April 8, 2016

Is Twitter good for my mental health?

(In which I feel so cool because I joined Twitter)

I'm new to Twitter (follow me as  @frustratedmess!) which is probably obvious to maybe the one follower who is actually reading my tweets.  I'm trying to follow the etiquette.  I like and retweet other's tweets.
To be honest I think following my favorite blogs has been a little more enjoyable so far (I use Feedly on my phone).  To be even more honest... I was hoping Twitter might be a way to promote my blog.  I don't think that's inappropriate.  A lot of users out there seem to be doing the same thing.

My question, however, is whether this is all good for my mental health.  One thing is for damn sure, it has been very detrimental to my work productivity.  I have had great difficulty concentrating and focusing the past seven or eight work days.  However, I was having problems before I got onto Twitter.  Loss of concentration is a symptom of depression after all.  And I've been mildly cycling these days between depression and a "low grade" hypomania.  Both of those make me vulnerable to distraction and thus my job performance suffers.  It's not clear then how much Twitter is keeping me away from work and how much I'm looking for something else to do since I seem to be unable to get much done.

I got off on a tangent again.   Job performance is not the same as mental health.  So is Twitter good for that?  I'd say yes in that it is reminding me how many people out there deal with mental illness.  It also has pointed me to some interesting articles.  I'm interested in Ketamine treatments for example, even though I don't think I'm a very good candidate for them.  However, there are some clear negatives.  I'm checking on it way too much.  It's a huge distraction.  Even more than Facebook used to be.  The thing I love about the updates of the people I follow is that for the most part they are either informative or honest.  There is very little image crafting.  Obviously people are trying to be funny... but they are trying that to an audience they mostly don't know.  Facebook was so lame because at one point I had crossed paths with all the people on there.  For most of them I didn't want to hear updates on totally awesome things happening in their lives.  So Twitter seems better so far than Facebook... but that's not saying much.

To summarize, my mental health is less than ideal but I don't think Twitter is making it that much worse.  I'm experiencing lows, crying jags, feelings of being overwhelmed.  And I'm cycling back to high energy, racing thoughts, and of course thinking up the next decent tweet.  Am I going to stop?  Absolutely not!

Image credit: My crappy drawing

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