Facing Off Against Social Media Anxiety

Facing Off Against Social Media Anxiety

For the first time, I posted a picture of me with my cane and braces on social media. And guess what? No one even noticed.

This is a big deal. I talk about Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) and my ankle-foot orthoses, but showing the world is scary. People can be cruel and say awful things.

I wonder why it is easy for me to talk about CMT, yet I struggle with how people see me. In some ways, I have come a long way in not worrying about what others think. In the summer, I wear shorts and cute dresses with my braces — it is way too hot to be uncomfortable. That does not bother me, but posting a photo is difficult. It does not make much sense.

When I talk about my disability, I am in control. I lead the conversation and answer questions within my comfort level. Posting a photo puts it out there with no explanation. I am vulnerable to the opinions of those who see it, which I know should not matter. But it makes me anxious.

There is a lot of research on the harmful effects of an obsession with social media. Adding to the anxiety is the compare-and-despair factor, when you pit yourself against the picture-perfect images of your friends. I try not to fall into that trap, but I do worry whether others will compare themselves to me.

In the photo, my cane and braces are clearly visible. I debated whether I should post it — just saying that out loud sounds crazy. Instead of asking myself what others might think, I should have been asking: Is the photo in focus? Is my son making a funny face? Can you see the background clearly? It is a good photo of the two of us, which happens less and less as he gets older. That is what I should have focused on, not the other stuff.

I posted the photo and not one person seemed to notice or care about the cane and braces. Not one! The only comments were about how tall my son is getting and the beauty of Mount Rushmore. Once again, my friends showed me what matters. They made me realize that those who love me do not care. I need to learn to get over it.

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Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

Jill Price is a fourth grade teacher and a mom to a teenage son. She was diagnosed with CMT 1a at the age of 2. Jill loves to travel and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.
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Jill Price is a fourth grade teacher and a mom to a teenage son. She was diagnosed with CMT 1a at the age of 2. Jill loves to travel and enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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