ERRR...I LEFT INSTAGRAM AND IT FEELS GOOD.
It all started so ‘very millennial’ with a ‘digital detox’ (it’s a thing). I deleted the Instagram app from my phone for one day, it felt good. I deleted it for a weekend and I woke up on Monday and the world had not ended or changed. Weird. I also realised that my hands had no idea what to do with themselves and they had started drawing, colouring and creating. Weird. I also noticed that I never took time to ever pause, truly pause, with no distraction of scrolling or liking anything. It was strange and also alarming.
I then realised as an early Instagram adopter (I was there when the only filter was Hipstamatic mate) that I had never ever not used the app. This shocked me. Instagram does not feed my family, it does not give me medical advice, it’s not anywhere near a ‘head space’ app, I have all of my friends numbers safely stored in my contacts list, so what on earth have I been doing?
Until I figured out exactly that I decided I was not going back onto Instagram. I know…groundbreaking.
It has now been a month.
A couple of people have messaged me IRL to make sure I am alive, which was nice. I’ve been working and being productive. I have met up with mates and touched their faces. I did my Christmas shopping on foot. My marriage is better…stronger…lighter, it turns out that if I don’t give all of me to strangers on the internet I actually give me some space, time and love and in doing that my family benefits too. Weird. Who knew? Certainly not me.
I truly believed that I would miss Instagram, that I would miss out, but what I hadn’t counted on was everything I would gain from making space in my life. I’m listening to podcasts, I am watching TED talks, I am consuming news in a different way. Within a week off Instagram I deleted both Facebook and Twitter and felt nothing, but relief.
I don’t need Instagram financially so I understand it’s not as easy as just ‘deleting the app’ for every person. Businesses thrive on IG. I also realised that when I started using the app I was pregnant, lonely and I had just had a miscarriage and I desperately seeked connection with like minded women, which I got and will forever be grateful for. I made friends for life. Now the kid is about to be 6 years old. I have a job, a community around me, a school run, friends who live on my street and things look very different for me right now, today.
Social media is both a gift and a curse, it can be a place of safety, comfort and connection, but it can also be a toilet. A hole where people can get trapped in cycles of comparison, hashtag arguments and negative comments that you never asked for. You may have followed ‘whatshername’ for years, but you don’t really know her, ‘she’ may seem one way, but she really isn’t and that is OK, but also incredibly disappointing.
So today I feel better both mentally and physically without IG, but that doesn’t mean I’ve gone for good, but until I work out why i’m scrolling I shan’t return. If you love Instagram - good on you, but if you have a niggle of doubt or fear that you are missing out on ‘real life’ why not try deleting the app for a day? It’s as easy as liking ‘whatshernames’ photo. Promise.
(Insta sober for 30 days)
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