Updated: Jan 31, 2019
This post was inspired by reading What Made Maddy Run
.. a lot of the book mentions how Maddy wanted her social media account to portray a perfect life... sadly this young college freshman runner was struggling with depression and took her own life #madisonstrong
I'll write more about this book once I'm finished as it sheds a light on mental illness and the pressures that young teens and athletes face. I believe many Rise Up Nutrition followers will appreciate the story and relate to much of what it tells.
But for now, my wheels were turning about my use of social media as well. I wanted to share just a bit of my feelings toward social media as I can relate to Maddy's pressure to portray the perfect image.
For the past 8 months l I took a hiatus from social media.
Not a complete break up. Just a break.
I didn't delete my accounts. I didn't make any final posts announcing my separation and reasoning. And I didn't encourage my contacts to use other means to connect with me.
I just stopped posting.
And I tried my best to stop logging on as well.
I turned off all the notifications for social apps.
I moved all the apps to a sub-folder in my phone, and moved the folder to the second "page" of my screen so that they were out of direct sight, and therefore, out of mind.
I'd like to say this effort was a health-focused goal to be more present in life or reduce screen time. But I was never a social-media junkie in the first place.
So complete honesty, the reason I avoided social media is:
I was scared of judgment.
...and it wasn't good for my mental health.
Things were going on in my life that were very raw and very new.
Much of it I was embarrassed about.
Much of it, I was ashamed of.
All of it, I knew, I had valid reasons, feelings, and justifications.
But, social media is not usually the place where people find understanding, compassion, or the time for a discussion.
On the contrary, social media is a place for people to quickly make a judgement, a one-off comment, or see only a snapshot of the truth.
I did not have the emotional stability to handle another misjudgment, another ignorant comment, or another person to pick apart my life piece by piece.
On top of the fact that I feared judgment from others, social media encouraged self-criticism and fostered self-hate.
I compared myself to other people. I was jealous of other people. I questioned why I couldn't look a certain way, be happier, post inspiring things, take perfect food pictures.... the list goes on and on.
By the way, this was new for me. Historically, I've had a great sense of self, an appreciation for all those things I do well, an acceptance of things I do not, and a respect for those who had something I didn't.
In hindsight, I can recognize that the shift in confidence was because my life had never been completely flipped upside down as it had over the last 2 years, and specifically the last 8 months...
Essentially, when my sense of self was shaken up, social media became a festering grounds for insecurity and self-hate.
The sensible thing at the time, was to avoid social media.