My favourite memories as a child were spending time with friends, we would just ‘hang out’ together in car parks, the beach, town centre or round each other’s houses. We would talk, laugh, have random conversations and generally just be with each other.
It was the time when MSN was in fashion so our evenings would be filled by bickering with parents over the using the internet as it would interfere with their evening phone calls. ‘Facebook’ hadn’t fully taken off, it was about ‘Bebo’ and ‘MySpace’, even with these sites we would still rather be spending time together rather than glued to technology.
I look at teenagers today, glued to their phones, constantly ‘tweeting’, texting and hooked on social media and it makes me think, have we forgotten how to talk to one another? I have witnessed people texting each other when they are in the same room...
There have been times when I have been in a restaurant and looked around me and 50% of the couples are looking at their phones rather than at their other halves, families sat around a table together but not being present with one another. Walking along the street, people with their heads down staring at their little screens rather than looking at what is in front of them.
Talking has almost become ‘out of fashion’, could this be a primary factor of the rise in mental health? I fully believe that when you are struggling with mental health a listening ear and having someone to talk too is first step to recovery. Call me old fashioned but when I was personally struggling with depression I would go for walks with friends, we would leave phones behind and just be in the moment with each other.
We are surrounded by distractions, our phones are always buzzing, bleeping, flashing up with notifications and that could be a potential distraction to someone opening up or reaching out.
There is nothing more annoying than when you are trying to talk to a person and they are not even looking at you and more indulged in their phone rather than the conversation, it makes you feel undervalued and unimportant, it might not be intentional but it can hurt to be on the receiving end.
Talking therapy/counselling is still a popular form of therapy today and it goes to show the power of listening/interacting with a person whether it be a professional or a friend.
Humans are sociable creatures, we regularly like to be around people, we thrive off one another, yet as time goes we are slowly becoming a race surrounded by loneliness.
I am pretty certain we have all been guilty of a slight ‘screen addiction’ (me included), we have been engrossed in what’s happening on Facebook or the latest Twitter argument which is entertaining in moderation but it can be damaging when we forget the importance of the people and the life we have around us.
The saying ‘A problem shared is a problem halved’ feels relatable to anyone who may need a helping hand and remember to keep talking and sharing.
Sophie Collumbell is a regular writer for the Counsellors Café Magazine. In Sophie's words: "I don’t take life too seriously, always joking and making people laugh! Family and friends mean the world to me, and my little cat tiggs! Music is my life, I spend most of time with my headphones on listening to anything and everything, I believe ‘When words fail music speaks’! I am more creative than anything, I love writing and knowing that hopefully, writing my struggles can help other people is just the best feeling ever! I cannot wait for the future so I can train to be a counsellor and hopefully help someone the way my counsellor has helped me!"