Look at this picture, just a cute couple dancing, right? Do you like it? Based on this picture what do you think this moment was like? How do you think I’m feeling physically and emotionally here? How do you think my day had gone so far? Just build a narrative of us based on this picture. Now, hold that thought.
This was one of the first posts a friend ever told me to write, long before the idea of a blog was even thought of. I sent them a picture from this day and the story behind it, and they really thought this message was important to share. I was writing a post for Valentine’s Day for Phil and wanted to use a couple pictures from this day and skimmed over these experiences in the post and felt like I needed to share in more detail. (Also, don’t worry, the sappy gross stuff is coming soon, I know how much you guys love that shit.) Now I’ve had plenty of “fuck the modern age! Fuck everyone’s insincerity!” pretentious rants, but this one is a little different. I have been disingenuous on social media, I didn’t lie, but I have hidden things from the world just like anyone else. I’ve done what I criticized.
Now, what did you think of that picture? What about this one?
Pretty funny, we’re just a couple goofing off taking silly touristy photos in London, nothing deep here. Look at our funny faces; we must be having so much fun! This day must have been so bright and bubbly.
Here’s what you don’t see in that picture, I’m going through a horrible withdrawal. You don’t see that my fiancé practically had to carry me to this spot to take this photo, you don’t see that to get to the location of the first picture I had to lie down on almost every bench along the way because I was so weak. You don’t see how scared Phil was. You don’t see how less than half an hour before these pictures were taken I was on the floor.
We had planned to go out to Kensington Palace Gardens with my mom to take some couple pictures; we got all dressed up and hopped in a cab to meet my mom at her hotel. About halfway through the 30-minute cab ride, I started to feel really off, I told Phil I wasn’t feeling great, but I’d be fine. By the time we got to my mom’s hotel, I was nodding off, so I just sat in the dining room drinking coffee after coffee trying to wake up, but I felt like my head was made of concrete and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I told my mom I had forgotten my medication (since she knew of my physical dependency but not my abuse) and was experiencing withdrawal. Phil and my mom decided it would be good for me to go up to her room so I could lie down for a bit. During the 5 minutes it probably took us to get to her room I don’t know what snapped in me, but I became the nastiest and most short-tempered person. As I lie on the bed they suggested things to help me or what we could do that day instead of our plans, I just yelled at them, they were only trying to help, but through my slurred speech and cuss words I made it clear that we were sticking with the plan and I didn’t need any help.
We had a limited amount of time since it was going to start raining, so we had to get out there and take the pictures in the next hour. Phil offered to go back to our hotel and get my medication, but that would take an hour round trip and it would be too late. I could see how concerned Phil was; he looked a little scared too. I felt shaky, sick, exhausted, in pain, and nothing felt real. I could write an entire page on what this withdrawal felt like, but I’ll just say I was in awful shape. I don’t remember exactly what happened, but somehow I ended up on the floor of my mom’s hotel room, just sick, tired and throwing a fit, but I continued to tell them we were following through with the plan. So we went on our way, I collapsed in a chair by the elevators, Phil practically had to wake me up and lift me out of the chair to get into the elevator. He held me upright as we walked to the location of the second picture. After we were done there, we very slowly got to the gardens, stopping at every other bench so I could collapse, and took a bunch of pictures there. At one point I got sick in the gardens, but I don’t think anyone noticed, right?
So, you might be saying “it couldn’t have been that bad, you look perfectly fine in the pictures!” remember it is literally my job to look good even when things aren’t good, remember I have been trained by professionals on how to look good even in adverse conditions, I have been trained since childhood how to look like a “normal person” and have become very good at snapping myself into “work mode” where everything is excellent for a short while, and I can look decent. It’s incredibly exhausting, but I can do it. To me, I look awful in all the photos we took because I think my posing is terrible and I look off in general, but to the average person, they probably look fine.
Last picture. What do you see here?
A girl having a blast on her trip to Edinburgh? True, but you’re also looking at someone who relapsed within the last 24-48 hours. My relapse was so severe it was essentially a suicide attempt, my fiancé had to search the streets of Edinburgh to find me because I didn’t know where I was and I was too high to care. You don’t see that I hadn’t gotten out of bed for 3 days prior. You don’t see that Phil and I had been having arguments. You don’t see how scared, depressed, and angry I was because out of nowhere it finally hit me that I truly was an addict and I hadn’t beaten it, I had lied to myself up until our first night in Edinburgh. This realization and relapse are what lead to the nervous breakdown that started all of this.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is don’t assume you know what’s going on in somebody’s life because you follow them on social media. We didn’t share a word of those stories until now, and I’m guessing not a single one of you caught on that anything was wrong. I know I criticized people for faking their life on social media, and I still stand by that statement if they are hurting themselves or others to portray the life they want or are flat out lying for popularity’s sake. I do not, however, feel like your dark secrets of what really was going on around a photo need to be shared, that’s your business and your private life. I just needed to admit that I have been disingenuous.
Ps: That photo of me in Edinburgh, I was balancing on on pointy rocks right over a cliff that if someone bumped me I definitely would have fallen to my death. Do it for the gram!