Name: Ciara Hesselman
From: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Addiction In Our Hands
UW La Crosse
What is the first thing many people do as soon as they wake up? You may think; turn off their alarm clock, turn on the lights, go to the bathroom, or start making coffee to get their day going. For many, it includes looking at their phone to check social media. This includes Snapchat, Facebook, and or Instagram. Anymore in today’s society we are so consumed with looking at different media’s that influence our daily actions, styles, ideas, beliefs, and values based on what others choose to show their following of “friends”. The goal appears to be making others think what we want them to believe, rather than what is actually going on in our lives or what others are going through. Social media is one big place where we can mask and hide what we please for as long as we may please but also a place where we can gain and expose ourselves to specific categories of people based on similar interests. It is up to that individual what they choose to post on social media for others to see what/how they are living their life. We are constantly comparing our lives and assets to what others hold possession of as well as what they have experienced. As my grandpa would always say as I was growing up “Don’t try keeping up with the Jones’, it’ll only make you ungrateful for what you have now.” For this particular reason of being obsessed with social media, I believe that this is why individuals, more so America as a nation, has mental health setbacks along with an addiction to drugs and alcohol. As we are continuously comparing ourselves to those who we see on social media, it becomes hard to try to achieve similar belongings and experiences or at least to think we can have similar lifestyles. We get inside our heads thinking we need to be doing the same things we are looking at on a digital screen.
As a result of trying to achieve what we are seeing through the various smart devices at our disposal, we may choose to spend time around people who may help us achieve these goals, ones who are not good for our soul or mental health and or ones who don’t really know us, who aren’t genuine, one’s who don’t actively care about our well being. Sure, these people may be able to help individuals achieve materialistic goals and or items but what many people don’t think of is how draining it can be to constantly be putting on the front of who we want others to think of us as or “who we are.” Because individuals are trying to be someone they’re not, people lose sight of who they are as an individual. Individuals may forget the idea of who they want to be, where they want to go in this life, may think when the people who genuinely love and care about them are trying to help them don’t understand their situation or they may not believe they need help as they see nothing wrong with their actions. When we have an addiction and or a mental health complication, the hardest step for someone to take is accepting “I am not doing okay” as well as “I need help”. This is difficult as it impacts our egos, which is often why we don’t seak help for the reason that we want to save face of ourselves in others eyes. But another reason why people don’t seek help is due to society as a whole beaming someone as “weak” when it comes to needing help from another person or resource. On the other hand, looking at the larger picture of how additciton and or mental health difficulties impact a society in total, involves how many individuals within society are choosing to with hold information about themselves. That is, presenting a certain image of themselves on different medias for the reason of fearing what others think will think about them and being careful of choosing how to display certain information as it could change how another person views them. In summary, the individuals that make up society are not living up to their full potential or being the most honest version of themselves that would in the end, lead to a better well being for onesself. But again, the addictions and mental health disorders circle back to social media and the impacts of digital screen time.
I propose I order to help minimize and contribute to the awareness in addiction of drugs and alcohol and of mental health, public schools should start in fifth grade discussing both mental health as well as addiction as part of the curriculum when educators are discussing puberty to the future dominate group of society. During this time young children are going through a whirlwind of emotions and identities as they are learning and discovering who they are and who they would like to become. It is important that this age group is targeted for the specific reason that they have the potential to change how individuals are looked at by society as well as changing societies expectations, beliefs and values. Everyday we are seeing more and more desire of change from younger generations and more so now than ever, they are getting results. If at a young age individuals were taught or informed about the different components of what will soon be their reality, they can have a direct impact of just how complications are handled as well as how they can be prevented.