Social Media & Depression: How Your Favorite Social Outlets Can Lead to Mental Illness

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In today’s climate social media has become a global pastime for the average citizen in the developed world.

Your preferred app, blog, or website can act as window into the minds of some of your favorite celebrities or help you reconnect with old friends and lost loves.

It’s almost instinctual for us to open our phones or tablets and reflexively peruse the latest posts. While it may seem innocent, there could be something more serious at play here.

Research is beginning to show that excessive use of networking platforms like Reddit, Snapchat, and Twitter can increase anxiety and depression in some users. How could this be?

Well while your friends are off getting married, having children, and upgrading from their studio apartments to a four bedroom homes in the suburbs, you’re just happy that you can binge watch Black Mirror (Nosedive from Season 3 does an excellent job of depicting the power and influence of social media today) on Netflix in your parents attic. 

Suddenly, your “decent” salary feels stifling as it won’t be leading to the financial renaissance you’d hoped for anytime soon, that trip to Tokyo that you’ve been planning for the last decade looks further and further out of reach, and to top things off, you’re having trouble squeezing into the jeans you just bought three months ago. While these circumstances were still present before you spent two hours scrolling Facebook and Instagram, they are exacerbated by your decision to do so. A good reason for this is because the pictures that you see often lack context.

Take for instance you see one of your high school classmates purchasing a brand new car while you’re still driving the hand-me-down hooptie you got as a graduation present or even worse… You don’t even own a car at all. On the surface, sure, it could make you feel like a loser and rightfully so. Who wouldn't want to be on the same tier as people who come for the same churches, neighborhoods, and schools as you?

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What that friend isn’t telling you within the confines of that neat little post however is that their credit score sucks and after being declined by five dealerships, they finally found somewhere that would finance them at the cost of a note with an outrageous APR. The same could be said about gymrats who never miss an opportunity to use words like “intensity”, “motivation”, or “dedication” but mysteriously forget to mention the steroid stack they’ve been on for months.

Now don’t get me wrong, some of your peers are square-dealing individuals with the sense, patience, and discipline to move forward in life at a respectfully brisk pace; You should not however under any circumstances let this fluster you along your journey. Steven Furtick probably said it best “don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to someone else’s highlight reel” and the more you think about it, the more you realize how accurate that statement is.

Live life at your own pace, work diligently towards your goals, and you will see results if you stay focused on what truly matters to you. It won’t always be easy, hell, it rarely is; but it will be worth it in the end.

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