I am convinced that since the advent of Facebook as well as Twitter, Instagram etc. and the enormous growth of users, psychologists are being inundated with patients needing help to cope with their perceived worthless existences.
In the past few weeks I have seen old wedding photos of people I once knew well. Reading all the syrupy garbage that not only the couple, or one of them (usually the wife,) but dozens of their friends and family members have posted on their Facebook page is enough to make even the soppyist of people puke! Oh come on, let’s get real. How many marriages are so absolutely wonderful. How many partners are these amazing walking demi gods who have been such perfect soul mates? Sure, it’s great to celebrate a long marriage, but scratch the surface and you are sure to find some polyfillerd cracks of various sizes and shapes.
I remember a few years ago saying to a group of female work colleagues that, if anyone says that they have a wonderful, argument free, marriage and that their husband is perfect, then just look a bit deeper. Either he is full of guilt due to extra marital affairs, or he is a closet gay! One of the women in the group piped up with “that’s what happened in our marriage – he was having it off with his secretary!” I may sound cynical, but all this on-going rubbish that is being posted on Facebook is one huge ego trip and often a load of total hogwash.
It would be really refreshing, when a couple wish to let the social media world know that they are celebrating a wedding or commitment anniversary, to read something along the lines of “on this day x amount of years ago I committed to sharing my life with a person with whom there have been many memorable occasions, good and bad. We have had our challenges which often involved in-law interference, or money worries but we have survived! We have had our times of fun and laughter along with the difficult days. So, let’s have a toast to more years still to come!” Now, no-one is going to feel sick with jealousy because they cannot compete with this perfect match made in heaven, and hopefully that would stop all the hypocrites from waffling on about the perfect couple – blah blah blah!
It goes further as far as the bragging is concerned. Everyone out there seems to have children who are amazing, and never cease to make their besotted parents gloat in wonder. The certificates, awards, successes –both in the classroom and on the playing fields -the list goes on and on. There must be many parents who read these posts who feel that they have been dealt a really lousy hand where offspring are concerned. They may be coping with children who are just average or perhaps challenged in some or other way be it academically or physically. I had a good friend for many years who always used to say “there are no throwaway people” – everyone is worthwhile regardless of their achievements. This is the crux of the matter isn’t it? Whatever challenges we have in life, we sometimes really struggle to accept the fact that we either cope with what we have in front of us, or just give up. The latter is not an option in most cases, and that is where the professionals and their counselling can be of incredible assistance. Feeling inferior, hard done by, worthless, incompetent – all emotions which are so readily fed and watered by the many ego-driven postings out there on social media.
It would be interesting to see some statistics relating to the demands being made on psychologists and psychiatrists since the advent of social media-itis and before it raised its often ugly head. I may be wrong in my presumptions, but I do know that there is a lot of evidence that more and more youngsters are feeling depressed, worthless, and inferior and often contemplate committing suicide. There has to be a correlation with the fact that these same young people seem to be spending most of their waking hours using their cellphones, either to send posts themselves or reading what others have to say. It appears that it is no longer the norm to get together with members of your peer group and hang out and have fun. Nowadays it would appear that, in many instances, relationships start and end with the use of cellphones. How devastating to receive an sms or a WhatsApp message letting you know you are no longer the flavour of the month or to see evidence on Facebook that your ex has replaced you and wants the world to know.How far is all this going to go before the bubble bursts and life once again returns to some semblance of normality? Never, only in our wildest dreams and this is the “normal” for all those young people born into a world of social media. Oh well, let’s accept the inevitable and just hope that there is a constant stream of qualified and empathetic psychologists graduating from quality universities to handle all the world’s troubled souls!