If you are an avid Love Island fan like myself, you have probably seen the sad news this week regarding Ex-Love Island star, Sophie Gradon. Although the cause of her death has not been officially confirmed, it is clear to deduce from the people closest to her, that it was due to her fight with depression and anxiety… Which is what spurred me on to write this post.
Social media is, like a lot of others I’m sure… My best and worst enemy. It keeps me feeling close to my family and friends whilst I am so far away, but it also creates a false ideation of not only how I am feeling and how I am living my life, but also how I view other people and their lives too. If you only knew me through my Instragram, you’d probably think that I am one of the happiest, luckiest and most content people there is. To some extent I agree with this and I know that I am extremely lucky to be living the life I do, but in between all of those days that I document online, there have been some incredibly tough ones I have and do face. Most people are able to create an identity and image that they want to portray to the world, that defines how other people view us and usually, this is so far from reality.
We only post the highlights of our lives over social media and this inevitably creates a false sense of how our lives should look. We quickly compare our “unfiltered” life, with other peoples “highlight reel” and it becomes easy to assume that people are as happy and perfect as the photos that they post. I truly believe that this is the main reason why depression and anxiety cases are becoming more and more common.
Everyone always says that there is such a stigma around mental health. Although anxiety and depression are now spoken about more often, social media is still preventing us from admitting what we are going through. It’s easy to hide behind Instagram and Facebook to cover up how we are feeling and it can quickly become even harder to cope. We can end up going through days trying to ignore how bad we are feeling and not getting the help that is needed.
I read “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” a few weeks ago and managed to read the whole book in one day. A quote that really resonated with me was, “Ironically, this fixation on the positive – on what’s better, what’s superior – only serves to remind us over and over again of what we are not, of what we lack, of what we should have been but failed to be.” This is so, so powerful. Social media is a great example of this. It is constantly showing and telling us what we should be, what we should look like and what we should be doing with our lives. It portrays an image that other people do not go through bad days and tough times, when really… Every single person in this world at some stage, will go through a tough time and have a bad day, just like you. And that’s all we really need to remember. No one is perfect and no one life is perfect. We cannot live our lives, comparing our everyday to someone else’s highlight reel… Because we will never win!
This also goes for people that are fortunate enough to not suffer with mental health. Even if someone portrays an image on social media that they are happy and enjoying life, do not be so quick to assume that this is the case. Sophie Gardon is a great example of this. Some people are not as happy as they seem (sometimes quite the opposite!), and checking in every so often can go a long way in helping someone during their dark times. I know from experience that it’s incredibly hard to reach out and tell someone exactly how you are feeling and just how dark your days can sometimes be. I know in those times, all I need is some one to reach out and ask how I am or even just letting me know that they are here if I need them.
Social media is all smoke and mirrors; it obscures the truth of a situation and can sometimes be very misleading – Reach out to the people you care about most and let them know that you are thinking of them and that you care… Your message can sometimes mean more than you think!