Many survivors of childhood trauma have used social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, as a form of connection or to gain validation.
The problem is that often there is little to no validation or real connection offered via these platforms, but rather a constant stream of highlighted moments of other people’s lives.
This blog post will examine how social media use may be hindering, rather than helping, your healing process.
Frequent social media use can increase the risk of depression
Some may argue that we are now more connected than ever through social media and other online relationships. However, research has shown that virtual interaction with others generally does not improve your mental health. In fact, it can actually increase your risk of depression.
A 2017 study investigated over half a million US teenagers after the introduction of smartphones (which first came on the market in 2007). By 2015, two out of three US teens owned a smartphone.
The study found that depressive symptoms in teens increased by 33% between 2010 and 2015. According to the study, the rise in depressive symptoms even matched the increase of smartphone use year by year. The researchers concluded that increased time on new devices, such as smartphones, can lead to significant increases in depression.
And if you think this only affects teens, think again.
A study of over 1,780 adults found those who spent the most time on social media sites had the highest risk of developing depression. In contrast, those who spent the most time on ‘non-screen’ pursuits – such as socialising face to face with friends – had the lowest risk of depression.
Determining whether you need to limit your social media use
In light of these statistics, ask yourself: How are you using social media? Does it bring you pleasure? Does it validate your feelings?
If the answer is yes, that’s great. If the answer is no, or if you don’t know, then you could consider putting it aside for a week or two.
After a few days, check in with yourself as to how you’re feeling. Then check again after a week. Many survivors discover an extraordinary difference in their sense of wellbeing when they didn’t use Facebook and other social media platforms.
Be mindful of social media for the most effective healing
Social media can be a great tool in our healing journey. As stated earlier, it can facilitate and even enhance connections with others. However, it can also be very damaging, in the sense that it can lead to depression.
With this in mind, make sure that you know how you’re being affected emotionally by your use of social media.
A key part of healing is learning to love and nurture yourself. If you sense that social media is impeding your ability to do that, consider reducing or even eliminating your use of social media platforms. If you decide to continue using social media, proceed with caution.
In Heal For Life, you’ll discover additional ways to love and nurture yourself as part of your healing journey.
Learn more about healing and trauma recovery...
Heal For Life, by Liz Mullinar
How to Heal Yourself from the Pain of Childhood Trauma and Abuse
This practical guidebook for survivors of childhood trauma or abuse, presents the Heal For Life model of trauma-informed self healing that has already empowered thousands of survivors to find inner peace and hope for a brighter future. This book is highly recommended by survivors and mental health professionals alike.