I found myself through the internet and social media. During my tender elementary and middle school years, I gravitated towards a magical online world that would distract me from my odd younger years. I didn’t quite fit in or like what the other kids my age liked-- and so, I found acceptance through escapism. I wandered through different role play games and fantasy worlds. Sometimes I got to become an eager new student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Other times, I got to travel throughout the medieval landscape of Gielinor.
As I began to mature and enter my high school years, I found Tumblr. It was unlike anything that I’d ever experience. There were images, songs, and written pieces that had more transformative power than anything else in my life. Tumblr helped me find the communities that would help mold me.
I found people who got lost in their words and depression but didn’t quite know that there was art in their malady. I found songs that saved my life-- and songs that helped me figure out who I was. When reality began to hit hard, I would spend time locked away in my room within a cyber world that soothed me.
My adult years have been full of Twitter and Instagram-- both easily accessible and always with me with the help of my cell phone. I’ve gained friendships as well as love and support from strangers on both social media outlets. I’ve learned a plethora of information from both worlds, too-- but I have begun to realize that it has come at a cost. Lately, I have been noticing the deterioration of my mental health as a result of excessive social media use.
The place that was once my aid in escapism has now become the place that I must escape. At a certain point, I realized that mindless scrolling did not exist. I was absorbing all of the information, opinions, and energy that made up my various timelines. From videos that captured police brutality to racist/sexist/misogynist comments, I was always vulnerable to content that threatened my space. Even the smallest things, like the misinterpretation of a friend’s tweet, would dwell on my mind longer than necessary. This, paired with my anxiety, was not healthy. I had to slowly let go.
There is beauty in the expressiveness and connectedness of the internet and social media, but there is a duty that you have to yourself-- and that is to take care of yourself.
With that being said, I’ve muted people to save myself some peace.
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