There have been numerous posts over the years on why social media can be bad for you but what about when it isn’t? With the rise of social media, people are now choosing to voice their stories and battles with neglect, trauma, and mental health online and being heard, anonymously or not. Even better, we’re finding support and a safe environment through the virtual world. At the very least, we’ve found somewhere to turn to when things don’t seem right.
Everyone’s got great and unpleasant anecdotes from their life. For some, the unpleasantness is more than the average person could ever comprehend.
Different people choose to deal with it in different ways. Some unfortunately perpetuate the cycle of distress and neglect, and some find it wise to submit to their circumstances. Most hearteningly, some rise from their struggles and become wonderful and supportive people themselves. There is great, though sad, relief in knowing you’re not alone in your circumstances. You learn to empathise and support each other, and most powerfully, you learn to hope and grow.
One great example is the online forum r/raisedbynarcissists on Reddit. The online group of 808k members is a support forum for sharing and empathising with the struggles and trauma of those who’ve had, as the name suggests, narcissistic guardians growing up. There are millions of people out there who’ve never met each other and they’re fighting for each others’ rights and celebrating their growth. It gives you a powerful hope for humanity.
30 years ago, if you lived in conflict, you wouldn’t even recognise that your circumstances aren’t normal, let alone get out of an unhealthy, or unsafe, environment. Through social media, survivors are taught and encouraged to fight back for their power. Even now, it isn’t easy at all and bad things like neglect and abuse still happen, but the number of people whose lives were changed for the better from seeking support through social media would melt your heart. Where prevention is possible, we’re trying our best to make it happen.
Another phenomenon is when people use their painful experiences to do something remarkable with their lives. Maya Angelou and Helen Keller did it decades ago. Not everyone can pull it off, and it’s definitely not something we ought to romanticise. Some do it to escape, some do it, heartbreakingly, to receive the recognition they know they deserve, and some do it to grow. Regardless of the reason, these people come out of their enforced shell and change the world.
There are many who argue as to the effectiveness of “escaping” through social media. One thing to note here is that we’re not referring to unhealthy coping habits online, we’re talking about finding hope, support and encouragement from one another.
Take Zaira Wasim’s Secret Superstar. The protagonist grows up in a misogynistic, isolated home headed by an abusive father, and is encouraged by her sweet yet submissive mother to anonymously showcase her vocal talent online. (Of course, Aural could’ve helped her tons but that’s out of the point.) Her actions bring her recognition, and give them the courage to understand each other and escape their circumstances.
The times are changing. There’s hope for all of us, but some need it more. And they’re getting it online, by sharing their story and making themselves heard.
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