Trigger warning:

Today I want to touch on how deceiving photos and social media can seem. Back in 2019, my life was “perfect.” I had many friendships with almost everyone in town, I was in a long term relationship with someone I loved, I was an honour roll student, I volunteered to be a kids teacher at my church, I fit an XS and was top of my dance class.  Unfortunately, that’s what my life was online.  Nobody knew how low my mental health was stooping.  

My meals became smaller in order to try and retain my shape. I would pull sleepless nights consecutively studying from sun dawn till sunrise.  My anxiety attacks went from once a month, to weekly, to daily.  I was emotionally and physically drained just in hopes to keep up with everyone’s expectations of me and making sure everyone around me was happy yet I never took the time and stopped to see my own happiness was plummeting.  You would see on my Instagram an adorable couples photo of my boyfriend and I at the time, yet you didn’t see how mentally abuse and toxic the relationship actually was.  Behind the smiles, behind the hugs, behind the kisses you couldn’t see the arguing, the gas lighting, the cheating, and the sexual assault.  You could see photos of my friends and I having a good time at parties laughing and having fun, but I bet you can’t see the girls I called my friends snickering and calling me names behind my back.  As time went on living like this there was a breaking point.  After several months of living the life of a lie I was done.  I attempted overdosing but thankfully the attempt failed and I was left throwing up everything in my stomach 24/7 for several days after.  During that time I had lost everyone, my boyfriend and I had broken up, all my “friends” had left, I had quit my passion for dance, and my grades started to fall drastically.  I had never felt so lost in my life. 

Finally at this point I decided to take action with my life.  My mum and I packed our bags shortly after I recovered from my attempt and we flew to my family in Korea. There I stayed for a month and took a break from my life in Nanaimo.  During my time there I found true, genuine happiness.  Not from going out to parties, or going on dates, or scrolling through social media for hours and posting fake smiled photos.  I found genuine happiness by simply having a good laugh with my family and family friends over a funny sign, or a funny joke during dinner.  The best thing I found in Korea though was love for myself.  Love for who I was and love for my growth, that I didn’t need to show people 24/7 through Instagram posts that I was having fun and being happy.  

My wish is for so many young girls to know that not everything you see online is real.  There is no “picture perfect” life. There’s simply your own life that YOU are in charge of deciding how it goes, you want to have a “perfect” day? MAKE it your day then, jump up at  your alarm, go for a run and feel the wind blow past your face.  Having a bad skin day? It’s okay so does everyone else every now and then.  Have friends who make you feel bad about yourself and are constantly tearing you down? Drop them, no “friends” is better than people who try to tell you that you aren’t perfect the way you already are.  Looking at my life back then I can’t believe I let so many people walk all over me.  I am so grateful for everyone I have in my life today and what I have now is more “picture perfect” than I’ll ever need.  Know that you aren’t alone, check up on yourself. Am I feeling okay today? Never put your own mental health below anything else as it is just as important and can change you.  The “picture perfect” life may not exist but what I do know is that at any point in your life YOU can make it better, it’s never too late. Take action and learn to fall in love with who you truly are.

Written by: Angela

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