Have you ever been having a great day, feeling good about yourself, to then go on Instagram and it feels like a shadow’s starting to melt you away?
I’ve been away from Instagram for a solid 2 years. I deleted it along with every other social media I had. Now that I’ve been back for a while, I can clearly see the damage it can do to my mental health.
I think we’re all too familiar with that mild dread by the way. Some people call it fomo- the fear of missing out, but I think it’s deeper than that. I will always bang on about life being one massive grey area. Even when you see your friends didn’t invite you out somewhere, it’s not that big of a deal because it’s a one time thing, right? And it’s not just a single time, even if it happens a lot, you can kind of understand.
I do think it’s deeper than that, and we don’t help ourselves with our habits. Are you guilty of cyber stalking? That’s a very toxic one that we can do semi-consciously when someone we forgot about just pops up in our feed. We go on their profile and judge picture by picture, trying to re-affirm ourselves that we’re doing ok. We go on comparing and sometimes being pretty nasty in our heads, to then go back to our profiles and feel like crap.
I know that I do. There’s no stopping me in the comparison game. All my life I’ve been told that I have to be the best because it’s a nasty world out there and if I want to do well I can’t compromise. I’m sure many of you feel the same. That’s not to point and blame someone else for our short comings, but the way we see and interpret the world is hard to change. To be honest, I’m still at uni- I’m still a life newbie. I feel like I’ve settled into myself and what I’m about like three months ago. I’ve only just left school and the mindset of reaching target grades and seeing getting into uni as a ticket to paradise and an insurance for a life of abundance- which it’s not. Seeing my peers- people of my age, achieve so much so early in their careers can be a big turn off, and it has an effect on what I do offline.
Let me know if you feel like this too, but seeing people get internships and starting on their dream carriers makes me question myself. With the hard work I put in to my uni work and career, and the very small amount that I get back. It can be tremendously off putting, and for those with frile mental health, it can be soul destroying.
That’s why so many people have recently been posting their cries for help online too, to show they’re not ok. I’m sure you’ve stumbled on the stories of distress of Instagram models. And I think it’s alright. I’ve grown past seeing it as attention seeking. I’ve been to bad places with myself, and can guarantee that those cries are genuine. It’s difficult to just sit there and feel divided from everything, like you’re not yourself, when you’re a message away from someone who might care, so you post away. That’s ok.
I’ve been trying to remember that all social media, but Instagram especially, is selective. It’s full of highlights. It’s the perfect image of ourselves that we try to beam to the world. My friends have screamed through the phone screen at me telling me this, they’ve sown me how they take Instagram pics, how selective they are with hashtags and everything, but it just doesn’t stop me from feeling low. It’s because it’s not the likes that I’m envious of, or the shots. I’m embarrassed that I’ve missed my own opportunities. It points out the inequality deeply set into our world. It’s a result of too much information and too little communication.
We don’t help ourselves at all. We focus on things and not on people and the people we focus on -we objectify. We get a high-end foundation once in a while to take a picture so we look like a social media influencer. Every cup of coffee or meal out has to be broadcaster, so we don’t fall behind. A girl might take a picture of her body in a dress without her face in it, just to get likes, what the hell is that about? I’m not here to judge people for doing what they want, but I have a sneaking suspicion that a lot of these pictures, and especially those taken by teenage girls, are taken to fit in under pressure.
We’ve let some reality TV sisters tell us what a woman’s body should look like- none of it natural. We’ve sold our souls to products the Instagram famous have sold us, and we desire to be like them- earning money from doing what we love. Accept, do they love it really? Or are we just spinning the wheel off Instagram envy into further insanity? Pretending we’re all having fun with our lives, and that the world would be a perfect place if it weren’t for Trump, whilst girls are using waist trainers- which are basically corsets- to conform to the standards someone with lots of money set, because all their friends are doing it.
There’s the unspoken rule of Instagram, where everyone should broadcast their lives on Instagram as if they’re a superstar. Don’t have a theme? Forget it, no followers or engagement. Don’t spend too much time editing your photos to perfection? Well then no on as the time for you. I’ve seen how high the bar for photos has been set over the time I was away from Instagram, and it’s challenging. I don’t know what about you, but I know e