Colton Haynes's Instagram feed might be full of glamorous red carpet pics and chiseled magazine photos, but the Arrow star wants fans to know that what they see online isn't necessarily the complete reflection of his life. The actor took to Instagram on Sunday, August 18, to open up about his experiences with depression, anxiety, and substance use, and to share why it's so important for him to speak his truth and open up the discussion surrounding mental health.
The photos he posted are from his hospitalization last year, following an extended period of substance use, according to Attitude. In March 2019, he told the magazine, "In 10 years, there were maybe 25 days I didn't drink... I remember when I started, it was a couple glasses of wine, and it regressed into really dark times." At that time, he was six months sober and had just completed a four-month treatment program. And now, he wants to share his truth.
"I'm so grateful to be where I am now ( a year after these photos were taken) but man these times were dark," he wrote in the new Instagram post.
Haynes also imparted an important message: There are things far more important than projecting a seemingly "perfect" life on social media. "I don't want worrying about if I look hot or not on Instagram to be my legacy," he wrote. "I don't want to skirt around the truth to please other people or to gain economic success." And while he feels grateful to have a successful career doing what he loves, he says he has "far more important things to say than what magazine I just shot for or what tv show I'm a part of."
From here on out, the Teen Wolf star wants his social media to give fans a more unfiltered look at his life — because, like the rest of us, it's not perfect. "I no longer want to project a curated life," he wrote. "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." But until now, Haynes hasn't quite been able to find his place in the discussion.
"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 wrote. But the actor made a major breakthrough in his Attitude interview earlier this year, when he spoke openly about how his use of drugs and alcohol spiraled following his coming out in 2016. "I came out and, in a way, my downward spiral started," he told the mag. "I felt extremely free but at the same time the amount of attention I was getting was making me spin out of control."
In 2018, said he "fell apart" while dealing with the death of his mother and split from husband Jeff Leatham simultaneously. "I got so heavily involved with drugs and alcohol to mask the amount of pain I was feeling that I couldn’t even make some decisions for myself. I was drowning in my own shit."
Now, the actor would much rather use his platform to show people that they're not alone. "Worrying about what time to post on social media so I can maximize 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," he wrote before revealing why he's chosen to open up now, a year later.
"I'm a human being with flaws just like you," he added. "If ur in the middle of the dark times...I promise you it doesn't have to last forever."