Updated: May 12, 2022
Have you ever been in a phase where you question yourself, “Who am I?” or “What is my purpose in this life?” or have you ever caught yourself scrolling through social media for 1 hour straight? Or the most important one, have you caught yourself rejecting all your 30 selfies because they didn’t match the Instagram model that you were trying to look like, the one who you were trying to be like and thought to yourself, “What am I even doing in my life?”
Well, if you said yes to any of these questions or all of the above questions then firstly, let’s do a high-five. Let me take you back to my life 3yrs ago in 2019 when the term mental health was alien to me. I was in the 2nd year of my college. I lived more on social media than in real life. My actions were led by my social media stories and posts, making an impression on people and showing them that my life is a certain way. Cool group of friends-Tick, hanging out in cool places-Tick, chilling at the beach near my college bunking lectures-Tick, perfect personal life-Tick. My social media just looked beyond perfect. I got addicted to eating junk food almost every day which made me look 'cool' on social media but made me feel awful in real life by messing with my immune system and moods. But life has its way of pulling you in the right direction even if it means putting you through a huge heartbreak, some anxiety attacks, and depression. I remember I had my term-end exam for which I was given study leave. I felt sick, my personal life was going downhill, and I felt terrible inside out. I knew something wrong had happened to me but I had no energy to deal with it. I went on YouTube and saw Najwa Zebian's interview on 'The Women of Impact' about waiting for happiness. After watching that video, I closed my eyes and I knew exactly what I was going through. I was gaslighted, manipulated, betrayed, lied to the finest by someone who I trusted blindly. I was surrounded by toxic people and my insecurities and unhealed trauma. Till that moment I was a shy, introverted, sensitive girl with no boundaries. Someone who lived by pleasing people and saying 'No' to others was a big sin but after that moment everything changed, I just started cutting down ties with people who did me wrong, who didn’t respect my boundaries, who made me question my sense of reality, or who confused me and made me think that something was wrong with me. At first, I was anxious about the image I had created on social media but something deep within me gave me the courage to share my story and save people by voicing it out on social media. Initially, I started writing captions on my Instagram account sharing the life lessons I learned and my perspective and feelings but in no time people around me started commenting under my post how relatable my caption is and how it motivates them or at least gives them comfort. Soon when I entered my 3rd year of college my classmates started reaching out to me saying I write beautiful captions and notes. They started liking and respecting me for my writing and the person I was turning into. Still, the question of how do I live my life mindfully and add meaning to it in the real world was hindering around me. Then 2020 happened and what followed next is history now. As we all were isolated, we all started spending more of our time on our mobiles. I didn’t want to relapse into my validation-seeking tendency from social media but I also wanted to contribute through social media and that’s when I started posting daily about how we can use this time introspecting, healing our traumas, and how we can improve our mental health.
For next 4 for months I was regularly posting different aspects of psychology and mental health that would help people heal. And let me tell you I wasn’t a psychology student, but I was a marketing one. But psychology and mental health came as second nature to me. Strangers started reaching out to me and sharing their stories and I would give them a different perspective to look at things. Most of the time my words helped them deal with their problems and made them optimistic. In the meantime, I started reconnecting with myself and journaling almost daily. I started doing things I loved the most like reading novels, writing and painting. I got my first internship and soon I got a job offer. I started walking in the nearby garden and made a large group of my 70years old- young friends . It's been two years but still, our friendship is the coolest. They are the motivation for my 1ok steps daily. While it was a difficult year, I used that year to turn my life around. While I was working in the social media marketing industry, I felt this void that I have to be in a field where I help people change their life or help them heal. In 2021 a close friend of mine made me realize that I’m naturally inclined towards psychology and why haven’t I picked that as a career. That’s when all the dots connected and now, I have answers for all my questions. At 22 I’m switching my career and preparing for a master's in psychology, risking all that I had ever known. I also have my blog page now where I write blogs, poems and share stories.
We think only alcohol or drugs are a form of addiction but social media tops it all. It makes us be anything but not ourselves. It influences us to be someone we are not. It made me become someone I was not for sure. But now when I have mindfully limited my time on social media, I know I have turned into a better human being, become a lot kinder, empathetic, intelligent, and self-aware. I used to think that I was this shy girl but when I started to get to know myself and what matters to me, I got to know how much I love public speaking, talking to people, being on camera. In this process, I have outgrown a lot of friendships and I don’t have an ounce of regret because if not I had left the only idea I had about living my life, I wouldn’t have been this open to zillions of other ways of living a beautiful and meaningful life. Now I have even deeper friendships with 3-4 people than a group of superficial friendships. I’m closer to my sister and my family than ever before. Now I have a community that loves me, admires me, and who respects and values me for the person I’m on the inside and nothing makes you feel good than realizing that you’re making people around you happy and feel heard trust me on this one!
Before ending this, I would like to give you 4 ways to rediscover yourself in this age of social media.
Take a break from social media- If you’re not someone like me whose work itself is managing the social media of companies then I would highly suggest you take a two weeks or a month break from social media.
Replace the void with a hobby- Now you will realize that you have all the time in the world and feel a void inside you. You know sometimes it is good to feel uncomfortable sitting with yourself. Start journaling and writing down all your thoughts. Maybe take up reading or exercising. And most importantly if you’re shy like me then dance your heart out at every chance you get when there is no one at your home.
Go out in nature- One underrated thing is the magic of nature. All I need is a bright morning and a walk under the sun, around the trees to feel optimistic and inspired.
Getting validation, the right way- Other than influencers or having a business account or sharing something for greater good the social media likes doesn’t hold any value, don’t spend crucial years of your life seeking validation of people who don’t care about you anyway rather discover your true gift and share it with the world.
Thank you for taking your time out and reading this blog, I hope this blog impacted you in some way!
Written By - Srushti Pednekar
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