Social media platforms are a great way of reaching a wider audience when blogging. I personally use both Twitter and Instagram to do this but it took me a while to take the plunge. Although I feel like these social media platforms help me to reach more people, raise more awareness and meet other members of the mental health community, I really do feel that there is a darker side which can sometimes take its toll on my own mental health.
As a Trainee Counsellor with their own clients, I feel more comfortable having my own personal social media separate from the social media linked to my blog. I’ve always felt torn about this because I want my clients to know that it’s ok to struggle and that counsellors aren’t these super humans that have everything figured out! But equally, I don’t want them to stumble upon this and feel uncomfortable or worried about me. This would be something that I’d find entirely inappropriate.
Using my personal social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram has always been difficult for me anyway. Breakups for instance are the worst which I’m sure many people can relate to. Initially after a breakup, I have been known to obsessively check when the ex has last been on, what he’s been up to and making myself feel shit by reading into things:
“He’s eating an ice cream at the beach. In a new t-shirt. With a new haircut. WELL. THAT’S IT. HE’S MOVED ON!”
However, this isn’t just something that can happen to me with ex partners, this is something that can happen to me with friends, friends of friends and even people I went to school with that I haven’t spoken to in years. They will share things such as the following:
– A brand new shiny job.
– Enjoying every moment of university, going out drinking with their massive group of friends and still managing to get fantastic grades.
– A new partner or a partner proposing to them.
– Giving up normal, mundane life and travelling the world.
The way I react to these things can really vary. Some weeks I feel happy with my life and the jealousy or inadequacy won’t seep in. But other weeks, it’s the complete opposite. I end up comparing my life to other people’s which can make me feel that I have no purpose, that I’m stuck and that I’m not as good as them. And, as you can imagine, that makes me feel very miserable indeed.
What I have noticed is that I feel exactly the same when using my social media platforms for my blog in the mental health community.
To connect with more people, I have mainly followed those who also blog, Tweet etc about mental health. This has helped me in terms of not feeling alone and as though I am making some sort of difference but it has also been having a negative effect on my mental health. And, although I want to promote my blog and network with others, I find this hard when logging in and scrolling through whatever newsfeed can make me feel rubbish.
I will compare my blog to somebody else’s and how well they are doing with it. I see how many Twitter or Instagram followers other bloggers have and think: “Why I haven’t I got that? What am I doing wrong?” Some get offered incredible opportunities or invited to spectacular events and I can’t help but feel a little sad when my own work isn’t recognised in the same way.
Social media is a place where people share things about themselves that they are proud of or really happy about; I’m not criticising that. The way I react to this is my own interpretation and not everyone reading this will be able to relate. In fact, I could be sounding completely selfish right now!
People should be proud for all the work they are doing in raising awareness around mental health and they have every right to share that. But if you feel the same way as me, I just wanted to let you know that you aren’t alone.
With that being said, the most important thing is to remind ourselves that, although we are doing this for other people, we are first and foremost doing this for ourselves. And as long as we are happy with what we are writing and contributing, that’s all that matters.