Depression, Blogging and Self Image

The Link Between All Three

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The year is 2013, I’m 17 years old and back in the hallways of my old high school. Here is where I walk around hiding my face, hoping that nobody will see me today because my acne is pretty bad and even the mere glimpse of my tired complexion in the mirror is enough to drain my motivation to get out of bed for the week. High school for me was a time where my self image and sense of self worth were so low that I would always dodge my reflection in public because I didn’t feel good in my own skin. Being only 5 ft 2″I got a lot of flack for my height (or lack thereof am I right? ba dum tsss) and in everything I wore I just felt fat and bloated or like my height was making me look compressed and chubby. What always made me feel particularly bad of course was the fact that I never looked like the popular girls who were tall, thin and blonde and who all resembled Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid in one way or another. At least in my head it was like that anyway.

Despite these bad feelings though what always brought a flash of positivity to my day was how I would scroll through Instagram to see what my favourite bloggers were doing and I would come home from school that same day to watch them on YouTube. Seeing girls who looked not all that much different to me, who broke away from the cult of the celebrity and who seemed to live a life all not too dissimilar to mine made me feel at peace with myself.

Bloggers ignited in me an inner confidence I never knew I had. What made me fall in love with the medium in the very first place was the way in which it celebrated ordinary girls of all shapes and sizes and made fashion accessible to more body types than just the emaciated models you’d always see in the fashion magazines and on the catwalks. Blogging was something relatable and inclusive of everybody. I remember how tabloid magazines would bash celebrities at the beach for having cellulite on their legs or a body type that broke through the mould of what our society deemed as anything other than ‘perfect’. In the advent of blogging, ordinary people like you and me began to be recognised in the media and even celebrated for their beauty.

But even in spite of this movement of body positivity, I still haven’t yet managed to feel 100% comfortable in my own skin. Yes, I’ve come a long way over the years, especially since high school and now that I’m older and wiser being able to express myself and my own personal style through images has really given me the confidence boost the teenage version of myself only ever could have dreamed of.

However lately these feelings have been slowly resurfacing and finding their way back into my life meaning that seeing myself in such a negative light only gets even worse when it comes to creating content because so much of what I do here on my website and on instagram relies on my will to get up, get dressed, go outside and to take pictures of…well myself. I’ve tried taking a break from photography and from posting my outfits but to no avail because by doing that I not only feel negative and ugly in my own skin but also lazy and unproductive too.

Being a small blogger in the 2018 influencer climate is no easy task. The flow of content these days is incredibly fast and we’re all up against the big names in blogging who have paid visits to some of the most beautiful and exotic locations in the world, the girls who get free expensive clothing just to show in one photo and are always seen sporting the latest designer trends and handbags that cost enough to pay the average college student’s rent for the whole semester.

I’ve only been a blogger for a little over a year now and with college as my number one priority I guess one wouldn’t be wrong to call this endeavour my “side hustle.” But even at that the pressure to live up to the expectations of this lifestyle just to make my content seem attractive is already too much. The pressure to be beautiful, to be popular and to be rich, the pressure to live this ‘instagram’ lifestyle weighs heavy on anyone trying to make a living out of this. But the truth is that this lifestyle isn’t even a proper depiction of reality.

While there are many benefits of social media, like how it can be a creative outlet for millions of people for instance, there are also so many downsides. There have been countless studies where Instagram has been linked to so many mental illnesses such as body dysmorphia, falseness of ego, anxiety and depression. The blogging community has created a universe where fake depictions of reality are so often sold as real life. As  a viewer it’s so easy to look at somebody’s perfect photograph on Instagram and wonder ‘why isn’t my life like that?” or in my case as a content creator I often find myself asking ‘why isn’t my blog/content/life like that?’ And this double faceted problem has been making me feel rather inadequate lately to say the least.

Don’t get me wrong when I say that I’m very grateful for the life I have and moving from Dublin to Paris has brought so much positivity beyond words into my life. But lately I’ve been feeling disheartened about blogging because while technically anyone can do it, comparing myself to other bloggers has had a really negative impact on the way I see both myself when I look in the mirror and my content when I look at my phone or my computer screen.

