I, like many others who live with mental illness, have created a facade of confidence, especially when it comes to social media.
When I post pictures of myself what people see is the final product, they don't see the makeup, the outfit changes, the messing of hair, the changes of lighting... all reaching for a product that whilst I am happy enough to post, I am sat despising this image of myself that I am displaying to the public.
As someone with borderline personality disorder, I have always had a very unstable self-image and have grown up with a lot of self loathing. I have dyed my hair countless times, and to this day still don't have a consistent sense of style (often switching between extremes, girly to gothic; classy to comfy) When I put out an image of myself I feel as if I am putting out a statement of who I am, yet the next week I cannot stand the image because, that's not who I am anymore. My BPD makes me feel incredibly vulnerable and so when I put a piece of myself out onto the internet the response to so integral to my mood that I can go months without posting on my personal account just to avoid the rollercoaster of emotions that predictably will come.
My perfectionism is also an essential part of being self-concious. A lot of my perfectionism is focused on my appearance and therefore I often become very distressed by my appearance as I can never believe that I am living up to my standards. When my perfectionism is linked to my BPD there is a lethal combination that stirs up into deadly self-consciousness.
Being self-conscious is incredibly painful, even as I am typing I feel self-conscious, as if talking about this issue that has plagued me for nearly 10 years, is attention seeking (an example of the ingrained stigma that surrounds talking about mental health)
It's difficult to see that someone is self conscious, especially someone like me who talks publicly about very uncomfortable things. However, it is often the people who seem most brave or confident that are the most self conscious. We all have our insecurities and so it's something that we can all empathise with. As comfortable as I may seem about talking so openly about my mental health, it's actually something I really struggle to do, especially in my private life.
Positivity, in my opinion, is the answer. The more we encourage people, the more we can build each others confidence and encourage those who feel most self-conscious, that they are beautiful, talented and valued.