Growing up, I was always (and still am) fascinated by creativity. I would throw myself into it, cramming exercise books cover to cover with fairytales, poems and other fictional stories. I would write in a diary every day, even if it was just to say ‘went to the supermarket with nan & granddad’. I would take photos of everything and anything; first on a disposable camera, then a polaroid camera, closely followed by digital cameras, an SLR and now? Well, smartphone. At its core, I think this fascination has always been rooted in sharing parts of myself with others, as well as it being some kind of emotional outlet for this, truth be told, still pretty awkward woman.
I’ve never really thought of myself as being addicted to, well, anything. Recently, though, I started thinking about how often I post on Instagram and how necessary it really is in my life. I’ve always loved photographs, as far back as I can remember. I loved taking them, I loved being in them, I loved looking back at them. I’d take photos of anything growing up, and I’m still the same now. Anything that I want to capture, remember or that I feel represents me in a current moment. This hasn’t changed much since I’ve been on Instagram, but it’s become a bit more, well, vanity-based.
When I say vanity, I need to highlight that this is not in the physical aesthetic sense of the word. What I mean by this, is that I’ve become strangely focused on showing the world that I have some kind of life. Of course I have a life, so why do I feel the need to show people this? I am extremely happy in my life and with my partner, friends and family. I am very sociable and still would continue to be so even if I weren’t on Instagram.
Part of me thinks it’s still this little girl inside of me that is hell-bent on letting loose her creativity in a world where letter-writing and other outlets of creativity aren’t as common. After all, sharing a photo on Instagram is a lot less daunting than sharing a piece of creative writing. And I, well… I like to share.
The thing is, social media heightens my anxiety. Especially Instagram. I’ve had issues with anxiety since I was sixteen. I worry about everything. But you don’t see that side of me on Instagram, and you probably wouldn’t expect it, either. All you’d see is a girl who goes out for drinks and food a lot with the occasional walk and pet photo mixed in. I don’t want to show that side of me, and that’s the inherent problem with social media… why it can make us feel so sad and .
I won’t use the term depressed here, as I don’t throw that term around loosely. But, I recognise that social media actually does make a lot of people feel this way. For me, it makes me anxious and too much time in an “Instagram hole” results in me comparing myself to others.