Saturday, 14 October 2017

Is Instagram Affecting My Mental Health?




Just a disclaimer, this post is totally and completely my point of view and I'm not assuming that anyone else gets the same feels from social media. I always find that when I'm writing these kinds of posts, people might get the wrong end of the stick like it's attention seeking or smth. Realistically, I'm trying to create some more buzz and awareness around mental health, and how an unhealthy addiction surrounding an app can create unnecessary pressure and anxiety on an already delicate individual.





I've previously written about the pressures of social media on influencers on their weight before, and that one still holds true. Honestly, I don't know what to do with myself and my own weight when style bloggers influencers of a more slender stature clearly get more hype over their images, more #goals comments, and generally are more well liked by brands and audiences alike. I can't get away with the cute candids, the "walking with a thigh gap" shots, or the sexy lingerie snaps like my more slender counterparts.


SHOP THE LOOK




Confession #1: I've seriously considered clean eating, calorie counting, and even going on an extreme diet to beat the bulge in order to be more "instagrammable" as an influencer.

Writing that out, I know it's fucked up. I can imagine that some individuals have been gripped into that pressure more so than me and I hope that they're getting all the help they need because it's not healthy, neither physically or mentally. If you don't know how intense this feeling is, the feeling of wanting to lose weight for social media - Let me try and explain.

I now completely avoid my "Discover" page on Instagram because every single photo depicts a person that I could never be. Honestly, I'm currently on my IG Discover page now and here's what I see: Tall, slim, toned, white, 20-something women. Literally, all of them fit into this description. I follow a wide variety of accounts, and interact with a variety of images (most of them lifestyle or flatlay shots) so I don't know why Instagram keep showing me these particular accounts. Almost like IG itself is telling me who I should aspire to be like hmm....



Confession #2: I think about buying things just to post them on Instagram.

This one is so cringe, but it's true so hey-ho I'll get over it eventually. The amount of times I've looked at the fucking Gucci belt every fashion instagrammer and her mum is wearing these days and considered buying it just for the 'gram. I personally don't really have the money to splurge on it, I think you can get a nice belt at Stradivarius for under £20 (click the link for a good'un), and simply put you can do so much more with £270 *cough* holidayssss *cough*.

This is just one example but it happens all the time, I always second guess myself at every purchase like: "Am I really buying this for me? Or am I buying it for everyone else?" and that really does start to mess with your mind if you dwell on it long enough.



Confession #3: Instagram is a popularity contest, and I was never popular in school.

It's really disheartening when you spend a lot of time taking 10/10 shots with great lighting, fab props, and 30 minutes of editing and get 200 likes when another individual posts a blurry candid and gets a 1000. Such is life, but Instagram never used to be like that. I feel like smaller bloggers don't even get an opportunity to pop up on people's feeds anymore.

I doubt I've ever been on anyone's Discover page (did you know, I'm not #goals enough), and I've had multiple people DM me and say that they miss my posts as they don't pop up on Instagram's algorithm. On top of that, I think I've been shadow banned - despite changing up my hashtags and not sharing in blogger pods for a while. I haven't checked though, because the thought is enough to give me an anxiety attack alone.



Confession #4: I'm getting a serious case of "Engagement Depression" 

I've thought about shutting down my blog and/or Instagram account three times this week and it's only Wednesday. My engagement was 1000 or so likes per image pre-algorithm Instagram and these days I'm extremely lucky if I hit 500. It's all down to Impressions, and due to the algorithm, both are dwindling for many influencers and bloggers alike.

Realistically, I know there's not much I can do about it if IG doesn't want to show my posts on people's feeds and I can just keep creating fab content and using the right tags etc - but it doesn't half get me down, guys. How can I look to the future of my career as a blogger without seeing a big black cloud hovering on the horizon with a name tag aptly labelled "Engagement Depression"?


What can I do to protect myself against the unwanted feels that come with Instagram related depression & anxiety without quitting the app altogether? Ummmm, I'm still working on this one but I have followed a tonne of accounts that "trigger" bad vibes and like I mentioned before, I don't ever look at the Discover feed unless I'm searching for an account. I'm all for working towards an Instagram world where diversity is well established throughout the blogger & influencer industries, but until then, I'll be using Instagram with caution.

How does Instagram affect your mental health, if it does at all?

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11 comments

  1. This post is so needed right now. It's hard to keep w/ instagram without affecting your mental health. I rarely go on my discover page, unless I'm searching a specific page. I haven't posted in a while because of my how many likes my last post got - it's like "I've got to top my last post, how do I do that?" This puts a lot pressure on me.

    Very relatable.

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  2. This is a really well written and thought provoking post Holly!

    I haven't been part of the blogging community for many years now but I have dabbled, like most, with instagram. I have a very small following in comparison and yet I still feel the same pressures that you have described above. Seems to me that we are all feeling it no matter the scale and I'm not sure what it is going to take for things to change!

    Natasha | @ofthesaintsUK

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  3. I loved reading this post as I agree with every confession. I don't know why I feel this massive pressure on my chest to be and look like all those influencer's I see on my discover feed but it sure is hard to ignore xx

    www.taintedblues.co.uk

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  4. I love the statement about are you buying something for you or other people, it's something we really need to be aware of with every purchase. I don't use Instagram for my 'blog' I just have my personal one and I'm so much happier doing it xx

    - Eternalleigh.blogspot.com

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  5. Love this post! Reading what you wrote, I've been nodding 'yes yes yes' to every one of them! I agree with you - the gucci belt, I feeeeel ya, I almost splurged on it so I can post it on my Instagram! x

    TOUCHOFGS

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  6. I relate so much to not fitting the ideology of the 'perfect instagramer' I'm petite and curvy and I feel that nobody is interested in looking at my outfit shots because I'm not some beautiful blonde model, and I'm currently try to shed a few pounds at the moment in an attempt to help beat this.
    Alicia x
    Aesthetic Obsessed

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  7. I totally relate to this- particularly buying things purely for the gram!! I ALWAYS have to say is it for ME or is it for my followers?! Crazy isn't it? You definitely aren't alone in these feelings though girl <3

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  8. Holly...you are an inspiration to so many! I am happy for my daughter’s to emulate you, to be inspired by you....not some waif with a thigh gap! �� There needs to be more women out there like you, relatable, healthy and absolutely beautiful inside and out xx

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  9. I can relate to every single one of your confessions. I mean I'm currently overweight, but I'm desperately trying to lose weight so I can finally become a 'fashion' blogger which in a way is ridiculous, but that's how Instagram has messed up my head. It has made me feel like I'm not good enough if I don't look a certain way. I hope you and I, and everyone else who is experiencing this can overcome these horrible side effects of Instagram.

    Lots of love,
    Agnese | www.agnesehadebe.com

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  10. I can so relate to this. Especially your confession about wanting to buy things just for the 'gram. I feel that pressure a lot. And the engagement depression - really gets me down! IG is just bad for everyone at the moment, it feels like, but I just like sharing my images so I'll keep on doing that and hope that, one day, IG will stop shitting on us little guys! x www.aimeeraindropwrites.co.uk x

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  11. I can totally relate to this! It's just so heartbreaking when I post something, I get followers just to lost a bunch the next day :( It's hard but I'm trying to ignore that feeling and focusing more on creating better content. I often see myself "too fat" to be a fashion blogger, I don't have the perfect body or perfect legs, but fashion is something I love and I want to keep doing this, so I can say I'm in body-acceptance trial ;p
    Anyway, great outfit! :)

    www.bigdreamerblog.com

    ReplyDelete

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