I sleep more than the average person: my body’s natural defence mechanism

Today I spent the entire day in bed. I’m sick. But I’m not ill in the sense of a cold. I am mentally ill. Only, how was I supposed to tell my seminar group that? It’s funny, isn’t it? I’m trying so hard to break the stigma surrounding mental health and influence others to be more open about it, but I can’t even admit it half the time. I still find it impossible to tell near strangers that I’m having an episode. So I send my seminar group a message saying I’m sick. No explanation needed, they assume it is some physical ailment. See. Why do we make those assumptions? Why is there some pre-conceived idea that mental illnesses can’t be just as debilitating (and even more so at times) as physical illnesses?

I am angry. I’m angry because I live in fear that I’m going to be told to “get over it” if I admit my brain is keeping me in bed. If I had broken my leg, I wouldn’t be told to just walk it off. So, why are people told to “get over it”. Get over it. What a horrible expression. Essentially that is telling someone to get over their own brain. Now, I can safely speak for every single person ever when I say you can’t just “get over” your brain – there is no escape from your brain, it literally controls you.

So, I stayed in bed today. I fell in and out of deep sleep. People often find it strange how much I nap. But they aren’t just naps. When I sleep during the day, I am sleeping. I am so exhausted by my illness that I need to sleep, as though it is night-time. Sleep is an escape. It is the one time I get respite from this monster. I don’t care how stereotypical I sound by calling it that – it is a monster. And, since coming to university, I am increasingly fighting it alone. I feel more alone than I ever have and, in some ways, I like it because I can just exist – that’s all I can bring myself to want to do at the moment, exist. So, I stayed in bed today, just existing.

People don’t like me. That’s not my anxiety speaking. That’s not my depression speaking. That’s not my eating disorder speaking. That’s me. I could list reasons why people don’t like me, some of which would be my illnesses speaking, like if I say people don’t like me because I’m too fat. So let’s not do that. Let’s just admit it, people don’t like me. I know it is impossible to be liked by everyone. But I am not liked by anyone around me. So, I feel alone. I make myself be alone because that way I don’t have to feel so unwanted in the presence of others. Staying in bed leaves me with just myself, there’s nobody I can disappoint or upset or annoy, just myself. So, I stayed in bed today.

I always text my mum when I get like this, just to tell her. But I never want to speak to her, or anyone. I don’t want to tell everyone what’s going on inside my head because, what if they just tell me to get over it? What then? But there are people, like my parents, who I know won’t tell me to do that. So why don’t I want to talk to them? Because, to be honest, I’m sick of talking about it all. For two years now I have been talking about how I feel and, fundamentally in my core, I still feel the exact same way about myself. I am worth nothing. I am too fat. I am too much hassle. I am horrible. Talking about it only makes it worse. I have to admit that writing helps because I just put it out there and nobody has to listen or pay attention if they don’t want, but as I always say, I will do anything I can to stop others from going through what I go through, so I write about it to try make some sort of a difference. But, for now at least, I am done talking to people. So, I stayed in bed today.

My answer to all of my problems is to go to bed and sleep. When I start to get anxious/depressed it reaches a point where my body begins to shut down – I physically start to fall asleep in a way that is completely out of my control. I have sat in therapy sessions and rolled my head back falling asleep when things get too much, without even realising I am doing it. This is my body’s defence mechanism it has developed over the last couple of years. I am not lazy. I am not sleep-deprived. I am simply in a battle, between my body and my brain, and my body will do whatever it can to protect me from my brain.

So, I stayed in bed today. But not out of choice. I did not have the strength to get up. You may understand that, you may not, but never tell me to “get over it”. Never tell anyone to get over it. Mental illness can be just as bad as physical illness.

desserpeD yllacinilC: A Backwards Brain.

I’ve been awol for a while. I know. Sorry. I’m 75% messy mind half the time so I juggle what I can, and for the past few weeks that’s been focusing on trying to get my YouTube going (if you weren’t aware of it, here ya go: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCXSclcZK1wETQOOruPcF5-A). However, this week I’m taking a break from filming because, to be quite frank, I don’t have the mental capacity to put on a smile for a video and spend the endless hours editing. Again, sorry.

