Insight: Mental Health & Social Media

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“College is going to be the best time of your life,” they said. “I wish I would relive my college days, man it was amazing,” again they said.

 How amazing is it living with a mental illness as a freshmen in college at the world’s best HBCU? How do I make college the best time of my life when I cannot leave my room without feeling like I am going to die inside? How… the leading word when faced with a mental illness; how will it all come together for someone like me?

 How… what is the meaning of this word how? It is the premise to question what is, what will be, or what you can make happen. For so long people with mental illness always question, “how could this happen to me” “how will I be able to function” “how come I’m crazy”, but when do we stop stigmatizing ourselves with the “how” and create answers of change.

 How… of course then you ask will “how do I do that”? First, let me tell you a little about my story. I too suffer with a mental illness… an anxiety disorder. During my years in high school, there were days I could not function because my anxiety was through the roof because I had created such high expectations for myself that I became overwhelmed with life. But how does that equate to anxiety? Well, I didn’t know at the time because as most teenagers do, I ignored the signs. Until my mom and I relationship was getting worse and I was becoming more aggressive. I decided to go to therapy because I just knew something wasn’t right... I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Now of course people would not think this is super serious but mental illness does not only mean you have depression or bipolar disorder. There are many different diagnoses to mental illness but first we have to stop with the word how when we do not understand why.

How… are we not aware of such a huge issue in our community when everything is publicized on social media. Well, there is the answer for you. Because everything is publicized on social media we overlook the smaller picture of what is going on in our society. Social media emphasizes our how’s but doesn’t add to our understanding of why. Did you know that Angelina Jolie suffered from an eating disorder or that Jada Pinkett Smith dealt with depression? Why if social media plays such a major part in our lives? Simply because social media overtakes the smaller issues at hand. Instead of overlooking how social media continues the stigmatize mental illness, we need to use it as a platform to create awareness. Which leads to my final… how…

 

Again how… now in order for how to leave your vocabulary of why you have a mental illness, first you need to identify the problem. I am able to push through everyday activities now because I have identified where my anxiety stems from and where my limit is. After identification, you then need to find resources that will be helpful just for your specific situation. You can not continue to question how when getting help because then you are still victimizing yourself and the stigma continues. Lastly, to eliminate how, you need to be proactive. I have been in college for three years and in the beginning I did not believe college would be the best time of my life but I became proactive with my health. Instead of saying how, I can say now.

Now… “College has been the best time of my life thus far”, I said. “I wish I could go back to freshmen year and slow down the time,” I also said.

Jen Coy