We live in an age where social media is a part of our daily lives. Everyone is on social media throughout the day looking at recent posts, tweets and Facebook updates. That being said, it doesn’t take much for people to be influenced by the social media they consume everyday. Unfortunately, a lot of that influence is negative.
This negativity is extremely hard on college students. Many students are already struggling with what they want to do in life and who they want to be. Not everyone is set in their ways. This creates the perfect storm for college students to develop mental health issues and eating disorders.
Self-esteem and the pressure to be the best takes a toll on us. A lot of weight on our shoulders, and not everyone knows how to deal with it in a healthy way. Eating disorders lead in mental illness mortality rates. The suicide rate among people struggling with an eating disorder is 50 times higher than that of the general population. On average, 20 percent of college women and 10 percent of college men have some form of an eating disorder.
This is extremely shocking. We live in an age where everyone is trying to be healthier with so many fad diets and trends. But what is too far for “insta worthy”? What actually happens behind closed doors?
We are constantly exposed to what we “should” look like according to social media. But there is so much more to a person than a picture someone posts on their Instagram. Many celebrities and social media influencers use Photoshop to achieve perfect skin tone, lean legs, flat stomach, et cetera.
There is no reason that we should feel forced by society to meet a certain ideal. It’s sad and unfortunate that so many people have to struggle with this. If you are one of those people, know that risking your life and health is not worth the extra likes on Instagram posts or the DMs after you post a selfie.
If you are someone who struggles with an eating disorder and don’t know how to stop or where to get help, there are immediate resources on campus and over the phone. If you live on campus, walk down the hall and talk to your RA. They are there to help you; that is part of their job. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to them, see one of the counselors in the basement of Crites. If you feel comfortable, talk to your friends.
If you feel like you can’t talk to anyone here, there is a helpline provided by the ANAD (Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) at 630-577-1330. ANAD also has a Youtube recovery channel (ANADvideos). Please check them out. There are endless resources online to help you and many people around you that want to help. Do not feel like you have to struggle alone.
I cannot express enough that putting your health at stake is not worth the social media presence that people of our generation are forced into. Do not believe that this is what you have to go through to be “beautiful.” Nowhere in the definition of beauty does it say skinny, defined abs, toned, flawless or anything along those lines.
Beauty is in your character, not your appearance.