I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram.
People who have been to this blog before will know that I went through a stage of loving this social media website. I was constantly taking, editing and uploading pictures for it – and I was having a great time.
However, something has changed over the past few weeks and this hobby no longer brings me any joy.
I found myself far too often scrolling through Instagram when I’m bored and feeling low, only to come away feeling more bored and even lower.
As someone who is is constantly comparing herself to others, Instagram sometime acts as a form of self-harm for me. It’s place I go when I felt like I didn’t measure up and I’d look at all of these photos that proved that all of the negative thoughts I was having about myself were true.
In a bid to look after my mental health, I deleted the app.
If you’ve ever tried to do this before, then you know it’s kind of pointless. If I wasn’t accessing Instagram from the browser app, I was reinstalling it to upload some photo or another.
Is this what addiction is?
THE NAME GAME
There have been times in the past when I adore Instagram.
I think it can be a brilliant platform that allows you to connect with like-minded people, as well as people you would never have normally come across before.
I like to follow a mixture of bloggers, body positive campaigners, and artists on Instagram so it can sometimes be such an inspirational place to be.
Until the self-esteem goblin comes home.
Everyone has their down days, I know. I’m certainly not the first or the last twenty-something girl who feels insecure about her appearance or personality. But Instagram sometimes made me feel that way.
Even if I was having a good day with my self-esteem, Instagram is right there to drag me back into the darkness.
Now I know this sounds very dramatic. And surely if something as daft as a social media app makes me feel like bad about myself, then why don’t I just leave it alone for good?
As someone who is interested in blogging and content creation as a whole, I feel like Instagram can be a very useful platform for me. It’s also the only social media platform that I actively use so it’s a way for me to share my highlights and look at my friends’.
But I can no longer deny that looking at other people all day long, reading their opinions and seeing their lifestyles, leaves me feeling less than.
It makes me feel like I’m not a good enough person – or sometimes that I’m even a person at all.
I WANT TO BE LIKE YO-OO-OU
For as long as I can remember I have always copied off other people.
Whether it was the bag they brought to school, the way they wrote in their exercise books, or even the things they enjoyed, I have always tried to emulate other people.
I thought it would be something that would go away with age, but I’m 23 now and it still keeps happening.
Sometimes, I feel like I’ve ‘found myself’ – I feel centred and content with the person I am in the moment. And then I log into Instagram and I see how I could be so much better.
From the clothes people wear, to the way they do their makeup, to the relationships they get into, I find myself in a constant battle to feel alright with what I have.
This is a feeling that was there long before Instagram and no doubt it’ll be there long after too, but Instagram feeds it.
I get embarrassed sometimes about the way that I have blatantly copied off people throughout my life. When I was younger this would be a more physical thing, such as the hairstyles they had or the books they read, but on social media it’s the filters they use and the emojis they type.
Trying to be someone else just feels yucky. There is no other way I can describe it.
Even if you don’t particularly like yourself, you know when you’re lying about who you are and it sucks. It feels weird and awkward and embarrassing.
It’s just false and I don’t like it – yet I do it all the time.
ACCEPTING YOURSELF (AGAIN)
Despite the issues I have with switching off, I have found that this is the best antidote to self-comparison.
Sometimes I just need to walk away from the screen and do something else. Like make a cup of tea and have no phone contact for, like, five minutes.
There are some activities that fill us up and some that drain us and it can be quite hard to differentiate between the two. Although Instagram used to be a thing that made me feel happy, it now feels kind of weird. It makes me feel like a liar and a loser.
I have come to accept that I’m always changing and growing, yet I’ve found myself get stuck on the things I spend my time doing.
Just because I used to love taking photos and sharing them, doesn’t mean I will forever. Nor does it mean that my current distaste for the whole thing will last that long either.
I’m basically going through some changes within myself.
I need to start listening to myself and notice the signs of a mental health slip before it gets too late. And if something as simple as keeping away from Instagram for a couple of weeks can make me feel more like myself, then I guess it needs to be done.
How do you interact with social media?