As you may already know, this week is Mental Health Awareness Week. Mental health holds a massive place in my heart, head and soul so why not use my passion to try and spread awareness of the illness that hurts so many of us.
Last year I wrote a post opening up about my own struggles with mental health and the problems I have faced. You can take a look at that post by clicking over on to the following link.
This year I’ve decided to take on a different approach and focus on the pressure of Instagram and other social media platforms. Of course, this is not a direct mental health issue however, it is something that can affect our mental health.
Women who have the clearest complexions and the smallest of waists taking over our newsfeeds daily and making us feel worthless. Is this all in our head? Most probably but that still doesn’t make it ok.
Self-worth and confidence issues have been around way before Instagram was even invented. So, I’m not saying Instagram is the route to all evil. I just don’t think it truly helps the situation. For me, there is nothing worse than scrolling through Instagram for five minutes and finishing up feeling like I need lip injections and a boob job.
We should be helping promote women for who they are not the body they possess. All the women who post pictures on Instagram are beautiful in their own way. The amount of likes or followers they receive does not define their beauty and this is what I want people to understand.
I have decided to collab with a few of my favourite bloggers so we can help discuss this issue together. I wanted to see if other people felt the way I felt towards the pressures of Instagram. It turns out a lot of them do, so let’s see what they all had to say.
Meet The Bloggers
Firstly, I’d love you to meet Jenny. Jenny is an amazing 25-year-old lifestyle blogger who I have been following on Twitter for quite some time now. Here is what Jenny had to say about Instagram and other social media platforms;
“I suffer from really bad low self-esteem, lack of confidence and body dysmorphia so Instagram (and a lot of other social media platforms to be honest!) can always be a bit hit or miss for me. I’ve only recently got back into using it myself and I’m really enjoying it. Not putting any pressure on myself nor paying attention to numbers as I think it should be a fun platform. But for me, the second I go on the “popular” page, all I’m faced with is fitness Instagrammers, celebrities, the Kardashian’s and all these seemingly “perfect” bodies. It makes me feel absolutely awful. I’ve even recently unfollowed a few people who unintentionally make me feel awful about myself – which I feel really bad about but you really have got to put your mental well-being first in a world where perfect is shoved in your face every single day”
Then we have Kelle, A gorgeous, beauty, wellbeing and lifestyle blogger living in the UK. Kelle contacted me via Twitter and was very interested in getting involved. She wanted to spread the word just as much as I did and this is what she had to say;
Personally, I feel like Instagram does give me the impression that people lead these perfect and trouble free lives. However, I always do my best to remind myself that comparison is the thief of joy. It’s always important to remember that when it comes to social media, people only show you what they want you to see. Focusing on my own personal development and looking after my mental health and wellbeing is my biggest priority. There’s a whole big and beautiful world, outside of social media and we all (myself included) need to appreciate it more’.
Now I’d like to introduce you to the wonderful blogger Hannah. Hannah is a great girl with some fantastic interests. Not only is she a star wars fan but also loves all things Disney, Just like me. I had the pleasure of meeting Hannah via twitter. If you wish to hear her views follow on and take a read.
Instagram is a great place, especially for creatives, being able to pick up your phone and have a quick scroll can be inspiring – if your like me then and love
#Bookstagram then you definitely feel inspiration. But it’s not all pretty flowers, smiley faces, days at the beach and lots of gorgeous food, because Instagram can also be quite damaging. You may have seen in Time last year, where they labeled Instagram as the worst social media due to it being damaging to people’s mental health. Which from my own experience, I think is true, Instagram can really bring you down at time when you need to be lifted up, but it doesn’t always work that way.
When I’m low, I try and stay away from Instagram, despite how much I love it for creative inspiration (or when I’m having a quick nosy on people’s stories). When I’m low, if I go on Instagram, I find myself more often than not spiralling down this dark hole which I can’t climb back out of. I become obsessed, comparing my body with everyone else’s, their fitness routines, how flat their stomach is, what they eat, and how everyone seemly have the perfect life. After all, that’s the thing about Instagram, everyone does have the perfect life and when your already at a low point it doesn’t help.
Often I get filled with so much anxiety, I’m left so on edge I can’t even step out into the garden for fear that everyone will judge me for not having the “perfect Instagram life”. Instagram ends up tricking us into believing that because our lives don’t appear like that then that means we aren’t entirely worth it. But it’s not always the case. As I said, I do love Instagram for a chance to be creative, but I feel it’s become so much now, there is so much expectation to live the perfect Instagram life. I miss the days when unfiltered photographs, completely unedited and real were good enough, when it was real.
Last but not least we have Kayleigh. A book-worm blogger from Warwick. Not only do Kayleigh and I share such a passion for reading but also share the same views on social media. Kayleigh had some fantastic and wise words to share with you all and I’d love it if you had a quick read.
Social media is amazing; it brings like-minded people together, adds a whole new dimension to your passions and hobbies, and can open up so many opportunities. It can also benefit people with mental health issues as they can find people with similar experiences and get a sense of belonging. However, the opposite is also true. Mental health can be significantly impacted upon by social media, and it’s not always good. Speaking as someone with a nice collection of mental health conditions, social media can heighten obsessions, the feeling of not being good enough, comparing yourself to others, questioning your own mental health…the list goes on.
Sites such as Instagram show the things that people want you to see, a snapshot of their life, which so often has been carefully crafted to reflect what they want you to, as opposed to the reality. I am a member of the bookish community, and whilst most people are so supportive and lovely, you can still feel like an outsider all the time and think you don’t fit in, that you’re not as good as other bloggers or bookstagrammers, you don’t have friends within the community, that your interactions are all one way. As social media continues to grow and be an important part of our lives, these anxieties and feelings are only increasing as the online world merges with reality.