How following mental health advocates on Instagram helps me
Struggling with your mental health can be really isolating. Sophie, 23, shares how following mental health advocates on social media helps her feel less alone.
When you struggle with your mental health, there’s always that feeling of being alone, like you’re the only one who knows what it’s like to feel the way you feel. It’s like standing in the middle of the ocean being knocked back by huge tidal waves while everyone else around you is just swimming peacefully, completely oblivious to you.
It’s a frustrating thing when you feel like no one else can properly understand you or your feelings, and sometimes it makes them feel invalid. But emotions and thoughts are never invalid, and they can’t be measured or compared to someone else’s. It’s strange how mental illness has a way of making you feel so alone when one in four people can be feeling the exact same thing.
It’s important to remember that there are countless people who feel the same way, share your diagnosis, and understand on an intimate level what it’s actually like to wear your shoes – because they are probably feeling everything that you do. That is the reason why following mental health advocates on social media (Instagram in particular) helps me, and maybe even soothes me somehow.
It can be inspiring to follow an individual’s journey of recovery or self-love, and hear about the little tricks that have aided them. Tricks like dancing when you’re alone to offload both physical and mental tension, or writing down ten things that you are grateful for every day (to name two that I’ve picked up). Sometimes they’re small and simple tasks that have the ability to offer you distraction or make you feel that little bit better about yourself, like you’ve done something productive that helps you view things a little differently.
Then there are the advocates who use art and cartoons to express their feelings, or to visually show you how things can get better. Their work lets you know that what you are feeling now is only temporary and that the sun will shine once more, and the tidal waves will grow calm. You can look at their artwork and identify with it, realising that what they have drawn is exactly what you have struggled to find the words to explain or say out loud.
There are countless profiles on Instagram of people just like me and you and they are sharing their wisdom with the community, for us. Some of my favourite profiles are:
It has helped me to know that there are so many people in the same boat as me…In fact, it’s helped me to see that it’s not even a boat, it’s more like a cruise-liner. It is also a reassuring thought to know that mental illness can be tackled and overcome. It’s just about finding the right methods for us, and there are so many techniques that we can try – things that mental health advocates share online every day and we can all benefit from.
Author: Sophie, 23
Where to get help
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