Model Bella Hadid is known for posting snaps of her glamorous life to her Instagram, including behind-the-scenes glimpses at photoshoots and fashion shows, outfit pics, and fabulous parties. But the model has also used her IG to document her struggles with anxiety and depression, posting photos of herself crying, and now she’s opening up about the reason behind those pics.
“I would have really depressive episodes and my mom or my doctor would ask how I was and instead of having to respond in text, I would just send them a photo,” Bella told WSJ Magazine. “It was the easiest thing for me to do at the time because I was never able to explain how I was feeling. I would just be in excruciating and debilitating mental and physical pain, and I didn’t know why.”
According to Bella, she initially posted the photos to make her followers who could be experiencing the same things feel less alone — and to help shatter the illusion that her life was as picture-perfect as Instagram made it seem. “Even though on Instagram things look so beautiful, at the end of the day, we are all cut from the same cloth. I felt like it was just good for me to be able to speak my truth and at some point I wasn’t able to post nice pretty pictures anymore. I was over it,” she said, adding: “I don’t have to be on Instagram forever. I feel like real is the new real, and that’s what’s important to me.”
Bella initially addressed her relationship with social media in her original post. “Social media is not real. For anyone struggling , please remember that. Sometimes all you’ve gotta hear is that you’re not alone. So from me to you, you’re not alone. I love you, I see you, and I hear you,” she shared at the time. “Self help and mental illness/chemical imbalance is not linear and it is almost like a flowing rollercoaster of obstacles… it has its ups and downs, and side to sides. But I want you to know, there is always light at the end of the tunnel , and the rollercoaster always comes to a complete stop at some point.” Bella added that it felt “harder and harder not to share my truth on here.”
The model told WSJ that though she continues to experience ups and downs, she does have good days. “Today is a good day. My brain fog is feeling better, I don’t feel depressed. I don’t have as much anxiety as I usually do,” she said during the interview. “But tomorrow I could wake up and [be] the complete opposite. That’s why I get so overwhelmed. But that post made me less lonely because I had a lot of people that have reached out saying, ‘I feel that way too.’ Walking outside, being able to remember there are so many people going through things and have similar patterns to me, it makes me feel better.”