As the title says, what really goes on behind the lens? This is very similar to the phrase 'life behind closed doors'.
I myself, a sufferer of mental health, can refer to these phrases only too well. I enjoy photography as a hobby. It for one gets me out of my luxuriously patterned cell, most commonly called a house. It's also a hobby and cardio workout rolled into one!
Now let's look at the photographs you have taken. These can be of landscape, nature, self-portraits ('selfie') and so on. You get home and feel very happy with the experience you've just had. You've uploaded your works of art onto the computer. Some photographers such as myself, use Photoshop as a tool to enhance the creative side and to make the rough canvas into a masterpiece. All sounds good and productive right? You're happy with your work and you want to share it with the world!
Drum roll, please......
With the internet and social media; this is where it can potentially change. This is also where your state of mind and mental wellbeing could actually be put at risk.
You publish your work to social media, take time in finding the appropriate hashtags and use of words. 10 minutes then go by and you have 2 'likes'; you're pretty happy with that. 1 hour goes by, it's now 5 likes and you're feeling accomplished and proud. You disappear for a few hours to catch up with your daily routine and let's say 5 hours later; you return to social media and you're somewhat disheartened that you've got a total of 10 likes and nothing more. You're then thinking to yourself 'What happened? Where did I go wrong?'.
This is the turning point with your mental wellbeing. You've just forgotten that you've spent close to 1.5 hours perfecting your masterpiece, to only then loose your own sense of self-worth and feel your hard efforts were wasted. You're unhappy and say to yourself 'What's the point?'.
A day later you upload a selfie, with minimal photoshop efforts or filters. Within an hour you reach 30+ likes. Another hour later and you're up to 100+ likes. This is where you're feeling on top of the world; feeding off the virtual affection and hungry for more...
You start becoming hungry for more virtual attention overall! You now find yourself getting creative and unleashing your inner vogue. The likes and comments are flowing in like a river of attention and affection. You're happy and feeling accomplished.
YOU FEEL GOOD....Right? Wrong!
You've just become addicted to social media and you're hungry for more. As with any addiction you obviously need to feed it. Your social media is now full of selfies and admirers. Little do you realise the damage is already done!
You're spending your time on a mobile device, the real people you once knew are no longer part of your life; you're restlessly seeking the approval of people you've never met and will probably never meet. Then suddenly you get a message from your network provider 'you've run out of data'. You can suddenly find yourself looking for ways to regain your 'virtual life'. In this instance, let's say you are unable to buy more data to get your fix.
What are you going to do?
Are you going to try and find free wifi?
Are you going to find a way to buy more data?
Are you going to use someone else's mobile device?
Are you going to buy a data Sim from the corner shop?
Are you going to secretly look for a house with free or unsecured wifi?
You haven't realised that you're desperately seeking a way to feed your habit. Your mental health is now even more at risk because fundamentally you've forgotten how to actually socialise and live a life. You're now experiencing withdrawal symptoms and starting to panic. When are you going to get your virtual world back?
Social media is a bit like bipolar disorder!
You are neither the guilty nor the innocent. But whichever way you choose to view this, you or somebody you know is suffering unnecessarily.
If you notice a friend or somebody you care about change their behaviour; take a look at their social media!
Are they active online a lot?
Are they posting more pictures than normal?
Are they acting differently towards you?
(eg. minimal communication and less social)
Are they getting risky by taking their kit off for the camera?
Are they no longer recognisable as the friend you once knew?
SOCIAL MEDIA IS A POWERFUL TOOL. BUT DON'T LET IT RULE YOU...
Written by Hon. Nicholas AB Poulson K.C.V.O
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