Instagram: The Most Depressing Place In CyberSpace
TRIGGER WARNING: I want you to know before you read this post, it may be a trigger for depression and/or mental illness. While this post contains no adult language or disturbing images, this can just be hard stuff. We’re talking about the dark side of Instagram today.
I have a lukewarm relationship with social media. Being a highly functioning introvert (I can fake being an extrovert in certain situations to avoid feeling awkward), I love being able to read about people and issues and shop, all from the safety of my couch. However, about the time I feel red hot on fire for all things cyberspace, something ridiculous happens. When I read about nonsense, such as fellow blogger getting attacked by cyber bullies for simply posting a video of her children on the internet, my eyes cross. It is in moments such as these that my blood boils. But even with all the crap on the internet, there is one place that is more depressing than any other in cyberspace.
It may not be what you might be expecting. This certain social media outlet is usually only defined by fashion, food and snippets of people’s families and pets. We are consumed as a society by pretty pictures, perfect lighting and crisp images. We want to make sure we’ve conveyed a life being displayed just right. Yet, for all the perfection Instagram displays, it is quite possibly the most depressing place on the internet.
Months after my baby brother’s suicide, I scoured his phone and social media accounts. Looking into his own depression, only led to opening the door to others and their personal struggles. Using a hash tag of #depression on either Pinterest and/or Instagram reveals harrowing images. Cutting, death and grief are all displayed for the viewing. The images on Instagram are so distressing that upon entering such a hash tag into a search, it leads to a warning.
Prior to my brother’s funeral, I tagged several of his pictures with #depression and #grief. The flood of comments left by people I’d never met was very kind. They reciprocated such sentiments about suicide and having their own struggles with mental illness. I was broken all over again and this time it was for people I had and still have never met.
A lot of these accounts are anonymous, for obvious reasons. I follow several of them and stop in to check in on them often. Please hear me on this: I do not do this for any other reason than to offer my encouragement. No “churchy” language, no condemnation, just a random internet person leaving a smiley face or other kind emoticon or word of encouragement.
There are ten thousand judgments that can be passed over people posting such things on Instagram and other social media avenues . Whether it is mental illness or just improper coping mechanisms, I don’t care. I only wish to convey positive sentiments to a person that is struggling.
If we are going to be people who bring the light to others, we’ve got to be willing to learn about the darkness. We also can’t be scared to offer our assistance, even if it’s only words of love. We especially have to bring such light everywhere, even if it’s the loneliest place on the internet.
If you or someone you love is struggling, one of my favorite organizations is To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA). They are a non-religious affiliated organization who have fantastic resources. Their website is here.
Go forth and love one another darlings.
Hugs and love,