In our modern, always on world , we’re spoiled for choice and can find entertainment on social media at literally any minute of the day. But for all it’s convenience and ‘entertainment’ values there lurks a darker side behind the facade.
The thing is, people generally make posts when things are going well. We post when we’re having an awesome hair day, eating at a fabulous restaurant or on that perfect trip to Ibiza. And when it’s not we may think it necessary to paint a picture for others to think everything is just dandy.
We post then not just to flex, but also to curate the life we want people to believe we have. Ironically this cultural inclination tends to leave us feeling worse off, like we’re somehow failing, because we’re constantly bombarded by how ‘good’ everybody else has it. In recent years several studies has shown that this need to keep up appearances and ‘fit in’ (on social media) not only causes us stress, but actually leads to depression and in extreme cases even disorders like body dysmorphia.
The Model, rugby star and Olympic bobsled competitor recently opened up about his own struggles with depression and the pressures of maintaining a curated insta-life. Dunn posted an image of himself on the rugby field with a lengthy statement on how his online personality is just a fraction of the true story.
“The online persona I show you is all photoshoots, parties and magazine covers…” wrote Dunn. “This hasn’t always been entirely the truth. Earlier this year, I found myself back in Australia, living in a country town in my mother’s spare room and financially broke.”
“Having to rebuild my life at the time felt like a monumental task. I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I stopped looking after myself, drinking most weekends away, stopped training, all things which compounded the low point I was in. It honestly felt all the years of hard work had only led me back to where I began. For the first time in my life I’d felt anxiety, which was something new, scary and very overwhelming at times.”
“Only weeks earlier I was living in London with my partner, running my own business, attending every party I was invited to, appearing in countless photoshoots and magazines. Before this I was in North America representing Australia in bobsleigh, training and competing, whilst getting flown to media gigs and appearances all around the world.”
“I was passionate about doing everything I could to show the world that out and proud athletes exist. I felt the world was my oyster and this was my chance to do exactly that. I felt like I’d failed and let so many people down. Life over the last several years has been a truly amazing adventure. This now felt all but a distant memory. Many tears were cried over many nights, and some days I didn’t want to even get out of bed.”
“This image is me at the height of that time, I questioned if I should post it because it doesn’t portray the person I show the world. There’s no abs, I was unhappy and lost. It portrays the real me, someone who, like everyone else, has obstacles they need to overcome. My little victory is being able to post it now, only a few months later, passionate for life again and looking forward to the next adventure.”
“The Simon you see online is the Simon I want you to see, maybe it’s my pride or the influence of social media, but it’s not always as it seems. Life is a series of ups and downs, just remember – there’s always light at the end of the tunnel no matter how dark it may seem!”
For Simon this period of darkness seems to have come to an end as he posted a message to his Facebook account thanking everyone for their support.
I for one am proud of Simon for coming forward, for now he is not only a beacon for the LGBT community, but also for anyone who feels like they’re dealing with the darkness of depression on their own. The world may just be a better place if all of us where this real and honest on social media. After all, there’s really nothing we can’t overcome if we stand together in honesty.