Self Help On The Internet: Level: My Neurotic Vacancy


By Jessie Brunett

One of my biggest fears is that I’m so neurotic that I can’t be myself. That includes dressing for others on Friday nights, saving my tutu’s for the couch, and looking up every symptom when something is wrong with me. I used to be obsessed with peeling back layers of self-help articles to help me get through temporary feelings of sadness, indecisiveness and insecurity. I thought reading articles and following steps would aid in my overall wellness, instead it took me into a beauty black hole. This stigma makes women not want to be visible, not even to themselves. Why can’t we just be our quirky selves?

I remember reading Seventeen and Cosmopolitan and prescribing to all the products they swear by, not feeling adequate enough if I didn’t have those products, it’s become a culture of doing what we’re told, and subscribing to a one umbrella system. How many people are in this world and we’re supposed to fit all under one umbrella? Up until I grew hips and boobs, did I become more confused on whom I was supposed to be, because I didn’t fit into what everyone else was doing and wearing. I lost control of my physical self, I really just wanted to be my own person and no matter what I tried I couldn’t find her among the trendy clothes, or the projected make-up.

I started feeling like I was the neurotic one, trying to find the best way to be thankful, grateful and eternally sunny. Even though I feel independent, I still turn to the Internet to solve questions that I already know the answer to, and to make me happy. I think all of us no matter how much we exercise, no matter how many hobbies we have, still feel like we are inadequate and have to find alternative ways to be happy, to be accepted in our own bodies, because for some reason nothing is satisfying enough. Why does the Internet have to dictate how to feel better and happy? Why has self-help turned into just another part of our culture?  

         Reading magazines, tabloids, yada, yada, yada, I believed them. The Internet is my conviction, it’s my reality, and the people I love and value, their opinions about myself, never really mattered. I feel like self-help on the Internet only becomes positive when you allow yourself to take it in as one vast opinion. But I see women dressing to highlight their best assets, to grab attention, disguising it as the “love my body movement”, while I keep scrolling through symptoms of anxiety on Web MD, because I don’t feel right, accepted, or the best version of myself. 

         Having all of the attention on our faces is a scary insecurity for most of us, because most of us need to Google ‘self help’ on the Internet to diagnose symptoms that aren’t even really there. Self-help is kind of a trap, because it disguises who we really are and what we really feel with a general population way, to feel “happy”, “better”, “more stylish”, really, it’s all in your mindset. 

         I struggled for the longest time with finding more hobbies, being the best at everything, comparing myself to the internet list that was supposed to make me feel better, and then resorting to research on symptoms of anxiety, and stressing out over nothing. I enjoy writing; it’s freeing to me, but not being present in perfect Instagram photos, or posing for the camera in a sexy way, that became my insecurity. I have discovered that writing is all the self-help I need, if I can write even a little bit about the things that hurt, that will be able to help people who read it, be healed by a minuscule amount, I’ll be happy, and that should be enough. 

         Ever since I was little I projected a future me, someone who was far away who I desired to be everyday, instead of living in who I am presently. I don’t need to turn to self-help, but I find myself Googling one thing that feels wrong with me, or to get me to my destination faster, and it SO doesn’t. In fact, it makes things worse, much worse, Web MD, worse. Truth is we’re all so worried about feeling better trying to find a cure, we’re missing who we really are.

         Right now, I am able to have a vulnerable conversation with someone without being drunk, I find happiness within everything that I deem beautiful, I never thought I would get to this point. I was so reliant on self-help from the Internet, reliant on the internet to pick out my outfits, my mood, my relaxation, like a robot, I read magazines to find cures to temporary feelings and to please everyone but myself. Isn’t it funny that we pour everything we have into something that has no remorse, no feelings, no personality, to ultimately find our color?

         Love yourself, and find value in that, if you feel like something is wrong with you, if you feel like you need to exercise more, do it for yourself and not because the internet or the magazines tell you to. I’ve been able to grow; it’s about being present, not letting moments pass by, to document them. I shouldn’t’ have to be defined as feminine by following make-up hauls and clothing recipes when it’s all so fragile wrapped up within marketing, hits on sites, and money. 

This culture is being perpetuated in a one-upping culture on social media, documenting everything, being present on sites that we don’t even enjoy, and it’s such a vacant way to live. Take suggestions with a grain of salt, enjoy what you like to read, not because you need to fit in, wear the tutu, and for razzles do not turn to Web MD, it’s a girl’s worst nightmare.