One of my biggest struggles with PPD was falling into this deep dark hole of despair. Everyone around me seemed to have their life together with great things happening and they were surrounded by people, things, accomplishments, experiences, and attitudes that I desperately wished I had.
It was a constant comparison game in my mind because that’s the effect depression can have on a person. And guess what happened? I sunk deeper and deeper into the pit as a result. Nothing positive can ever come out of comparing yourself with another person. Nothing.
Social media can be a beast. We all recognize this. It’s a challenging world to maneuver through. What do we post, what do we like (should we love instead of like?), what can we support, what will offend us, what will offend someone else, what’s over-sharing, what’s not sharing enough, and etc.. (I also fully acknowledge there are people who don’t have all of these crazily obsessed concerns like I do and write/do whatever they want.)
I’m not an expert on any of this, but what I do know is this: There were things I was reading and looking at on social media that caused me to feel insecure. Or, let me reword this in true vulnerability fashion: I felt jealousy over the lives of other people. And ones that are my supposed “friends”, at that. So by choosing to withhold my “like”, I was sending a completely unknown punishment to them, as though they’d get the spiteful message. It was an “oh, that’s cool that your life is so great, but I’m not going to add to the likes to boost your ego and confirm that your life is indeed awesome when I’m struggling with mine and feel like shit” reaction. Clearly, it was everyone else’s fault for making me feel that way.
As I began pushing my way through this all-consuming fog, focusing my damndest on things that I could actually control, one of the most challenging aspects was accepting how many of my thoughts were self-inflicting wounds. My first step was admitting to anyone that would listen to me ramble that I was feeling insane amounts of jealousy for no good reason. Step 1: admit you have a problem, right? I would blame it all on the PPD, but in the flow of being totally transparent, there’s always some level of jealousy throughout life. Social media tends to boost it a bit since it’s now easier to get immersed in the lives of other people and my PPD just added more fuel.
Only recently did I finally do what I should have done a while ago: I chose love over jealousy, even if it was a bit forced at first. I chose to send notes of encouragement and joy to the ones who were doing those fantastic things that I coveted. I chose to love their posts and hope that others were inspired by them. I chose to truly celebrate who they were as people and acknowledge within myself that I was grateful for their presence, for my connection with them, for another human being’s happiness, and for any impact they (or even their post) may have on this world. I chose love and I chose happiness. Any time jealousy wanted to pop up, I smashed it down with a hammer of love like whack-a-mole. And it made me just as happy.
Do you know what happened? Loved filled my heart so much that it pushed the jealousy, resentment, and bitterness right out every single time. I also found more confidence in who I am as a result. Because that’s what love does. It affirms other people and affirms the person within and makes everyone happier. It’s a win-win.
What I learned is this: Choose love. Choose happiness. Two simple things can make your own little world (and this entire world) a much brighter place.