I’m back!

I’m back, hello everyone! How are you doing? Thank you all so so much for the supportive and loving comments, DM’s, emails and texts. It warmed my heart ♥︎

Now that I’m back after 5 (!) months, you’re probably wondering if I feel better. Well, not necessarily. But I’m okay with that… Now. So what’s going on and why did it take me so long? Storytime: 

I was convinced I couldn’t return to Instagram until I was fully recovered and I had a clear strategy. My superego (or inner critic) was telling me I could only show up as my best self and any other version of me just wouldn’t do. This belief doesn’t only apply to Instagram, but to my entire life. I have to be my best self, always. A belief that causes a lot of suffering.

I took a complete break from Instagram, work, and almost all social activities. I locked myself up to fully focus on recovery, obsessively. Everything in life revolved around getting better. I was constantly comparing myself to the Lian of 2 years ago: Lian before break-down. Until I wasn’t that version of myself, I wasn’t better, I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t worthy. Oh, how my inner critic loves to tell me that… 

THE THINGS THAT NEED HEALING, ARE THE THINGS YOU DON’T WANT TO FEEL

I knew recovery could only be found in acceptance. Accepting my situation and accepting myself. And so I said to myself “I need to accept this, in order to get better”. See what my superego did there? Still focussing on recovery. When I realized this, I tried to remove the ‘getting better’ part and say to myself “I’m okay as I am, it’s okay how it is. Anything that I’m able to do or experience is a plus, but without it, it’s still okay.” I still find this hard to believe sometimes, but as this slowly started to grow on me, I started noticing a shift. It wasn’t a magical moment of awakening or anything, but it was an important baby step in the healing process. 

I didn’t realize it at that moment though. During my time as an obsessive-recovery-focused cavewoman, I didn’t feel like I was healing at all. The opposite, I felt like my entire life was on hold. Yet at the same time, so many things were (and are still) happening inside me in all kinds of rollercoaster ways. I realize now that those uncomfortable and overwhelming moments are actually the crucial moments in the healing process. To everyone going through similar struggles: Sometimes it feels like you’re not healing because you’re not feeling better. Often you only feel worse. I believe now that healing actually happens in those painful moments. The things that need healing, are the things you don’t want to feel. You can only start to feel better once you’re giving space to what needs to heal.

BE HUMAN

Back to the story. In this moment of slight acceptance, I started to let go of the idea that I could only start my life (including my Instagram 2.0 account), until I was my best self. Cause what does that even mean; my best self? Someone who’s perfect, always happy, in control, who never fails? That sounds pretty unhuman to me, while all I want is to feel human. To be seen, be heard and be loved as a human.

I started to do some work again here and there, stopped reading self-help books and started meeting up with friends who were understanding of my situation. And very importantly, I tried to not get disappointed with myself if I got overwhelmed, had to cancel, or needed to leave earlier than expected.

One of the jobs I did during that time was a content job for Ziengs, a Dutch shoe brand I’ve worked with for a few years (the boots I’m wearing are from their webshop!). I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed doing it because I used to feel quite some resentment towards content creation before my break. 

AND NOW?

Through that job, I realized I do love creating accessible looks that people can easily recreate. In that way I can sort of contribute to people’s lives through fashion. Especially that accessible part is important to me, as you don’t need much or anything expensive to look good. So that’s definitely what I want to continue doing on Instagram. But I also want to contribute by sharing more personal stories like this one and the one before. There is so much power in speaking openly about mental health. If I can contribute in even the smallest way in making the mental health battle something to be proud of instead of something to be ashamed of, that would make me so happy. Do you know how brave and strong we are for fighting the toughest fight there is?! 

The fight continues for me personally and is still hard. But as I said before “I’m okay as I am, it’s okay how it is. Anything that I’m able to do or experience is a plus, but without it, it’s still okay.” And so I’m back, taking things step by step. Thanks for sticking with me guys!

Quitting Instagram for a while

I’m going to quit Instagram for a while, at least until the new year. Maybe longer, depending on how I feel. Why? Short version: Instagram is giving me too much negative energy in a time where I desperately need positive energy. Long version? Okay, here we go…

Since 1.5 years I’m not doing well, physically and mentally. During this time of uncertainty, one thing did become certain: the way I use Instagram is not inspiring, motivating or healthy for me anymore. 

