Trauma is debilitating. It can make you feel hopeless, alone, and at the very least, it hurts. Everyone has different sources for their trauma (and all of them painful in their own way), and everyone has their own ways of talking, or choosing not to, talk about their trauma.
Social media is sometimes viewed as a public diary, so naturally, some may find using online spaces as a coping mechanism. This may be through seeking out private, member-only forums and websites that are dedicated to talking about the cause of the trauma, for example. Others may use their already existing platforms and accounts to open up and be vulnerable about what they experienced, using it as a space to spread awareness about what is causing their trauma.
And while trauma can take a lot of time to accept and live with, social media can have some positive effects on how the person lives with it. For many, the people around them have not experienced the same traumatic event, and they can feel like these people just don’t get it and are saying the wrong things to them. Communities such as grief support groups can help those realize they’re not alone, and give them a space to talk with others who have experience and also understand what it’s like to live with this event. Writing about your experience online is a form of narrative therapy, and puts you in control of how you recall the event and/or gives you a space to talk through your emotions, even to the point of providing some closure. Others may use social media to memorialize a loved one if they are coping with a death, or they may post a series of happy images to remind themselves that good things have and can continue to happen. Finally, some may want to use their platform to educate about the topic, and may feel like they’ve made a difference if they receive a response saying that they’ve learned something.
As we mentioned, everyone grieves and copes with traumatic events in their own way. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing what you’ve gone through, that’s totally okay. But for some, having an accessible outlet that they can have some control over can be a powerful coping mechanism in the light of a terrible, terrible event.
How do you use social media? How do you feel about using social media as a place to cope with negative events?