It’s Mine, Not Yours…

We live in a society where it’s become more important to look cool and APPEAR happy on social media than it is to be a genuine person. That said, let me just start this post off with the main point and get it over with:  I am unbothered by how bothered people (apparently) are that I have deactivated my Facebook profile.

If it’s that important for people to discuss amongst themselves, to speak ill of it, to assume that it has something to do with them (apparently, several people decided that I had just blocked or removed them and that it was something personal to them), or to assume that my disappearance there (again – it’s not like I don’t take random social media breaks – clearly I take long hiatuses here, too, if you look at my post schedule for the last few years) has something very defining to say about the state of my mental health as though I don’t share openly about not only my mental health but my entire life EVERYWHERE: it’s just not that deep. It’s really not.

Neither my very open sharing nor my random complete vanishing acts are that deep. It’s not a plot, a ploy, or a campaign for or against anything. It’s just me being me, just like for the majority of everyone else it’s just them being them. It’s just being real. Authentic. Me. ((internal scream))

This post is for THOSE people – because those people will be people who know about this blog – and anyone else who ever negatively reacted to or spoke about a person they knew who decided to be “weird,” “mental,” “sensitive,” or viewed as otherwise abnormal because the person – GOD FORBID – deacctivated, deleted, hid, or removed a social media profile.

Honestly. Get over yourselves.

I have long had the open opinion that social media is the devil more than the angel in the “devil/angel/shoulder” triad. I’ve always been super verbal about this. I have also, however, always been a person who subjugated myself to the BS that social media tends to inevitably be and bring because I often feel as though I MUST meet the social requirements of family and friends who “won’t see or know what is going on with the boy” or “in my life” if I’m not on (specifically) Facebook (because, you know, THAT is the one EVERYBODY uses).

Admittedly, and especially during the time that my mom was sick or during times when I’ve had a lot going on emotionally during COVID and isolation, I have spent a lot of time on the book of faces sharing my thoughts and baring my soul. It’s easy to do when you keep a limited friends list (mine has been between 50 and 60 people, mostly family for a few years now).

It always starts the same way when I get back on the social medias: I reactivate or rejoin so that I can be in these groups (mostly private ones) for support around certain causes (with mom it was dementia, and I’ve also been heavily active in other groups about everything from specific mental health issues like anxiety and depressions to coping with alcoholism to photography to coping mechanisms and grief to writing prompts to cleaning tips and online, chronological recipe roledexes)…but I ALWAYS end up wanting to educate my f-list about things or share with people that I THINK are close and real friends (and let’s be fair – 80% are) only to end up offending someone because I have an opinion, EVEN if they agree with the opinion but don’t think it is something I should share on the interwebs.

So, now that an entirely too long preface to the fruit of this post (despite the fact that I started this post with my main point) is finished – clearly, my long form writing is out of practice – let me share with you this glorious, foggy Sunday morning (where I am) my list of 5 things that I have considered at length over recent days and feel that every person should remember (or be reminded not to forget if they haven’t already forgotten these things):

1. Social media is preferred by most to be an illusion of a FAKE existence/reality and you can’t be a genuine and 100% authentic person on social media without being punished or judged by SOMEONE at SOME POINT. End of story.

2. Nobody cares. It sounds apathetic, but it’s true. The majority of people on public social media (not your close friends on your private posts, necessarily) DO NOT CARE about anything you post unless it is a picture of something they find aesthetically pleasing or that they think is hilarious (think, for the most part, kittens and other baby animals). They do not want to read words and they do not care to expand their mind or expound on their thoughts (or yours). Personally, I even (and, frequently) get insulted for USING WORDS, big and small, too much on social media. Go figure, right? ((dry laugh))

3. If you already struggle with mental health issues like depression and anxiety or personal issues like lack of self-esteem, self-confidence or self-love, SOCIAL MEDIA WILL MAKE THOSE ISSUES WORSE and contribute to your pain more than it will help you to face your demons and grow (again, in some cases people have used social media to overcome certain fears and issues, and there are some wonderful private groups on social media and many sites and forums online that are incredibly helpful for some people, but for the most part it (public social media) is not a safe or healthy place for the already struggling mind/psyche).

4. Just like in real life (haha), people do not want you to genuinely love them, genuinely try to get to know them, genuinely take interest in them as an individual human being, or genuinely give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to what shreds of truth and actuality they share on social media. They just want a lot of likes and compliments.

And, on that same note, those SAME people will be the people who ALWAYS pop up in your comments with some negative or completely abject and contradictory (to their own actual existence – because they’ll basically say that something is OK for them but not for anyone else) stance on posts that (again) really aren’t that deep. “Opinons are like assholes, everybody has one,” and if you don’t want to be shit on? If you’re going through a period where you are feeling less than or a time during which your skin is pretty thin? Stay off of social media.

