The absence of social media, a good thing for me

Macy Sanchez, News Editor, Features Editor

Over the past few years, statistics have recorded that today’s teens have one of the highest rates of depression and anxiety ever seen. Depression is a long uphill battle, but there are things that can be put into practice that help to lesson some symptoms. supplies the public with a list of tips to help ease the strength of the cloud of depression. While these things have proven to be very effective, the international pandemic has made it difficult to complete nearly half of the items on the list. It is no longer safe to go out to eat with friends, attend a concert, go to the movies, go to the gym with others, or join a club full of people. While some of these things can be done while wearing a mask and attempting to stay distanced, it is still unsafe to be out and about with groups of people. 

It is highly likely that since the opportunity to spend quality, in-person time with others and do many of the activities we enjoy has been taken away from us this year, that the rate of depression will skyrocket. As so many joyous areas of daily life have been suspended, it is difficult to find alternative ways to make the most of each day. 

My family and I have continued to stay home since the spring of 2020. We have suspended all of our regular activities, and have stayed cooped up in the house the majority of the time. Unable to see friends or physically go to school and church, I anticipated feeling a bit depressed during this time. However, I feel good. Some of that feeling should be attributed to my more introverted and calm personality, but I think a large part of being okay during this time is that I do not have social media. 

I do not receive a constant influx of photos and videos of other people doing fun activities together. If all of my friends go out to dinner together, I will not know unless someone tells me directly. I will not see a bunch of photos of the event. And for me, that is a good thing. 

I know myself well enough to know that if I had social media, I would be looking at it all of the time. I would see everyone having fun together, making me feel left out and angry because I have no choice but to stay home. I would spend a lot of time looking at other peoples’ lives, and focusing on how much fun they are having, compared to how much fun I am not having. That is horribly unhealthy behavior. 

I do not get wrapped up in what other people are doing, what other people look like, or what other people have. I can focus more on my life. I still very much know that everyone is spending time together and creating such wonderful memories, and I am absolutely happy that they are happy, but now I have no means at which to compare that with what I am doing all day long. 

I still have a phone number, so I can text or call whomever I want. I can communicate with my friends, but texting is more of an ‘on my time’ sort of communication. Texting someone is mainly just about conversing, but social media is used as more of a way to show off what you did that day. Other forms of social media are always in your face about what others post. Those images and videos are plastered on your screen, supported by tedious reminders that beg your attention. I am a curious person, so I would probably be at the beck and call of each of those reminders. That is not a healthy relationship with my phone. 

I know that my friends are spending a lot of time together, but it is not a fact that social media reminds me of all of the time. It is not something that sits in the back of my head, haunting me. Instead of stressing about what I am or am not participating in, I spend my time focusing on school, my family, my faith, and whatever little hobbies I enjoy. The absence of a social media presence in my life has done great things for my mental health.