Sharing My #LifeUnfiltered Story

Did you read this article about Madison Holleran? She was a beautiful, smart, accomplished athlete at Penn who took her life last year because she was so depressed. Her friends and family talk about how she was constantly comparing her life to others’ that she saw on Instagram and while she knew that she, too, was posting things that made her life look perfect when it wasn’t, she ultimately wasn’t able to really believe that.

There was another great article that showed what her friends were really thinking when they posted certain shiny happy pictures online.

Loopy Doopy Popsicle Prosecco

Last night, Ashley and I went to the Conrad Hotel’s rooftop bar, Loopy Doopy, to celebrate her sister-in-law’s engagement. On the surface, it looks like I’m happy and enjoying myself (minus that stray hair in my bangs that pissed me off all night) with friends at a swanky NYC rooftop bar.

What you don’t see is the texts to Ashley just an hour before about how I wasn’t sure I wanted to go because I was feeling depressed and couldn’t drag myself out of bed. That I wasn’t sure I wanted to be the only single one with all couples…again.

The other day, I posted a picture of myself doing wheel at work. In a dress.

What you don’t see is the panic attack that came out of nowhere just hours earlier and my amazingly kind manager/friend/favorite person who took a walk with me and held my hand and hugged me while I cried.

I have a blog. I work in social media. I obviously love the good it’s done for us in making the world seem smaller, but I’m also acutely aware of how it can lead us to portray our lives with this shiny veneer and make us feel less than.

The Instagram effect is all too real. I love this quote:

You never know what’s going on just below the surface of that perfectly staged Instagram photo. Don’t assume someone’s life is perfect just because of how it appears. Ask people how they’re doing. If you’re the one struggling, reach out to someone. It scared me telling Jordan and Ashley how I felt, but I’m glad I did. Charlie said it really well: “it’s OK to not be OK.” And it is. We’ve all been there at some point.

On this Mother’s Day, I also just wanted to say that I’m thinking of everyone: my wonderful mother, my wonderful friends who have been blessed with children — but also those who are struggling to get pregnant, those who can’t be with their mothers today, those who have lost their mothers and those who don’t have great relationships with their moms.

That’s enough sap for today, I’m going to go ride my bike.

40 comments on “Sharing My #LifeUnfiltered Story

  1. Christine

    This might be the best thing you’ve ever written.
    Such a great post and SUCH an important reminder.

  2. Lesley

    This is such a refreshing and honest post. Thanks for sharing and it is a great reminder for everyone.

  3. Sarah

    I can sympathize with this too. I’m usually the only un-coupled one when I go out with my closest friends. I’m usually ok with it but sometimes it can be really hard. Hang in there. 🙂

  4. Fiona Mark

    So true. Instagram envy is so very real and painful. I have hardly had any drinks in 18mths, especially not on rooftops. I miss them badly, especially at this time of year. So yes, it is sort of consoling knowing that inside everyone is stressing and FOMO-ing. But also, amazing wheel.

  5. Marianne.

    Thank you for your honesty and having the confidence in yourself to share that with your readers. You nailed it!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Tracy Schwartz

    Thank you yet again for this post, which is in target. Last night I was in the city for my 10 year high school reunion and hours before I was having a major panic attack about attending. I texted with a close girlfriend who couldn’t make it and she reminded me that everyone would be a little nervous. Once I entered I was fine and glad to catch up and there were smiles and Instagram photos; but the pre-panic attack not so much.

    This post really hit home for me today. As for Mother’s Day it was hard but knowing I visited her grave and left her some of her favorite flowers made it a little easier and I smiled because I know she would want that for me.

    Thank you for your honesty and amazing posts!

  7. Katie @ Live Half Full

    So, so, so true! Social media is your highlight reel, which is cool but also can suck you into the comparison trap with others! My favorite thing to do when I get sucked in is look at my own Instagram reel- I have a pretty awesome life with all the crap filtered out! 🙂

  8. Erin @ Her Heartland Soul

    What a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing this, and for all the honesty! The story about the college freshman was so tragic! I so wish she could have made it to sophomore year to see how much better it could be. 🙁

  9. Beckett @ Birchwood Pie

    Chris Rock has a great saying that no one is as angry as they seem on Twitter, as happy as they seem on Facebook, or as employed as they seem on LinkedIn. I was having a down day and it really helped to read this. Thanks for sharing this and all of the other great things you’ve posted over the years.

