How Instagram Is Opening Up The Conversation About Mental Health

How Instagram Is Opening Up The Conversation About Mental Health

An update you won't hate.
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Normally, I’m not on board when my social media apps update themselves. I generally hate change, and it carries over into my use of social media. I hated when Snapchat took away best friends and automatically played the next My Story, wasn’t too thrilled when Twitter changed from “favorite” to “like” for tweets, and could have done without Facebook “switching over” to a completely separate app for messages. Dramatic, I know. But I hate the change without my consent. However, I am fully on board with Instagram’s newest feature on their update.

Social media carries such a negative connotation. While it’s a great place to stay easily connected with people, it also serves as a breeding ground for false perceptions of happiness and success. I always talk about how social media is like a highlight reel; others only post what you want them to see. However, this is very easily forgotten when scrolling through your timeline full of Tweets, pictures, and statuses all with the intention of showcasing everyone’s best selves and moments. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome to see how well people are doing. But, you can get caught up in the moment and truly believe your life sucks compared to those you have on social media.

Mental illness is a very serious, very real thing. And, social media often does not do much in the way of alleviating anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and many other invisible battles that people fight every single day. It’s not always easy for people living with a mental illness to open up and talk about what’s going on. However, Instagram is opening up the conversation with their newest feature.

There have been many times where I have seen posts from people that seem alarming or concerning, but have failed to reach out to the person who posted it. The failure on my part to connect was for many reasons, including feeling as if I didn’t know the person well enough or wondering of they would be offended by me if I were wrong. I know these are excuses, but I cant be the only one who has hesitated to reach out. Instagram must have sensed this too, and now users will be able to anonymously flag any post they see that makes them think someone may need help. Once you flag a post, an anonymous message is sent to the user, saying, “Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help.” (source) This is then followed up with resources and information in regards to moving forward with help and support. Instagram is working with organizations like National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in order to create these messages. They have also banned most hashtags and trending topics that have to do with self-harm, and provide pop-up messages that offer support when they are searched for.

While this may not seem like much to people who do not suffer from mental illness, I can assure you that reaching out and connecting with someone who is struggling can make a huge difference. What Instagram is doing adds a human element to the otherwise fully digital world of social media. They are creating a pathway for people to reach out to one another in a supportive way and providing resources necessary for others to receive the help they need. This is taking a pro-active, rather than reactive, approach to helping people who may be struggling. As a huge supporter of mental health awareness, I believe this is beginning to open up the conversation for people who are dealing with mental illness, while taking steps to break down the stigma surrounding it and educating others who may not be as aware of what people struggle with.

So, thank you Instagram. I may hate the whole idea of “Insta-stories”, but I love this update.

Cover Image Credit: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwivtdreuPTPAhVDND4KHZHSDEkQjRwIBw&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wired.com%2F2015%2F09%2Finstagram-direct-messaging-update%2F&psig=AFQjCNG53QoccpqpfhKYZaEgriCNcztNVw&ust=1477429187359366

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I Went To "The Bachelor" Auditions

And here's why you won’t be seeing me on TV.
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It’s finally time to admit my guilty pleasure: I have always been a huge fan of The Bachelor.

I can readily admit that I’ve been a part of Bachelor fantasy leagues, watch parties, solo watching — you name it, I’ve gone the whole nine yards. While I will admit that the show can be incredibly trashy at times, something about it makes me want to watch it that much more. So when I found out that The Bachelor was holding auditions in Houston, I had to investigate.

While I never had the intention of actually auditioning, there was no way I would miss an opportunity to spend some time people watching and check out the filming location of one of my favorite TV shows.

The casting location of The Bachelor, The Downtown Aquarium in Houston, was less than two blocks away from my office. I assumed that I would easily be able to spot the audition line, secretly hoping that the endless line of people would beg the question: what fish could draw THAT big of a crowd?

As I trekked around the tanks full of aquatic creatures in my bright pink dress and heels (feeling somewhat silly for being in such nice clothes in an aquarium and being really proud of myself for somewhat looking the part), I realized that these auditions would be a lot harder to find than I thought.

Finally, I followed the scent of hairspray leading me up the elevator to the third floor of the aquarium.

The doors slid open. I found myself at the end of a large line of 20-something-year-old men and women and I could feel all eyes on me, their next competitor. I watched as one woman pulled out her travel sized hair curler, someone practiced answering interview questions with a companion, and a man (who was definitely a little too old to be the next bachelor) trying out his own pick-up lines on some of the women standing next to him.

I walked to the end of the line (trying to maintain my nonchalant attitude — I don’t want to find love on a TV show). As I looked around, I realized that one woman had not taken her eyes off of me. She batted her fake eyelashes and looked at her friend, mumbling something about the *grumble mumble* “girl in the pink dress.”

I felt a wave of insecurity as I looked down at my body, immediately beginning to recognize the minor flaws in my appearance.

