Once I walked out through the doors at the workplace for the last time and walked my way to a world that was not only overflowing with mental pain that was starting to bust out of my seams, I also faced a world of complete uncertainty.
This uncertainty, as you might well imagine is scary, to say the least. In the early days of being off work, I had no supports in place, no routine and, as a guy who needs to be constantly busy, this didn’t help matters any; especially in the mental health department. If you have been following my wellness journey here on The Road To Mental Wellness, Then you will remember that one of my favourite sayings is: “You get to choose where you but your energy”. Refusing to remain idle and allow the voice of mental illness to consume my authentic self, I set about finding ways to keep myself busy.
I have always been a helper, it’s what I do, it’s where I get my energy. You can look at it as my default setting in which defines who I am. So I naturally gravitated towards helping others. This time, my focus would be on those who are frozen in fear of stigma. I was then and still am now telling my story and hoping that it resonates with people; enough to put them on their own path to mental wellness.
Taking on this very important work in this day and age, social media is a necessity. You need to find ways to drive traffic to your blog. The work that goes on behind the scenes, just so you can read this post is very time-consuming. It involves networking with other mental health bloggers, getting your page to rank so it will be seen on Google and lots must be done to build and maintain an audience. Like advertising when you publish new material.
This brings me to the heart of this post. I have found social media very therapeutic and have met many wonderful people from all corners of the globe. However, it does have a sinister side that can be just as toxic to one’s mental well-being, as toxic as forgoing treatment. The devil that lies within the binary code that is the algorithms all social media platforms use, can have detrimental effects.
These algorithms are experts at picking up what you involve yourself in. If you’re a huge fan of cars or flowers, your feeds will be dominated by all things car or flower related. Wonderful, for these are more passion-driven and can produce a lot of useful, even joyous information. But when the subject matter deals with the difficulties that come with life, this algorithm can encase one in a person of their own struggles. In my case, it can hinder any progress I make with my PTSD, Anxiety and depressive disorders. All I ever see are mental health adverts, other bloggers in my follow the cue and sponsored ads for mental health organizations.
It is for this reason that my social media presence isn’t as prevalent as it is recommended. Honestly, I can’t do it, It throws fuel on my mental illness fires that are always burning inside of me. But, like all things, I strive for balance and limit myself to mornings and I periodically glance at it during the day. Committing time to friends and family is essential for me; so in that sense, social media doesn’t work for me. Anyone who blogs can tell you that it can consume you. Something I’m not willing to do is allow the “customized user experience” to tweak the reward centre of my brain, leave me addicted and thus worse off with my mental health than when I started. For more on The impact of social media on your mental health, check here.
If you are into mental health blogging and feeling worse than when you turned to it for help, maybe you need to throttle it back and find the best balance for you. I believe that minimizing mental illness impacts is a holistic endeavour, one that requires exercise, downtime and the right amount of real social interaction. So, Mental Health bloggers, Is social media therapeutic or harmful? It’s worth taking a serious look at and fine-tuning your tolerances so you can continue to do what you love. If I only reach ten people, that’s ten lives I have helped. When you think about it, that’s awesome! I don’t worry about the number of page views, likes and shares, I worry about my health above helping the entire world. For tips on managing mental illness go here: How to stay mentally well.
if you are suffering from PTSD or another mental illness, please reach out. I thank you for your service and you are still worthy and mean something. I believe in you!