For most people, Instagram is the place to paint a shiny, perfect picture of their lives — no blemishes or tear stains to be found here, thank you very much. But in a recent Instagram post about anxiety, yoga teacher Jessica Olie took a different tack, showing her followers that it's perfectly fine to admit that you're going through a tough time.
In previous posts, Olie could usually be found smiling through impossibly bendy poses, but this summer, her posts weren't quite as optimistic as usual. On Tuesday, she explained in an Instagram video that she has been struggling with crippling anxiety after her father was diagnosed with an unnamed health problem. "I cannot pretend to be OK or feel inspired because that's not how I feel," she wrote in the caption.
Olie went on to describe how her mental state has disrupted her life:
"Yesterday I didn't leave my bed until 5pm [sic]. I didn't open the curtains or check my emails. I didn't change my clothes. My day was spent trying to breathe through anxiety attacks and quiet my mind that had found itself in a dark place. This is not me but it's a part of me, a side of me that I've had to confront a lot over the last few months since my dad got diagnosed and every day, every hour, every minute is so different. ... I'm not sure I would have gotten out of bed again today if I hadn't made the conscious choice that this is what my mind and my body needed."
Anxiety attacks are often synonymous with panic attacks in pop culture. According to the Mayo Clinic, they are "sudden episode[s] of intense fear" that come with symptoms like dizziness, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, and a sense of impending doom. They aren't dangerous on their own, but the Mayo Clinic notes that they can be difficult to control without treatment. While anxiety attacks can be a sign of a larger psychological disorder, they can also be triggered by major life stress.
Olie has been using yoga to cope. On Tuesday, she wrote that she forced herself to get up in the early morning and go through her usual routine of doing yoga while the sun rose. As time goes on, she explained, she has been learning to differentiate between the moments when she needs to "stay in bed all day" and those when she has to "pull [herself] out of it."
While she admitted that "heavy and emotional" content may not appeal to some followers, Olie wrote that she hopes other followers will feel a connection to her difficulties. "Maybe a few of you can relate to what I'm working through and know that you are not alone," she wrote. "We are not alone."