There’s definitely an argument to be made about the saturation of technology in our daily lives and it’s adverse role on mental health. In efforts to limit screen time and stop allowing what’s on social media to reflect how we see ourselves in reality, technology certainly has a time and place when it comes to our mental health. But as technology is more and more integrated into our daily lives, our mental health doesn’t have to suffer.
As we all get older and come to understand our internal lives in more nuanced ways, these mental health issues manifest themselves in early adulthood. My own mental health issues began to manifest themselves as I entered college, a major shift in my life. Big shifts in life can sometimes do this. Whether it’s going off to college, moving out of your parents’ home, starting a new job, moving to a new place, this part of life can be difficult for several reasons, and sometimes, it’s hard to stay grounded.
Not unlike most 20-somethings, I spend a lot of time scrolling through social media. Though we all know the alleged ills of spending too much time staring at screens, it’s the quality of our screen time that really matters, rather than the quantity. As someone who deals with depression, feelings of isolation and loneliness can be consuming.
It seems like everyone is talking about mental health these days, and rightfully so. It’s been so helpful for me to hear other people talk openly and honestly about their mental health journeys. Living in New York City, I constantly find myself going, going, and going, rushing to wherever my Google Calendar directs me. But I have to remember that I need to take some time every day to sit in the moment.
While The Read is classified as pop culture, co-host Crissle recently introduced a new segment, Crissle’s Couch, that is dedicated to all things mental health. The segment allows listeners to write in with their own mental health questions, and while neither Crissle nor co-host Kid Fury are licensed professionals, their openness and honesty when speaking on these matters is often so helpful to hear. While some listeners mental health questions may not apply to me directly, there’s usually a tidbit of info or advice that I can take into my own day.
The Friend Zone, another podcast, is another source of inspiration I go regularly to feel seen and understood. From Fran’s Hot Button issues to Assante’s Music Man segment and Dustin’s story time, these three always manage to make me smile, even on my worst days.
Instagram, while a potential hot bed of messiness and shadiness, can also be a place for daily inspiration and affirmation. I like to follow influencers with something positive to say. Through Instagram, I’ve been able to connect with a lot of influencers who not only look like me but are also queer identifying and at similar places in life. A lot of times, it just helps to see someone else doing it to get me motivated and feeling like, “Okay, if they can do it, so can I.”
Filling our timelines with inspiration and motivation can be one way we combat our mental illnesses on a daily basis. As a writer and general creative, it’s encouraging to see writers and creatives that I look up to living in their purpose. It may sound counter-intuitive, but seeing other people smile, brings me joy. Following women like Lena Waithe, Indya Moore, and Janelle Monae give me inspiration. I try to write something everyday but even on the days when I can’t or just don’t feel like it, it helps to remember that that’s okay.
Social media doesn’t have to be your daily source of negativity and insecurity. It can be a mode of staying grounded, reflection, and encouragement.