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In a bid to free myself from an unforgiving addiction, I made the executive decision to give up Instagram for a week.

Like the majority of my millennial contemporaries, I use Instagram quite a bit. Regularly updating my Insta-feed and constantly checking likes is embedded in my generation’s social programming, right?

Brutal honesty time: by ‘quite a bit’ I mean ‘excessively’; by ‘regularly’ I mean ‘every damn second’. Yes, I am a self-confessed Instagram addict.

Suffering chronic thumb pain and countless interventions from friends and family, I realised extreme action needed to be taken. My challenge: to give up Instagram for a week and survive / resist temptation / not break down and lose my grip on reality.

I had visions of cheerless commutes to work, of lying in bed in the morning feeling helplessly lost, of maniacally attempting to fill my Instagram-free time.

No, this wasn’t just an experiment. This was a detox I needed, desperately. A full system-reset to make sure my unhealthy habits weren’t pushing me past the point of no return.

So, it began.

Day 1

What on earth should I do with all this spare time? I tried to occupy myself with such trivial activities as human contact. Yet mid-conversation I found myself, unconsciously, tapping the spot where the app used to sit on my iPhone screen, in hope of a quick Insta-update. That’s when I knew it was going to be a long week.

Day 2

So much time, so few ways to fill it.

Day 3

It was a lazy sunny Sunday afternoon: all I wanted was a hit of beautifully filtered imagery. Bored. So very bored.

Day 4

Weirdly, things are looking up. I woke up for the first time on the detox – in fact, for as long as I can remember – without a craving for filtered, sensationalised images of moments in other people’s lives. Could I be through the dreaded withdrawal phase?

Day 5

I managed to make it to the evening without even thinking about the app. Virtual high five!

Day 6

Today was a day of reflection. I had almost completed the seven day Insta-fast and couldn’t believe how easy it had become to filter the filtered out of my life.

Day 7

The last day of anything is always bittersweet. I’m excited to be reacquainted with my long lost love but simultaneously sad to leave a life void of staged, glorified imagery.

And… I made it.

The verdict

As I reflect on the past week, I can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. I’d survived! Yet it’s about more than just perseverance: I’d revisited a life pre-social media addiction.

In my spare time I’d picked up a book and surfed news websites. I’d people-watched and observed my surroundings. Seemingly commonplace activities that had been so easily replaced with mindless, numbing technology.

Giving up Instagram not only stopped the thumb pain and angry screams of family and friends, it also kicked my addiction and encouraged me to see life again through an unfiltered, real screen.

Detox: successful.

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Mimi Nightingale
Having studied a degree in Communications and Advertising, Mimi is an ardent writer and media enthusiast. Her interests include words, live music and participating in millennial driven activities such as Netflix bingeing and excessive Instagram consumption. She is currently at large cutting a swathe through London's nightlife.