Dealing with the darkness
I want to begin with this blog by saying thank you for your lovely and supportive comments. It means so much that people care and love me. Thank you for holding me and Helen in your prayers. Hearing people say ‘I’m only a call away’ has been a life changer.
I have shared my blog after having been diagnosed with depression as a way to help others who may find themselves in a similar situation. Mental health needs to be talked about rather than seen as a stigma. Let’s reach out to one another.
It is true to say that we all feel a little unsure at times. Some of our thoughts can be filled with doubt. I felt inadequate and this produced anxiety about my ministry, relationships, and ability to handle certain situations. There were times when I felt lonely and unloved. I was worried about failing and losing the people I loved. To help with this I am talking more to Helen, family, and friends, receiving counselling, and keeping a journal.
I know we should live in the moment, but I couldn’t stop worrying about the things that hadn’t happened. I was also worried about the things I wanted in the future, but these were out of my control.
I have found the Circle of Control helpful because it showed me what is in my control and what were out of my control. The circle gives examples of what we can and can not control when it comes to relationships, breakups, grieving, social media, and physical illness. Each one of the circles encouraged me to find the aspect of my situation that’s in my control so that I can focus on those things.
The role social media plays in mental health
Last week I shared that social media was making me feel anxious. We are hugely blessed with technology and connected more than ever, but we are more lonely. When out socialising I observe people spending more time on their screens and not appreciating the person (s) sitting opposite. Life can be short which means appreciating the people God blessed us with in person.
One of the things that Covid taught us is that human beings are social creatures. We need the companionship of others to thrive in life, and the strength of our connections has an impact on our mental health and happiness. I was more bothered about the number of likes, and how many friends and followers I had. I was also concerned about the emojis on Facebook posts (like, love, care, haha, sad, wow, and angry).
I am on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I use these platforms to connect with people. Social media has its benefits, but it’s important to remember that social media can never be a replacement for real-world human connection.
Social media can take its toll on everyone’s mental health and it can bring false hope.
I have found it helpful to ask the following questions:
Would I speak to the person on the street?
Go for a drink?
Send a birthday card?
If the answer was no I asked myself if I should be friends with the person on social media. These are helpful questions for you to ask yourselves too.
I recently read a good article on 4 Types of People You Should Never Friend on Facebook https://www.liveabout.com/types-of-people-you-should-never-friend-on-facebook-1385579
We are social beings. We spend too much time on our screens and we fail to see the people around us.
Social media enables you to communicate and stay up to date with family and friends around the world. The social media platforms allow you to join or promote worthwhile causes; raise awareness on important issues
It allows you to seek or offer emotional support during tough times. Social media is good for sharing what’s on our minds and this results in people looking out for each other.
Dear Evan Hanson
Last year Helen and I went to see the musical ‘Dear Evan Hanson’ at the West End. The plot of this powerful film and musical is about Evan Hansen who is an anxious, isolated high-school student who's aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social media age.
“Waving Through a Window” is sung by Evan Hansen, a typical teenager struggling to belong…
On the outside, always looking in
Will I ever be more than I've always been?
'Cause I'm tap, tap, tapping on the glass
Waving through a window
I try to speak, but nobody can hear
So I wait around for an answer to appear
While I'm watch, watch, watching people pass
Waving through a window, oh
Can anybody see, is anybody waving?
I can relate to this song. Look at the lyrics and you will see society in this song.
Appreciate the people you can physically see and have a break from the virtual world because sometimes we can fail to see the person around us who is tap, tap, tapping on the glass. And don’t forget to tell the person you love them.