I have seen a lot of talk lately surrounding the idea of Facebook and social media in general being used as somewhat of a virtual diary. You see it everyday, one of your "friends" on social media spills their entire heart out and then it is met with an influx of comments telling that person to "hang in there" and "this too shall pass" or other similar quotes and scriptures we often use when others are in distress. I have grown to have a love-hate relationship with social media over the last eleven years of me being on it. On one end, it can be very entertaining and is great for marketing purposes if you are building a business or brand and keeping in touch with people you otherwise wouldn't normally talk to on a regular basis. On the other hand, social media can be overwhelming and a dark cloud of misery and a constant reminder of what you have not accomplished. For some it is difficult to find balance in enjoying social media and using it in a positive manner.
A few months ago, I received a screenshot from a Facebook friend that was from their Facebook friend. The screenshot was of a status this particular person wrote and consisted of a long paragraph stating that person was severely depressed and suicidal and concluded with them threatening their Facebook friends to not inform this said person's parent about her post. Recently, we have seen Ayesha Curry, wife of NBA basketball star Stephen Curry disclose her struggles with anxiety and self-confidence due to lack of male attention versus an overflow of attention from women towards her husband. Ayesha received a lot of backlash and a lot of support from many regarding this statement. I have recently been watching one of my favorite YouTubers Alyssa Forever vlog about her battle with depression. In several videos recent and in the past, Alyssa has expressed to her viewers that reading the comments triggers her depression and makes her not want to post on YouTube about her mental health journey.
A colleague of mine has even had debates with people on social media about how Facebook should not be used as a substitute for therapy and I have to say that I wholeheartedly agree. Social media SHOULD NOT be used as an alternative for professional help. Yes, I know that counseling can be expensive, especially if one does not have mental health insurance. Yes, I know it can be embarrassing talking to a complete stranger about your problems. However, I want you to stop for a moment and think about what you have purchased in the last month. Which purchases were needs and which were wants? Out of those wants could you have saved some of that money and ended up having just enough if not more to pay for a counseling session? And I can't help but ask, but how is it that telling one stranger who has a degree, license, and training in helping people dealing with mental health issues; who is required by law and by ethics to keep your issues confidential...how is that worse than telling your business to five thousand "friends" or "followers" who are not bound by any agreement to keep your feelings confidential, who can screenshot everything you post, and send it to whomever to laugh and gossip. And from what I have observed, most of these people are actually not giving you sound, unbiased advice regarding your situation.
Just think about it. Sometimes I know that in times of desperation we do not have the best judgement and may post statuses or pictures impulsively. I still cringe when my memories pop up from ten years ago when I was in college and venting on social media about relationship woes. LOL. Thank God for growth and the ability to cope better with my emotions and that I now have a support system that I trust that I can vent to instead of the world on social media if I have a problem. Just as you may be particular about what kind of pictures you post or ensuring you aren't saying anything offensive to certain groups of people, you should also be mindful of being so vulnerable on a social media platform, as it may produce negative consequences down the line. Now I'm not saying keep your emotions balled up inside. Definitely find a way to release your stress and feelings in a healthy way that also protects your privacy. Posting to social media, listening to podcasts, or reading self-help books are not going to be the magical fix you are looking for. There is no magical fix. It takes actively working towards reaching your goals. You can start this process by reaching out to a therapist and actively participating in therapy frequently, build a support system of 3-5 people you can trust, practice coping skills such as journaling, exercise, or another form of creativity, and take medicine if needed. You will get much better results this way in the long run. I wish you much success on your journey to becoming healthy and whole. If you would like to schedule an appointment or need help finding another therapist in your area, please contact JL Counseling via email at firstname.lastname@example.org