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How My Instagram Is Helping Me Through Depression

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I check my Instagram account every morning when I wake up. I think about what I want to post, I interact with others, and exchange messages with my fellow Instagramers. I have major depressive disorder, so there are times when very little holds my interest or attention. Additionally, I’m currently on disability leave and can find it difficult to productively fill up my days. Despite all of this, I have found something that I truly engage in and look forward to every day.

I began my account because I wanted a place where I could express what I go through on a daily basis — a place to be totally open and honest about what my life looks like as I navigate life with this disorder. When I first started my account I made it anonymous, but because of my goal of openness, this felt disingenuous. After a month, I attached my face and name to my project and found that because of this, I was able to truly connect with my followers. During the week that I named myself, I received many kind messages from folks I have never met, thanking me for what I do and telling me they were proud of me. These messages mean so much to me and I find myself also being proud. Again, another wonderful “side effect” of my account is that instead of looking down on myself as depression wants me to, I’m feeling proud and like I am accomplishing something.

I also use my account to share ideas, facts and resources about mental health. These have become some of my most liked posts and are the posts I enjoy creating most. I love knowing that the posts I craft can help others, and can also help to reduce stigma. I’ve begun creating monthly themes, which gives me something positive to focus on each day.

hands reaching out to one another

Another positive aspect has been connecting with other people struggling with mental illness. This combats my loneliness and stops me from isolating. Some other folks have really great pages with interesting and helpful content. Others send me private messages, telling me how they are doing and asking how I am. It’s amazing how much support is available from people you have never met in real life. Additionally, people I do know in real life have been able to get to know me more, and some have even felt comfortable enough to share their diagnosis with me. I have also been able to find official organizations that have fantastic content and fun, mental health related products.

When I first started my account, I had no idea it would grow to mean so much to me, let alone that I would manage to gather over 500 followers. My account has become central to what I do each day. I love my account and I love my followers. It helps my mental health and it helps others, and if that isn’t great, I don’t know what is.

Find on Instagram here.

Lead image via contributor

Originally published: November 20, 2017
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