I'll be honest, I DON'T want to write this post. It's going to be hard to do, and I'm scared of it.
I also really DO want to write this post -- and have wanted to for a long time. I think it's important.
This post is about social media and depression, both mine & yours.
My take on Instagram vs. Reality.
I was inspired to write this today by my good friend Erica. She wrote a post this morning called Instagram vs. Reality -- highlighting specific examples of how people alter their body image to be more appealing online (similar to a photoshopped magazine cover), and the negative effect that can have on all of us.
I totally agree.
And I actually think there are two distinct kinds of Instagram vs. Reality:
- Showcasing altered images of your body and life -- like what Erica shared this morning
- Choosing only a small subset of your life to document and share -- this is what MY post is about.
Both are really important voices to add to the same larger conversation, and I hope you find them both helpful.
Thanks for reading. <3
If you've been following me on instagram, you'll know that I don't reveal too much about myself, good or bad!
It's almost all food pics. And it's a food blog, so that makes sense.
So I really surprised a lot of you last week by sharing some facts about myself on my story: two super positive facts you didn't know, and one "negative" fact:
- I graduated from Princeton with honors, and won a thesis award
- I've dealt with major depression twice in my adult life, and am actively being treated by a psychiatrist
- I've traveled to 15 countries, including some really epic once-in-a-lifetime trips
I hadn't shared any of this info before -- good or bad.
And that's the point of this post.
You all have only gotten a glimpse of one narrow part of my life these past 3 years. While everything I share is real (vs. being altered like a magazine), it's just a small peek into my life that excludes BOTH the really great times and also the really tough times.
312food is a dedicated food blog, so it makes sense that I don't regularly talk about my depression or brag about my Ivy League accomplishments (because who the heck wants to read that).
And yet as my following has grown larger, I've felt a responsibility to publicly acknowledge that there is more going on than what I regularly share.
So, with the objective sharing my broader story, here's a peek behind the curtain. Here's some context into my struggles -- things I've personally encountered as I've built 312food from the ground up.
Thanks for following along these past few years, and thanks for reading this now.
You Should Know That:
- I used to have really bad days with my depression where I couldn't get out of bed. Sometimes I'd post a beautiful photo of a meal on instagram when in reality I was lying on my couch, unshowered, unmotivated, and depressed. I've been seeing a psychiatrist weekly for almost two years and am on medication, and I'm a lot better. But it's been a struggle -- one you haven't seen at all.
- I went through a phase where I was REALLY unconfident. I started my instagram in 2015 at one of the lowest points in my life. It took me almost 6 months to put just my first name on my account, and much much longer to show my face in snaps or stories. Looking back, I was living somewhat of a parallel life -- building this beautifully curated food account and taking ZERO credit for what I was doing. It's a strange concept to have shared SO much and yet so little at the same time.
- I used to get really intimidated by other bloggers in my peer group. I felt like they had more in common with each other than with me, and I'd feel super left out, even in small groups. I get my feelings hurt really easily, especially if I think people are being insincere. But at least half the time, it's in my head. I have met SO MANY wonderful people through instagram -- bloggers and followers alike. I'm really grateful.
- Sometimes I let my fear of failure hold me back from taking a leap to do something new. I watch friends and peers launch amazing ventures, and I feel like I sit on most of my ideas without taking the plunge. It would be easy to see my account from a distance and think I've got it all figured out. But I have a LOT of figuring out to do -- just like everyone else.
Instagram vs. Reality: A Juxtaposition
So, why the heck am I telling you this???
To really prove my main point -- that you wouldn't know or even suspect any of this if I didn't just tell you.
So, I'd like to sum all it up with a photo I posted 2.5 years ago, when I first started my instagram, and a few paragraphs I wrote that same day:
So ... Now What?
I don't think I can solve the world's problems (or even my own!) with this post -- but I hope this peek into my life helped you in some way.
People always say facebook and instagram are a "highlight reel" -- and while we all know this on some level, I tried to make that as concrete as possible with my examples here.
I truly hope you found this interesting and helpful. And if you have ideas of how I can advance this conversation further, I'd love to hear them!
And if you've read this far, thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart. I am beyond grateful to you for participating in this dialogue with both me and Erica today. Let's keep it going!