Scrolling Up and Spiralling Down

#ShrutiSpeaks about how we attack ourselves with quick judgements on the lives of others

The roller coaster ride of highs and lows

I recently learnt that I’m not a complete millennial, I’m apparently somewhere between a millennial and a post-millennial. Explains a lot. Until two days, finals week had me procrastinating and speed-typing alternately. I’m entering my final year of college now, and it’s going to be a weird space to be in. Some people I know are already graduates. I look upto them and they make adulthood look such a large, looming scary place. Moving out, getting a job, trying to have an active social life — this all seems so hard, especially when my idea of a productive day is finishing a season of Jane the Virgin and reading some Austen, along with a dose of fan fiction.

And most adults I know are miserable? I too am an adult, but not an “adult” adult, I’m a ‘student’ adult. The base distinction is that I still don’t know anything about taxes, or how to negotiate a higher salary or build a career. I am part of a few networking groups, and let me tell you that is so bad for my anxiety and self-worth. You’ll be having an okay day, thinking you’re accomplished, and then a post written by someone who’s founded three start-ups and has an honorary degree from Harvard, all before 21, will pop up. And I know comparing isn’t right, but can you actually stop? Comparing doesn’t stop here as well. Drool-worthy Instagram feeds with equally drool-worthy individuals, usually globe-trotting, do induce a certain amount of jealousy. This, especially nowadays, when everyone is still wrapping up with finals or are on their vacation, it’s just me and my Insta-feed.

Now, this truly is a first-world problem, to be scrolling up on my phone and spiraling down at the same time. Because such stuff really gets to me at times, and it becomes very, very easy to go down the hole of self-loathing. But, I’ve realized that people are more than their feed, or what school they went too, or how many start-ups they’ve founded. People are also how they treat those less privileged than them, how they love, how they treat you, and many, many more things. At times, it is fun to vicariously live through someone else’s feed, but too much comparison can be harmful.

Closing the segment on this week’s first world problems, here’s a little tidbit: A large part of my anxiety was stemming from extremely low self-worth. I came to college and realised I wasn’t scoring as well as others in a particular course, and my papers weren’t as well received. I then based my self-worth off of that particular course and ignored everything else I did well otherwise. I realise now that that wasn’t the best conclusion to jump on, and I am better at other things, and not bad of a writer as well. But back then, I constantly compared myself to everyone, and healthy competition became supremely unhealthy.

I’ve often seen people, like me, who were hyperactive and considered “smart” as children, develop anxiety later on. I do not intend to generalise, people may have different experiences. Perhaps it is time we stop focusing so much on pushing ourselves as compared to others, but rather work at our own pace to figure out our what challenges and excites us. This obviously also calls for a larger change in how education is carried out, and how competition is regarded. But honestly, don’t be so hard on yourself, kids. See you later, and all the best for your board results! And to those who have their board results are out and are getting on with your jobs, how do you do it? Tell me already!

About the author

A committed advocate of mental health, Shruti uses communication as a medium to dispel the myths around mental illness. She is a regular contributor to our posts. When not writing, she can usually be found in her favourite place — her bed. She can also be found eating and reading, at various points across Shiv Nadar University.

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