By Katy Mann
I think everyone who uses social media has a moment of crisis at some point asking whether they did the right thing when sharing something. I think this is especially true for people with disabilities. I know I worry constantly about whether I’m oversharing, moaning too much or pretending my life’s perfect when it’s not. Overthinking?? Oh yes, definitely!
Last week I went away with my family for a few days and as a big social media user I posted lots of pictures of us having a good time. I took loads of selfies as my usual view is either of my bedroom or garden with me being housebound. Then I panicked. What if people thought I was faking my illness? What if people think I really looked that good? Was I presenting an image that wasn’t real?
To counteract that, I posted a status about the realities of my week away. How all my photos were taken from wheelchair height, I was pushed round all day and straight into bed at the end of each afternoon. How the activities wiped me out each day even though I wasn’t really doing anything. Every selfie took good lighting, makeup and a filter. I’m 38, I have wrinkles, the odd grey hair and a mummy tummy. I try to post the good and the bad but I draw the line at the ugly! I want to feel good though, I want to feel human after being ill for so long. Is it wrong to present myself in the best way after living in pyjamas in bed for so long?
Then I worried I was sharing too much and moaning about my ailments. So where does that leave me? If I don’t post on social media I become lonely and isolated. I’m at home on my own all day and online contact is a lifeline to me. I can chat to friends without the difficulties I face in leaving the house.
Do people want me hear about the realities of my day to day life? No, probably not. Do people complain when we only show our good sides? Yes! There is no winning with social media. It’s a fine line and I’m not sure I tread it well.
I’m an open book and try to be as honest as I can about my life. Today I started counselling almost eight years after the death of my son from meningitis. To say my life has been tough is an understatement.
It isn’t all bad and I want to show the good bits too. The days I get out are few and far between and if I’m wearing clothes and make up you know I’m going to post a selfie!
Social media is a blessing and a curse. It’s a beast that has taken over my life but has saved me in so many ways. It’s helped me raise awareness of many issues close to my heart and for me, writing is a form of therapy. It’s not something I’ll be giving up so I’m afraid the selfies are here to stay!