How Social Media Can Damage Your Mental Health

it goes beyond comparing yourself to others

The internet brought to our lives a whole new form of communication by allowing us to connect with people from all over the globe.
It introduced us to a place where we can interact with like-minded people, share details of our lives, or simply write our thoughts. It’s called “Social Media” and it’s meant to make socialization easier.

However, some aspects of it can be quite harmful especially if you search for companionship in it.

It starts with this scary silence not only in your physical space but also in your mind. It’s a cold, lonely place the one you’re living in.

So, you turn to your internet friends.You don’t know most people in “real life” yet these are the ones you talk to when no one else seems to care.

Sometimes, they give you likes — the ultimate sign of approval on the internet. They may even add a comment. You might switch messages and find common interests.

So far, all of this appears harmless.

I mean, it isn’t great to rely on unfamiliar faces behind screens for comfort but nothing negative seems to come directly from it.

You’re lonely, go on social media, post about whatever is going through your mind.Then ,wait to get some attention— a like, a comment — , attempting to feel heard.

Woman with several dark stripes over her and the words “Cloudy Days”.
Illustration by Sofia Paz-D’África

When you get what you need from it, it’s all good. But what happens when no one acknowledges what you have to say on the internet either? How do you move on from that? Can you simply ignore it and understand that it doesn’t mean your thoughts aren’t valid?

When this happens in your day to day life, depending on your relationship with the person, there’s a chance to tell them how their dismissive behavior made you feel.

If the same thing happens online, the solution isn’t so easy. Your message is seen by lots of people alongside millions of other messages.These people will choose — sometimes even subconsciously — which ones to interact with. They’ll take into consideration many factors such as the content, the identity, and reach of the individual, its relevance to their lives, etc.

Your words will get lost several times. It’s important to realize that not getting likes or comments doesn’t discredit what you have to say.

Human beings enjoy the sensation of belonging to a group — a family. We feel stronger, happier, safer.

Unfortunately, not all families are created equally. Sometimes, the idea of a virtual one that won’t judge,ridicule , or hurt us becomes too appealing to resist. But when the appreciation doesn’t come online either, the loneliness is amplified.

Inevitably, you start wondering why nobody cares about you. It’s easy to conclude that such thoughts aren’t healthy.

Girl in a flat color background with the words “Tomorrow Will Be Better”.
Illustration by Sofia Paz-D’África

You go on social media looking for a friend but you might end up losing yourself.

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