The string hanging off my dress, the bruise on my ankle, the smudge of mascara I was sure I had on the left corner of my eye. I could feel myself begin to sweat. These women were all so gorgeous. Everyone’s hair was perfectly in place, their eyeliner was done flawlessly, and most of them looked like they had just walked off the runway. Obviously, I stuck out like a sore thumb.

I walked over to the couches and sat down. For someone who for the most part spent most of the two hours each Monday night mocking the cast, I was shocked by how much pressure and tension I felt in the room.

A cop, stationed outside the audition room, looked over at me. After a brief explanation that I was just there to watch, he smiled and offered me a tour around the audition space. I watched the lines of beautiful people walk in and out of the space, realizing that each and every one of these contestants to-be was fixated on their own flaws rather than actually worrying about “love.”

Being with all these people, I can see why it’s so easy to get sucked into the fantasy. Reality TV sells because it’s different than real life. And really, what girl wouldn’t like a rose?

Why was I so intimidated by these people? Reality TV is actually the biggest oxymoron. In real life, one person doesn’t get to call all the shots. Every night isn’t going to be in a helicopter looking over the south of France. A real relationship depends on more than the first impression.

The best part of being in a relationship is the reality. The best part about yourself isn’t your high heels. It’s not the perfect dress or the great pick-up lines. It’s being with the person that you can be real with. While I will always be a fan of The Bachelor franchise, this was a nice dose of reality. I think I’ll stick to my cheap sushi dates and getting caught in the rain.

But for anyone who wants to be on The Bachelor, let me just tell you: Your mom was right. There really are a lot of fish in the sea. Or at least at the aquarium.

Cover Image Credit: The Cut

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The 5 Types of Retail Customers

A run-down on the many forms of customers you either encounter as a retail employee or are guilty of being.

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We all get summer jobs or seasonal jobs at some place to get that extra cash when we find ourselves broke after spending $300+ on Ubers/Lyfts in under a month (possibly speaking from personal experience). This in turn led me to broaden my job searching horizons and led me to work at a fast food chain that goes by the name of 'Salsaritas' (ironic since my nickname is Salsa, also was not intentional) and currently a retail store at a local mall. So, I guess it's safe to say that I have come across a lot of different people with a whole lot of personality. Working in these types of industries, it can sometimes be really hard and pretty interesting. So voila, here we go:

1. The Always Angry Customer

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This is the customer that is constantly angry. They walk in pissed off and they want everyone else to know that they are pissed off. This type of customer also uses at least one of these following sentences: "Let me talk to your manager. Who's your manager?" or the "How long have you been working here for?" Honestly, there's not much you can do to help them other than try to just do what they ask for and get them the hell out of there as quickly as possible.

2. The Messy Customer

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Easily one of the most annoying types of customers (sorry). This person will walk and run their hands through an entire counter or rack full of perfectly folded clothes, unfold them, and then just leave them on the counter or on the floor. They also have the "it's fine, it's their job to fold them" mentality. Honestly though, how hard is it to put a jacket or shirt back on a hanger? And if you're this type of customer please, please, please, put what you found back where it came from. Sincerely, every retail employee ever.

3. The Super Nice Customer

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This customer is god-send and thank god that they exist. They are the ones who you can just tell are genuinely good people. New at work and don't know how the hell to ring up a customer at a register? No worries, they'll wait there patiently, smile at you, and occasionally tell you that "you're doing great sweetie." They treat you like you're not just a retail employee and at the end of the day, you just wanna give them a hug for making your day feel less shitty.

4. The Talkative Customer

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There's two parts to this one. This type of customer is either talking on the phone while you're ringing them up at the register or is just trying to get to know literally everything there is to know about you. If they're on the phone, it's impossible to know if they're responding to you or to the person who they're on the phone with. The worst part is when they hold up one finger to signal to you that they'll be just a minute and leave you to just awkwardly stand in front of them while trying not to listen to their entire conversation. The other part is when they just want to get to know you which is cute and all until they're just trying to analyze your entire background, where you're from, what you're studying, etc. Luckily if you're like me who wasn't born in the U.S. with a very ethnic name, you just scored yourself a talkative customer. Well done and good luck getting out of the conversation!

5. The Last Minute Customer

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Imagine that you just did an 8 hour shift and right when you're about to clock out and head out to go home, you see a customer walking in literally a minute or two before the whole mall is about to close. They'll probably ask you if you're about to close even though they can see that there's not a single person inside there other than you. They'll also probably tell you that they know exactly what they're looking for. It's never true and get ready for that OT. But hey, on the bright-side, you'll get a fat pay-check.


So, the next time you find yourself at a mall...Remind yourself to pick up something you might've accidentally dropped, keep in mind that workers are human beings too, and kindness goes a long way because at the end of the day, that employee could be one of your loved ones.

Until next time,

Salsa.


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