It started out innocently enough. Lots of people had a "Finsta" (a 'fake' private Instagram account to post random stuff, in case you’ve been living in the Stone Age and don’t know what it is) and I didn’t think creating one of my own would really do much harm. Soon after the account began, I started using it more as a diary than just innocent shitposting.
As time went on, I found it more and more comforting that a large handful of people knew about my most personal issues. My public diary escalated to the point where I would post embarrassingly intimate details of my emotional woes multiple times a day. When I wasn’t posting, I was thinking about what I might post.
Instead of telling my friends and loved ones what was going on, or addressing an issue if I was upset with them, I would simply make a vague post on my Finsta and expect that they would see it and understand. Initial concern turned into frustration as the time I spent in an emotional crisis became more than the time spent feeling well, and as I ignored several warnings to quit the unhealthy online habit for my own benefit.
I did quit Finsta for a month, but I didn’t realize that posting my problems online was only the symptom of a much deeper problem. Until I addressed the reasons for why I felt I needed everyone to know my emotional secrets, and why I couldn’t approach my friends and loved ones to ask for what I needed in person, there was no way I was going to kill my Finsta. After my month-long hiatus, I quickly returned to the same unhealthy habits I had been engaging in before. What I really needed was to see a therapist for the deep-seated issues I was struggling with. And no, my 70 followers on Finsta didn’t count as a professional.
I finally took the necessary brave step and disabled my account after I realized the harm it had done to my life. Once I know I’m capable of sticking to lighthearted memes and positivity, I might log back in, but today is not that day. Social media is not a diary. It’s not the place to be passive aggressive and try to send to messages that should be sent in person, face to face, in a respectful manner.
I’m going public about my Finsta problem because I see other people falling into the same trap I did. Too many people treat their Finstas like diaries or passive-aggressive high school coping mechanisms, and it’s honestly sad. If you are struggling so much in life that you feel you need your Instagram followers to know what’s going on, you need to speak to a professional and/or start keeping a diary (or writing it privately on your phone, like in the notes section).
Nobody needs to know, and what I actually found is that nobody really cares. Examine why you need people to know your problems. For me, I had the expectation that people would approach me about my concerning posts and ask what was going on, but the majority of people just kept scrolling by. In addition, if you have a problem with somebody or have a need that has to be met, approach that person directly. Don’t expect them to guess what you’re thinking based off of a social media story. Act your age.
Do I think all Finstas are bad? Not at all. However, I think you need to be an emotionally healthy and assertive person in order to have one without abusing it. If you’re not in a good place, it’s best to keep your secrets in between the pages of a book or behind the closed doors of a therapy appointment so it doesn’t become an addiction to validation and concern.