It’s nearly impossible to start the day without checking email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. People expect you to be on-top of the latest news.
“Have you seen my picture yet?” “Why didn’t you know that? I posted something about it, like, an hour ago.” “Didn’t you get my email?”
Social media has become so ingrained in culture that it’s become an obsession. Inevitably, then, it can be used to fuel other addictions.
Teens who frequent pro-anorexia or pro-bulimia sites often don’t start seeking out these communities. They fall into them. In this article, the interviewed girl Peggy began searching for “laxatives,” only to end up at pro-ana and pro-mia sites. These online forums support eating disorders, making them seem like a healthy or pure lifestyle.
In the search for order or control, following eating disorder blogs can be tempting. You can talk about your problems, receiving support for actions like restricting or purging that you just can’t discuss with parents or friends. You enter a secret community. David Giles researched how users come to be “accepted” by their peers online. But as you become trapped online, forming your identity through cyberspace, you risk losing touch with reality and withdrawing from life.
Can you draw support from others online? Absolutely! If you are struggling with mental health or eating disorders, NEDA has a toll-free number or online chat. But, the choice has to come down to you. You can’t change your mindset if you don’t change how you interact online. As hard as it can be, unbookmark those pro-mia or pro-ana sites. Unfollow that fitspo blog on Tumblr. Unlike those posts on Instagram. Avoid the triggers of social media. Instead, maybe follow pro-recovery groups if you need someone to talk to.
Realize that eating disorders aren’t healthy, aren’t “lifestyles.” They’re illnesses that must be treated. What’s healthy is enjoying life, and creating an identity separate from the Internet.
Discover your new identity. Don’t hide behind a keyboard. Make your own life not defined by how others perceive you. Realize what truly makes you happy. Today and every day.
Fuel for Thought: Do you have any “triggering” websites or blogs you follow? How to do you deal with what’s online versus living a healthy lifestyle off-line?