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Is Instagram Making Us Depressed?

If you haven’t been living with your eyes closed recently, the topic of social media and mental health issues has been everywhere. Bloggers and influencers have been speaking out about their own experiences, books have been released and I have read article after article in magazines covering the subject on everyone’s lips. Why it has come to light at this particular moment in 2018 I will never know, however it is refreshing to see that a huge amount of individuals with a large presence on social media all feel the same way. I have certainly had my own battles with Mental Health and Social Media, so I thought what better time to talk about my own experiences than now. It is a breath of fresh air to see that people are being so honest about the topic, and helping each other through is crucial. Just like girls should support girls, influencers need to support influencers.

To put it bluntly we live in a shitty world full of shitty people doing shitty things, however this doesn’t seem to be the problem within Social Media (or for me anyway). I’ve never received a bad comment or message through my blog or Instagram and I feel pretty lucky to have never experienced that, so what is actually the problem and why does it affect me? I have never had a huge amount of self confidence. I was also unbearably shy in school and when I was younger, and there have always been things I would change about my looks (I would love to have lip fillers but the thought of a needle coming near my face makes me want to vom), so the biggest part of this battle for me is comparing myself to other people.

When you take a step back and think about what Social Media has become, it is weird. It’s everything we were told not to do when we were younger and we build our lives and expectations around thousands of strangers we feel the need to idolise. Personally I spend over half the day on Social Media (probably a lot more) as I actually work full time Monday - Friday in an influencer marketing roll. It is my job to scout the best and upcoming influencers for certain brand campaigns, however once I leave work and get home I don’t switch off. I can find myself sitting on my bed with my jacket still on for hours when I’ve just walked through the door sitting and scrolling through my Instagram feed. A few weeks ago I realised I have absolutely no balance when it comes to work, pleasure and also doing things which need doing (cleaning, tidying etc). Instagram has taken over my life and it is an unhealthy obsession.

It all got too much for me a few weeks ago. I was constantly comparing myself and my content to other people, and with Instagram’s algorithm all over the place my engagement was the lowest it’s been for a long time. I was also looking at my life as a whole seeing the people I follow out having fun whilst I sat in on a Saturday night and I felt pretty shitty about it all. When I actually spoke out loud about my feelings, it made me take a step back and realise how ridiculous this all way. I’m not unhappy in any way but Instagram was making me feel like I was and that I didn’t have enough. That weekend I deleted the app from my phone for a few days to take a quick break, and it was certainly refreshing. I kept picking my phone up every 5 minutes to check my engagement and to see who’d posted, but I managed to stay strong and take some time to myself.

Since doing this I have tried to make a conscious effort not to use Social Media when I don’t need to. Although I do spend a lot of my time at weekends creating content for my blog and Instagram, I have been trying to avoid spending hours scrolling through my Instagram feed at night. I’ve been regularly going to the gym, watching tv without my phone in my hand and going to bed early so I can read and it’s made me feel a whole lot better about myself! I can’t remember the last time I picked up a book or even a magazine and read before a few weeks ago, but it is inspiring me to write more and getting the creative side of my mind going again.

It has come to the time where we don’t idolise people in a way which just influences and inspires us. Unlike when we were young and loved the Spice Girls or Britney Spears, we now want to change ourselves to be someone we’re not. It is far easier said than done, but adding little routines into your lifestyle to give you a break from social media is one of the best things you can do and keeps our minds healthy. I praise everyone who has spoken out about this affecting them recently but also understand why people keep it to themselves, and I know hearing other people's opinions has really helped me to try and change the way I use Social Media. It should be used as a positive tool for inspiration and for sharing content we are proud of. Instagram and Social Media has given me the ability to do something I love and to share it with other people, so we need to start being proud of where we have all got to whatever stage that may be!

T-shirt - New Look (similar here)
Skirt - River Island
Trainers - Acne Studios
Bag - Topshop (similar here)