I was, well, incited to write by a book I’m reading. It’s called Shoot the Damn Dog: A Memoir of Depression, written by Sally Brampton and published in 2008 when, I suppose, she was in a period of remission. Perhaps remission sounds strange to you when describing mental illness. But there is a stigma we want to break. “We” being the mentally ill folk. Remission exists in exactly the same way with mental illnesses as with physical ailments, such as cancer. And there is the same fear of relapse (which, funnily enough, is a word commonly used to describe mental illness by many people, yet there is a lack of awareness that pre-relapse a person is in remission…did that make sense? Not too sure.)

Where was I? Yes. Relapse. Remission. All that jazz.

So, let’s talk about Sally Brampton for a moment. I have been incredibly touched by her writing, relating to what she describes more than I ever thought I could and realising more and more that the way I feel isn’t abnormal when faced with mental illness. Sally passed away early last year, she walked into the sea. Her obituary in The Guardian said this, “Sally will be remembered as the editor who transformed the women’s magazine market and trained a generation of confident, accomplished female journalists. She should also be remembered as the woman whose ferocious honesty about depression saved lives.” ¹ She was a high-powered editor, hugely responsible for the success of the British edition of Elle magazine, and yet she fought the same battle against depression that so many people fight on a daily basis. It’s strange how you can connect with someone from such a different world to you because of a mere chemical imbalance.

As I read Brampton’s book, I find I’m learning more and more things about my illness, which I didn’t think possible after living with it for almost two years now. I don’t know if I’ve ever really clarified what exactly I suffer from. Maybe I have, maybe if you know me you already know this. However, I didn’t actually know what to call it until I sat crying in front of my mum the other day and asked her what was wrong with me. It’s called clinical depression. Nice name, eh? I also suffer from anxiety and disordered eating, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. The reason I say it like this is because I’ve had people, namely certain males from a neighbouring school, mock me for telling people about my illnesses. I have been accused of attention-seeking and everything a sufferer of anxiety’s worst nightmares are full of. (Excuse my grammar there I know you’re not supposed to finish sentences with prepositions but I couldn’t figure out a better way to phrase it).

Well, anyway, the purpose of my writing all this babble is because there are two things Sally Brampton has taught me. One, is that remission can have an end AKA you can (and often will) relapse. Sadly, she showed that in the worst way. Although, it feels oddly ironic being suicidal and saying “sadly” someone managed to commit suicide. It’s almost that sort of bitter congratulations you give someone when they beat you in something you really wanted to win. However, being both British and human, I have to put sadly as, despite everything, death is just sad. I am relapsing. This is possibly the one moment I will fully admit it. I can tell I am relapsing because I no longer want help. I don’t want to eat anymore, I don’t want to exist anymore, and I find everything causes me horrible pangs of anxiety. So that’s that. Let’s move on from that hastily please. I mean it when I say I don’t want help, sincerely. The second lesson is that my memory loss from my most ill phases is COMPLETELY normal. This is a very specific lesson but I always found it so confusing that I just can’t remember huge chunks of the first term of my lower sixth year. And I am always left with blanks after I have episodes. I forget whole conversations I have. Sally wrote in her book, “There are parts of my memory of that time that are still missing…There are conversations I have had, or that people have told me I have had, that are quite blank to me and I am apt to grow confused about the chronology of months, or even years” and reading that, I felt this sudden sense of comfort knowing I’m not the only one. I think about it a lot. Often, I ask myself why I have so little memory of my worst moments and I have come to the conclusion that it is my brain protecting me. Just as your body creates a scab to cover an open wound, your brain controls what you remember to protect you. It’s science! Your brain chooses not to record the conscious memories you could have kept, in an attempt to prevent that pain from returning. However, it works the other way too, as Brampton put, “other parts of my memory of that time are still acute enough to mean that I have only to pass certain places of smell certain scents to feel intense pain. It returns at an almost cellular level.” This is the brain maintaining the conscious memory of tiny little details of traumatic experiences, rather than the whole experience itself. Again, not too sure if I’m making any sense but I hope somehow this all pieces together for you to read.

I think now, the last thing I want to do is leave you with some lines from Shoot the Damn Dog that I relate to and have stuck with me. Maybe, if your brain is sometimes silly (always silly, Loveday, be accurate) like mine, it will help you feel less isolated. Perhaps you’ll just understand more what sufferers of mental illness go through, and you’ll be able to help someone close to you by showing your understanding. Who knows? But here you go:

“Nor is it, truly, a desire to die so much as a fervent wish not to go on living.” (on being suicidal) Honestly, I have never read anything which sums up my thoughts on suicide more.

