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The System must be Failing if TikTok is Actually Helping

CW: This article discusses topics of depression, mental illness, mental health and passive suicidal ideation, which could be distressing to some readers.

The negativity of social media

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think about social media in regard to mental health? It's the negative impact, isn't it? You think about how it fuels anxiety, body image issues, depression, etc. How you feel isolated when you see your friends -or even strangers- out doing thrilling things with their lives. It causes FOMO (Fear of Missing Out). Then there's cyberbullying because people can be cruel and when the online world enables anonymous hate, they're even crueller as they get away with their nasty comments.

Social media introduces you to a realm of possibilities that you didn't know existed and that you don't know how to obtain, which incidentally can lead you to ruin.

Like everyone else, I've had my bad experiences with social media. For starters, I've been cyberbullied; thankfully that was resolved quickly, but the damage was still done. I was pushed into isolation and led to believe that I had no friends. Nowadays social media hits me elsewhere. Seeing beautiful people spread across my timeline attacks my body image issues because all I can think is that I want to look like them, but I never will. It's biologically and physically impossible for my body type. For my genetics. But my mind doesn't accept that rationale. Other times, I'll see people I vaguely know out doing the most exciting things; seemingly living their best lives and I'm jealous as I sit there on my phone in bed.

It's the curse of being able to connect globally with the bare minimum. All you need is the internet and some form of technology and boom. You're talking to someone on the other side of the world or you're seeing through their camera lens. We're social creatures, but this isn't a healthy form of socialising.

TikTok helped me more than therapy ever did

But everyone focuses on the negativity that's become synonymous with social media; so much so that they forget that it isn't all bad. In fact, some of it can be good.

In March 2021, I somewhat foolishly gave in and downloaded TikTok. A platform that both horrifies and intrigues me; like everything, it has its pros and cons, but that isn't what I want to talk about. I want to talk about why I'm learning more about my mental health, my depression, and my anxiety, on an app that simultaneously worsens said issues.

I've done therapy and counselling before, but they don't help. The answers I've been searching for were never given. Then one day, I was scrolling down TikTok when this person on my phone started describing exactly how I feel. Others comment saying things like finally, someone's put it into words and I didn't realise that I wasn't alone in this. And there's a sense of belonging. These complete strangers relate to me and I relate to them. This is social media; this is the community that social media was supposed to bring.

From that day on, I kept stumbling across other relatable videos and learned phrases to describe my feelings. Suddenly, I know about being burnt out and that trauma can block out memories. The most recent thing TikTok taught me was Passive Suicidal Ideation; I never knew that there was a name for this intrusive part of my life.

Here, learning about my mental health is far more useful than the crisis team telling me to have a bath and a cup of tea.

But please don't forget the flipside

Of course, despite the above, TikTok isn't reliable, which is why you should always do your own research. Unfortunately, some TikTokers use disorders for clout and spread false information. There are also people who use TikTok to self-diagnose; from my own experience, I've watched several challenges that usually state that you have Autism, ADHD, etc. if you put more than five fingers down. This isn't an accurate form of diagnosis!

Use social media to inform yourself, but always double-check the facts and be careful!


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