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An Open Letter To Infatuation

An Open Letter To Infatuation

Hello, infatuation, my old friend.

I felt too comfortable with you. Like a ridiculously soft hoodie and warm mocha on another bland, tedious winter’s day. I knew each and every nook and cranny of yours.

Beneath your sparkling eyes and smothering smirk, I was fully aware of every single game you’d lead me to play. And, fully aware of the preceding side effects, I gave you permission to demolish my walls, one by one. You crumbled them right in front of my eyes. It’s a predictable ritual; a non-programmable state of mind.

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After countless attempts to rid myself of you, none worked. “Time heals everything,” or so I was told. Your undeniable charm hiding your true intentions caught me starry-eyed and vulnerable. You’d gently caress me in my weakest moments and darkest nights. When the slightest peek of sunshine emerged, I was then greeted with a strike on the face followed by a knowing grin.

Consumed by the passion inside your penetrating gaze, I was reminded of the times you’d whisper words of affirmation into my ear. Your words dripped off of your lips like melted butter; your kisses as sweet as honey.

Oh, my melodramatic self saw all of those crimson red flags in the plain. The escape was easy; all I had to do was to bid you a firm farewell. Choosing otherwise, I threw consciousness and logic out the window without a single glance back.

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You were more powerful than any addiction encountered in the past. There was no over-the-counter medicine to combat the butterflies and electric tension. We were like moth to flame: always close, yet never close enough. Had I gone too close, the story would be no more. From my first thought of each waking moment to the final thought before dozing off into a slumber, you were there.

Sometimes, I wondered if you had ever thought of me. I would then recall how you never remembered my birthday without the aid of social media. I would remember how you’d disappear for weeks without notice. I was so accustomed to living on the edge; hanging by a thread.

The days felt like weeks, weeks felt like months, but I would always be awaiting your response. And the next one. And the next one. It was a routine that thrived on spontaneity, ironic in its existence, illogical in its consistency.

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Darling, thank you for blinding me. Thank you for opening imaginary doors that directed to new doors of opportunity. But most of all, thank you for helping me realize my self-worth. Without being pushed down to what could only be described as a prison of lingering uncertainty and fear, I would never be aware of how strong I really was. I said goodbye, and the results were ethereal.

I found time again. Energy, again. Even dignity, again.

Suddenly, I could walk through that little path in the forest without your scent looming. I could listen to that musical piece without envisioning what we could be. I could write without your name etched in the back of my mind.

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Infatuation. You’ve been quite the handful, being that grey area between the fiery sparks of romance and peaceful waters of friendship. Throughout this journey, I finally realized that you only have enough control over me as I’d allow you to. All that insomnia and over-contemplation has led me to who I am today. And of course, I don’t regret all the bad poetry I wrote.

It’s been a while since we’ve last had a chat. Perhaps I can take you out to coffee sometime to talk about someone else I’ve met.

With gratitude,

Your longtime friend

Featured photo credit: VividScreen via splendidwallpaper.com

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Lily Yuan

Full-Time Student

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Last Updated on June 24, 2019

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

Why Social Media Might Be Causing Depression

A study [1] published in Depression and Anxiety found that social media users are more likely to be depressed. This was just one of the huge number of studies linking social media and depression[2] . But why exactly do platforms like Facebook and Instagram make people so unhappy? Well, we don’t know yet for sure, but there are some explanations.

Social Media Could Lead to Depression

Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you think, feel, and behave. Social media may lead to depression in predisposed individuals or make existing symptoms of depression[3] worse explains[4] the study above’s senior author Dr. Brian Primack. So, the problem may not be in social media per se, but how we use it.

Signs You’re Suffering From “Social Media Depression”

If you feel like social media is having a negative impact on your mood, then you may be suffering from “social media depression.” Look for symptoms like:

• low self-esteem,

• negative self-talk,

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• a low mood,

• irritability,

• a lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,

• and social withdrawal.

If you’ve had these symptoms for more than two weeks and if this is how you feel most of the time, then you are likely depressed. Although “social media depression “is not a term recognized in the medical setting, social media depression seems to be a real phenomenon affecting around 50% of social media users. As explained in a review study[5] published in Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, if a person has a certain predisposition to depression and other mental disorders, social media use may only worsen their mental health.

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Social Media Could Crush Self-Esteem

We know that social media and depression are in some way linked, but why is this so? Well, according to Igor Pantic, MD, Ph.D.[6], social media use skews your perception about other people’s lives and traits. To explain this further, most people like to portray an idealized image of their lives, personal traits, and appearance on sites like Facebook and Instagram. If you confuse this idealized image with reality, you may be under the false impression that everyone is better than you which can crush your self-esteem and lead to depression. This is especially true for teens and young adults who are more likely to compare themselves to others. If you already suffer from low self-esteem, the illusion that everyone has it better off than you will just make you feel worse.

Causing Social Isolation and Other Negative Emotions

Another commonly cited reason for the negative impact of social media on mental health is its link with social isolation. Depressed people are more likely to isolate themselves socially and chose only to interact indirectly through social media platforms. But communication online tends to be superficial and is lacking when compared to real-life interaction explains Panic. What this means is not that social media leads to isolation but the other way around, possibly explaining why we find so many depressed persons on these sites.

Lastly, social media use may generate negative emotions in you like envy, jealousy, dislike, loneliness, and many others and this may worsen your depressive symptoms.

Why We Need to Take This Seriously

Both depression and social media use are on the rise according to epidemiological studies. Since each one has an impact on the other, we have to start thinking of healthier ways to use social media. Teens and young adults are especially vulnerable to the negative impact of social media on mental health.

Advice on Social Media Use

Although these findings did not provide any cause-effect explanation regarding Facebook and depression[7], they still do prove that social media use may not be a good way to handle depression. For this reason, the leading authors of these studies gave some suggestions as to how clinicians and people can make use of such findings.

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One suggestion is that clinicians should ask patients about their social media habits. Then they can advise them on how to change their outlook on social media use or even suggest limiting their time spent on social media.

Some social media users may also exhibit addictive behavior; they may spend too much time due to compulsive urges. Any compulsive behavior is bound to lead to feelings of guilt which can worsen depressive symptoms.

Having Unhealthy Relationship with Social Media

If you feel like your relationship with social media is unhealthy, then consider the advice on healthy social media use provided by psychology experts from Links Psychology[8]:

Avoid negative social comparison – always keep in mind that how people portray themselves and their lives on social media is not a realistic picture, but rather an idealized one. Also, avoid comparing yourself to others because this behavior can lead to negative self-talk.

Remember that social media is not a replacement for real life – Social media is great for staying in touch and having fun, but it should never replace real-world interactions.

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Avoid releasing personal information – For your safety and privacy, make sure to be careful with what you post online.

Report users who bully and harass you – It’s easy to be a bully in the anonymous and distant world of social media. Don’t take such offense personally and report those who abuse social media to harass others.

The bits of advice listed above can help you establish a healthy relationship with social media. Always keep these things in mind to avoid losing an objective perspective of what social media is and how it is different from real life. If you are currently suffering from depression, talk to your doctor about what is bothering you so that you can get the treatment you need to get better. Tell your doctor about your social media use and see if they could give you some advice on this topic.

Reference

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