what my instagram photos won't show you (but you should know)
WHAT MY INSTAGRAM PHOTOS WON’T SHOW YOU
As most social influencers we aim to create content that shows our brand’s best side, I mean for all it’s a business. Now if I were working at let’s say a local grocery store, as an employee it’s my job to make sure every customer who shops at that store has the best experience and idea of the store. It would be against store policy I assume to say, “Hey don’t shop here they barely mop the floor” or “They won’t give me the weekend off, I hate this place.” Right? That makes sense. Well, “As Told By Amanda” is not my full time job (yet) in fact I don’t make a lot of money from it. But as the Owner of As Told By Amanda I essentially work for myself and my brand. If I work for myself then that makes me my own employee. If in fact I am my own employee, then it goes without saying that I can’t just voice to all readers (customers) “Hey I don’t feel like writing today, instead I’m watching Netflix” or “Hey I hate how much money I put into this brand and barely get paid for it.” No, because as the consumer that would turn you off, obviously.
With all that being said, I used the above statements at my disclaimer. I understand the business side of my brand and will never give that up. BUT as a HUMAN BEING with some influence to my friends and random strangers that follow me, it is my DUTY to keep it real. To be raw. To get brutally honest from time to time. To show you things that my Instagram photos cannot. I find these moments of complete vulnerability to not only be liberating for myself, but positive for others…in case I’m not the only one out there. I previously mentioned why I recently did the re-launch/re-branding of As Told By Amanda. I spoke about dreams, and the fear’s that came along with following them. But I decided to take a moment and share something a bit more personal…. actually a lot more personal. In fact, maybe only 2 people in my life know this about me right now. That is for the past year I have been (on and off) seeing a therapist. Now, I’m not about to confess something crazy so don’t hold your breath. In fact, that was probably the hardest sentence I have typed yet in my blogging career.
Over a year ago my life took some crazy turns. My mom moved to NYC. I moved out of my house. I went through a rough break up, and then I moved again. I lost a lot of friendships, I left a job, got a new one. So many up’s and down’s and frankly I wasn’t dealing with them very well. On the outside I seemed put together, but on the inside I felt lost, confused, unhappy, depressed. Change is one of my biggest fears. It’s something I am learning to overcome but if I’m honest, I dream of a life that I’m honestly I feel too afraid to go after. I didn’t want to go to therapy because I felt that therapy was for sick people, people who were dealing with major things like death or divorce. But I found myself for the 5th time that week stuffing big mac’s in my mouth, sitting in my shower fully clothed and crying…. sobbing. This was not only your typical “sad girl” moment, but I truly was disgusted with myself and embarrassed of how low I had gotten. I felt empty. Emptier than empty. I would sit there with my head resting on the tile and a burger wrapper on my lap wondering how I could possibly be so sad, and lonely. I had never felt lonelier than in those moments. I truly thought something was wrong with me because no one died. I had money in my bank account. I had parents that loved me. I had amazing friends I could have called at any time. I got a lot of likes on my Instagram photos. I still served at my church. I had cute clothes, but something crazy was missing.
I decided the next week to go to my church and get some free counseling. After that I started seeing someone else, then someone else, another person, and the story continues. I recently went to my last ongoing therapy session and I don’t have any plans on returning or paying for any more sessions. Not because it didn’t work, or I hated the person, but because I am finally in a strong, healthy place both mentally, physically I now understand myself so much more and have made discoveries I am forever thankful for. I feel a more authentic connection to God and to those closest to me, and I have a confidence that builds stronger every day. I say that now a year later but let’s not discount that it was a year. A year of seeing a therapist’s for 2 of the 4 therapists I saw called my situation ‘depression, stress and anxiety’ (which I did not accept as reality) later to find that maybe I was depressed at that time.
Looking back on decisions I made, things I kept to myself, thoughts I had, and feelings I felt it made sense why I would feel so alone. It made sense why I felt empty inside. You see when hurt comes into your life and it will, you can always “get over” it, but to truly “deal” with the hurt is another thing. Sometimes we subconsciously think we deal with the hurt when really all we have done is suppress it and find things to distract us. Once we are faced with that pain again we feel like we are “going backwards” when in fact we were never really moving forward to begin with. Ps: Just because you stopped crying or missing something doesn’t mean you dealt with it. During this time, I continued praying, reading my bible, and seeking God. I will be honest and say I wasn’t the most consistent. In fact, there were many weeks I would go without serious time with God, Sunday’s I would skip church because I felt sad, and away from people I distanced myself from. Let me tell you something I have learned through pain in the past year, the worst thing you can do for yourself while you are dealing with hurt is to isolate yourself. You will feel more alone, you will feel more “misunderstood” and you will lose sight of the good people in your life.
I had to get real with the people in my life. I had to be frank with them. I had to tell my best friends that I was going to therapy, which I will say I threw into casual conversation here and there. I had to just be honest. I had to let someone ask me the tough questions. I had to really get real with God. By being this new and deeper level of authenticity I began to see myself in a truer light. A light that was given to me by God. I saw what God wanted for me. I saw who God sees me as, despite all my short comings. Through this, healing began to happen and I found myself in Christ again. Of course, as we all should, I’m still growing and learning new things every day. I hope I never stop. I hope I always seek to be the best version of myself and to live my best life NOW. It’s not like this is the happy ending. No, I’m not there yet. Heck, 5 days before my best friend’s wedding I (like many of us) heard and saw things about someone that was no longer in my life, and I just fell apart. It STILL hurt…hurts. But I know who can hold my pain for me, and that’s God. I know these are just moments, and everything God is bringing me to won’t be a moment, but a new life. And for that, I press on. I choose to share, online and off. I hope posts like this allow you to see that I am a real person, and that we all go through the same things. No need to feel alone. Talk to someone. Share your story, and believe whatever it is you’re going through, is just a moment. Your time is coming.
As Told By,