Instagram: the freedom to express myself and heal

Trigger warning: mention of anxiety, body image issues & mental exhaustion

This Free to Spiel guest feature has been written by Simran. In the feature, Simran talks about her struggles with body image and anxiety over the years, and how Instagram has been used as a tool for good during the pandemic. I hope you enjoy reading Simran’s feature as much as I did!

“…life continued, my mental health worsened and I eventually reached to the point of exhaustion”

For most of my life I’ve struggled with body image issues and anxiety. However, when looking back I realise that I wasn’t always the uncomfortable-in-my-own-skin type of person; I may have always been an introvert, but I used to be the confident-and-comfortable-with-myself type. 

It was at school that I became very, VERY conscious of my body and developed anxiety. Over the next few years, life continued, my mental health worsened and I eventually reached to the point of exhaustion.

At my lowest point, I decided that I would not let this continue – I decided to bring about change. 

I had developed a coping mechanism that worked best for me

I started concentrating on things that empowered me, only associating with people who were good for my mental health and focusing on all things positive.

Slowly, I observed changes in myself – changes that were very small, but there nonetheless. They were all I needed to continue with my journey. Of course, there were some bad days, but I knew how to manage them as I had developed a coping mechanism that worked best for me.

By the time I graduated high school, I was already in a better place. After much stress and sleepless nights, I was accepted into a nursing school. The experience was hectic, but I was satisfied that I was going in the right direction. Nursing school also made me face my fears – ones that had been holding me back previously – and helped me become more fearless and capable.

I may be starting from zero again, but I’ve done it before and I can do it again

2020 was a very hard year for me, as it brought a lot of negativity back in my life.

My college closed and the whole of India went into lockdown. Things that once seemed interesting suddenly became less-so. My mental health gradually deteriorated and in December I crossed my limit of exhaustion.

I was in a grey area where I wanted to reach the bright side, but the dark side was engulfing me.

Frustrated, I decided to document my journey on Instagram. I chose it as a safe place where I can post my thoughts anonymously (because I don’t have enough courage to reveal my identity), and it has proven to be a great mental exercise for me. Writing has helped me in more ways than I can imagine, and I can finally say that I’m doing well. I may be starting from zero again, but I’ve done it before, and I can do it again.

I once used to be a girl who would overthink everything, scared of judgement and always trying to please everyone. I am no longer that girl. One thing that I have learned from my journey is that people come and go – only you stay with yourself till the end. Never be scared of anyone else’s judgement, just be you and love yourself unapologetically.

Take things easy – one day at a time”

For anyone going through a similar experience are looking to adopt a more positive mindset, I humbly ask you to be consistent on your journey.

Here are my top tips:

  • Don’t lose hope on your bad days and embrace your authenticity on your good days. 
  • When life seems to shatter, pick yourself up and start again. 
  • When things seem to spiral out of control, be kind and give yourself time. 
  • Take things easy – one day at a time. 
  • Cut off people who bring bad and negative energy to the table. 
  • Do things that make you happy and live life your way.
  • There will be good and bad days; what matters is that your spirit does not give up.
  • Always believe in yourself – you CAN and WILL do it. Never let anyone, not even yourself, tell you otherwise.

Thank you Simran, for sharing your story!

Love Free to Spiel’s content? Subscribe to our email updates today!
P.S. Don’t worry, we hate spam as much as you do.