“Depression is a paralysis of hope.” You just feel hopeless. All. The. Time.

“Religion is for people who don’t want to go to hell. Spirituality is for people who’ve been there.” When I read this, I thought a lot about it. I wouldn’t call myself spiritual at all but I know, having been in the darkest of places that (for me, it may be different for others) religion is not something I can see any hope in to save myself.

“These days I believe that it wasn’t myself that I hated, so much as the self I became during depression. I wanted it dead.” If any depressive doesn’t think this, I’m very jealous. We all want the bloody thing to go away.

“Imagine saying to someone that you have a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, and being told to pull yourself together or get over it.” Let’s break this stigma please. YOU CANNOT JUST GET OVER DEPRESSION. Or any other serious mental health problems for that matter.

“Frankly, I’d happily shoot the damn dog and be done with it; but I’ve come to accept that it is both unkillable and, in some sense, unknowable. Certainly, it often takes me by surprise.” In case people aren’t aware, “the damn dog” refers to Churchill’s labelling of depression as “the black dog”. This sort of ties in with the above quote, it’s not something you can just remove, nor is it a reasonable illness.

“Depression…depresses every single cognitive process. Concentration, memory, logic, reason, even the interpretation of facts and actual events are all interrupted.” This is so important for non-sufferers to understand. Everything, everything, is affected by depression and we can’t help it.

“I am, in all these ways, blessed. I am also a depressive. It doesn’t quite fit, does it?” I often think like this. How am I depressed when I have such an amazing life. But unfortunately, depression (and other mental illnesses) doesn’t discriminate.

“I am a case. I am a trial. I am an error.” Sometimes this is just how I feel, going back and forth to appointments, trying medication, frankly trying everything.

“I don’t want sleep. I want oblivion.” Sleep is my saviour. Always.

“Depression is the great thief.” I guess I take from this that she is saying depression steals your life. For example, for me it has stolen my sixth form. A time in my life I should have been learning how to grow up, not how to deal with clinical depression. It steals your entire body and all your attention. Yeah, it’s selfish like that.

“I used to be somebody. I am still somebody.” This perfectly sums up the contrasting feelings between my good brain and my bad brain, AKA depression vs. me.

“I want to die. I want, so badly, to die.” Pretty self-explanatory.

“Today I can’t honour it by calling it an illness. Today it is just a thing that neither of us knows or understands.” Some days I wake up so sick of fighting this bloody thing. I can’t stand it and want to spit in its face.

“I am terrified she will give up on me, that this thing will drive her away. Every depressive has that fear. Why would anyone want us? We don’t even want ourselves.” I think this one comes under anxiety more than depression. There is a constant fear that everyone is going to leave me because I’m a downer and have 0 personality half the time and I am just a pretty nasty person when in the intense grip of my depression.

“Telling somebody in the grip of severe depression that they are being selfish and self-pitying is like telling somebody with asthma that they have breathing difficulties. It is meaningless except as a statement of fact…They are lost in a place without boundaries or borders, where the concept of self has no meaning. They have lost their very self.” We all know we’re selfish. You don’t need to tell us. But as selfish as we are half the time, we are also so very concerned for others the rest of the time, for fear of them ending up in the state we are in. Make sense? It’s human nature.

3 important things to understand about being in a relationship with mental health problems

If you’ve read my other posts you’ll be aware I suffer from mental health problems. If not, hi. Yes, I do have depression, anxiety and an eating disorder. WOO. I am also in a relationship, have been for around a year and a half. I know that people don’t tend to like it when others post about their relationships online so I’m going to try not to be too annoying.

I was first told I had depression in October 2015, so I was ill before I went into my relationship which was a hurdle I very much had to overcome with him in the beginning. So, how did I tell him I had these problems? To be quite honest, I’m not the master of subtlety so I just told him whenever I took mental health days from school at first – a tell tale sign of mental health problems, isn’t it? I think that kind of introduced him to the idea that I wasn’t completely stable. I told myself that I needed to be honest, because if I kept something as big as my depression from him it would become more difficult to be honest with him about it if the relationship did go anywhere.

