It wasn't until I spiraled into severe depression around the start of this year that I was able to realise that there was something very wrong. I went to doctors, got blood tests and underwent therapy because of the horrible thoughts running through my mind. I was starting to scare myself and everyone around me. Eventually I went on medication but that didn’t help the constant anxiety and depression I felt every day. I used to go home from school and spend hours on my phone, making sure I wasn’t forgotten about in the eyes of others.
For months I woke up at around 2 or 3 in the morning, only able to get around 4 hours of sleep. I sometimes clenched my teeth subconsciously in the night and woke up in immense pain. It turns out the reason I was clenching my teeth was due to …. well you guessed it, emotional stress and anxiety. I was tired, anxious and tense every single day but I never told anybody as I didn’t want to burden my family or friends. I knew I was making myself extremely sick and I hit rock bottom… it was time for a change.
My mom and I had a huge fight and she finally took my phone away from me. I told her to not give it back no matter how much I would beg or plead of her; I needed to do this for myself. So there began probably the worst weekend I’ve experienced in a long time. My phone was gone and I felt alone and really scared. The dependence I had on that electronic device was so strong and absolutely terrifying.
Not having my phone made me realise how much spare time I had. I suddenly didn’t know what to do with myself so I started playing the guitar and singing. It was extremely therapeutic and it distracted me from my thoughts which was what I needed at that time. I then started talking to my mom more and our relationship became stronger, she helped me through my difficulties and encouraged me to peruse more hobbies. My family noticed a change in my behavior, I was less anxious and tense and I started living in the moment. That weekend was the start of something incredible; I just didn’t know it yet. I remember sleeping most of the day because I was so tired, since my brain was finally relaxed without the overuse of social media, months and months of sleep finally caught up with me. I felt like I needed to sleep for about 3 days straight because my brain wasn’t constantly active anymore and I had peace of mind.
Similar to a lot of people, I have a massive fear of being alone. I thought that if my social media disappeared than so would I, and my friends wouldn’t care about me anymore because I wasn’t constantly available to them. However it actually had a reverse effect.
In today’s modern society, social media feels like a requirement, however I’m here to tell you that I don’t believe you need it. Of course keeping connections with your friends is extremely important, however not when it becomes an unhealthy and constant dependence. My experience was extremely challenging, it tested my willpower and sanity however it was definitely worth it. I encourage all of you to try this especially if you experience depression or anxiety. Our generation needs to know that social media is not everything, it’s usually a waste of time and you won’t gain much from constantly being on it. We shouldn’t feel the need to post a collection of pictures that reflects the ‘perfect life’ we are living or send irrelevant snapchats to people or check what everyone else is doing or worry that you aren’t having the amazing life that everybody seems to have. Please stop living through your phone and start living out there, in the real world.
Mae, 16 years, Brisbane