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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Warning: This article contains information regarding eating disorders and mental health struggles that could be triggering to some readers.

So, I deleted Instagram. Again.

There comes a time every few months where I feel bogged down by the societal pressures of social media and it begins to impact my mental health. Social media is draining, and feeling like I need to maintain some type of “social” presence is exhausting.

This summer, I tried so hard to appear like I was having the best time of my life. I was turning 20, I had a job where I was close with my coworkers, and I finally felt like I was enjoying the “single life” after my break up last summer.

But on the inside, I was struggling. I was in virtual treatment for an eating disorder and I was adjusting to being back at home after living at school for a semester. I didn’t feel like myself and I wasn’t being authentic or transparent with my followers on social media.

Although I am grateful for having the opportunity to do it, treatment was tiring. Something we talked about in treatment a lot was just how entrenched in diet culture social media and our generation is. Not only was Instagram affecting my ability to feel good about myself personally, but it was detrimentally affecting my recovery.

I attempted to seem like I loved where I was at. I posted a picture of myself in a swimsuit (which I almost never did) because I wanted people to think I looked good. I wanted people to be like, “Wow! She really glowed up after that break up.” But all I could think about once I hit that post button was, “Do I look small enough? Do I look happy? Will people like me more because of my body?”

It’s a constant cycle that I’ve decided to put an end to — for now. 

I know that I’ll inevitably fall into the social media pit again and redownload the app, but for now, I think I can do without it.

As a 20-year-old female right now, it seems like all I should care about is social media: how many likes I get, how many followers I have, who’s commenting on my pictures. I feel like a robot programmed to appeal to everyone on social media except for myself.

I deleted Instagram not only for my personal well-being, but also so I could enjoy the present moment. There’s nothing worse than ruining a perfectly great moment with friends by saying, “Wait, we should take a picture,” following it with, “No I don’t look good in that one,” and then repeating the cycle.

I’m going to take this time for myself to focus on other things that actually matter to me. I’d rather throw myself into schoolwork and try to garner a new passion for writing rather than waste my time scrolling on Instagram comparing myself to everyone else around me.

I’m tired of feeling like I need to be someone I’m not. I’m tired of letting an app control how I feel about my body. I’m tired of constantly feeling like I’m not good “enough.” And you should be too.

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Kiley Smyth

U Mass Amherst '23

Kiley is a Senior at UMass Amherst studying Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations. She is also pursuing a certificate in Film Studies!