others in order to fit into a community that is similar to us. For me, I would listen to these definitions and symptoms and think ' I don't experience it exactly like that, therefore I cannot have DID'. I have done this so many times and have talked over and over to my therapist about denial when in reality I was just putting my recovery and treatment further and further back. You will find even with factual definitions of disorders and lists of symptoms or causes, you are bound to experience a few of them differently.
I have compared myself with so many other peoples stories and thought 'I'm not like them' and it has made my mental state decline dramatically. Feeling that you don't belong is horrible and in a way, I believe that social media is enforcing this feeling on so many people even if it is unconscious to them.
Ask yourself this question
So I ask you this when you go on social media and look at mental health accounts (if you do) do they make you feel positive or negative emotions? Are you in some way comparing your illness, disorder or issue to theirs and coming away feeling deflated? If you are, then its time you reorganise what or whom you look at on your social media.
Do what is best for you
For me, positive quotes and insightful messages are really helpful, personal stories and journeys not so much. Not right now anyway and I'm not ashamed to say that. It doesn't mean that I don't validate, respect or hope people are doing well, it just means that I am insightful to my own process and I know that I do compare myself to others, but I must remember that my own process is unique to just me.