Social media is part of our every day life.
For some people their work relies upon social media. It has so many roles and uses in today’s society.
Social media can be helpful to us in our recovery, but it can be a minefield. I actually removed myself from most social media accounts early in my recovery. I don’t believe there is a right or wrong solution to this, but I believe an awareness of the impact social media has on you personally and whether it is helpful or detrimental in your recovery is the most important question. Your motives for following particular accounts, whether they serve you, or your eating disorder.
If you look for it, there are tons of recovery orientated social media platforms. But, it’s not always easy early on to identify motives of some and whether they are 100% pro-recovery.
Some platforms, target our vulnerability. Ads, pop ups etc all follow your history and if you are trying to move away from certain paridigms it can be really hard being constantly reminded about the latest fad-diet or exercise programmes etc! You get my point. Equally you can’t control what people post/ talk about. Your friends, family and colleagues may post things that are particularly sensitive for you. So sometimes taking some time away from this can help at least until you are in a stronger place.
Social media can be anxiety provoking, for those in lockdowns, isolation the conflicting and unhelpful messages can impact upon mental health. It’s not surprising around the world the new diagnoses or relapses of eating disorders that have occurred during the pandemic. Social media I believe plays a large part in this. Adding to pressure around health, diet and exercise. As well as the change to routine and access to normal resources. Knowing that not everything on social media is real, or as it appears on there I think can help.
I am glad I didn’t grow up in the ‘Tik-Tok’ era, and facebook/ instagram was only really around when I was late teens. I feel for teens and young people now with the pressures of social media. This really worries me for future of their health.
It’s the time of year where the diet and fitness industry try their hardest to sell their products. So social media is swamped with diet culture and all the shit that goes with it. I am now in a place where I can mostly see this for what it is, selling a product. This industry generally targets a vulnerable population too, people like myself. However I am aware of it, and I’m aware of the impact it can have on me. I will not be deleting my social media accounts this year. Last year I needed to, to escape this onslaught. Instead I am using my social media to promote the ‘fuck it diet attitude’, following positive influences that are pro-recovery. If an ad pops up, I will simply reject it. Friends, family and colleagues dieting that’s up to them, I can choose to ignore this. But if you are in a place where this is going to be damaging to your recovery, a social media holiday can help. I found it quite liberating and realised how reliant upon social media we are. Returning to social media has been a big test in my recovery.
4 thoughts on “Social media and eating disorders…”
So glad you’re able to spend this winter advocating — that is so great! I definitely struggle with social this time of year and have already deleted my main insta for the time being. Sometimes it feels awkward but the self-care is priceless. Also, super glad we didn’t have instagram until I was a junior in high school. It’s hard enough to set boundaries where I’m at! I can’t imagine it being MORE intertwined with my life.
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Thank you Rose!
Thanks for writing this (I found your blog through your guest post on Ashley’s blog, by the way).
Another thing on my mind, when it comes to social media and eating disorders, is that the sort of “comparison culture” (if you know what I mean) can’t help, either.
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Thank you Brendan! I completely agree the “comparison culture” is toxic. Compare and despair . I feel we compare ourselves to such unrealistic standards, or expectations because they are not real. If you were comparing to the non filtered or non shared parts of someone’s life that’s not displayed on social media then the societal pressures would be far less. However people share what they want you to see, the best aspects. Celebrities and public figures who have started sharing mental health issues publicly are a start to change, I hope.
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