In an effort to get healthier I’ve started wearing a watch that tracks my steps. A few days ago I celebrated that I’d smashed my 10,000 a day by posting a photo on facebook of my watch reading over 27,000 steps. This was a very good day! A lovely friend who has fibromyalgia made a comment about how well I must be managing the condition, and it made me realise that, without thinking, I could have made some of my friends with similar illnesses feel like they’re failing.
I’ve had ME for 18 years and fibromyalgia for a year. My family and closest friends obviously know and see how I’m affected. But most people I know, especially those who I interact with more on social media than in real life, would have no idea. Today I have barely moved off the sofa and every muscle and joint in my body aches. I’ve left the house only because I had to for the school run. Today I’ve done little more than write this post and keep my toddler alive. Today I won’t be posting any photos of my steps! Not because I want to deceive people into thinking I’m doing better than I am. I think most of us just want to make people smile and so we keep the not-so-positives to ourselves.
This is my current facebook profile picture – me out on a beautiful walk with my beautiful smiley family on a beautiful sunshiny day … perfect!
Whereas this is how I’ve looked for most of today – tired, foggy, huddled up with a mug of tea, in my dressing gown with a granny blanket over my legs … not so lovely! But this is often my truth.
Social media can be great in so many ways. I love how easy it is to keep in touch with family and friends who have moved away, to organise events, to find out useful information, to follow artists and more. But I’m also aware of how harmful it can be for our mental health, especially for those who rely on it for company because they’re stuck at home with ill health or looking after little ones or other family members. Most people only post the good stuff on social media. Their achievements and successes, their most flattering photos, the fun times, the good days. You’re usually only seeing the best bits!
I’ve been there myself when I’ve had bad weeks or months, and I’ve logged on a lot and felt as though I’m the only person in the world who isn’t contributing, that everyone else is living life to the full and I’m being left behind, that I’m the only one failing. But the truth is that we’re not seeing a true picture. Most people don’t post about the bills they’re struggling to pay, the fight they had with their partner, their worst photos, their fears and failures. They usually share the stuff they want to celebrate. Despite how it may look, nobody’s life is perfect. We all have our struggles. We all have good and bad days.
So if you’re having a tough time, please know that you’re definitely not alone. If you haven’t heard from a friend for a while, it could be that they’re keeping a low profile because they’re struggling and have nothing positive to share. Maybe you could get in touch with them. And if you’re feeling low yourself I’d suggest ditching the devices for a while and heading out into nature if you can or getting together with a good friend for a real life chat, or maybe you could do both 🙂
Love Lolly Cat x