I have written several times about my breast cancer scare, all the months going through tests, biopsies, and MRI, etc. and still no definitive conclusion on if the lump in my breast is cancer (more tests in November and February). All the waiting, all the doctor’s appointments (where my anxiety was so high my pulse ran at approximately 150), and all the thoughts of what might happen – chemo, radiation, lumpectomy, death, etc. During that time I developed a low-grade depression – a heaviness, sadness, a difficult time getting out, or doing anything. It wasn’t the severe type of depression that leads to hospitalization, or suicidal thoughts; it was the kind of depression where sleep seems like the most desired state of being.
However, during those months, life went on, and one of the things that changed for me is I went from my dumb phone to a Smartphone. Everyone I know had tried for years to get me to change over to a Smartphone, but since I am almost always home with access to a computer, I refused. I finally gave in, and the first thing I downloaded was Snapchat.
Snapchat is the best thing I have done for my mental health since medication. I love Snapchat, and it has brought joy, creativity, connection, and fun to my everyday life. It helped me get through some dark and scary days.
Snapchat is by far my favorite social media platform. For a long time, Snapchat was popular among mostly tweens and teens, but I read an article from April of 2017 that said the users in the 55-64 age group is surging. I’m not quite at 55 yet, but I’m close.
Why would I claim that Snapchat is the best thing for my mental health since medication? I am home alone almost every day. Now, I have regular videos of people I love and care about to watch throughout the day. I only have about twenty-five connections on Snapchat, but I Snap regularly with my husband, my brother, and my sister-in-law. We all use the filters that Snapchat changes on a regular basis to communicate, so I find that I am at least smiling, if not outright laughing several times a day. We all have a favorite filter that is one of the core filters on Snapchat that makes your mouth big and changes your voice. I have fallen in love with my husband as this character – he is so cute like a muppet or something.
Not only do I communicate directly with more people throughout the day by actually seeing their faces, but my creativity is also challenged and put to use. I make these short videos singing silly made up songs, I tell jokes, and all day I am trying to think of what would be funny to see on Snapchat.
I don’t usually Snap with my nieces and nephews or my oldest brother (all of us are connected on the app) but they post “stories” that I can watch, and I can see where they are and what they are doing. I love it. It is so much more personal, fun, and interactive than Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. I feel like on those social media platforms people are trying so hard to look their best and put forward a life to be envied by everyone else – on Snapchat when you use the filters you have to put your vanity away because you end up looking super goofy.
Snapchat keeps me socially active, and for a person with a lack of social motivation, it is a great tool. It is also like a positive thinking exercise that I am constantly engaged in because I have to use my creativity and the videos I receive will almost always make me smile or laugh.
You won’t hear me claim that this therapy or that therapy helped or worked for me, but I am going to say Snapchat can give people with a mental illness a better quality of life and they can have such a good time doing it.