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"Social media SHOULD NOT be used as an alternative for professional help."

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 wellness@jlcounselingllc.com

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Need a pick me up? Looking to enhance your already great summertime routine? Join us for 30 days of Joy in July Challenge. Every week we have a weekly challenge but this month we are having a challenge for the entire month of July!!! Yes, I know there are thirty-one days in July, but I prefer even numbers haha! And plus you can just use the last day as a makeup day if you missed any of the days throughout the month. Follow us on Instagram @JLCounselingLLC, mention us, and use the hashtag #TCCJulyChallenge as you complete each day. Don’t forget to listen to the this week’s podcast episode about comparing yourself to others. Comment below and tell us what you think about the challenge!

Wishing you much peace, love, and JOY this month and beyond.

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We have all encountered toxic people who suck the life out of us. Some of you may be going through this as you read this blog. If you are struggling with setting boundaries with others then here are three rules to follow help you lift that deadweight and start to feel lighter emotionally and physically.

Rule #1: Set boundaries with yourself. Refuse to talk about yourself negatively. Practice self-care. Choose to spend your time wisely. Don’t answer phone calls or respond to emails after work hours. There are soooo many more ways you can set boundaries with yourself so make a list to identify and what ways do you need to treat yourself better. If you don’t respect yourself, how can you expect someone else to respect you?

Rule #2: Put your foot down. Don’t allow others to lie to you, cheat on you, shame you, blame you, and yell and speak to you disrespectfully. Don’t even let people gossip about others to you. Setting boundaries means letting people know what you are and are not comfortable with in your friendship or relationship. If you don’t speak up for yourself you will feel depressed, anxious, angry, resentful and will continue to be mistreated and abused by others.

Rule #3: Be consistent and follow through. Too often we talk about what we want to do but we don’t really follow through and then others may not feel that you are serious. For example, if you tell your significant other that you are not going to argue with them if they try to pick a fight with you but you still engage in an argument, then you are letting them think that their argumentative behavior is acceptable and engaging gives them the satisfaction that they want.

Setting boundaries takes time and may cause strain in your relationships. Relationships may even end if those whom you are setting boundaries with do not choose to respect your boundaries. I too have had to set boundaries with even family to ensure peace of mind. It is disappointing and hurtful but hanging on to those relationships with no boundaries were not worth sacrificing my mental and physical well-being.

Comment below what you think about setting boundaries. Is it hard? Do you make exceptions for certain people? Don’t forget to listen to the podcast to hear more about setting boundaries and to participate in this week’s TCC Weekly Challenge.

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