If you can find me a twenty something who isn’t obsessed with Instagram, I would give you my life savings. It seems that everyone these days is desperate to become Insta Famous, and I’ll admit a part of me would love to lead an Insta Glam life. Don’t get me wrong: I love Instagram, I scroll and refresh continuously, and I do shamefully view the world through an Instagram filter, but recently I have become disillusioned with the whole Insta Scene.
Instagram is great for many things: raising your profile, solidifying your brand and for getting your name and your message out there, but it takes a toll on your mental health. As a person who suffers with anxiety and depression, Instagram can be a dangerous game, we all know that Instagram offers only a snapshot of people’s lives but sometimes we cannot see clearly through the Valencia filter.
My Insta-phinany happened during another battle with depression. Depression is something I suffered with for as long as I can remember, and for me it comes in ebbs and flows, but the latest battle occurred when I moved 300 miles from home. I could barely afford the flat I was living in but I had little money for anything else, my partner was away all the time and my office had an alcohol and caffeine culture, only stopping for food when you were about to pass out. To put it bluntly, my unhealthy relationships with food, alcohol and money soon reared their ugly heads again.
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In these dark moments I would stare in the mirror, feeling disgusted at the person looking back at me, and looking at Instagram only solidified these damaging thoughts. I would ask myself when would I be able to afford the expensive make up, the picture perfect interiors and the glamorous holidays, basically I wanted to know when I would be that girl. I couldn’t feel admiration for these beautiful women who were using their feminine charms to create a business out of a persona, instead I hated them, and in turn I hated myself for not being like them.
I would unfollow such girls, telling myself to snap out of it, trying to convince myself I’m great who I am, but I would find myself sitting on my bathroom floor, following these girls again, just waiting for the next heavily edited photo to appear, ready to berate myself further.
In recent months, my partner and I have moved back to our support network, which although difficult has given me the ability to regain focus and settle my mind.
With a newly level head, I am able to look at Instagram in a new light. I follow a variety of people now: mum bloggers, meme pages, independent business and female celebrities who inspire me. I realised that every photo on my feed was the same, it was boring, granted the girls were stunning, but where oh where was the individuality? That is when it hit me: I am not that girl, and nor do I want to be. I work in an office, I have an unruly step-daughter, I live with parents, I can’t decorate because nothing is mine. It’s hardly a life you can build a strong Instagram feed on. But it’s a real one.
So I’m asking you to join me, use Instagram for it’s true purpose, pay no heed to your hashtags, disregard your theme and show off your beautifully diverse, flawed and ultimately uninteresting lives.