With the latest passing of monumental Linkin Park front man Chest Bennington. I feel the urge to speak up - reach out, what ever you want to call it. I'm ready to peel back the facade and talk about my point of view of this ugly world we currently live in.
Two iconic Rock music icons have died within a span of months. To me these could be alarm bells, or a grim reminder. The reminder that we all share the same vulnerabilities. The same emotive responses to Joy, Sadness, Anxiety, Relief, Frustration, Anger etc..
We all know about these feelings, we've spent our formative years discovering what makes us tick.
So why is it still so hard to talk about it? Why are we hiding these very natural feelings?
My current observation has eluded to Social Media.
Now many of you will think..
"Pfft.. You're just old and don't know what you're talking about, Social Media is how I connect to my friends and express myself"
Is it? Are we expressing our true selves?
Do we always share our downs and most vulnerable states over social media? Sure there are a handful of people that do - but then people complain that they are "oversharing". Maybe they aren't.. maybe they are reaching out?
I am surrounded by posts of people going on holiday, receiving gifts from their spouses and just inundated with selfies in front of something "worth sharing"
It has become a game - people want to one up their friends status with something else.
We become less present with our surroundings, and are constantly thinking "This is gonna make a great post!"
Which leads me to the connection to depression. We've become so hard wired to wanting those likes. Getting that hit of "love" from who saw your post and who "hearted" your upload.
It's how we make ourselves happy - we get that hit of endorphin's and become reliant on it. It becomes a drug. But like all drugs - they have a come down.
We have become so self obsessed in fabricating the perfect scenario for a blip in time, that we have missed out on the real things that make us happy.
I see groups of friends "hanging out together" but all of them are on their phones. Looking down.
A week from that night out, what memories have you shared with your friends? What can you look back on, in your time of need and say "ahh I remember having a great time with my friends last week. I felt loved and supported."
Most of the time people are afraid to speak up is because it makes them look weak or unfit.
Are we that socially competitive? to the point we risk our health over the "thought" of being mocked or ridiculed.
Unfortunately it's more prevalent with teenagers - as many of us are still figuring things out and looking for a place of acceptance within social circles.
So what is the solution?
I don't think that removing yourself from Social media is a viable answer. But maybe setting boundaries and sticking to basic rules would help reduce the screen time vs face time.
Maybe start small - by having allocated "no phone" spaces. It may just mean you keep your phone in your pocket/handbag. Don't leave it sitting on the table or in your hand.
Try it at the dinner table (I know.. no more food Instagrams) or make sure the phone is away while you are in the living room or hanging out with friends.
It may sound ridiculous and a far fetch idea, but if you begin to practice it, you realise that you don't need social media 24/7. (humans managed to survive the last few centuries without it)
Another tip that helped me - I found my "hunger" for Facebook had diminished due to removing the shortcut from my phone homescreen.
It stopped me from the habit of picking up my phone and hitting the icon to "kill time"
If I want to go onto Facebook - I have to go into my app list and scroll through the list etc... this takes time, and enough time for me to reflect and ask myself "Do I really need to go online now, or am I just bored?"
Instead I end up appreciating my surroundings, the sound, the smell and visuals of the world around me. I feel more at peace and reconnected, by disconnecting.
So going back to some of the issues at hand - by being more aware - we will pick up the emotional imbalances from our friends and family. We will be more engaged in the conversations and hopefully help.
9 out of 10 people just need to talk and sound out their doubts, problems and confusions that whirl around in their heads.
Let's make the conscious decision to help ourselves & fellow people.