I Tried a LookUp Challenge, And It Improved My Mental Health

Who knew one week could make such a big difference?

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Courtesy of Al Hakiim / Unplash
Courtesy of Al Hakiim / Unplash

Written by Priya Hariharan, High Schooler and LookUp Challenge Participant

My name is Priya Hariharan, I’m 17 years old, and I’m a senior at Homestead High School. Recently, LookUp challenged volunteers to give up social media for a week. As for me, I have given up social media for nearly three months on my own accord.

A lot of people asked me why I did it. In my perspective, I saw giving up social media as giving up the connection I had with my friends. So, why would I want to do that? I made this choice when I was diagnosed with clinical depression.

Depression makes my life difficult because the overwhelming thoughts in my head make me feel stuck. I find it difficult to talk to people the way I used to be able to talk to them.

I saw social media as a way to waste my time and cling to the happiness everyone was experiencing — something I couldn’t find for myself.

I was faced with a choice: I could try to become better, or I could just allow my feelings to control me. It’s incredibly easy to let emotions take over — trust me, I know.

I want to return to a somewhat stable state, so I made the decision to delete Instagram and Snapchat because I knew it was affecting me negatively. It may not seem like a big decision to some people, but for me, it was hard to accept that I had a problem and that what I was doing could in some way help better my life.

When I heard that was conducting a week-long pilot to take a break from social media, I talked to Susan, the co-founder of LookUp, about my experiences. She felt that I could represent LookUp and share how their goal truly does help better mental health because, although I am not fully recovered, I am slowly progressing to a point where I can be stable again, and I know that a small part of this has to do with the choice I made to give up social media.

I know that some people reading this have decided not to give up social media. I’m here to challenge that decision by saying that being present is a choice you need to make. You will always lose something when you make a choice, and accepting the risks of the loss is a step you need to take when you give up on social media. Whatever choice you make, make sure that it’s what you really want.

Originally published on LookUp.

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