Heather Loeb| Guest columnist
Im on Facebook and Instagram a lot through the day. I could tell you that its because Im promoting my brand, but thats not exactly the truth. Im on there because Im addicted. Ive been on Facebook since 2005 when I was in college, and even though it stresses me out, I check it multiple times a day. Same with Instagram but not as hooked.
I love seeing family and friends posts, especially because Im so far away from a lot of them. Its easy to keep up with my loved ones. And thats fine. The problem I have is falling prey to the concept of photoshopped images.
I have body dysmorphic disorder, where I become obsessed with my appearance, or rather what I think are flaws in my appearance, that others just dont see. It makes me self-conscious, and it has led to a fixation with being thin.
I dont blame my issues on social media, but its difficult to see thin, beautiful women with no cellulite or skin issues living a great life in their great house with their great, perfectly behaved children.
Where did this idea come from that we have to be perfect? Why do we pretend? Why are we competitive about those things?
Im not thin. I have cellulite. I eat junk sometimes. My kids are NOT perfectly behaved. And my house is almost always messy because four people, four cats and a lizard live here. This is my reality, and I accept that I love that. But I would be lying if I said I dont still aspire to be thin.
I think thats the result of being indoctrinated with toxic diet culture, and I hope I can change that because I refuse to allow my kids, especially my daughter, to think that being thin equals being successful and happy. That youre supposed to be perfect. That if you dont live up to these and similar ideals, youre unworthy.
Cant we normalize being normal and having normal bodies?
I hope Im honest in my struggles with mental health. I dont mind talking about being suicideal, abusing my medications and how it takes effort even to shower some days. It was hard at first, but now I feel so free. But I still feel intense shame when I discuss my tummy tuck, my gastric sleeve surgery and having an eating disorder.
Its because society teaches us that the worst thing you can be is fat.
Weve all got skin in this game, and its ours to change. Reject diet culture, reject societal norms lets make new ones now.
My daughter, almost 7, already has friends on Instagram. It wont be long before she asks for an account, and I just cant let her be exposed to lies, painful ones, that might make her feel not good enough.
I want her to say shes smart, beautiful, worthy and imperfect. I want to be able to say those things, too (and mean it).
So what am I what are we waiting for?
For more than 20 years, Heather Loeb has experienced major depression, anxiety and a personality disorder, while also battling the stigma of mental health. She is the creator of Unruly Neurons (www.unrulyneurons.com), a blog dedicated to normalizing depression and a member of State Rep. Todd Hunters Suicide Prevention Taskforce.
Now more than ever we need to take care of our mental health. Guest columnistHeather Loeb discusses why and explores other important mental health topics in this special series.
See the rest here:
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