I Gave Up Instagram For A Month, And Here's How It Went

I gave up Instagram, and I got… anxiety. Bear with me, this isn’t clickbait, though I’m sure many of you expected an article about the increase of peacefulness and productivity giving up social media provides. Honestly, I expected a transcending experience myself. But here’s the reality: when I, an anxious person, attempted to give up my Instagram (a source of distraction and information) for a month, rather than meditate twice a day or learn to speak French, I experienced an uptick in my anxiousness. 

Now let me clarify, I have lived with anxiety the entirety of my life. Giving up social media didn’t cause my brain to develop some unknown disease. However, during this month hiatus, it became overwhelmingly apparent that I use Instagram as a tool of distraction and coping, and giving it up left my thoughts open to wander, and fixate, and fuel anxiety. I am not claiming constant distraction is healthy, nor that using social media to cope is healthy, I am merely relaying my experience. I would have loved to tell you my brain became clearer, my confidence grew stronger, and my time was well spent, but I would be lying. The reality is, giving up Instagram, with my current state in my current journey, felt more unhealthy than healthy. 

Recently, I began to recognize negative patterns in my life (such as escapism) which I wished to break, so I took the first real step to addressing my mental health, and I went to therapy. Now, this process, though healthy and important, is difficult. My awareness of unhealthy coping mechanisms is heightened, and while I work towards change in big ways, consistency in small ways, like Instagram, feels safer and better for me. So, while I want to jump aboard the consciousness train, and I am aware that social media may not be a productive use of time, it is not an inherently negative space. If I find comfort, connection, and entertainment within social media, it is okay for me to utilize it at times to deal with anxiety. 

I decided to write this article anyway, an article originally meant to tell of my month without Instagram which did not happen, because this is real. I have anxiety, and sometimes that means I need instant distraction, and that is okay. This time around, I could not accomplish the thing I wanted to because of my anxiety, and that’s okay. As long as Instagram remains a place where I feel free to share things that I find beautiful, interesting, or important, or even photos where I simply feel cute, photos I have shared throughout this article, I will not be angered by my time spent there. 

Continue the work to better yourself, your health, and your life, but while you’re working towards betterment, cut yourself some slack along the way. Life is cruel, and scary, and difficult, so while you’re walking this windy path, if you need to stop and look at some pretty photos on your phone, go for it. Don’t let it keep you from your potential, but know that where you are is okay, and you're doing just fine. I know I am, whether I use Instagram or not.