So what is the solution? If bloggers talked more about what goes on behind the scenes and behind the camera they definitely would be promoting so much more truth and positivity. Seeing somebody’s life of luxury and nothing of the other side of it is both just unrealistic and unrelatable.

As far as my own self image goes, the only possible solution that I can think of is to try and fight off these feelings. I’m not going to lie when I say that I have been feeling pretty depressed lately but I’ll spare you guys the sob story and do my best to work harder and push through this. However if there is a delay in my content (like how there has been for the past while) then you know why. I’m hoping with all my heart that once I post this and get this feeling off my chest that I’ll wake up tomorrow and feel better but I know that snapping out of such a negative state of mind can take time.

If you guys have any tips/advice on how to get out of a rut like this please feel free to share them with me in the comments or on my tumblr. (My anon is open in case you don’t want to comment here.) I’d love to be able to see myself through a better lens but for the moment I just feel so down about myself.

Anyway I hope you guys all have a lovely week and I’ll see you very soon in our next post.

~Amanda xx

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5 thoughts on “Depression, Blogging and Self Image

  1. Cordelia.

    I totally get what you are saying on how media makes us women feel bad for not having that cookie cutter model body. Its weird how even though I know the truth, which is all women are different and it doesn’t make any of us less beautiful, but ultimately those who look far from the norm get treated kinda poorly. I get treated lesser than compared to my tall, beautiful friends. Lesser guys pay attention to me, and within my own clique, only the tall pretty gal gets tons of compliments. Somehow people view you as inferior through seemingly helpful but demeaning subtle ways like saying you’re too short or you won’t look good in that dress, its for tall people or your legs are too short to pull that off.

    But I am lucky enough to have a handful of friends whom I respect very much and actually just like me for me, and celebrate me for me. Seeing myself through their lens made me so incredibly proud to be someone of internal character and felt so much more rewarding than having superficial compliments from people I don’t even very much care for. If anyone is making you feel down about your appearance, really think about the value they add (but they most likely take away) from your life and just turn them on mute. You truly don’t need anyone’s validation but your own which is why its important to truly love yourself and be someone you are proud to show off to the world! (:

    And the thing about the perfect lives you see on instagram, I have been afflicted with feeling like an extreme loser for not having accomplished anything close to them. It has brought me to severe depression (which I now still fall in and out of) but I just try my best to remember that everyone is different. We are all different in how we move, the micro actions we make, the pacing we have and that is why it all leads to different results. We don’t see these famous people suffering because who’d want to admit they are suffering right? Its easier to portray a perfect life that everyone envies and looks up to, like a beautiful mirage. And its easy to want to fall into that because its delusional and idealistic thinking.

    Go at it at your own pace, take a break when you have to, go hard at your projects when you want to. I’m sorry I couldn’t offer any concrete advice but know that you are not in this alone and I struggle very hard too. We’ll just take our time figuring out our lives because we shouldn’t be unhappy with unrealistic expectations we see. Have a wonderful new day, time to start afresh! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  2. La Dame Who Fell To Earth

    Thank you so much for such a lovely comment. I’m really happy to know that you read the post and that I’m not alone in this struggle. ❤

    I'm really sorry to hear though that you have been feeling bad too. Especially in terms of comparing yourself to others and not feeling pretty and tall. But you're so right that you should spend time with people who value you and see you for the beauty that you have to give to the world. People are so poisoned by the way the media depicts women and by the idea that you have to have a certain body type to be beautiful. But it's such a load of bullshit when you think about it. And these ideas shouldn't be what dictate our happiness.

    Social media can often be so damaging to the way we view ourselves and it feels like sites such as instagram and so on can really give us such a negative view on life because we're constantly looking at other people's success rather than spending that time feeling grateful our own. And you're so right. Nobody wants to look bad on social media so they only ever show off the highlights of their lives rather than the dark side.

    You're so right when you say go at your own pace. Life is so much better when you stop caring about what other people think and when you stop trying to conform to what the world expects you to be.
    Thanks so much for commenting again about this. You've really helped me to clear my mind and I hope I can do the same for you too if you ever need it ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cordelia.

      I’m so glad to hear it makes a little difference. ❤ Although they are just words and no matter how logical they are, we still feels the extremes of inadequacy! But knowing we are not alone and a friend halfway across the world going through the same, makes it easier to fight for better days! ☺️

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