Hi guys! I’m back with another rant, now what will this blog be without a rant here and there? So in this post I just want to touch on how social media has had an impact on my mental health over the years.
So I started using social media in my last two years of high school because I really wasn’t big on the popular messaging apps that people were on. So the first social I was on was Facebook and for the first time in my life I would consume at least 100 thoughts and opinions I saw on the timeline and I thought to myself after a long day on the app “wow that’s pretty exhausting” and it was until I got consumed by it and I started forming my opinions and taking a lot of pictures to get the most perfect looking picture (yes, it worked), my opinions were getting traction and that made me feel so validated, hundreds and hundreds of likes all directed at me? I loved that. Until, I didn’t any longer, I saw increased conflict on social media and I’m not a person who likes conflict in reality and social media so that set me back and I started holding back.
But also I started realizing that my opinions were no longer mine? I was always influenced by the most popular opinion on the timeline so my thoughts no longer felt like mine, like I was a clone of the internet.
The internet has such an interesting way of filtering out what’s wrong and what’s right, you either have to be for or against – no in between. And I won’t lie to you, that put a lot of pressure on me so much so that I would take other people’s opinions and just run with them (I’ll regret this for as long as I live lmao!).
Fortunately I got the courage to leave the app after I was catfished (I’ll explain another day, pls!). And I focused more on your Twitters and Instagrams thinking it will all get better… and was I not in for a surprise?
My first experience with joining these apps was that I loved how I was exposed to worlds I’ve never seen before, occupations I’ve never thought existed and opinions I never knew existed. I got addicted to these apps (we all have, don’t judge me) and I’ll spend hours and hours just scrolling through hundreds and hundreds of opinions and pictures of lifestyles I never knew South Africans could live. Seeing 19 year olds in mansions and driving the best cars and 25 year olds who have their lives figured out.
And it started, the self doubt, the pity that I might never live their lives and the constant thoughts that my opinions are not good though. As time went by social media just started raising my anxiety, especially on Instagram, because I couldn’t separate social media from reality. I always felt inferior and I felt like I haven’t achieved anything in my life.
This is a perspective of a 19 year old, of course I’ve barely achieved anything! And still I was so harsh on myself and very unappreciative of my life and who is around me.
This happened until I just couldn’t allow it to happen any more, so I closed down all my accounts and I came back and started over but this time on my terms, we can control what we see on social media, I started by following simple and caring people who think and look like me – I needed some relatability. I started following content creators because I was so fascinated with that world and I was surrounded by people who reminded me that my life is okay the way it is, I don’t need to live like a luxury influencer to feel a sense of belonging.
I remind myself daily that my life is okay as is and I make the best out of it and I’ll continue to live according to my means and terms. And that has helped me detach from social media, I use social media now to relax and not to catch up on a life I wish I had.
If you have social media anxiety, please log off all your apps and take some time to yourself. You need to listen to your soul and remind yourself you’re okay as you, you genuinely don’t need to prove yourself to strangers.
Let’s be kinder to ourselves.✨🌱