Oh, social media, you old devil. I used to spend time “trying to fall asleep” and instead go deep into the “scroll hole” of Instagram or Facebook (note: this is a terrible way to “try to fall asleep”, for tons of reasons). One post after another, I’d see people’s matching pajama family photos, perfectly cooked dinners, lavish vacations, and toned swimsuit bodies, and my one prevailing thought would be, “I’m a loser.” Our family can’t even find pajama tops and bottoms that match, I make the most unimaginative dinners night after night, we haven’t been away on a vacation in ages, and, holy moly, my kids drew the short straw in the mom department. I couldn’t stop scrolling, couldn’t stop feeding my own inadequacy with comparison.
Then I found myself posting photos that didn’t accurately convey my own real life. I cropped out the piles of papers in a picture of our kitchen so no one would see what a mess it was, I asked someone to take a picture of my husband and me at a restaurant even though we had just been bickering, I took a selfie at the gym with a serious filter that turned my melasma spots into the most even-toned glow. There I was – not just feeding into the scroll myself, but feeding the cycle of mistruth for other people’s consumption.
To some degree, I’ve wised up over time about how I consume and post on social media. I’ve learned that most of us are only sharing our most curated, photoshopped moments, not the out-takes and the mess and the chaos. Not the dysfunction or the belly rolls:
The Highlight Reel, filtered and PhotoShopped.
And what is certain? If we all all threw our problems in the middle of a table, we’d rush to get our own back as quickly as we could.
In that spirit, I’m sharing some truth of my own.
When our twins, Gavin and Quinn, were about 10 months old, the darkest veil of depression and anxiety closed in around me. I couldn’t imagine ever re-emerging from the blackness that had sucked out the joy from my life. The uncontrollable shaking of my leg, persistent and recurring thoughts, and the inability to focus became so bad, I had to take a leave of absence from work.
But I clung to the assurance of other women who shared their stories with me during that time. Friends I trusted who laid their experiences bare for me.
I had a friend, I’m sure she remembers, daily I’d implore her, “Tell me again you got better from this.” She would repeat the details like she’d never told me before. I needed to hear it over and over, especially the overcoming part. Her story was my hope when I couldn’t conjure any of my own.
On the other side of that, when I felt I could, I started sharing that experience, posted about it, listened much more closely when I asked women how they were feeling. Paying hope forward.
Your story will become someone else’s survival guide. Every time you tell it, it will heal you a little more, it will root the seed of gratitude a little deeper inside you.
Every time you tell your story, remind yourself to be grateful that you can.
The highlight reel will never inspire quite like the survival story.
To find out what I do and how I can help transform your personal and professional life, follow my work on social media.