  10. Jamie

    My boyfriend passed along the ESPN article to me over the weekend. I have struggled with depression and anxiety in the past and my heart breaks for Madison and her family. I really appreciate your post today and cannot thank you enough for bringing awareness to the issue of perception vs. reality. Hope you had a fantastic weekend !

  11. Jenni

    I think some people like to show how better socially/attractive/anything else (add your own) than anyone else to bolster their own self esteem.

    It is like comparing how many ‘friends’ you have on Facebook.

    I find it always help to remind yourself that every one has their own fears and uncertainties and some people are better at controlling it.

  12. Caitlin

    Great post! We all can use these reminders! I sometimes feel guilty posting on Instagram when I am having a crummy day. It almost feels like I”m outright lying to people. Like here let me post this Manhattan and fried pickle pairing, like it’s no big deal, when an hour later I found myself fighting back tears as I felt guilty for still ordering dinner after I ate those fried pickles. The Instagram Effect is indeed real and I appreciate you putting yourself out there and sharing.

  13. Johanna B

    I have read your blog for a long time. I am so glad you posted this. A lot of folks need to be reminded that it’s usually only the best and brightest moments that get shared on social media. Thanks for being honest about your feelings. I have had severe depression on/off since I was 14. I understand a little of what you are going through.

  14. Jackie

    Thanks for writing this post, it’s just so true that you never really know what another person is going through. I heard about Madison in the local news last year and was haunted by her story. I can remember how insecure and scared I felt as a college freshman, and that was prior to social media! It’s hard enough as a “grown up” on social media when it seems as though everyone is living exciting and fulfilling lives while I’m still trying to figure things out. It is so important to realize that perception is never quite reality and to keep in mind that what we see online is only part of the story.

  15. Laura

    I LOVE this post so much! It always feels awkward to figure out what/how to post on social media when you’re down… you want to be honest, but you also don’t want to put all that negativity out there. Thanks for writing this 🙂 XOXO

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  17. Nikki @ will run for pizza

    I can’t love this post enough. I’ve kinda taken a back seat to blogging/social media for a few weeks now to kind of re-evaluate my motives about it all. I actually just deleted my Twitter, and stopped using Google. There is just TOO MUCH! I don’t get the point of all the social media platforms…k, this is starting off kind of off base, but this is my mind lately – there IS so much positive that can be done with social media, but the negative was starting to feel like it was outweighing the positive. And I JUST heard Jillian Michaels say that on her podcast last week too, so it MUST be true right?! LOL
    Anyhow, I read that story too, and it hit home with me because my Hus is bipolar and he HATES HATES HATES social media and all the “fakeness”. I try to be real on my blog and other platforms, and my life isn’t all glamorous by any means, so THAT can’t be portrayed, but I get it. I love the posts about “behind the scenes” of pictures, but there is ALWAYS SOMETHING not-so-glam about a situation.
    AND! I JUST (last night) ordered t-shirts from a girl at my Girls on the Run group, that started a #bekind movement. Her shirts say, “Be kind. For everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” I’m loving this ‘be kind’ theme…

  18. Amy

    I always enjoy your blog posts because your easy writing style, your humor, and your honesty. Thank you for sharing even more honesty here. I hadn’t seen the Madison story, but I was touched and saddened to read it. Mental health issues have such a stigma in our society and we don’t discuss and support them enough. Thank you for sharing your truth with us.

  19. Ange @ Cowgirl Runs

    So true and something that is so, so easy to lose sight of in the world of Twitter and Facebook and Instagram and blogging. We don’t post the pictures when we’re not feeling awesome, and we don’t caption them as such either.

  20. Alice

    Thanks for sharing this post.

    I have never used Instagram and I can see why people would want to share their special moments.

    But you never know what goes on behind closed doors and how just maybe our loved ones are suffering.

    We all put on a mask at one time or another.

    But why?

    Is it so so don’t lose face and don’t lead exciting lives like everyone seems to?

    What do you think?


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