Looking at Haile Thomas’s Instagram — a gorgeously curated assemblage of #veganfoodgoals with pics of her at celebrity events and of her travels across the globe thrown in for good measure — you might imagine that the 16-year-old behind it has things all figured out. Just take a look at a few of her many accomplishments already: youth health activist, Black Girls Rock! 2016 M.A.D. Girl, certified health coach, and teen vegan chef. She must stay winning, right?
But tbh, life, unlike the flawless aesthetic of an IG collage, isn’t perfect for anyone. And Haile took to Insta three days ago (July 17) to keep things 100 about her own struggles. “Today I want to be honest with you all … often on social media, we can put on masks … and I for one am guilty of doing this,” she writes. “On days that I feel frustrated or overwhelmed or upset, I still make the decision to post a picture of an acai bowl with a happy tone in the text or add cooking a dish I’m making to my story when I honestly didn’t feel like it. But I show up and put on for social media, and well, I think most people do.”
She continued, “This past weekend, I’ve been seriously not myself, feeling down, thinking about how I’ve lost a lot of friends over the years because of what I do … I simply couldn’t think of what to say about a Buddha bowl today. And that’s ok.” Can the church say, “Amen”?
This post is super important because it reminds us all that social media life isn’t real, it’s created — created to show the best of ourselves and our circumstances. It also reinforces this truth: Your mental health is just as important as your physical health — you could be in the best shape of your life, but if you feel bad on the inside, no amount of healthy eats and workout routines will fix that. (In fact, a recent study in the United Kingdom showed that Instagram was actually the worst app for teens’ mental health.)
Props to Haile for speaking her truth, and whenever you feel like you’re really going through it, know that you’re not alone. Think your case of the blues is just too deep for you to handle on your own? Call the Crisis Call Center at 800-273-8255 or click here for a list of specific help hotlines.