Sammy Says: Social Wellness: Instagram

Going on Instagram makes me feel sick. Sick at myself because I am so out of touch with everything going on – the challenge accepted campaign is so important and I felt so moved to see so many of my friends posting, the posts about protests, injustice, action made me feel guilty for not knowing what is going on, not taking direct action, not getting involved when what is happening are things that make my stomach ache and plunge me into panic – how can these things be happening?! how can another breathing person do that to another breathing person! 

I begin to feel responsible for all the problems of every person I scan as well as triggered by memories of people I no longer speak to so often or people I was too afraid to have a difficult conversation with and unintentionally cut them out of my life or people I added before I understood what it meant to follow someone, and it feels wrong to unfriend them. Like I am rejecting the opportunity to ever know that person. I feel overwhelmed and terrified and powerless. I feel like I have no true friends and that I am an embarrassment fumbling on social media doing all the wrong things: not posting enough, not engaged enough, not working enough, not successful enough, not pretty enough, not confident enough. 

I shut the screen, close the tab – it’s just me alone in my bedroom. I want to cry. I want to hide. I want to be better than I am. I check my phone. No texts inviting me to a protest or attempting to educate me about what is going on and how to get involved. No missed calls. I walk outside, and there are few people around, mostly walking dogs on leashes. Just the sun hitting concrete on silent suburbia. 

I begin using positive self-talk. Focus on what is within your control. I’m doing my best. I am trying to learn. I am not perfect, I make mistakes. A true friend will work through the difficulties and together you will grow. A true friend will forgive you, will be honest with you, will invite you and encourage you and listen. They will empower you and inspire you. I have true friends. I am a true friend. I’m trying to be a true friend. 

The goal is to be a true friend to everyone. To me true friends make the best teachers. I am learning how to be a great teacher, which to me means learning how to be a true friend. A friend is your equal. They know that, their behavior shows that, their language shows that. 

I breathe in, I breathe out. Think about something I’m grateful for. I see faces and happy memories of love. 

I tell the things I tell myself to feel better about the limits of what I can control. If everyone could solve their own problems, we wouldn’t have any problems. We just need to empower people to solve their problems. How do we do that? 

By being a true friend. 

I’m definitely not using Instagram right. I walk away feeling more miserable, more powerless, and more alone.

Can anyone help?