Zahra (aka @muslimthicc) has 2.9 million TikTok followers, however she’ll be the primary to let you know the reality: that social media is just the thinnest, most curated slice of our lives. “Social media is sort of a spotlight reel,” she instructed CelebrityPie after talking at a digital webinar for Hollister’s World Teen Psychological Wellness Day. “I do not need folks to take a look at me and be like, ‘Wow, she’s so glad on a regular basis. She does not have an issue in her life.'” As a result of in actuality, “I do not suppose anyone’s life is actually like that.”
Zahra, 21, exudes positivity on her feed — that is who she is — but it surely doesn’t suggest she will not get susceptible or open up about severe components of her life. Take final 12 months, for instance, when she posted a video speaking about her anxiousness over school, life, and “how I do not actually know what I am doing.” Unexpectedly, it went viral. “So many individuals DM’d me simply saying, ‘This video simply put into phrases precisely what I have been feeling,'” she remembered. “It was an enormous assist for me as a result of I felt actually alone.”
In highschool, the same form of anxiousness, introduced on by stress over the long run, led to Zahra experiencing intense anxiousness assaults. “I would not be capable of breathe, and it felt like I used to be having a coronary heart assault,” she mentioned. “I used to skip courses and go to the nurse’s workplace and lie there. I felt so numb and careworn that I could not even focus.” And rising up in a Muslim and Afghan group, she mentioned, psychological well being points felt like a overseas idea, a taboo, or one thing that might simply be dismissed — a well-known story for a lot of BIPOC folks. “My dad and mom have been like, ‘What is going on on? Cease making a scene. Issues are superb.'”
However Zahra’s anxiousness was taking a toll on her bodily well being, and when her household noticed that (“It was very seen,” she remembered), the dialog modified. She went to a health care provider, began having some “tough, uncomfortable conversations,” and opened up a channel of communication along with her household that is stayed robust ever since. It got here into play once more final 12 months, when the pandemic upended her life.
“Being cooped up in my bed room, doing courses from residence, it acquired actually tough to take care of the stress and anxiousness of school,” Zahra mentioned. She would not go away her mattress and began dropping her urge for food. Her dad and mom seen and broached the subject along with her. “I do know that is tough for everyone,” her mother mentioned. “You need to push by way of and uplift your self.” Zahra’s resolution was to dive into hobbies: journaling, drawing, embroidering shirts, watching Netflix.
“Your ideas and feelings are utterly legitimate.”
Typically she’ll take social media breaks too, as a result of studying feedback or scrolling previous one particular person after one other who appears to be doing higher than you “could make you’re feeling lonely and a bit worse.” On the similar time, she appreciates the best way platforms like TikTok present an area for creators to discuss psychological well being. “There are such a lot of TikTokers that brazenly focus on their experiences and share their coping mechanisms,” Zahra defined, whereas different accounts are completely devoted to psychological wellness and sources. “These pages could be life-changing,” she mentioned.
Zahra’s greatest piece of recommendation to anybody who’s struggling: “Know that you simply’re not alone.” Begin a dialogue with family and friends and do not simply dismiss your emotions. “Your ideas and feelings are utterly legitimate,” she mentioned, “and it is nothing to be ashamed about should you’re struggling along with your psychological well being.”
i’m strESSED LOL