Love it. Hate it. Social media today is as much a part of our lives as the very air we breathe. Not to imply that it is essential to survive, but remove a teenagers phone from them and they will get withdrawals. Just like they would if you were addicted to smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol. I know this because I am a teenager. As we speak, I am portraying a message to you over the means of a computer screen. Where are the days where one would simply hold a conversation with somebody in the flesh? How have we let our world be consumed by the beautiful monster which is social media itself? It’s simple really; we can all be someone different online.
I’m not talking about being a catfish; pretending to have a completely different identity than what we were born with. I’m talking about the mask of fake confidence we can slip on as soon as we log into our account. You can be witty, talk to thousands of people and share your stories proud and true, no matter who you are. But when it comes to people with anxiety, not is all that it seems. There is no simple way to put it.
The silent sufferers of anxiety can act in either two ways (everybody is different, but to reduce to ambiguity of this post lets settle for a brief generalization.): First, you can pretend to be proud and confident in front of your family and friends, then in a moment of solitude you take of that mask and pour your true heart out to the to the millions of people who do not know you online. Second, you can active and positive and the poster boy (or girl) for socialism online, and as soon as you close your computer you sink back into the pits of wallow and pity we call anxiety. Either way, the birth of social media gave the mental health community another source of therapy. It is hard to pull negatives from this instance as there are so many positives; the internet has allowed the previously unspoken vocals of a silent sufferer to take to the stage, and allow one to express themselves in a unique and beautiful way. However, it so often acts a another source of delusion and denial.
Take it from a boy, talking to you through a screen, who cannot express themselves like this in person. It is not the only way to be true to yourself. The people around you will happily listen to you if you tell them that you are not okay, and you will get a much grander alleviation of repressed feelings telling them to a real face, than you would sharing it with thousands of people behind a screen.
So here is my message to you. Use social media to express the real you. A message which is true from the heart deserves to be out there for everybody to see. But do not hide yourself from the people who really matter to you. The pain from the silence increases with every second your voice remains unheard.