Everywhere you look, something or someone is telling you that you’re doing everything in your life wrong. Ads tell you that you need to lose weight. Blogs tell you that you’re parenting wrong. Self-help books tell you that your thinking is wrong. The rise of social media allows us to connect with one another; however, it is also a platform for people to put forth a persona of perfection. Scrolling through your news feed, you might see that someone is on an amazing European vacation, someone else has the perfect body and hot wardrobe, and someone else is already building a successful start up. When you’re struggling with depression, seeing how perfect everyone else appears to be is a huge blow. It awakens that little voice in your head that tells you “you’re not good enough.”
The Challenge of Depression
Living with depression is like existing permanently in a black hole. The world starts to feel like flavorless mashed potatoes. You want to be happy, but it just isn’t happening. Depression takes everyday tasks and turns them into insurmountable obstacles. Sometimes living with depression means not doing the dishes for three weeks, or sleeping all day because getting out of bed is too hard. You feel trapped, and while you are stuck in your black hole, you look out of it and see that everyone else is off living these perfect lives.
No One is Perfect
The first thing to remember is that no one is as perfect as they appear. The people who post about their perfect vacation, work out, and wardrobe mostly likely have their own struggles. Last year, I had a friend who I idolized because she seemed so put-together and perfect; I was surprised to discover that she also struggled with depression. Don’t always assume that someone’s seemingly perfect presentation of their life is also true of their inner life. No one is as perfect as they seem and everyone has things that they struggle with.
The “You Do You” Approach
One trick I’ve come up with to stop social media from getting me down is the “You Do You” Approach. I might see someone post about their gym routine and summer body; instead of beating myself up about it that I don’t have the perfect gym routine, I remind myself that everyone is doing their own thing. Some people are prioritizing their summer body, others are all about their degree. No one can be perfect at everything. Next time you start feeling bad about something that someone else is doing but you are not, remind yourself that you’re doing what you’re about, and they are focusing on what they are about.