MENTAL ISSUES

I was recently diagnosed with a somatic disorder: “A mental disorder that manifests as physical symptoms, but cannot be explained by a medical condition.” 

Because I’ve never been able to deal with emotions and stress properly, my body expresses it through chronic fatigue, muscle pains, vision problems, and abdominal issues. 

The symptoms aren’t fake. The fatigue and pain I struggle with are real and cause a lot of distress, but the cause is simply mentally. Well, “simply”… there’s nothing simple about mental illness.

I have to learn to let go of my defense mechanisms and allow the emotions I’ve worked a lifetime to repress. Next to (re)experiencing past and present pain, I have to come to terms with how these experiences made me who I am. Someone I don’t necessarily always like. And the Insta-perfect world isn’t helping me like myself more, nor is it helping me realize that it’s normal to struggle.  

INSTAGRAM MAKES ME INSECURE & UNSATISFIED

During this time of working on myself, I need to focus on things that are really valuable in life. Real things. Real love, real support, real connection, gratitude, a safe home, nature, music, art. Not things that social media makes me believe I need in order to be happy or satisfied. Like clothes, Instagram likes, a perfect apartment, exclusive events, an adventurous life or countless coffee dates with random people. 

I know it’s not Instagram, it’s the way I react to it. But at this point, I’m not capable (and maybe never will be) to beat that primary reaction of feeling insecure and unsatisfied with myself and my life, when seeing other people’s perfect lives.

Next to feeling insecure, I feel pressured. I am a fashion influencer, which means I earn money by promoting fashion brands through my outfit posts. The constant pressure of having to post photos that will score in order to keep both you – my followers – and my (potential) clients pleased is exhausting. And not good for someone like me, who already feels like she has to constantly prove her worth to others.

“BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN YOUR FEED”

I feel a bit hypocrite writing this. I am an influencer who’s life probably looks perfect to you. And that’s exactly why I want to be open about this. I always thought I was one of the few who suffered from mental illness. Until I opened up about it and discovered that almost every person I know is dealing with or has dealt with mental health issues. I felt relieved, connected and less ashamed and alone, and I hope this little story makes you feel the same way. Even if it only removes one of the million rocks you feel laying on your shoulders.  

I once saw an Insta-post saying “Be the change you want to see on your feed.” This is a first step. Maybe I will focus more on this when I’m back, maybe I’ll continue sharing my daily looks. Maybe a bit of both. We’ll see. 

DELETING THE APP

I’ve decided to delete the Instagram app for now, so there’s no temptation for me. That makes it sound like an addiction. Well it is, a self-destructing one. When I pick up my phone, my finger automatically moves to that spot on my screen where the Instagram app is located and I unconsciously end up looking at other people’s lives for hours, instead of dealing with my own. 

So if you want to talk, know that I won’t be reading my comments or DM’s after today. Feel free to email me at lian@liangalliard.com. Though if you’re really struggling, best would be to contact a friend or family member, or even better; a therapist. The only reason I can explain my situation so clearly is because of my therapist. Without him, life would still be a big maze in which I’d still be taking the same wrong turns. It will be a long time until I reach the end of the maze – if I ever fully will – but at least the paths are slowly getting clearer. 


Either way, I’m here for you, as you guys are there for me too.

See you in the next year ♥︎

In Spring We Wear Birkenstocks

Do you agree or are you one of those Birkenstocks haters? I personally have always loved Birkenstocks! I like chuncky shoes, especially when worn with a tight pair of jeans or a dress, and Birkenstocks are the perfect chunky, yet stylish sandals to me! And the boyfriend agrees – and yet again we have the same pair of shoes…

I got this pair via Ziengs, a Dutch shoes store with the biggest collection of Birkenstocks in The Netherlands! Dus Dutchies, ga snel even kijken 😉

BIRKENSTOCK shoes (via Ziengs)
LEVI’S jeans
BONDS AUSTRALIA t-shirt

That striped knit again!