Which it did, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. And the most amazing thing happened, the relationship helped my recovery so much. I don’t really know if you can say you go into “remission” when you have depression, and I think it was a combination of therapy, medication and having that positive element in my life that really helped me become happier for a while. So for the first few months I don’t think he faced the true darkness of my illness, because really by the time he showed up I had it far more under control and I didn’t really have any episodes (he may of course correct me on that, because I may be forgetting something).

I don’t know when he first witnessed an episode of mine, but over the past couple of months things have become harder for me again, I have to admit that. And he has definitely seen me in my darkest moments now. One huge difficulty I have is my brain switches off when I’m in an episode, I don’t remember a huge amount of what I say or do. So a couple of months ago, after a meaningless spat, I went into a horrible place and he had to physically hold me down to stop me from hurting myself. I can’t even remember most of what I said other than repetitively telling him “I can’t do this. I want to die”. Imagine that, hearing your girlfriend/boyfriend say those things. They say in relationships you see the best and worst of each other; this is definitely true of our relationship. It is something that we have had to face to make it work, because my worst moments are inevitable and worse than you can imagine unless you suffer from mental health problems yourself. So, the first thing about being in a relationship with mental health problems is that you show your weakest points and lean on your other half to keep you alive sometimes.

I struggle when he can’t understand my brain. I don’t expect him to, because to be honest I don’t even understand it myself! However, it can be hard when something small triggers a huge response from my “bad brain” and he doesn’t really understand how even the tiniest things can turn my entire world upside down. When you’re ill like this, you turn into an eggshell, one little tap and you crack. It makes us both angry, and inevitably we argue and things get worse and even then he doesn’t understand why I got so upset in the first place, or how we got to the point of screaming at each other. The difficulty is that, when I get into these states, I find it impossible to explain my thoughts and rationalise them, which makes me very frustrated with myself and I often end up shaking and hitting myself, in these sort of spasms, which only makes the situation worse, but I can’t help it and I need his help to calm down. He has to figure out how to handle me in the exact moment, what to say, what not to say. It is not easy as my mind isn’t the most consistent, it definitely puts a strain on our relationship because one day one response might be perfect and the next it might ruin everything and that’s something with which we both have to cope.  But I have to make allowances for when he gets it wrong, because he’s only human and he can’t carry all my weight on his shoulders and predict how every little thing will impact me. All you can ask your partner to do is be there for you and take care of you when they do crack your shell accidentally.

It has taken him time to understand my illness as much as he does now, and with every down I have he learns more how to handle it. He’s not perfect at all, and sometimes I get so angry because I expect the world from him in those moments, when really he can only cope with so much at a time. So, I suppose that the second thing about being in a relationship when you suffer from mental health problems is a lot of give and take, much more so than in any normal relationship. You have to be understanding that your other half can’t always fix everything, and be grateful for whatever they try to fix anyway.

When you’re in a relationship and also have mental health problems your mind constantly tells you horrible, untrue things and claims that’s what your partner thinks. So, mine tells me that I’m not good enough for him, that he’d far rather be with a skinny girl, that he’s going to break up with me any minute. There’s not much to say about that other than you have to look to your other half for reassurance; I constantly beg him to remind me he likes me just the way I am, to tell me that it’s just my stupid brain speaking. And sometimes I don’t believe him, sometimes I let my brain win because it’s just easier, but I am always honest with him about how I feel. There. That’s the third thing. You have to face horrible, bullying thoughts and ask your partner to help you knock them away. Punch them right in the face. The thoughts that is…not your partner.

So, there you go. Three things about being in a relationship with mental health problems; I’m sure there are so many more but those are the three main things I wanted to talk about. It’s normal if you’re suffering from mental health problems and these are some difficulties you face in your relationship. That’s what I’m trying to do, remember, make sure you know that your illness doesn’t make you weird and point out the normal effects it can have on your daily life.

Until next time, World. Remember, you’re not weird because you’re ill, you’re wonderfully imbalanced.

 

I HATE LOVE ISLAND

Confession: I do NOT watch Love Island. WHAT?! HOW!? BLASPHEMY! You say. It’s true, I do not watch Love Island. Sorry, I’ll stop saying that now, I know it’s hurting some of you. 

However, in order to be able to appropriately argue my corner I had to endure two episodes of it, just to get the gist – frankly it was hell on earth, worse than my previous bout of tonsilitis this month. 

