16 million people in the UK experience a mental illness. 3 in 4 mental illnesses start in childhood. 75% of young people with mental health problems are not being treated. Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. A study recently showed that more than A THIRD of teenage girls in England suffer from depression and anxiety.
These are some scary figures. Though social media is not the only reason for this, I think it has a huge impact. Our lives are not perfect, but nobody’s is. We’re humans, we all have sadness, worries, family issues, friendship struggles and all the crap that goes in-between. But we don’t publicise it online very often because it’s private, we don’t want people knowing.
Scrolling through your Instagram feed and seeing everyone else’s seemingly magical life can leave you feeling alone in life hurdles. It’s hard not to think everyone else’s life is perfect when you only ever see the best bits, the fun, the laughter, the happiness and the celebration of life. But this isn’t ReALiTy.
We all do it, we show the best bits of our lives. We need to talk more, and by talk I mean honest talk. Social media is never an honest representation of how that person really feels. Ask people how they are doing, even if their lives seem rosey through Instagram. A simple ‘hey, how are you?’ can open an honest conversation about LiFe.
Putting on a ‘brave face’ is so easy when you’re sat behind a phone, or a laptop, uploading to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook. But let’s be ReAl, we all know its a bunch of fibs. Life is beautifully imperfect. You have to have the bad days, for the good days to shine so bright.
Yesterday, I posted on my Instagram about an email I got from my Dissertation Tutor, that quite frankly was a pile of poop (if you want to check it out, click here). Again, something I haven’t really discussed on Instagram, Twitter or my Blog is the University Strikes. Something that has affected me in a HUGE way. But I haven’t spoken about it much as it’s one of the naffest parts of my life right now. But yesterday, as I sat at my desk, opened up my emails and was told that my Dissertation (that I have practically written over the last 4 weeks) included themes my Tutor deemed ‘irrelevant’- I decided I would talk about it (following a melt down and a pep talk from my boyfriend). Due to the strikes, I have had little to no contact with her, so cracked on with my work, thinking all was good. I thought my dissertation plan had been approved- as I hadn’t received feedback- and I would make the most of the 4 weeks of strikes. Anyway, I decided to email back saying that I had already written these sections and I believed they were relevant. I even told her why, in depth. So I’m awaiting a response and hopefully I will have convinced her.
This totally HoNeSt Instagram post, written with puffy eyes and butterflies, gave me some of the best feedback I have had to date. People were so sweet, giving me encouragement and saying they had experienced similar things. It made me realise, people identify a whole lot more to the ReALiTiEs. These realities of life include the down days.
So if you’re feeling low and you feel comfortable sharing it on social media, you could touch someone else who is struggling. We all fight battles, some of which nobody knows about. Some days are a little bit foggy and we have to realise its OK not to be OK all of the time.
YoU aRe NoT aLoNe.