Welcome loves! Here’s what I’m wearing:

BOOHOO sweater (similar here & here)
LEVI’S jeans
ALDO sneakers (similar by Adidas)
ROCKY ROSA jewelry (via ATOD Fashion)
PRADA bag

Never judge a book by its Instagram page – Health update

Dear followers, friends, brands, pr-agencies, people I was supposed to meet or drink coffee with ages ago, I would like to explain myself by sharing a personal update on my health.

Over the past 7 months, I’ve already informed a lot of people, but I understand it can be confusing when you see photos of a – what seems to be – happy girl on Instagram. You’re right, I don’t look sick. But please remember to..

never judge a book by its cover, or in this case by its Instagram page.

My Instagram is all about fashion, which is only a tiny part of my life. But it’s an important part of my life and being able to share this passion with so many people is amazing. The fact that social media and content creation eventually became my job is also amazing and I don’t want to lose my beloved job.

Being able to work, even if it’s just a little, makes me feel worthwhile, useful and less of a patient. So during my good days, which I fortunately still have, I try to create content and schedule posts in advance, so I don’t have to worry about this when I’m not feeling well.

My Instagram is about fashion and therefore my content is a reflection of my style; not my personality, my life or how I’m feeling that day.

So what’s wrong?

March 2018 I started to feel really tired. I figured I had a burnout, so I started to take things slow. But the symptoms only got worse. It got to a point where I was constantly so exhausted I couldn’t keep up with life. I can only do about 30% of the things I used to, the other 70% I’m on the couch or in bed.

My lack of energy has made it hard to work, to do things that make me happy and to meet with people. It makes me feel insecure, useless, sad, isolated and lonely. The fact that my family lives in The Netherlands isn’t helping either. Though I’ve met great people in Sydney, I don’t have a really good friend I feel comfortable enough with to call when I’m down. It takes time and energy to build those kind of relationships. Time I have, energy I don’t.

Luckily I have my boyfriend, who’s been an amazing support.

Iron deficiency

Eventually, I got depressed and anxious, so I went to the doctor. It seemed I had severe iron deficiency, which can cause extreme fatigue and even anxiety. After 3 months of no results from daily iron supplements, I had an iron infusion 3 weeks ago. I was excited to soon be the old happy and energetic Lian again.

Unfortunately I felt even more tired afterwards and I started having pain in my legs. So bad that I have trouble walking and standing. After a few blood tests, it seems I have hypophosphatemia; an abnormally low level of phosphate in the blood. It’s beyond the point of solving it with food or supplements.

Hypophosphatemia

Hypophosphatemia is very rare and can be dangerous. The common causes of hypophosphatemia are not applicable to me, so it’s unclear what’s causing this. My doctor referred me to a kidney specialist. She told me that if something unusual happens with my health in the meantime, I immediately have to go to the hospital.

Since the cause is unclear I’m not on treatment right now, so it’s a nerve-racking wait until the kidney specialist figures out what’s wrong. This is all leaving me in an anxious state. I don’t know what’s wrong, whether it’s easy to cure, whether it’s something bad or how long it will be until I’m better. And it’s already been 7 months.

 

I’m trying to keep Instagram going as much as I can. I scheduled a couple of posts before I heard the news from the doctor last Thursday, so you’ll still get your doses of outfit inspiration even though I’m not in the best shape right now.

I hope this clears things out for everyone that I’ve disappointed by not replying or canceling/declining invitations. I also hope this shows that

what you see on social media is not necessarily a reflection of someone’s life.

Fav Comfy Sweater

Welcome loves! Here’s what I’m wearing:

ASSEMBLY LABEL sweater
TOPSHOP jeans
CONVERSE sneakers
SHEVOKE shades

Striped knit part 2498

Told you I love striped knits! Here’s what I’m wearing loves:

H&M knitted sweater
OUTLAND DENIM harriet jeans
VANS slip ons
CHANEL bag
SHEVOKE sunglasses

Orange is the new black

As stated on Instagram, I couldn’t come up with something original. But hey, I’m binge-watching Orange Is The New Black right now, so what can you do?! Here’s what I’m wearing:

NAKD jumper (use code 20LIAN to get 20% off)
NOBODY DENIM jeans (on sale!)
ASOS boots (similar  Dr Martens)
LOUIS VUITTON vintage bag