As the social media world has evolved, we have seen influencers, athletes, actors, and more use their platforms to share their mental health journeys. They are using their platforms, such as Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and Twitter, to share their journey with the world, creating a space for others to feel comfort in knowing that they aren’t alone and a space to connect with others who might be going through something similar.
One notable athlete changing how mental health is perceived is Simone Biles, an Olympic athlete who had to step down in the 2020 Olympics due to her own mental health needs. Biles experienced the “twisties.” The twisties refer to a mental block that can interfere with a sense of where an athlete’s body is in space, which is especially dangerous for gymnasts. She used her platform to bring awareness to her mental health struggles and shed light on the overwhelming stigma mental health receives. When influencers, athletes, and other community members shed light on their journey, it can resonate with others, knowing that people from all walks of life experience their mental health struggles and there is support.
The hardest thing to do is to ask for help and advocate for yourself; this is a strength. Asking for help is difficult, and you are the only one who knows yourself and your needs; this is commendable. It’s OK not to be OK! Your mental health journey can look like a roller coaster, fast/slow, twists/turns, and ups and downs; it takes time to heal.
The Power of Personal Stories
As you see, influencers share their journeys, creating normalcy around the mental health stigma and helping others feel not alone. It’s important to remember that they are sharing what they are comfortable sharing; you won’t be seeing every aspect. Not every aspect of your mental health journey needs to be public. You can be selective about what you want to share and when you want to share it. Doing this will allow you to maintain a sense of privacy and personal space creating that needed boundary. When you share your experiences, you give others a point of reference, which can be invaluable for those struggling in silence. This is important to remember because everyone’s mental health journey is different. You will be different from others, and that’s okay, but it’s important to remember not to compare yourself to others in their journeys. Their or even your journey can inspire hope and create a sense of community for those who may feel isolated. It also helps others seek support in their communities and also gives them the possibility of being able to advocate for themselves on their journey.
Prioritizing Self Care
Balancing advocacy with personal well-being can be challenging. Advocates often feel a sense of responsibility to help others, but it’s essential to remember that self-care is not selfish. It’s a prerequisite for effective advocacy. Take the time to care for your mental health. This might mean stepping back from social media when needed, seeking professional support, or engaging in activities that rejuvenate your spirit, like walking, reading a good book, or spending time with family and friends. Self-care looks different to everyone; it might be sitting down and watching your feel-good show. You have to do what makes you feel good and feel rested. It’s essential to prioritize this aspect of yourself, especially in avoiding burnout.
The digital world can be overwhelming, especially when advocating for a cause like mental health. Setting clear boundaries for your online engagement will help. Schedule social media posts, limit online time, and curate your feeds to ensure a positive and supportive environment. Remember that you have control over what you consume and share.
Setting boundaries may involve limiting your social media usage or designating specific times for sharing, all while recognizing that not every aspect of your life needs to be shared. As Simone Biles expressed, “Everybody expects me to speak out, but I kind of do it whenever I’m ready, in a good mental place, because it is a lot at the end of the day, and it does spark a very big conversation.”
Advocating for mental health doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone. Seek support from fellow advocates, friends, family, trusted adults, or mental health professionals. They can provide guidance, reassurance, and a listening ear when needed. Remember you are not alone in this journey, seek support and resources in your community when needed!
Remember that your journey is ever evolving. You will have good and bad days, and that’s perfectly normal. Your advocacy can adapt to reflect these changes. It’s okay to reassess your boundaries, share new insights, and take breaks when necessary. Embrace the fluidity of your journey. Your journey matters, remember to take time for yourself and indulge in needed self-care.