It's completely understandable when you analyse the situation of a freelancer as to how they could slip into an array of mental health difficulties, not to mention aggravate existing conditions. I, myself, am not a freelancer but I've occasionally worked from home when I've needed to and it's not something I particularly enjoy - I'm not sure I could do more than one day in a row in all honesty. This article is by Thea de Gallier for the Guardian, a freelancer who describes her reliance on social media as the devil when it comes to maintaining a happy and healthy lifestyle with limited human contact.
We live in a world where lives are portrayed like dreams, and everyday we're forced to witness an endless barrage of fabricated perfection on social media because no-one shows the bad bits. In theory, you'd think this would make us all happier, seeing only the beautiful, positive aspects of life. Hearing only the good news and sharing only the most precious moments in time. But it doesn't. The impact can be extremely negative and can cause major self-esteem issues. More often than not, the more beautiful the posts, the darker life is behind closed doors. Absolutely everyone is guilty of it, whether they are conscious of it or not. I'd give so much to go back to a time where we didn't have to deal with all this BS everyday. I can't even deal with my own BS!
As I've grown older, especially post-25 (I know, you wouldn't think I was a day over 18), I've found that my social media usage has rapidly declined and as it's declined I've become happier, settled and miles more mature - I've actually grown up! I still use social media don't get me wrong, but I no longer spend time scrolling it, searching people or getting caught up in it like I did in my teens and my early twenties. The truth is, I'm not all that interested anymore and I'm busy! After I've been at work all day, been swimming or at appointments, had dinner and spent time with Mr F, it's time for bed. It's no surprise that mental health is becoming more and more of a focus as we head towards 2020 and I'm pleased that it is getting the attention it deserves. Our World is perfectly constructed to allow mental health problems to grow and flourish. It's such a shame.
If you're a freelancer like Thea de Gallier, and you think you may be suffering from the symptoms of depression or another mental illness, read her story. It's one of hope! It's important that if you choose to go freelance you're fully aware of the pros and cons. If you're susceptible to mental health problems, provision for that. Make it work for you. It can be a fantastic lifestyle but it takes a little adjusting at first:
Rather than letting my depression and negative feelings about freelancing feed into each other, I’ve made a concerted effort to control them both. I limit my periods of online procrastination to 20 minutes, I’ve stopped scrolling aimlessly through the Twitter feeds of people I envy, and I occupy myself while waiting for an important email instead of staring at my inbox and having anxiety-induced palpitations. My advice for anyone experiencing similar feelings is to tap into your support network and voice your worries, whether that’s by talking to friends and family if they’re available, joining an online support group or through traditional counselling. Pay less attention to what other freelancers are up to; there will always be someone doing better, but envying them is a waste of time that could be spent pursuing your own goals.