I feel like I need to quit Instagram to figure out who I am

It’s been a very strange time for me. A lot has happened in the last two months, including moving to a new city, starting a new job and coping with a global pandemic. Here in Europe, we had a severe lockdown where everything was closed down apart from food shopping and pharmacies. We were allowed to go out only for necessities and 1 hour a day to exercise in isolation. I have been working on my mental health for more than 2 years and the pandemic + isolation did not help. All my old patterns came back, I had experienced how life with anxiety and depression feels like again and it wasn’t fun at all. I was scared that I would go back to my old mental state. Luckily, the lockdown served its purpose and the spread of coronavirus has slowed down significantly since March. So governments are implementing new rules to give us a sense of normality again. 

Time in isolation wasn’t fun but I had time to think about the past, present and future. Finishing my PhD and starting this new job were a big life and career transition that happened very quickly and I didn’t really have time to process. After 10 years of being a student, living life as a student, sharing houses, always going for cheap options, life changed overnight. I have everything now, money, a successful career, I created meaningful friendships and interactions with people. Part of my life was also the social media persona I created. I am happy with the things I do but I have had loads of conflict to understand if I want to bring the social media persona with me in the future.

When I started blogging and the Instagram page, my life situation was different. I wasn’t happy with my PhD and struggled to make friends in real life. Instagram was a virtual reality I created to feel like I belong somewhere. The conditions that drove me to start no longer exist. My life is great and I don’t need to turn out to social media to make friends. In January, I moved on from science communication because it didn’t represent me anyone. I didn’t want to be identified as science communicator or PhD student of Instagram for the rest of my life. I kept my Instagram page but I have been wondering whether it’s still the case to have one. It’s getting very difficult to move on with life when everything I see is still PhD stuff or science communication that don’t represent me anymore. Plus, I decided to leave academia because the overall experience has been dreadful. Any time I see people complaining about failed experiments, having troubles with supervisors or labmates, it becomes a trigger warning. 

When I started blogging and the Instagram page, my life situation was different.

I feel like Instagram became something to leave behind in the past and move on to start a new stage of my life outside academic circles and all the PhD bullshit.  I no longer find inspiration and motivation in what I see. Instead, I found a brand new world on LinkedIn, of professional women in science, women who are killing it in their fields, who are leading revolutions, badass, true leaders who are an inspiration for me on who I want to be in the future. I want to be like them, but I know I just started my career in science. I am trying to figure out my identity outside academia and where I want to place myself and my voice. I feel like I have a lot of homework to do to reach their level. This is why I will probably keep a low profile for the time being and come back when I know who I am before influencing and inspiring people on how to be successful.

Thanks for listening and see you in the future!

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