Mental illness is often misunderstood. People make fun of those who struggle, laughing and pointing fingers, when deep down they don’t understand what the person is going through. Often television shows and movies depict people with mental illness as a crazy lunatic, or deeply depressed person unable to cope in society. While some people may be like this, it doesn’t represent the vast majority of people who struggle each day.
Documentaries about someone’s life or a particular illness try to dig deeper into someone’s mental condition and why they act the way they do. They tend to be more fairly represented and understood via a documentary. Since a documentary is intended to be educational, it’s often a learning experience for those who are unaware of the condition.
But, there is one aspect to exposure to mental illness that is often extremely unhealthy. This is social media. Not only will people discriminate against one another on online chat forums, online video games, social media posts, and so on, they also promote an unhealthy way of dealing with a mental health condition.
Social media should be used in moderation by a healthy person, but someone with depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem will often over use it as their mental health begins to deteriorate. The person will become more depressed, and upset with themselves, and some can exploit and glamorize their struggles to hide the intense pain they feel on the inside. This glamorization is a huge problem with social media, and is the reason why we should all use it sparingly and in moderation.
The glamorization of mental illness happens as follows: someone who is emotionally unstable and depressed sees their friends online having a good time, perhaps on vacation, getting a new car, getting married, overall just successful and happy. This creates a sense of jealousy within the person as they feel bad about themselves, and see all the reactions their friend gets on social media. Since social media intentionally targets those who have issues with self-esteem, showing them things that will make them feel worse about themselves, in addition to keeping them addicted to the site, this person seeing their friends and other people engage in a happy, stress-free manner is no coincidence.
The person with the mental illness decides to start posting, sharing things about themselves, photos, and even videos, about how bad their life is, often to get attention from people because they feel alone and like no one is listening. This is a cry for help, but is often buried by a glamorization of one’s mental illness. As they post, people start responding, saying positive nice things, and it helps them feel better. But, it persists, and the person keeps posting self-destructive content looking for likes, comments, and just any interaction possible. It becomes an obsession, and each post has to be better than the previous.
The stunts become more extreme as the person begins to exploit their own mental struggles, intentionally causing themselves physical and mental harm, for sympathy from their followers and friends. This becomes a dangerous path where the person is so unstable and insecure that a post with less likes and interaction than the previous causes intense anxiety and stress. This never ending cycle persists as the person is now addicted, looking for sympathy, playing right into the game that social media has laid out to get users hooked.
If this describes you, or someone you know, there are remedies to this. The most important one is to realize that validation does not come from external sources. It only comes from within, and thus no amount of sympathy from others will ever make one happy, if they cannot be happy with themselves. So leave social media, stop using it so frequently, and put a cap on the time spent. There are more important things to focus on, such as your own wellbeing and happiness, than seeking validation from others that give you a false sense of happiness. You can be happy on your own, and all it takes is for you to find what makes you happy inside that only involves you.
Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!
I know the feeling of constantly checking social media, looking to see if the latest posts have likes, comments, interactions of any kind. It’s a euphoric rush that fills your body that makes you feel good when it happens. But when it doesn’t, it makes you feel worse. I started to realize how unhealthy this was and started limiting my time on social media. Not only that, but I got rid of all interactions and no longer bother with them. Does it matter how many people see my posts? Does it matter how many liked and disliked it? Does it matter how many commented on it? None of that matters, yet I let it determine my self-worth and would be upset when a post or video didn’t perform well and people commented mean things. I stopped letting external validation define me and started living freely and independently. This allowed me to find my own inner happiness and am thrilled to quiet all the noise.