Posted in 5 things..., Quick reads

5 of the best Instagram accounts for keeping it real

Ah, Instagram. A place where we are made to feel that our own lives are somewhat insignificant compared to complete strangers. We aimlessly scroll, comparing our bodies, careers, and family life to the picture-perfect portrayal which other people choose to share with us. The constant barrage of what to wear, what to eat, and how to generally live our lives is utterly overwhelming. And that is why following positive and ‘real’ accounts is SO important. They are a breath of fresh air, reminding us that behind each airbrushed and filtered photo, there is a human being, just like you and I. Someone imperfect, struggling with life in some capacity, and brave enough to show it so that you can realise that, hey, humans are meant to be a bit messy sometimes. And that is totally okay. So, here are 5 Instagram accounts who are brilliant at keeping it real.

Kate Snooks @katesnooks

Beauty blogger, cat owner, and true crime lover Kate has a beautiful and warm online presence. She speaks about an array of topics, covering past failed relationships, sex positivity, depression, and her struggles with acne, all with sensitivity and mature reflection. A credit to the job title ‘influencer’, Kate’s account is an Instagram safe haven of self-acceptance and a wonderful guide on how to navigate life’s unexpected turns.

Rosie Ramsey @rosemarinoramsey

Rosie is a podcaster, author, mum-of- two, and expert at proving that your social media doesn’t have to be filled with staged and glamorous photos. She radiates warmth and kindness and is unapologetic in showing the ‘realness’ of motherhood. She talks about weight gain, productivity, and self-love, and is an all-round positive presence on Instagram.

Rianne Meijer @rianne.meijer

If you don’t follow Rianne, then go follow her. Trust me. She will grace your Instagram feed with hilariously accurate ‘expectation vs reality’ photos that many influencers would be too embarrassed to post. She oozes body positivity and encourages her followers to do the same. She highlights the importance of poses and lighting in contorting our bodies into something ‘Instagram worthy’ and reminds us to not believe everything we see on Instagram at face value.

Maddie Bruce @maddie_bruce

In her bio, Maddie says “you’re in the right place if you like really honest captions.” And she’s not wrong. As a mental health advocate, Maddie’s feed is full of stories from her ongoing recovery with mental health issues. She is unafraid to talk about the hard stuff, and her honesty is unbelievably refreshing.

Nadiya Hussain @nadiyajhussain

While at first glance Nadiya’s feed is just full of delicious food and baked treats, The Great British Bake Off winner uses her Instagram to provide an honest insight into her struggles with anxiety. She uploads regular videos, talking in a candid nature about her experiences of the COVID-19 lockdown and the troubles it has brought to her personal life.

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Posted in 5 things..., Mental Health, Quick reads

5 things not to say to someone having a panic attack

Talking about mental health is so important. But knowing how to talk about it is just as important. Knowing what to say, and what not to say, can be really daunting. So, here are 5 things not to say to someone having a panic attack.

  • “just try breathing normally.”

Trust me, we are. Controlling your breathing is one of the most important things you can do when having a panic attack, but also one of the hardest. The erratic breathing makes you panic, and the panicking makes your breathing worse. You see where this is going. It’s a dangerous and scary cycle. Instead of suggesting someone breathes ‘normally’, try being a bit more specific in helping them to slow down their breathing. Try saying, “let’s slow down our breathing together, breathe in for 5, hold for 5, and breathe out for 5.” 

  • “there’s nothing to worry about.”

Sometimes, anxiety has no logic. None at all. Someone could be in a safe space, with familiar company, and experience a horrendous panic attack. The body is a weird, and at times, wonderful thing, but also bloody annoying. Telling someone that there is nothing to worry about is a little patronising. Try saying, “you are safe and in control.

  • “you’re doing this for attention.”

I’ve had this one before, and at the time I was too anxious to really take it in. But retrospectively I’ve realised how awful it was. I promise you that someone having a panic attack would love nothing more than to, well, not be having one. They are not for attention. If there are lots of people around, then that might be making it worse. Try saying, “would you like to go to a quieter space?

  • “can you snap out of it?”

Another lovely line I’ve been told before. This makes panic attacks seem a choice. Which they’re not. As inconvenient as it might be for you to watch someone have one, I promise it’s worse for the person having it. It’s hard sometimes to know what the right thing is, but it’s easy to not be rude. So just don’t be. At all. 

  • “you seemed fine a second ago” 

Panic attacks can come on really quickly. While some days you can feel anxiety building, other times it can catch you completely off guard. Also, people with mental health issues are often very good at hiding them. So, while to you it may look completely out of the blue, someone might have been feeling pretty rubbish for a while. Try saying “what can I do for you?

Rather than just take my word for what warrants good advice, check out these very helpful resources.

Image provided by writer.

Posted in 5 things..., Mental Health, Quick reads

5 things not to say to someone with depression

Talking about mental health is so important. But knowing how to talk about it is just as important. Knowing what to say, and what not to say, can be really daunting. Reading advice from medical professionals is valuable, but sometimes the best people to give advice are those who have been on the receiving end.

So, here are 5 things NOT to say to someone with depression, from people who have had depression.

  • “Have you tried not being depressed.”

Where to begin with this one. I’m not a mental health expert, but I’m pretty sure no one chooses to be depressed. Saying this makes it sound like depression is a choice, something you can opt in or out of. And that just isn’t the case. So, just don’t say this to anyone. Ever.

  • “You have so much to be grateful for. So many people have it worse.”

Again, this is assuming that the person suffering from depression has chosen to feel this way. They are probably feeling guilty for being depressed and will be aware of the impact it may have on their loved ones. Comparing your own issues to others is so tempting but can be really harmful. Yes, other people may have it worse, but that does not make what you’re feeling any less valid. Try saying, “whatever you’re feeling is important” instead.

  • “Just do some exercise.”

Wow thank you SO much. What an insightful piece of advice. People suffering from depression will know all the things that supposedly help. They probably know that eating healthily, exercising regularly, and practicing mindfulness are all proven to aid mental health recovery. But don’t just assume that they haven’t tried these things already. Different things work for different people. Try saying, “is there anything I can do for you?” instead.

  • “You seem fine.”

People struggling with mental health are sometimes the best liars. You build a façade of someone who is fine. So yes, even though someone might seem fine, it absolutely does not mean that they are. Try saying, “how are you feeling?” instead.

  • “Cheer up.”

Just no. Depression is a medical illness. It is caused by chemical imbalance and lots of complex science which I won’t try and pretend like I understand. But I know that if people with depression could just ‘cheer up’ then they would. But they can’t. It is more complicated than that. So, don’t say things which belittle the severity of what they’re going through.

Useful resources-

Image provided by writer.