Theodora shared a really heart wrenching link on Facebook today that stopped me in my tracks. It was about a 19 year old girl, Madison, a runner, who committed suicide after suffering from depression. To most outside her close friends and family, it didn’t seem like there was anything wrong. Certainly, her social media presence was always positive, smiling and happy.
Suicide is something really close to my heart, after one of my best friends, Vic, took his own life after battling with depression. The grief surrounding losing him was actually the catalyst I needed to start running. I signed up to run the London Marathon in his memory, and it changed my life.
We present such a perfect, carefully constructed world on social media, showing how wonderful our breakfast was, or how hard we worked out. There is so much going on behind the scenes that we don’t share.
This photo that I posted on instagram of me at the top of Ditchling Beacon shows me cycling my new road bike, smiling.
In reality I was on the verge of tears. I had made it to the top and we were nearly in Brighton, but the weather was awful. I was terrified of the long descent down in the pouring rain. I was annoyed with myself for feeling so slow and unfit on the bike. I was sad that I’d spent most of the ride cycling behind my friends as I wasn’t fast enough to ride with them. I was cross that they were so far ahead that I’d got lost after taking a wrong turning (and cried). I was apprehensive about our upcoming London to Paris ride, fearing that it would be much the same.
Normally I would have kept these feelings inside, or just talked to Tom and my Mum about them, but on this occasion I voiced them to my friends. I am so glad I chatted with them about how I was feeling, it meant that they looked out for me on our ride to Paris and ensured that I never felt sad or lost or worried.
It’s OK not to be OK, and it’s OK not to only share the good things on social media.
Madison’s friends are encouraging others to share their #lifeunfiltered on social media- share yours using the hashtag. And next time you scroll through you instagram feed or twitter, or read someone’s blog, remember they are probably not sharing the whole story behind the glossy image!