is instagram harmful to your recovery?

I love Instagram as much as the next girl (follow me! @thelifeofandie).

There’s no question some of the girls I have met through my recovery account have changed my life. They’ve been a constant source of support and motivation and are always there to cheer me up on the worst days.

I didn’t start my recovery account until I was over 6 months into my journey, at a healthy weight and much stronger than I had been prior to the hospital.

I felt like I could use Instagram as a way to both inspire girls just starting out in recovery as well as receive support for my own personal recovery. I felt like it was a positive step. I felt like it was a win-win.

For the most part it is. I’d say 90% of the time, my Instagram is awesome and uplifting.

However, I think sometimes recovery Instagrams can do more harm than good.

I THINK SOMETIMES THEY ARE MORE TRIGGERING THAN INSPIRING.

Unfortunately, a lot of recovery accounts post pictures of inadequate intakes or bony “before” selfies. The girls behind these accounts are still struggling with their eating disorders and it can be tough for us to see while we are dealing with our own issues.

As someone who’s suffered with anorexia, I have a horrible tendency to compare myself to others (I’m sure you know what that’s like!).

So if someone posts a seemingly innocent picture of their dinner and it happens to be smaller than mine, I’ll feel guilty.

I shouldn’t have eaten so much. Why did I have that extra serving? Look how healthy they are compared to me.

Blah blah blah. The thoughts go on and on, spiraling out of control.

And if it’s a picture of exercising or scales or someone who’s “weight-restored” but still half my size? Forget it.

You might as well just hand me a box marked RELAPSE because that’s exactly where I’d be headed.

Luckily, I’m in a place now where those pictures don’t send me off into a dark place. Sure, sometimes I catch myself comparing or feeling guilty but I’m strong enough and far enough along in my recovery I can stop it before it’s a full blown relapse.

If you’re just starting out though, it can be a lot more difficult to protect yourself.

That’s when I think you should take a step back from Instagram. Or at the very least clean up your feed so you are only following truly “safe” accounts.

It’s okay to recognize Instagram as a trigger. It doesn’t make you weak or pathetic or cowardly.

Being able to know what is harmful to your recovery and then having the strength to remove it from your life is powerful. It’s brave. It’s actually pretty darn amazing.

IT MEANS YOU’RE TAKING BACK YOUR LIFE. YOU AREN’T ENABLING YOUR EATING DISORDER.

Use Instagram as a tool for inspiration but be aware of its risks and dangers. Don’t let it hurt you. Don’t let it stop you from recovering.