Well, it seems that science is finally down with the kids, as social media is now part of the suggested treatment for chronic social anxiety.
Finally, the stuffed shirts are pretending to be down the youth, doffing their caps in a cavalier manner, deciding to speak entirely with their thumbs. According to brand new research, the treatment for anxious teens is more social media, not less.
“You miss out on conversations, on invitations or knowing what’s going on on the weekend,” says Lauren Hoffman, a clinical psychologist at the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. “This is how teenagers are communicating.”
However, researchers are taking it further, asking the anxious to post on Insta as part of their treatment. Xavier Martinez, a New Yorker who attended a week-long boot camp for teens with social anxieties, and through posting photos of his Bichon Frise, started to overcome his condition that made it difficult to see his friends, or order food at a restaurant. At the camp, counsellors and group members commented on his posts. “They would mostly say ‘nice work’ or ‘good to see you having fun,’ ’’ Xavier says. “It made me feel pretty good.”
Yes, it seems very American, and very this generation; a camp to post fetid nothings into the ether to mine dopamine. But, yankee auspices aside, the application on social media to one’s mental health is a worthwhile pursuit. As someone who had undiagnosed depression with an anxious chaser, social media has helped destigmatise my condition, if only through shared, honest, cynicism.
I formed a meme group with two other people with similar conditions, a kind of safe room when things get grim. We speak nothing of how we’re feeling or what’s wrong, we just send memes with a gloomy, sinister tone.
If anything, it has normalised the illogical awfulness of those mornings. It’s certainly done far more for me than those within my circle endlessly asking if I’m ok, or if I’ve gone for a walk today.