As a whole, most millennials are more than likely to enjoy chronicling the good moments in life such as holidays, achievements and times with friends. We record these memories through a variety of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram then in turn, relatives, friends and the rest of the world can react and show support. But like all things, behind the profile, life isn’t potentially always as glamorous as projected on screen.
For me personally, I like to regularly use my social media accounts and post anything that I would like to, not giving consideration to how people will respond. I share my life simply because I have to platform to do so. This even includes opening up about my struggles with depression. It’s not that anyone is entitled to know what is going on with my inner issues, but if I am not fine, then I will say so and not bottle everything up which can exacerbate the problem.
When I admit these complications via the internet, I often have friends sending messages to me asking what was wrong and reaffirming to me that it will all be OK. Although I don’t intend to receive much response from people, I am more than grateful when my friends reach out. However, I have sometimes been told that I am acting in an “attention-seeking” or “annoying” manner. I am unbothered when it comes to negative responses, yet this is something that I often struggle to wrap my head around. We place so much importance on speaking out in times of vulnerability, yet being told that I am allegedly craving for attention not only makes it hard for me to be open but for a lot of others too, who may be in a similar situation.
Another response I have noticed amongst people is that it is either ignored or results in an unfollow, purely due to the fact that the majority of people are only interested in the good and avoid the bad. They don’t want to see someone having a breakdown on their timeline and while that is up to them, the silence further amplifies feelings of isolation. In no way am I saying that someone needs everyone to reach out to them, not everyone is fully active on social media and others might have their own situations to be dealing with, but erasing a friend’s feelings when they’re in crisis is something I see as counterproductive in dealing with mental health.
Of course there are other means of conveying these emotions privately through texting a friend or a family member, even calling a hotline service. However in certain situations I have been in, I have felt like I can’t talk to anyone due to my state of disassociation; I often feel so possessed by paranoia that there is no one for me to talk to so I turn to social media to vent these feelings.
Fortunately, this behavior could change over time as we are becoming more educated and aware of mental health. But in the mean time, say what you want to say. Use you social media as a personal diary if you wish to. If you want to tweet that life isn’t going so great then feel free and don’t allow negative responses to dissuade you from doing so.