Let me explain why I have this bitter hatred towards that show from watching only two episodes, wincing at the number of times they say “d’you know what I mean?” and wondering whether I should start a drinking game with it in an attempt to enjoy myself a little more. 

THE GIRLS. Okay, you’re not all stupid, you’re fully aware the girls have had work done. But, there are fourteen year old, twelve year old, ten year old girls watching that! If I had watched girls like that running around in bikinis EVERY DAY when I was ten, I’d definitely have felt even more self-conscious than I did anyway about my body – my lack of perky breasts, my tiny lips and my not perfectly curled thick eyelashes. Yes, you and I know that these women have had work done, but there are so many girls out there who will now strive to look like these women, some of them so much so that they will push their bodies to unhealthy levels. Let’s not beat around the bush, eating disorders such as anorexia affect so many people, please can we just stop adding to that number ITV? It’s not fair to push these subconscious ideals onto young, impressionable girls without them realising. 

THE RELATIONSHIPS. So the premise of the show is to create relationships, yeah? With a bit of drama sprinkled here and there. But these people have known each other all of one month and they’re already saying they love each other?! That’s something we did when we were twelve and it was ridiculous – but there are twelve year olds watching this who will think it is completely normal to tell someone you barely know that they’re the love of your life. It isn’t, in case you didn’t realise. Okay, yes, sometimes you do just know but that’s a very rare exception. In the episode I watched whatsherface and whatshisname (after doing some research I discovered I am referring to Olivia and Chris…or maybe it’s Tyla and Jonny – you tell me) were saying how much they love each other but can’t be themselves around each other. Let me just say, if you can’t make it work in the first month it’s very unlikely it will work beyond that. But then there will be massive drama if one of them gets with someone else, and I’m pretty sure there’s some love triangle between Tyla and Jonny and someone – inevitable when you essentially hot box a bunch of single people looking for love. “Looking for love”, I regret that choice of words because if they’re looking for love they wouldn’t be on a dating show designed to ENTERTAIN people A.K.A designed to create drama in early relationships. Put simply, the people on Love Island are looking for fame, which is absolutely fine, but don’t mislabel it please. 

THE SEX. Okay, I’m not prudish and I have no issue with what order people decide to do things in when it comes to sex and relationships. But, in a time when rape culture is rife and young men’s attitude towards sex with women is, generally speaking, misogynistic, why are we being presented with a norm of sex (and everything else under the sun) before actually getting into a relationship? The problem being that it sets up a new option of “persuasion” (I prefer the word “pressure” in this case though) whereby men can say “we don’t have to be in a relationship to do this” – which you don’t, if that’s what you’re comfortable with, but don’t publish it on national television for all the country to see and be influenced by. ITV, you are essentially giving men a scapegoat for being called out on sexual pressure. 

Maybe I’m old-fashioned and need to relax a bit, but with every rant/message/natter I post I hope to make a difference to the media-controlled, still bustling with inequality society we live in. We should live in a world where women and men don’t feel pressure to look a certain way because of the media, where relationships mean more than just a label of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” and where sex isn’t a poker chip in the game of love. If I can take any step to get closer to reaching that point, I can be proud of something I have achieved. 

HOPE YOU ENJOYED MY RANT. Over and out.

Instagram: more likes, less reality

Okay ladies, now let’s get in-formation. *shameless Beyoncé*

Now, if you’re a millennial (or frankly any age) you will know what Instagram is. And it’s great…in some ways. So, on average 4.2 billion posts are liked on Instagram every day. That’s a lot. And I would guess-timate that 80% of those likes are on posts by celebrities or “Instagram Famous” people. These likes aren’t just “likes” though, they can lead to jealousy, FoMo (fear of missing out), and self-loathing.

Don’t get me wrong, I use Instagram and I’m a huge advocate for doing anything you want with social media – post whatever you want; it is, after all, your account. BE INDIVIDUAL. And that’s what I love about social media as a whole, that, even with all the crap it can cause, it indiscriminately allows individuality regardless of size, race, belief, etc.

The Royal Society for Public Health conducted a survey earlier this year which showed that Instagram has the worst effect on people’s mental health. Now, although statistically this may be true, that is not to say that all users should delete Instagram immediately. Not at all.

But I want to talk about this.

