Friday, 12 October 2018

IS SOCIAL MEDIA RUINING MY MENTAL HEALTH?







With it being world mental health awareness day earlier this week it had me thinking about my own mental health. I don't want people thinking I'm jumping on the mental health bandwagon as they like to say. It's just something I felt compelled to share today.

In my late teens and early twenties I was confident, very strong minded and was never afraid of speaking my mind. But over the last year or so I have noticed a big change in myself. And I really think blogging and social media has a big part in it.

In the beginning, my blog gave me so much confidence. It was something I started as a hobby over five years ago and people around me never understood. I always felt like it was a constant battle. My blog against everyone else and their snide remarks. Slowly, my hard work had started to pay off. Brands started contacting me and I started getting free clothes and make up. Later, I'd start partnering with brands and making money, until I took the plunge and made blogging my full time job.

Fast forward three years later; my confidence is completely lacking in comparison. Over the last few years blogging has come along by leaps and bounds. More and more people are bloggers and with the introduction of Instagram people started to become influencers.

In the grand scheme of everything this is amazing. But for my mental health it's really been something I've struggled with over the last year. I feel more doubtful of myself than ever.

When I first started blogging I'd go to all these events alone and come back having made 3-5 new friends. I'd just talk to anyone and I started to have this huge group of friends that I could meet up with, take pictures and talk all things blogging with. And it was fantastic. I'd be on such a high after an event, I'd meet up with these new friends weekly and was always out of the house doing cool new things.

But the last year or so, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Do I still enjoy blogging? Yes. Do I still want to continue my career as a blogger? Definitely. But I need to share how I'm feeling in order to be able to move on and hopefully, by sharing this, others who feel the same way know that they too are not alone. It's not that I feel like this all the time. But these feelings seem to creep up on me more so now than ever.

I've noticed that slowly I've stopped going to events, I've stopped meeting up with friends and I no longer reach out to people like I used to.

My job means I spend a lot of my time in my room, alone, looking on social media. And I have spent many a times comparing myself to every single other blogger out there. I micro analyse everything, their engagement, their collabs, their opportunities, and it just brought out this side of me I've never seen before. And I don't like it.

I've always been happy for anyone doing great in this industry as I know how hard everyone works. So why am I suddenly feeling this way? Is it that social media has made me insecure, has it made me bitter and jealous, is social media ruining my mental health? I don't know, possibly.

And the crazy thing about all of this. The sensible me knows what's going on and that I only feel like this every now and then. I also know that there are people who look at me and think the same things about me and my career/life. But for some reason, I still can't stop myself from feeling this way. My rational self tries to reason, but my insecurities take over.

Comparison is a dreadful thing. It keeps you up at night, making you think you're not good enough. Telling you you're not pretty enough, slim enough, popular enough. People don't enjoy your content, that's why you're not getting invited to X,Y,Z. You're just not good enough. It has you having breakdowns out of nowhere, and for me, it makes me pull away.

I always pull away from people I love and people who care about me, because I don't want to burden them with my problems. As I write this blog post, I find myself breaking down again. This time not because of my insecurities, but unburdening myself and pouring everything into this blog post is like a weight is being lifted over my shoulders.

I know my loved ones will all read this and worry about me, and that scares me. But I started this blog as a way to help all the girls out there who need it and this is just something else I have to share.

A month ago I was with a family friend who's 13 years old. She was telling me how she can't leave the house because she has so much anxiety about the way she looks, that she'll never be as pretty as the girls on Instagram and never live the life that bloggers live. And it really upset me. It made me reevaluate everything. If I have these feelings as a strong 26 year old woman. What chance does a 13 year old girl have?

Social media is such a wonderful thing, it's bought so many opportunities to myself and so many other people around the world. But it's all built on this pretence of perfection. And i've had enough of it.

I am mentally drained and tired of seeing so much fakeness online. It's hard to imagine the mental state of the next generation. I'm not surprised to see so many high profile people fed up, so many bloggers and youtubers talking about their issues. This industry is so brutal. Your brain is constantly working, I haven't had a day off in five years. It's been about two months now that I don't post on Instagram everyday, but even when I'm not posting, I'm still online, engaging, interacting, creating new content, and it's so tiring.

I don't want you all to leave here thinking that I'm fed up and blogging is all bad. It's not, there's so many great things, but we get to see all the great things everyday. So I thought today I'd share the other side of me you don't get to see. And finish with one of my favourite quotes.

"This too shall pass"

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