Social Media, The Journey
By Laura | @theautoimmunegirl | May 9, 2018
Social Media, The Journey
Cheers to one of the most vulnerable posts I could ever write. Here is a dedication to my love/hate relationship with social media and how it has affected my life on all shades of the spectrum.
Let’s start with love: It has allowed me to find people’s blogs, recipes and healing words that have literally helped save my life. Without their outpouring of knowledge and kindness I wouldn’t know all that I do today and I will forever be grateful.
That being said, let’s move on to the hate: I have spent countless amounts of hours scrolling through people’s Instagram stories and finding myself getting deeper and deeper into a pit of depression. It is not easy to see people blasting out photos of all the things you wish you could have or making it sound like you are a failure for not achieving it.
So here is the story that breaks my heart and the reason why I took a solid break from social media.
I have talked about my weight in a negative way, perpetually and endlessly, for most of my life. If we are being completely honest, I also criticized others for what they looked like. If I could go back to that insecure, petty girl I would shake her and tell her to let everyone live their own life and to stop being so judgmental.
Fast forward to post having my child and losing all of my baby weight and feeling great. I was finally starting to feel like myself again when my whole life came crashing down on me. I gained 60 pounds in a month and a half, my hair fell out, my skin broke out, my stomach was a mess and my anxiety was through the roof. All of these things made my self esteem tank and my doctors diagnosed me with a severe case of Hashimoto’s.
Only a few months after I began medical treatment and a complete diet change for my thyroid, my husband and I were blessed with the surprise that we were expecting our second child and would give my daughter Olivia a sibling. A sadness fell over me that I can only describe as physically pulling a blanket of darkness over my head when I knew in my bones that I would never be able to hold that baby. I would never have the blessing of kissing that baby’s nose or singing him or her to sleep. All the decorations and baby names I had picked out would be left for someone else to cherish.
On my birthday of 2017, when I went for my 13 week checkup, the ultrasound technician searched for what seemed like days for a heartbeat; but sadly I knew I had to say goodbye. Goodbye to a baby I loved so much, but will only get to meet in heaven. I know that child waits for me and some day I will hold them and love them in all the ways I dream of at night. For anyone who has ever wanted a child and is still waiting, anyone who has suffered a loss, for anyone who has had to bury a child- you are braver than you know. I love each and every one of you fiercely.
Then social media took the knife in my heart and twisted it. It seemed as though everyone was magically drinking pregnancy water and the hashtag that I was too excited to use myself, ‘#2under2’, surfaced like a new Justin Bieber hit. Every. Post. Killed me. I spiraled myself into such a glorious depression that showering was optional, pizza was a food group and wine and water were basically interchangeable. Now I had to look at fitness gurus and supermodels having boundless energy, achieving daily workouts with sick results and here I was proud that I got out of bed.
I was mentally and psychically exhausted and I had enough of the constant self deprecation. Social media was a continual reminder to me that I was a failure as a mother, a failure as a wife, a failure as a role model and I for SURE wasn’t winning any beauty contests any time soon. Those things were lies I was feeding myself and the filter I created all on my own. What I came to realize was that it wasn’t just about me anymore. I had a daughter who needed someone to look up to and so for my health and well being, I deleted Facebook. I then got rid of Twitter and LinkedIn, Pinterest and finally Instagram. I felt free. I felt quiet. I felt READY.
What I realized in that time is all that I DO have. I have grace. Grace to forgive myself, grace to love others deeply and most of all the grace to raise the daughter the Lord blessed me with to fulfill all of her potential. I still struggle every single day with frustration that my business isn’t up and running and my Instagram doesn’t have a million followers and I don’t even have the certification I want yet to heal all the people- but I will continue to try. I will continue to lay one stone at a time in dedication to my cause with prayer and faith.
I have rejoined some apps recently in hopes that I can be a positive influence and create social media with a cause. I needed time to delete the negative filters that I had created. My break allowed me realize with the wrong view, it can be a toxic space. I needed the quiet to work on my self-love naturally and if you find yourself with the same filters I highly recommend a brief hiatus. I am now proud of those fitness gurus for their sick bodies and their ability to educate others on healthy workouts. I am happy for all of the people I see with baby bumps and give myself hope that maybe one day I will too. And if Olivia is meant to be an only child, so be it. We will take her on awesome adventures and I will continue to look at life in a more positive manner because I can say confidently: I DESERVE TO BE HAPPY. Happy as I am, happy with all I’m blessed with and happy with my imperfections. I may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if I inspire even one of you to smile knowing you’re not alone, then my job is done.
I pray all of you take a moment today to reflect on the things that truly matter. What matters is the dialogue you are telling yourself day in and day out and that should be LOVE. What I didn’t understand is that all of the sadness I survived would never leave me; I still carry the scars on my heart. But it makes me who I am - and who I am is fucking amazing. And so are you.
Laura is a 34 year old currently living in Austin, Texas and was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis in June of 2016. Since then, doctors have found that she also suffers from PCOS, anemia, adrenal fatigue and a serious vitamin D deficiency- but she refuses to let those shake her. She has cleaned up her diet and lifestyle to follow the Autoimmune Protocol to reduce her symptoms and has teamed up with Robyn @rgrnutrition to turn her health experiences into a positive. Together they will be working hard to create autoimmune communities for those suffering from invisible illnesses, and will be launching their podcast with further information soon. She sends love, light and healing to all and gratitude to those who read her story.