Scroll through the archives of this blog and you’ll see reams upon reams of posts where I virtually self-flagellate in the name of sharing my life with you.
You’ll experience the depths of grief, the lows of heartbreak and the TMI-wow-what-did-I-just-read of the life of an ex-single gal drowning in depression.
Sharing so openly was absolute catharsis for me. Spilling my thoughts, feelings and fuck-ups really helped me close my laptop lid and get on with the day I had to live.
But at what point does sharing the struggs become a constant Debbie-Downer that’s hard to swallow when you, as a reader, are having a good day? You’ve drank 2 litres of water, had a successful bowel movement, that person has text you back and your favourite TV series is back for another season and then BAM, here’s Vix describing how hard it was to get out of bed today.
And how many struggles need to be shared or in contrast, could we just curate our platforms to be our highlight reels? It’s something I’ve been wondering about how best to balance for a while…
Sharing the lows of my life as well as the highs is a total balancing act when I feel everything so deeply and then share everything so openly.
Worrying about whether I was over-sharing, led me to share less. I wrote less about my mental health journey. I grieved in private. I vented frustrations to my therapist instead of the WordPress page-builder.
But there’s a consequence there too.
Because platforms become a place where only the positive is displayed. And the consequence there is that anyone who follows you or reads what you write, believes that your actual life is 100% positive. Which is absurd, because whose is? But that’s what you display.
Of course, your platforms are your prerogative and if I want to spend the next 18 months cycling between posting Co-Op hauls, Sundays at the pub, business wins, what I’m reading and wedding updates every 7th of a month in the name of an anniversary – I absolutely can.
BUT I need to be aware of what that message puts out to others.
That’s just being sensitive to others. That’s the importance of sharing the struggle.
However, there is a scale. Do I need to share every time I cry on day 28th of my cycle? Do you need to know that I miss my Mum? Or a relative has pissed me off in a family drama and is cut-out from my life? No.
Do you need to see that life isn’t always rosy? That there are times that I worry about things that EVERYONE worries about? That sometimes I try things and they don’t work out? I believe, yes.
I believe that in a time where we all follow hundreds of people who are documenting every minutiae of their lives on social media, that those people have, to an extent, a responsibility to disclaim that their lives aren’t exactly what they display online.
Do they have to show tears? Declining bank balances? Shitty texts from their other halves? No. But if they choose not to share the occasional strug, then I believe they have a responsibility to regularly inform their readers and followers that not everything they’re seeing is 100% representative of their whole lives.
I know some people will believe it’s not our responsibility to have to reiterate this regularly. That followers and readers should just magically know that social media doesn’t mirror real life, all of the time.
However, even as a social-media-savvy person (that I think I am), I often can’t help getting sucked in and comparing my struggles with their polished presentation of lives.
It’s such a fine line isn’t it? How do you share your struggles healthily? How do you enforce boundaries to keep your life yours but without then displaying a faux-life that might make others feel awful?
I don’t have the answers. All I know is that I will continue to share what I’m going through IF I’m able to, if I’m comfortable with doing so and if I think it will help others because they’ll have the same struggle too.
Do you share your struggles online?