Fetterman Says Social Media Worsened His Depression – It Could Happen To You
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.
John Fetterman is a US Senator from Pennsylvania, known for his progressive policies, health issues, and slovenly appearance. People have made fun of him mercilessly. The things people have said about him are so mean that it’s a wonder that he doesn’t just throw the towel in and give up. Not only has he not given up, but he’s also managed to poke fun at himself and use the insults to sell campaign merchandise on his website. For thirty-five dollars, you can buy a t-shirt with quotes on it that say things like “revolting slob,” that’s a quote from Monica Crowley, and “crazy stroke victim,” that’s from Tucker Carlson. It turns out that Fetterman hasn’t been taking these insults as well as he seemed. According to The Guardian, social media made Fetterman’s battle with mental depression last year even more complex, and it turns out that social media may be harming others in much the same way.
Fetterman said the comments on social media about him and his family played a role in the depression which sent him to a hospital for six weeks in February. “It’s an accelerant, absolutely,” he said. The first-term senator added: “It’s just astonishing that so many people want to take the time to hop online and to say things to a stranger that never did anything to you – especially members of my family.”
Social media can have both positive and negative effects on people’s happiness. On the one hand, it allows people to connect with others, share experiences, and access a wealth of information. It can foster a sense of belonging. It’s an outlet for self-expression and can help some to find their tribe. On the other hand, excessive use can lead to unfavorable comparisons, a feeling of inadequacy, and a fear of missing out (FOMO).
The curated nature of social media feeds can create unrealistic expectations and contribute to feelings of unhappiness or dissatisfaction. People need to find a balance and use social media mindfully, focusing on positive interactions and setting boundaries to protect their mental well-being. Social comparison often presents an idealized version of people’s lives, showcasing their best moments and achievements. This can lead to social comparison, where individuals compare their lives to those portrayed on social media. Constant exposure to others’ seemingly perfect lives can create unhappiness.
Cyberbullying and negative feedback are also prevalent on these platforms. Some experience harassment for their views, which can impact their self-esteem. On top of that, some waste excessive time on social media, which can decrease real-world productivity and lead to feeling unfulfilled.
Conversely, social media can lead to positive connections, support, community, and friendship. Ultimately, the impact of social media on happiness varies from person to person. Individuals must be aware of their social media usage, set healthy boundaries, and prioritize real-life connections and experiences to maintain overall well-being.
Social media really can do damage. It is essential to set boundaries and understand that you’re seeing what people want you to see and not what’s necessarily accurate or true. You’re only getting part of the story. Enjoy social media in doses. If someone is upsetting you, blocking and unfollowing can protect your mental health. As we start this new year, it is essential to look back on the last year, prioritize what’s important to you, and do less of what upsets you. If there’s one thing we can learn from Senator Fetterman, less time on social media may be what we all need.
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