Colton Haynes just opened up about his mental health journey on Instagram, in a post which acknowledges how that social media platform has played a role in his self-image. The throwback photos show Haynes in a hospital bed, far from the picture-perfect images that we’ve come to expect from Hollywood stars. And that, says Haynes, is part of the problem.
“I don’t want worrying about if I look hot or not on Instagram to be my legacy,” the actor wrote. “I don’t want to skirt around the truth to please other people or to gain economic success. I have far more important things to say than what magazine I just shot for or what tv show I’m a part of (Although I’m very thankful I still get to do what I love). I no longer want to project a curated life.”
“I get immense joy when someone comes up to me & says that my willingness to open up about depression, anxiety, alcoholism, & addiction has helped them in some way,” he continued. Haynes then revealed that the pressure to depict a certain version of himself on social media, incentivised by the likes and engagement he would get and by the perceived perfection of other people, led him down a dark path.
“I’ve struggled the past year with trying to find my voice and where I fit in & that has been the most beautiful struggle I’ve ever had to go through,” he said. “Worrying about what time to post on social media so I can maximise my likes or being mad at myself that I don’t look the same way I did when I was addicted to pills is a complete waste of why I was put on this earth.”
Haynes ended on a positive note, saying that the hospital photos are a reminder of how far he has come, and of the value of living an unfiltered life: “I’m posting these photos to let y’all in on my truth. I’m so grateful to be where I am now ( a year after these photos were taken) but man these times were dark. I’m a human being with flaws just like you. If ur in the middle of the dark times…I promise you it doesn’t have to last forever. Love y’all.”
This article originally appeared on Men’s Health