Instagram vs Reality: The Truth Behind the Pictures

After I shared my website with friends and family, a family friend told me that she was surprised to hear I had been suffering, as on social media I appeared to be doing fine. That really made me think; you only share the highlights of your life and this could be due to a variety of reasons. A lot of people feel pressured to have the perfect life documented on social media, but personally I don’t like sharing my low moments, as it makes others uncomfortable and I can feel embarrassed. In this day and age, seeing others living seemingly flawless lives can make us feel insecure and inferior, however, you must keep in mind that not everything is as it appears. To prove how deceitful social media can be I’m sharing a few pictures from my personal Instagram.

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From this picture you may assume I was having a great time at a party, however, you cannot see the day that preceded this. This was taken in early December, before I was diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety. That day I went into Uni to study and came home on the train panicking; I didn’t know what was happening but I just didn’t feel right and it was terrifying. I thought I would feel better once I got home, but I didn’t, I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me and I went to bed. When the time came to get ready, I couldn’t face it and I delayed by laying in my bed feeling nauseas. Eventually, I did a bare minimum application of make up, put my outfit on and had a glass of wine to calm my nerves. Fifteen minutes later, I had a forced smile on, another glass of wine and I was welcoming guests into my home – I doubt anyone suspected anything. Consequently, while this photo may paint a picture of a fun, fancy night out, in reality it was a night spent pretending to everyone – myself included – that I was okay.

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This picture may look like I was having a chilled day out in the sun with friends, but I was in no way calm. I woke up with crippling anxiety; I had an exam that day and rushed through it whilst having taken diazepam – I have no idea how I even passed (and passed well somehow – god must have felt sorry for me). I struggled through the day with my friends and I ended the night crying because I felt so hopeless and weak. From this picture you can’t see that my mental illness was making my life feel unbearable, but it was. Hiding behind a smile is too easy so if you’re feeling confused as to how everyone is so happy all of the time and you’re not, just remember this is all posed.

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In the picture above I was in acute crisis – I really wasn’t well. I wasn’t eating, sleeping and I couldn’t sit still – I felt constantly ill. The shorts I am wearing in this picture I bought when I was 12; none of my clothes fitted me anymore and I was trying not to look “swamped” in my clothes. I thought I would have to spend Christmas Day in bed but I did well. This was the first day in maybe weeks, that I got properly dressed and wore make up. Had it been any other day I would’ve stayed in pyjamas and moped, but since it was Christmas I made an effort for my family. From scrolling past this picture, you would think I was having a lovely Christmas break but in truth it was a battle to make it through the day.

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I had a great time during the sub crawl pictured above and to anyone looking at my Instagram you wouldn’t guess that I was hospitalised the next day. I uploaded a lot of pictures of my friends and I having fun, but none of my IV line or ambulance ride. This again illustrates how the bad moments in people’s lives are hidden from the public, whilst happy times are paraded on everyone’s screens.

In conclusion, social media is extremely deceiving – by solely uploading the highlights of your life you can trick people into believing that your life is completely amazing. So the next time you’re watching someone’s fabulous life unfold on your Instagram, take it with a pinch of salt as they are only showing you what they want you to see. No one is completely perfect; everyone has bad days but because you may think everyone’s lives are displayed on social media, you may feel lesser, however, they have them too (they might just upload a throwback that day instead of a selfie). You should view Instagram like a highlight reel – a place where people present their finest moments – instead of an accurate representation of their life. If captions were honest, my own captions included, no one would feel insecure about their life.

STARS CAN’T SHINE WITHOUT DARKNESS

5 thoughts on “Instagram vs Reality: The Truth Behind the Pictures”

  1. Thank you for sharing such a vulnerable part of yourself. I know how you feel. I too struggle with depression and anxiety. And the feelings of inferiority you described are something I’ve known for as long as I can remember. Can I tell you a story?

    In January 2018 I started chatting to a guy online, and we clicked instantly. We spoke every day, for longer and longer each day as time went on. We started to use Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, you name it. I felt like I had found what was missing from my life. He lives in the far south of England, and I convinced him to meet me in the April. So, in early April I flew down and took a train to his city. I spent a week with him in his home, and it was so goddamn perfect it was like a dream I wasn’t sure was really happening. After four months of chatting, flirting, opening up to each other, being able to touch each other’s bodies, cuddle, and sleep together was the icing on the cake. It was so intimate and precious. What I thought was a crush had extremely rapidly become love within that week. So much so that I remember breaking down crying my heart out about how scared I was to lose him. And he told me he didn’t feel the same way about me. I felt absolutely destroyed. After I came home from my visit (I cried on the train, on the plane, and on the car ride home) he started speaking to me less and less. He wasn’t opening my snaps, wasn’t reading my messages, and eventually, about 6 weeks after I’d come home he told me he’d had another guy round. When I asked him what they did together he wouldn’t tell me, and my poisoned mind assumed the worst and flipped the panic switch. It’s now mid-September and I’m still madly and hopelessly in love with him. He goes for literal weeks at a time without reading my messages, even though I know he’s online (features like this are the worst for people with anxiety, aren’t they?). I look at his profile every day to see when he was last online, I look at his photos every day. I try to act like him, I try to dress like him, I try to look like him. So now, on top of my anxiety and depression, I think I’m suffering from obsession. It’s extremely hard to admit it, and I haven’t yet had a professional diagnosis (I have recently begun psychological therapy) but I think I can recognise that my behaviour is a problem; it’s not okay. I’ve tried insanely hard to get over him by going on dates with other guys… I even slept with a guy who liked me more than I liked him just so I could maybe feel something other than this obsession: but nothing works. When I’m drunk, I think about him, I compare myself to him. I feel like nothing compared to him because to me he is the perfect man and there is no one else in the world for me. And he calls me ‘too intense’. I’m only this way because of him. Sometimes I think I hate him for the way I love him. It’s so confusing.

    I know that’s a long story but I hope it shows my struggle the way I intended it to. Thank you for creating this blog.

    Love,

    An anonymous classmate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry to hear that! You need to love yourself first before you can love anyone else and it sounds like your self-worth is based on his validation. I’d block him, fresh start and move on. It can almost feel like an addiction but you can beat this! Therapy will be very useful for this and I hope you recover quickly xx

      Like

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