Katie Eu’s Instagram profile might seem, on the surface, to be a mere collection of picturesque snapshots, much like countless others. Yet, delve a little deeper, and you’ll discover that these posts paint a profound narrative of her mental health journey. Eu provides raw and honest insights about her struggles with anxiety and depression, illuminating a path that many of her 100,000 followers relate to.
At a tender age of 11, while residing in Hong Kong, the weight of anxiety and depression first bore down on Eu. In a society where mental health discussions were taboo, she sought solace online. Sites like Tumblr became her sanctuary where she began identifying her feelings. Recalling this period, Eu speaks of the immense challenges, saying, “It was so hard to do anything.”
However, recognition of her mental struggles was just the beginning. Adolescence became a maze of emotions, thoughts, and academic pressures, navigated without professional guidance. Recognizing the need for a major life shift, Eu, with her family’s support, moved to the U.S. at 15 for a fresh start. This relocation brought her closer to professional help. Her initial therapy session in high school was limited, designed mainly for emergencies, but it led to deeper, more beneficial therapeutic sessions.
With the encouragement of her therapist, a brain scan was administered, providing Eu with tangible proof of the physiological basis for her mental health struggles. Subsequent prescription medications became a pivotal turning point, allowing her to regulate her feelings. Despite this, challenges persisted, and she sought intensive therapy in Arizona in 2020.
Parallel to her personal recovery, Eu’s digital presence on Instagram morphed from aesthetic images to a wellness-focused narrative. Long captions detailing her therapeutic learnings resonated deeply with her growing audience. Particularly, her series called “Project 50” became an instant hit, encapsulating daily wellness habits.
Her educational guides, such as “How to: Be Alone” and “How to: Become That Girl” based on a TikTok trend, were not only beneficial for her followers but therapeutic for Eu herself. Despite criticisms of social media’s effect on mental health, for her, it became a means to curate a healing space. This passion for sharing extended to her newsletter and podcast, wherein she delves deeper into destigmatizing the mental health journey.
As Eu embarks on a master’s program in behavioural science in the UK, she remains dedicated to her online community. Although she’s firm about not making social media her career, the positive impact she’s had on countless lives drives her. Reflecting on her journey, she proudly states, “Every single experience has forced me to become the person I am today, and I’m very happy with that person.”