Like a lot of people who grew up as a member of the ‘millennial’ generation, when I rise from my slumber the first thing I do is reach over to my bedside table and feebly attempt to pick up my phone with eyes half closed and a dead arm in tow. More often than not, I can’t seem to find it because I’ve fallen asleep and it has found its way under my body somewhere or next to my face (I try desperately not to let this happen but what can ya do). When I’m finally able to trace the little blighter down, I flick between the big four apps (come on, we all know what they are), ticking off notifications until there’s nothing new to look at. This is a daily occurrence and I have no shame in admitting this for I know I am not alone in this habitual behavior.
However, when Friday rolls around, a small part of me dreads waking up and checking my phone because nine times out of ten, I’ll have a stream of notifications on Twitter from people including me in the Follow Friday hashtag. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s nice that people want to mention me to other people as someone they think should be followed on Twitter, but I always feel awful because I say thank you but then don’t return the favour.
Why? The reason is simple. It’s about managing my mental health and not putting myself under pressure or feeling like I have to live up to expectations.
For anyone unfamiliar with Twitter, hashtags or the concept of ‘Follow Friday’, it’s a little idea that arose on Twitter some years ago as a means of encouraging your followers to check out someone else and give them a follow. You might suggest a friend who is having a tough time and could do with some support by tweeting something like “#FF to my best pal @Dominospleasehireme who has had a tough week & could do with some support!” and then your followers could go and do just that. It’s a great way of sharing the love and connecting with people and spreading kindness. Unfortunately, especially in recent weeks and months, I have found myself becoming increasingly frustrated and pressured into including just about everyone when I tweet a #FF. So much so that the fear of missing someone out has driven me to stop taking part in the #FF altogether.
It constantly plays on my mind and the thought of not including someone and worrying about what they might think of me for it pushes me to a point where it’s easier to not take part. The pressure is gone, or so I would like to believe. For when I don’t take part, I then feel the weight of expectation to tag people who have mentioned me or join in because of the FOMO. It’s a torrid catch-22 that happens every Friday. But whilst writing this blog post, I have come up with an idea that I’m going to try out. I might jump back on the #FF bandwagon but limit myself to mentioning one person each week and give a legitimate and specific reason as to why I think my followers should go see what’s happening in their world.
Life is tough when you’ve got issues with your mental health without adding to them yourself. Try and figure out what you feel upsets your groove and change that behaviour if you can. The pressure and stress in life is enough already, so spread the love if you feel you can but if you can’t, then that’s totally fine too!
In light of all this, I’ll throw a massive #FF to @Mike_Douglas_ who can empathise with me about mental health topics, shoot the breeze about pro wrestlin’ and rock the 70’s hair like a ledge!