The girl that’s taking her story into her own hands

Despite the many criticisms that can be made about social media, the opportunity for self-representation is one of its most prominent benefits. As we have already discussed, there is a dire shortage of the representation of mental illness in mainstream media. Existing examples of depictions of mental illness are often criticised for being examples of misrepresentation.

Kerry is a 20 year old woman in the UK who has taken her representation into her own hands. She absolutely adores her dog, Chester. Her nephew means the world to her. But she is also constantly fighting monumental battles with her mental illnesses.


Her Instagram account (@kezinhospital) is a candid reflection of her struggles, her triumphs, her setbacks and her feelings while she is treated inside a psychiatric clinic. Not only does Kerry share her feelings and thoughts about her journey to recovery, but she is also candid about her feelings about staying in a psychiatric hospital.

With a substantial following of 650 followers, her voice is one that many people clearly want to here.

We spoke to her about why she decided to take her experiences to social media.

What are you being treated for?

I am currently in hospital on a secure personality disorder ward. Although my main diagnosis is borderline personality disorder, I also have anorexia which is also being treated alongside [it].


How long have you been in hospital for?

I have been sectioned in hospital since 13th October 2016, so it has been 10 months now – although this isn’t my first time in hospital. In the past 5 years I’ve spent approximately 35 months in hospital spread out over 6 different admissions.

How long have you been documenting your experience in hospital for?

I’ve had various mental health based social media accounts for probably around 4 years. I’ve used it on and off, but have been active on my current recovery account for 2 years.

What made you decide to document your experiences on Instagram?

I decided to start a hospital diary as recently I have found it really motivational to be able to look back and see how far I have come. It’s a way for me to document everything that is going on and to also seek support from others when I am struggling. It also gives people who don’t struggle with their mental health an insight into what it is like to live with a serious and enduring mental illness.

Did you have any reservations about starting this account?

I often think about deleting my account or think about making it a lot more private as I do often get people giving me a hard time over things I post. I also worry a lot about what people would think, but I’ve come to learn that this is me and I can’t change the fact that I am mentally ill and struggle. I’m not going to sugarcoat things and I have a good support network that are there to reassure me that it’s okay to post my struggles and not to be ashamed.


Why did you decide to make your account private?

I decided to make my account private as initially I didn’t have anyone I knew in real life following me as I was very ashamed of everything. I’ve come to realise that most people know I’m ill anyways, and so I should use my journey to help educate people on mental health and try and dispel some of the misconceptions about being in a secure psychiatric hospital.

What have been the positive outcomes of documenting your time in a psychiatric hospital?

There have been so many positives from documenting my journey. Aside from the positives I’ve already mentioned, I’ve gained so much support from both the mental health community on Instagram and from people I know personally. I have had such an influx of support from so many different people, many of whom I haven’t spoken to in years. It’s also helped some of my friends who have been struggling to open up as it’s made them realise that there is no such thing as normal anyways.


Have there been any negative ones?

There [are] lots of negatives, I get judged a lot by people, people constantly asking why I would post a photo where you can see a scar or see a bandage. It’s often really petty stuff but it can get to me really easily, but I’ve learnt not to let it bother me. Why should I be ashamed of my self harm? It’s not something I’ll ever flaunt or be proud of, but it’s certainly not something I should embarrassed about.


[Header image credit: @kezinhospital]


Netflix’s To The Bone: is there a right way to have the conversation?

On the 14th of July 2017, Netflix’s anticipated To The Bone was officially released. The film – starring Lily Collins and Keanu Reeves, amongst others – is a story about a 20-year-old woman (Collins) who is sent to an unconventional centre for youths in an attempt to overcome her battle with anorexia. The film has been met with incredibly mixed reactions. Some cite relief that To The Bone engages with a severely underrepresented problem in society. However, others believe that the film glamorises the mental illness and, in doing so, does more harm that good.


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Are we really less focused than goldfish?

According to a Microsoft Corporation research report, goldfish now have a better attention span than humans. I watched a few unrelated YouTube videos and replied to a few WhatsApp messages while in the process of writing this article, so perhaps these researchers are on to something.

It is believed that our constant interaction with the instantaneous nature of modern technology has been a strong factor in shortening the average attention span from 12 seconds to 8. As the use of digital devices expands to, and gradually saturates more domains of our lives, our attention is increasingly divided.

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Trigger warnings: belittling or empathetic?

The first time I started noticing trigger warnings preceding posts, photos and articles, I was relieved; we were finally being considerate of vulnerable audiences. In a previous post, I discussed how constant exposure to harrowing online content may have severe psychological consequences.  I had thought trigger warnings may be an opportunity for audiences to decide what they are prepared to see and set a limit when it becomes unbearable. I was confused when I noticed people mocking the use of trigger warnings on online spaces.

Continue reading “Trigger warnings: belittling or empathetic?”

Do the online conversations help?

At the beginning of this year, YouTube vlogger Trisha Paytas had a public mental breakdown, which was documented through her YouTube channel. Paytas has disclosed that she suffers from a few mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, but many commenters were insistent that she lied and her videos depicted a performance that was purely driven by the desire to cultivate attention.

Continue reading “Do the online conversations help?”

The impression of the internet – how much news is too much?

In my first post, I commented on Simon Sinek’s remark regarding the prevalence of depression  among millennials, and how this is related to how social media takes over their lives. While compulsive Internet use presents itself with a wide range of psychological consequences, I would like to consider that the problem may lay in the kind of content we are forced to engage with, rather than the amount of time we spend online.

Continue reading “The impression of the internet – how much news is too much?”

Don’t trash ‘safe spaces’ – this is why we need them

In psychological research, it has been put forward that lonely people, or those who do not possess good social skills, are at risk of developing a compulsive relationship with the Internet. Many people suffering from loneliness or depression may find communicating on the Internet less stressful or risky, a factor that makes interacting digitally far more appealing than face-to-face confrontations. Researchers believe that this could have negative impacts on the individual’s life, such as compromising the person’s work productivity and the ability to have meaningful relationships with the people around them.

Continue reading “Don’t trash ‘safe spaces’ – this is why we need them”

Censoring bodies online: is it ever okay?

During October 2015, a petition was signed by over 18000 people to remove vlogger Eugenia Cooney from posting videos on YouTube. Cooney, aged 22, is a sweet young woman posts videos related to beauty tips and clothing hauls to an audience of over 890 000 followers. The problem? Her emancipated-looking body. The petitioners believe she is promoting anorexia and want her to stop making videos until she seeks medical help “before she dies”.

Continue reading “Censoring bodies online: is it ever okay?”

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