The Social Healing Power of Memes

Mr. Moody Hopeful
3 min readSep 15, 2016
One of my favorites. Fun Fact: From “On Fire” from the Gunshow series by K.C. Green

I’m going to write about the hidden therapeutic effect of memes. Yes, this is going to be that kind of post. This is for the Internet literate, modern citizen.

…Who is dealing with mental health issues.

…And may not be satisfied with where he/she is at this moment in time.

…Who needs a bit of a pick-me-up and can read a bit about why some things in Internet culture may actually be beneficial for a change.

…Who finds solace and comedy in the idea that while you may be an anthropomorphic dog trapped in a burning room with nothing making sense, at least you’re not alone.

Oh wait, that constitutes around 1 in 5 of every adult in the U.S. (Internet literate not actually required).

As context to make this somewhat credible, I’ve been struggling with a deep bout of mental mish-mosh since July of last year. Once I came home from school and then graduate school, the foundation of life slipped right under me and I feel into something deep of which I’m still not out of the woods yet. It is characterized by depression, fear, and existential dread. For the first 2 months, I could not function and was afraid to answer phone calls.

Why mention this? Because I was completely, and utterly alone. Or so I thought.

Growing up, I quickly learned to keep everything inside. The outside world shut me down (or so I perceived), and I unconsciously trained myself to shut down and not open up. I became the center of my world in a very isolating way. And I developed the belief that I’m alone in what I face.

It truly is ironic - the amount of social isolation and pressure that sites like Facebook can create. A virtual world where people can choose what they want to display, thus creating an inaccurate representation of what’s going on in the actual life of a given person. But in that, I’ve realized a sort of therapeutic effect in content that people create and share.

Whenever I saw a funny picture, it disarmed me. And I laugh. Mostly…Through these ridiculous things, I found topics that resonated with what I was feeling.

During my “I’ll never get a job” phase

So why do memes have a social healing power? Because in a very current way, some of them display what we’re all thinking in this wild generation. And we realize that if this is what people are struggling and thinking with…then we’re not alone.

  • You’re not alone for thinking you’ll never get a job.
  • You’re not alone in thinking that you can’t keep your head above water in life.
  • You’re not alone in having absolutely no direction currently in life and thinking “This is Fine.”

It’s funny how there is a meme for almost every internal struggle I’ve faced. Like, annoying funny.

Your experiences are valid. Your troubles and worries are valid. But sometimes a meme can help you laugh at yourself a little bit to realize that you’re not alone.

Thanks for reading! I’m just starting Medium so please excuse these training wheels as I get my writing chops up and find the rhythm in my posts. I have a lot to say, just have to figure out how to say it!