This week I saw a friend who is known for spiralling fits of depressing and public posts that range from pathetic to funny to worry some, posted a message.
On the news, when people die of suicide, we often read of their friends saying they’d so this sort of thing all the time. How are you supposed to know when your friend is calling wolf, or when he is being mauled by a wolf. We like to think it’s easier these days, because if they’re posting about a wolf attack on Facebook, then there is a good chance they are not actually being mauled. It’s pretty easy to post to Facebook these days, but if you are actually under attack, it’s probably not your first priority.
Instead, people like to post that they are worried about being attacked. They like to vent and complain because Facebook listens and you can pick and chose which responses you care about and ignore the people who have not yet learned how to be compassionate. I’m over 50, but I will admit that almost all of my life, I have not been a good person to react to your woes when they get really bad. I tend to run away from your problems… or worse.. comment with a hurtful message that in my head was appropriate, but out loud it makes things worse. I look to logic and other topics to comfort, and it’s almost always worsening the situation.
I am a horrible rodeo clown.
On Facebook and other posting places however, a lot of people don’t really want my reply. They don’t post a message directly asking for any reply. They just want the world to know it’s not good at the mo moment… but anyone who exists on Facebook and has any friends with drama or mental health issues… we all know it’s hard to react to those. It’s hard to know how to react to a Facebook friend’s grief. It can actually be … Well, it can make people run away from you. The guy on Facebook that only posts depressing things is hard to follow. He’s hard to be friends with. If I feel this, I can know some others too. I don’t like being annoying.
So the two messages I saw from this online poster were hidden. A secret code that I figured out. It was a depression sign. The type everyone ignores… and then talks about when the local news team is interviewing you after the suicide, and you say… Well the signs were all there, even today… but we all ignored it. Imagine how that feels. To them, they were crying as loud as they could imagine, to everyone.. and people walked by. If you’re depressed, and you think you tell everyone and they keep walking… it must really make it worse.
Since I woke up this morning, I knew it wasn’t going to be a great Monday. I knew it was not going to be the Monday where I wake up, sit in my chair and say; Let’s start this week off and get a lot done today. I have those Mondays. Sometimes they start on Tuesday or later, but those are good days.
Today is the Monday you see posters about. The low mood Mondays other people talk about, when I am celebrating the new week with a cake. Today, I am venting… Maybe I’ll even put on some Boomtown rats, although the lyrics of that Monday’s song and the backstory are not as great as the tune and chorus.
So the decision is… I have close friends who know me. They know my silent suffering. I have friends who suffer their own god weeks and bad. I have friends who medicate under doctors orders and without… but my public persona is not. He is a happy guy that solves your problems, and you can trust.
That persona and reputation have taken a lot of hits as I grew older and allowed myself to let people down, but it’s still a big step to go all crazy and have a breakdown on Facebook. As much as I’d love to post my depression… I don’t. Like the rest of the hidden society of crazy, we might click LIKE on National Happy Day, and donate a dime of somebody else’s money… and we may social chatter about it, and say things like; My friend has bipolar… but people know that mental illness is on the list to become more socially acceptable, but it’s not there yet. As a people, we’ve only just let coloured people drink at our water fountains and gay people to kiss where we can see.
A lot of people post bait messages. They won’t say HELP ME in a subject, but they’ll post something that means the same, however, if nobody replies, it’s just more ammunition to ignite inside. Nobody cares. Maybe they’ll cut themselves to feel something, just to make sure they’re alive – and somebody will have to notice that… but then they’re sure to cut in places they can hide…
I write… and then feel depressed nobody is reading and praising my words… except nobody is seeing my words. I’m to scared to share. It’s a catch 22 of my creating. Am I secretly happy with failure because I can control it. If I attempt for public judgement, it could be worse than where I am now.
I don’t want to be famous.
I just want a few fans. (copyright 2013)
I know others online with difficulties, and I assume there are more than I know. Mental illness is a word in the culture now, but it’s still effected by that memories from our Moms. Don’t stare at that boy Jeffrey. It’s not nice. I want to help make you smile. But I know it’s so easy to make it worse, and then we both feel bad… so I tend to run away. It’s so hard for me not to make a joke when I read the message you send me about somebody’s death.
So people post on Facebook silly unanswered questions, and they’ve figured it out. People will reply without knowing what the issue is, and then you get to choose who to share with. People who don’t care will move on, but at least you are not hurt, because they’re not ignoring your tragedy, they’re ignoring the wolf cry and that’s ok. I’ve followed up on a lot of sympathy fishing messages if I’m in the mood… but I understand them better now. I don’t think I’ll post one. I was tempted. I almost vented. I almost shared. I almost… My life slogan:
I almost did something.
I’ve said versions of this a lot. I’ve actually had the nerve to use “almost” as a gift. I tell people about great ideas I had for their gifts, or practical jokes. I describe inventions and business ideas as my own when other people get rich off them. I take a separate, lower level of pride with other people’s success, and am content with joy of thinking. I just have not mastered how to ask.
There are a lot of reasons to be shy of asking for help. It’s so much easier to answer. Asking offers the risk of offending or being rejected. Answering is always easy.
Asking is exhausting. I avoid it.
Today… I hope nobody asks me for anything.
side note: The two postings from a friend were this. The first one appeared with no comment and then was replaced the next day with the second one. Can you imagine how I was able to see this as a cry for help and possible depression suicide warning sign? Perhaps my seeing that level of sadness in this is actually more a warning sign of my own current level of depression. My own perception of the world is slanting my view.