Mental Health | Why Social Media Can be the Catalyst

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It's been a whirlwind few weeks for me. Most of you may have guessed that something was afoot from the dogged-dour undertones in my latest stories and Instagram posts. As the old adage goes, you never really know you're on top of the mountain until you're sliding down, and conversely, never know you're in a pit, until you're forced to climb your way out. 

This past week the eyes of the world have turned to Mental Health. It seems weird that as a society we only allocate one day of the year to focus on this blithe. I've developed my entire brand around social media. In a way it defines me, it emboldens me, whilst simultaneously being a saboteur of my sanity. 

I'm sure we all know that feeling of needing attention, but there is no catharsis for the out-bleeding of emotions on social media. Although we've come to depend on that short-sweet spike of attention that comes with a flurry of likes and comments, it pales in comparison to an arm around the shoulder.

It lacks any form of nourishment and in the end, the virtual family we've become so heavily dependent on to prop us up with that false sense of appreciation, eviscerates. It compounds our hollowness as we're constantly looking for it to satiate something illusory.

Put simply, Social Media is purely a crux, a servitude for our boundless narcissism. It's not equipped to tackle nor cure such complex personal issues such as depression, heartbreak or loneliness. 

That's not to say that Social Media doesn't have it's upticks. Who's to say a simple comment or like can't be anodyne to ones insecurities or loneliness? I've carved out a career around Social Media. It keeps the lights on here in the Thompson household and both Kevin Systrom and Mike Kriege (founders of Instagram) can sit at the head of my dinner table anytime. 

For the greater good we must appreciate the very essence of what Social Media has imbued into our day to day lives. People are less likely to slip through the cracks of life now that we have a more connected society.

For example, how many times have you seen someone post or share news on a missing person or pet? I love the quote a criminologist from Florida used citing Social Media as the new milk carton campaign to find missing teens.

As a business tool it of course helps my outreach, but it also inspires me to do better. It's a fine balance, somedays social media makes my life feel a little anaemic that I'm not in that perfect relationship, on that amazing holiday, wearing that awesome coat. But conversely, we all need things to aspire to. So long as those aspirations and expectations are realistic. 

 

Christ this supposed to be a blog on positivity and gratitude Carl! 

I'll get to that at the bottom. My five things that have helped me but first I'd like to refer you to a video that has been doing the rounds, all the words in this video have resonated with me so thank you Steven Bartlett. 

Steve talks pointedly about social media being the biggest killer of relationships today. It was simpler times for our parents and grandparents that never had to combat the perils of having a thousand and one 'keenly filtered faces' being one coquettish DM away from having your partners knickers down. It's something that Steve so aptly names 'the illusion of choice'. 

The choice is another thing that magically disappears once your now re-indexed from forbidden fruit to rebound-damaged goods. 

But the biggest takeaways I got from the Steven Bartlett video was how we've now mistakenly identified what a true relationship looks like. If you took a myopic-digital analysis of all relationships it would probably look like every moment was lived on a Hollywood movie set.

You'd be drowned in a cacophony of balcony shots overlooking the Eiffel Tower or Lake Como. It would sound like the constant 'clinking' of champagne flutes and every photo would be lauded with saccharin lovey-dovey sentiments. 

No wonder we're so surprised when people break up these days. No arguments are documented online, no trouble on the home front can ever be exposed to the masses. 

"I don't get it you two seemed perfect together. You were the most romantic of couples, always declaring your unbridled affection for each other, what happened?" 

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How do I turn my life around? 

Don't take it so personally

That's right snowflakes, it's not always about you. It's sometimes about the other party not having the god damn self-awareness to know they've turned you down. Oh unrequited is the worst word in the English language isn't it? Followed by, not feeling that spark. Urggggh. Girls, keep on searching for that illusive spark. Is it a thing or have you just seen it on someone else honeymoon reel? 

Find the humour

It's the best medicine, trust me. Have a glance through your rolodex, pick out your friends you know that will cheer you up. They're probably the worst listeners also, which is fine. You're not seeking to unload all your crap onto them. You call on them to do the opposite, take your mind off it. 

Absolute radio silence

In my experience the fastest and easiest way get over a breakup is to go cold-turkey. I’ve got a really stubborn side to my personality that actually makes this possible without the need for blocking but I have to be honest, I’ve cracked and it’s most often after a few too many drinks.

However as I’m offering advice here…no more back and forth on the text, checking you're ok, wishing you happiness and all that. A clean break is what you need. If you think, 'Maybe I didn't try hard enough to keep her, I should fight more for this relationship' then you've watched too many Bridget Jones Diary movies.  

Get to work - be like Liam Neeson 

Get in shape. If you're already in shape get in better shape. The exercise will tire you out so you're not watching box sets 'til 4 in the morning. If you're already making money, make more money and revel in it. Do everything and more. Liam Neeson never turned a single script after his wife died. 

Be grateful, it's not the end of the world

Someone else is having a worse day than you. Jesus Christ did you see that story from New York about that Limo crashing on the way to a birthday party, killing all 18 people inside and two pedestrians. Four sisters died in that crash, you imagine being a parent to that? I know right, your problems aren't worth sh*t in comparison to that.