I’m struggling with depression right now. My life looks charmed and beautiful and happy and nobody would know that I wake up every day with dread and anxiety and helplessness. People see that I’m adventuring all around a beautiful city, but what I wouldn’t put on Instagram is a picture of the couch I sat on last night as I explained to a therapist how my last resort would be to go on anti-depressants, but that secretly inside thought I probably needed to be on them. I’m scared and I’m struggling.
The price of this shot was food poisoning so severe, I couldn’t even keep water down. I spent the whole of the next day in bed, and all because I wanted to “live my best life” and eat a burger and fries at 10pm. There’s a reason why there’s validity to the You Did Not Eat That Instagram: it’s because if we all really did consume the most decadent things all the time, we’d all be ill. I photograph a lot of the food I eat, but I also don’t photograph a lot of my salads, green juices and (especially) the gym sessions to counter the more indulgent stuff. Nobody’s interested in those things — they just want to have their cake and eat it, too, so I don’t post the reality of it all. The reality is, the reality doesn’t perform as well.
The caption to this picture would be “Staycation with my babe.” The truth is that my now ex-boyfriend decided to plan a romantic weekend for us at the W hotel to decide if he was still interested in me or not. He wasn’t. I was completely clueless. After getting out of a two year relationship I had promised myself to swear off men, until this guy came along. He told me how much he liked me, how beautiful I was, how he couldn’t stop thinking about me and how I should give him a chance. I did, and 4 days after that romantic stay-cation he dumped me. There I was, heartbroken and devastated AGAIN. And then on top of that I had to deal with the comments I got when I changed my relationship status on Facebook back to “single” – “Wait didn’t you guys just have that romantic weekend at the W?” UGH.
I post a lot of nightlife pictures and they look really cool but even I don’t ever feel like I belong. Guys are always so nice to me when I go out, buying me drinks and talking to me. But I know it’s just because I’m with my girlfriends and they are all really hot and I’m the ugly friend the guys are demonstrating that they are “good guys” by being nice to. It eats at me, going out makes me feel awful.
I Instagram my healthy meals but none of my followers know about my binge-eating sessions.
My life is finally looking perfect from the outside — because it’s finally going well on the inside. But somehow I manage to make even a dream life feel like a failure because I’m upset it took me so long to get here. I’m 30 and I’m just starting out. I just figured out how to do everything and have everything you are supposed to as an adult. I am at the starting line ready to go, but 10 years late. I feel pathetic and babyish that I’m such a late bloomer. Why did it take me 10 years to get a decent job? To start taking care of myself? To start being the person I have always wanted to be?
Here I am at a fancy winery with my friends. They all make so much more than me that I am drowning in credit card debt trying to keep up with them.
This photo would lead one to believe I had this magical, tranquil day with a killer view. The truth: my boyfriend had just dumped me before we were supposed to take this trip together, and I cried hysterically and grotesquely for 2 hours after snapping this shot.
I have a beautiful apartment. It’s really big. I have my dream job. I lost 50 lbs. I am living the life I always wanted, but I’m lonely. I don’t have the one thing I actually wanted, which was love. And I don’t have it because I am closed to it. There is potential left and right, and I seem to have a way of shutting it down. It’s the thing I want more than anything, and the thing I can’t stop self-sabotaging. I want more than anything to be a (biological) mom and have a partner (seeing as how the rest of my life is worked out.) But it’s the one thing I don’t have sole control over.
I heard somewhere that the people who suffer most are those who know what they are capable of, and are indeed capable of so much, but don’t know which way to go, or how to know what they want. I think one of my deepest fears is settling into life. It’s so easy and so many people do it. Ever since I was a little child, everyone has told me that I’m going to do something great, something spectacular. And it’s not like it was my family who put all this immense pressure but it’s always been outsiders – teachers, mentors, people who I met – would say that I’m going to do something really important. And sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever be this person. Or if this “greatness” just exists in the imagination of a little girl who held onto her memories too tightly. Because sometimes I feel like I’m supposed to be do so many wonderful things and eventually achieve this greatness. And sometimes I think I’ll probably just end up ordinary. The former seems painful if I try and fail. But the latter seems worse than death.
This is the view at my parents’ lake house in Atlanta. I was lucky enough to get to live here all summer. I was surrounded by my amazing family every day, and the sun was always shining. But I was so sick. Mentally and physically. I have Crohn’s Disease and it flared up this summer. I could barely eat. Everything went right through me. I was on a diet of about 5 things. I was too sick to work. Even the act of getting out of bed took everything out of me. I felt constantly anxious and depressed, like I was always on the verge of a breakdown. I spent the days wondering why I couldn’t be and feel like everyone else, instead of embracing my reality and making the most of it. The view all summer was beautiful, but I didn’t see it because I was too busy feeling trapped inside my own mind and body.
I don’t know if I am capable or deserving of real romantic love.