Hannah Durbin is the type of person everyone wants to be around. Painstakingly optimistic and charming, she’s the friend we’d all like to have. An avid participant in the paradoxical universe known as social media, yet she is nothing like the curated versions of “happiness” we are so used to seeing. No, Hannah is more ‘second serving of apple pie’ on the 4th of July HAPPY – what you see is not for show.
In this day and age, knowing people like her is a must, and we were lucky enough to kick off our #staytruflask series by getting to know her a little better. Read on; you might be surprised by what it took for her to find such joy in a world consumed by everything that’s supposedly designed to make you, well, happy.
Q: Your IG name is “healthy_happy_hannah” can you explain how this name came about and what it means to you?
I developed this name about two years ago, after brainstorming what words would best encompass my newly rediscovered (and fully recovered) identity. When I was lost in the throws of my eating disorder, happiness was inconceivable to me. I was a shell of myself, completely hollow on the inside. My mind was consumed by torturous thoughts. Upon reaching recovery, I came alive. I never imagined a life as full, and as special, as the life I am living now. Throughout the evolution of my account, I feel as though I have continually connected myself with these words on a more intimate level. Health and happiness are two aspects of my life I now pride myself on, and I encourage all to embrace. Although it seems silly, associating myself with my “Healthy Happy Hannah” Instagram persona is something I love. It proves to not only myself, but to all others that this journey is well worth it.
Q: Amazing! So when someone who doesn’t know you comes across your social media, blog etc. what if anything, do you want to convey to them? What do you want them to know?
Above all else, I want them to know that the resiliency of the human spirit is something we must embrace, enjoy, and utilize to its greatest capacity. Whether our struggles arise from mental illness, self-doubt, or just from the nature of being human, they are all equally as detrimental to our alignment with self-love. With a resilient mind and a hopeful heart, permanent separation from these struggles is possible, and unapologetic self-love can be achieved.
Q: What are the best and worst parts of social media?
Social media has allowed for me to spread my message of hope and strength to thousands, opening new doors and sparking a fire in the hearts of those who need it. The ability to communicate my story on a universal platform is something special, and something that repeatedly leaves me speechless. While my account has the power to bring light into the lives of others, I also acknowledge that my approach to recovery may not work for everyone. While coming to terms with this, I have seen that there will always be people who ridicule, criticize, and doubt me. My platform is unique in the sense that full recovery, for me, was about finding balance in the things that once were the source of my addictions. In other words, I needed to face my demons and conquer them. I realize that this is not easy, and sometimes is not feasible for all people – recovery is unique, and looks different for everyone. While I hope that my account is helpful and inspiring, I still struggle to let go of the hurtful remarks and ill-intentioned criticisms that come my way.
Q: Well said. It seems like you are always smiling, what’s your secret to happiness and JOY in life?
Balance. I heard this word a million times throughout my recovery, but never understood all of the freedom that it would bring, until now. I have never experienced anything as deeply genuine as the joy I have recently come to find. It carries over into all aspects of my life. By finding balance with food, exercise, relationships, school, work, and everything else on my plate, I have discovered the beauty in spontaneity, independence, and happiness. By decreasing the pressure I placed on myself for perfection, I’ve come to see myself in a much more forgiving lens. It’s not about being perfect – it’s about finding a balance that works for you.
Q: What does it mean to you to “stay tru” and describe how you do this on a daily/weekly basis?
It means embracing my internal beauty, along with the flaws. It means appreciating all of the strengths and weaknesses that flow through your veins. In my eyes, “staying tru” means respecting the passions that harbor within you, and not settling for anything less than a life that fulfills them. It is openly speaking about your struggles, and being comfortable with admitting that you are only human. It’s being you. I allow for myself to be vulnerable on a daily basis. The walls I built over the years have slowly been torn down, allowing for my true spirit to shine through. I am not ashamed or embarrassed by my struggles, but rather proud of my ability to overcome them. I have been blessed with another chance at life, and I promise to never waste a single moment of it being anything other than the person I’ve worked so hard to become.
Q: On most days, you can be found________?
You can find me running around like a chicken with my head cut off during the week, bouncing between classes and study sessions, personal training sessions with my clients, in my favorite coffee shop catching up with my influx of emails, or in the gym relieving stress with a workout. On the weekends, don’t expect to find me anywhere but my favorite brunch spots, enjoying a few drinks at the bar across the street, or in bed with The Office on a continuous loop.
Q: Best piece of advice you have ever received?
A dear friend of mine once told me that it’s not how fast you go that matters, but rather the intention behind your steps that makes the difference. In these words, I found the inspiration I needed to keep moving forever forward. I don’t have to take leaps and bounds toward the finish line; I just need to embrace persistence and understand that discovering the purpose in my journey will come in due time.
— TF Team #staytruflask