Social Media

Did Social Media Impact My Eating Disorder For Better or Worse?

Before writing about this topic I actually tweeted my thoughts. To be honest I was a lil unsure as to whether I should open up about it. BUT to my surprise so many of you asked me to write a full post! So I thought It would be a great thing to discuss and hopefully I can help a few of you who are maybe in similar situations regarding your Eating disorder and social media.

I'll start by saying that this blog post is gonna go one of two ways... I'm either gonna go into a full blown rant or I'm going to explain and discuss in a calm manner. But come on... this is me, we know how this is gonna go... haha.

Either way. Social Media and my Eating Disorder. Lets chat it.

Now don't get me wrong, we are gonna argue both sides here because I cannot express the amount of things I actually love about social media. It's a great, wonderful tool for connecting, branding, business and expression. I use it for so many things in a way to grow and learn, along with trying to help and inspire others. I love that. And in ways I can honestly say this has truly helped my recovery with my Eating Disorder.

I truly believe there are just as many positives as there are negatives... However to get it done and dusted I'm going to start with the negatives. The things that I truly feel impacted my Eating Disorder massively. If I'm honest for a long, long time I feel like social media fuelled my Eating Disorder more than anything. The one thing I feel like fully impacted on it was Instagram. It was like a hellish hole I was sucked into completely. It makes me feel sick to know at the time I was so so foolish.

For a long time I believed this was truly helping me. The world of the support from other girls in recovery, it all seemed like this were okay. It felt like using this platform as a way to show my recovery was a healthy way in progression, when really? It was just another obsession I was fuelling.

This 'recovery' community soon filled my feed. Pictures of various foods, 'healthy' and 'unhealthy', meals laid out neatly or challenges people were facing. With each photo would be captions of peoples thoughts and feelings, how easy or difficult they found eating or going out etc. If it wasn't food it were transformations or people continuously hating every inch of themselves claiming to be 'fat' when they were very clearly underweight. For a good while it all seemed good, the support and group we had on there was something that felt comforting and intimate. It felt like you could be honest about your Eating Disorder without being judged because these girls and guys understood to some extent. For months I did the same thing. Posted my intake. Posted my meals. My snacks. My worries. My thoughts. My body. My hatred. Believing this world was a form of therapy.

I soon realised how wrong I was. It created an extremely strict routine I placed myself into. Everything I was seeing and doing was having more of an effect on me that I originally thought, anorexia was so happy with the order and control I still had upon my eating. Like I said I was only feeding the obsession not helping it. I felt guilt like I never had and almost felt at competition with these other girls and guys, as horrible as that sounds. I began constantly comparing myself to everyone else and what they were posting. The shame around the food I was eating was actually never ending, if I ate a bigger breakfast than someone else, or an extra snack, Ana went insane. She hated it.  I felt bad for the food I was eating and felt like I had to force myself to eat certain things. I felt fat and a failure. I saw other struggling and felt like I wasn't struggling enough. I wasn't 'thin' enough and a certainly wasn't 'ill' enough. The whole thing created a whole new insight and level in my recovery and I never really recovered at all.

It wasn't until I fully got away from this community, that I began to attempt recovery properly. Or so I thought. I soon went onto developing an obsession with healthy eating... or so to speak Orthorexia. Health bloggers everywhere! Everywhere I was looking were constant perfectly laid out, not a pea out of place, plates of healthy, nutritious food. I began classing food as good and bad. The things I were seeing and facts I were hearing over social medias was only making this worse. I thought every meal had to be perfect nutritionally and athletically, which was no representation of real life or recovery.  This obsession with healthy food soon went out of control and became extremely unhealthy for me. I wasn't focusing on the real reasons for nourishing my body.

It wasn't until I took a step back and went to learn about myself, sport, fitness and nutrition till I realised the world I was living in. I took time away and I kind of saw the world of Instagram and people in a new light. Yep, not everyone was apparently as obsessed with food as I was, well not in the wrong ways. I guess this is where I could move onto how Social Media has actually helped me because in all honesty, at times, it really has. Social Media has actually allowed me to discover some of my biggest inspirations, learn, create and love life. When I discovered my love for self - love and fitness, I found some amazing girls on here, preaching and stating normality. They would talk about their good days and their bad, tummy rolls and bad hair. I realised that not everyone has to be perfect. Only after getting out of the whole 'recovery' world, I realised I could actually have genuine conversations with people that were around other things than just food. It's allowed me to help and inspire many people with my recovery which again has only allowed me to push myself further.

Not only that but, social media has allowed me to discover Deliciously Ella (which okay, I know you're thinking, FOOD) but her view on food, life, and herself helped me recover so much. She allowed me to rid myself of the guilt I was holding onto towards food and gave me a love for being in the kitchen!

I created my Instagram then around my blog, and created the world of Happily Holli which is my lil baby. Happily Holli is no longer about obsession or restriction, she's about self love, happiness, balance and enjoyment. She's about eating all your veggies with lots of hummus (YUM) but enjoying ya bloody slice of chocolate cake (EVEN YUMMER). With the support and love of all those of you on social media she has grown into something I never imagined. She is something I want to help others with and show a light at the end of every tunnel. And I'm proud.

So overall, I think social media has really had good and bad affects on my Eating Disorder. there have been times it's been a great platform to learn and to grow whereas other times it's impacted me in such a negative and obsessive way. I think it's important that you pull yourself away from the things that are influencing you for worse. Always remember to focus on you and your recovery, remember that shouldn't be fully based around social media and what the rest of the world are doing. Don't be pulled into unrealistic expectations or what you should and shouldn't be doing.

I hope this stated my opinion a little without going on too much of a tangent. Please let me know your thoughts and opinions towards this!

Holli x


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