So, naturally, I turned to my friends tonight and asked them for their opinions. Now, this is a group of young women, well-educated but by no means claiming to be the wisest nor the smartest on earth. I asked whether they believed Instagram made them feel worse about themselves and, for the most part, they said that it doesn’t and that it can even be motivational at times. Yes, sometimes they look at others’ pictures and may feel slightly worse about themselves but they bounce back. However, these are smart young ladies, women I hope to see in great places one day, and so they are able to remind themselves that, often, what they see is not reality. These smart friends of mine are also strong. And that’s where the issue lies.

Not everyone has a strong enough brain to tell themselves that a photo does not tell the full story, ever. Heck, I definitely don’t. And that’s not a weakness, per se. You could be hugely successful and seemingly content with your life but still be knocked by the photos you see on Instagram. Because if that “Instagram Famous” girl posts an amazing photo of herself looking tanned in a beautiful location and you’re lying in bed alone scrolling through your feed instead of sleeping, your life can seem inferior or even worthless in comparison. But remember, you don’t know what happened three seconds before that photo or three seconds after.

Thinking about all the times I’ve seen a photo or video on Instagram that made me feel worse about my own life led me to ask the question, why do we take photos? And why do we share them on Instagram (or any other social media) rather than say, keeping them private? Maybe it’s to prove we have friends in times of loneliness, as though we feel the need to remind others we are sociable – because obviously my generation does not have a problem with screen addiction… BESIDES THE POINT. Perhaps it is simply because, as one of my friends put it, we’re feelin’ ourselves. *Yoncé at it again* Or is it to maintain a social status? Is there a necessity to chart events in our lives? Do we have to make our entire life seem exciting and interesting? Nobody’s life is permanently exciting and interesting; we all have to do dull things sometimes, whether that’s adulting by sorting out tax returns or revising for school exams. Honestly, I don’t know why we post photos. I know we take them for memories; photography and videography has been around far longer than social media. But why do my friends and I now have to say, “Memories not social media”, whenever we’re taking photos without make up or looking “rough”? Heaven forbid somebody might post a photo of us not looking our absolute best.

But that’s exactly it, people care so much about what they put out there that it can take hundreds of photos, full of fat rolls and bloated stomachs or unshaved legs and closed eyes, before finding the perfect one. And even then, often that photo will go onto FaceTune or any other editing app to “fix my thighs” or “whiten my teeth”. So why, despite us all knowing the struggle to find an Instagram worthy photo, do we tell ourselves that others have this perfect life based on one photo? Or even based on a whole account of photos? These are frozen moments which capture one second in an entire lifetime; the person uploading the photo has chosen one still element of their life to publish.

I sometimes look at someone on Instagram, Tammy Hembrow for example, and wish so much that I could be her. It can get me so down because I tell myself she has this idyllic life – two beautiful children, a very attractive fiancé and a killer body all before she’s even halfway to 50. But the reality is she has two children under the age of three, who cry and poo and have to be supervised, which cannot be easy 24/7. She will argue with her fiancé from time to time. And she’ll get down herself sometimes. That is all in human nature. Human emotions work such that they are fluid and can change to many extremes. So, yeah, maybe she is smiling and looking great in that photo, but that isn’t a permanent state.

Now, Fitness accounts. They motivate me so much to get into the gym and keep fit. But look deeper, all these people not only work out regularly but they also track their macros and micros (something I have no clue about, and don’t really plan to learn about any time soon). So, obviously you won’t get that toned, magazine-ready body by just going to the gym once a week.

But also, they pose. They admit it themselves. I love the accounts that show reality vs. posed, like GraceFitUK. I love seeing the posed photos because frankly those girls look fiiiine as, but I also want to see reality so that I don’t forget that everyone has some fat on them – that’s called being healthy.

Now, let’s go back to what I said about individuality. Instagram should be a forum where people can express themselves in whatever way that is; whether that’s taking scenic photos in the country or body progress photos in the gym. So why do people feel the need to comment nasty things about how others present themselves? If I want to post a booty pic, whether I have a booty or not, you should damn well support me because that’s what empowerment is all about – making others feel stronger and more confident in themselves.

So, yeah. Instagram is great, as long as you always remember that you’re seeing a fragment of a life. You are not always seeing reality. Remind yourself that nobody is perfect and nobody has a perfect life, fantastic though they may seem. Just appreciate the photos and videos posted, be nice to others, encourage them and always let yourself laugh at funny memes.