5. Finally, the last but main point to remember when it comes to being on social media in 2020: at the end of the day, no matter how much you fight and bleed and protest and try to explain to the world through words and pictures what is wrong and how to fix it when it comes to political and social issues? The best way to accomplish that is STILL and always will be grassroots movements and activism, whether through writing or speaking, and otherwise making your voice heard in your own local communities and branching out from there.

You’ve got to remember that social media is just a bunch of noise at this point – a bunch of people with the intellectual advancement of a kindergardener (smart and not so smart kindergardeners) all yelling and raising their voices at once to share opinons, not facts, without first raising their hands and asking questions or hearing the objective opinons and voices of reason from people who know what the hell they are actually talking about.

Sorry, Trump fans, but it’s very much like Trump sitting in a briefing with Dr. Fauci to be briefed about COVID, not paying a lick of attention because he already has his mind made up and believes that he knows everything and doesn’t need one of the top infectious disease doctors in the world to help him (depsite the privilege that that is, in reality), and then getting on the podium in front of the whole nation and rambling on about how he is the most terrific person ever doing all the greatest and most wonderful things, playng down COVID in the few words that he uses to mention it, making a few insults about the intelligence of everyone in the nation for being anxious or afraid concerning COVID, calling leading doctors and professionals unintelligent and telling people to drink clorox (he says it was taken out of context, but…uhhhhh), going back to talking about himself for a bit longer, and then ending on a note of, “you’re stupid, this is not reporting, you’re a moron because you care about facts and not how wonderful I am, sit down, you’re fake news….”

Seriously. That’s what social media has turned into…

And, that’s why I needed a break from it – espeically now, during all of these insane election happenings… I would rather read a 20-minute read time blog post that educates me about something than look at your pointless meme about Trump’s tan or Biden’s age (and information skewing memes about dementia when you’ve never lived with, cared for, or been a caregiver to a person who actually HAS dementia), or waste my time trying to talk to people who are SO comitted to seeing the world in literal black and white and not understanding that there is SO MUCH GREY AREA and so much we can learn from each other’s thoughts and experiences.

Ultimately, for the people who inspired this post? My social media is mine, not yours. And yours is yours and no one else’s, so you should do with yours whatever you well please to do with it but don’t forget the realities shared above and don’t let it stress you out too much…and if it does or it begins to? Write it out elsewhere – in a blog, or even a text to me or a close friend. I mean, really – talk it out, whatever thing is bothering you. You do what you do, but don’t let social media have SO MUCH CONTROL over your life.

Sigh… I hope you’re all doing well. Thank you for listening to (reading) my rant. Please, share your thoughts and experiences in the comments. And? Look for photoblogs and random fun things from me in the coming hours and days. I went so far as to literally run away from my house I was so sick (physically) and stressed out. Minicay = photoblogs for your enjoyment, coming soon…

A Rare Moment…

…a very raw, and real one – one of the ones I almost always keep private…

April 5, 2017. 10:55AM

First of all, how is it that my writing today coincides exactly with the timing of my writing about volatility on March 28th, the last time I day-journaled? That’s weird…or not…but mostly, yes.

Today I feel ESPECIALLY volatile. In fact, I just texted that to a friend. The reasons are many. I haven’t had sleep in many hours (one hour, about, in the last 36 or so hours). Anxiety is the fault AND the cause of that, and of many things in and of itself. And all of those things are the cause of many other things. I mean, it’s like I told the fairy god-therapist recently:  we can sit around analyzing that until we’re blue in the face and we’ve managed to work our way all the way back to our time in the womb, maybe even before that based on some belief systems, but it’s going to solve NOTHING about now. I hate that sort of cognitive psychology. Mind stripping bullshit… I hate it, but yet I love it and it’s a huge part of my personality – especially personality and understanding of self – to do just that.

Today, due to lack of sleep, due to anxiety, due to the chaos of thoughts that NEED to escape my mind and can’t escape fast enough, and then annoyingly get lost and ruin my train of thought all together and then I almost obsessively try to start all over (with that cognitive bullshit that I have a love/hate relationship with)…I just feel volatile. This flood of expressive thoughts that I can’t express fast enough, and all the noise around me – even the little noises like the birds chirping – make my head feel like it will explode.

They are like fingernails on a chalkboard, even the positive, happy sounds that we often invite into our environments. Everything makes my brain feel like it’s going to explode and all I want is perfect stillness and perfect quiet – kind of like the “perfect darkness” you achieve deep in caves, which is the only place on the planet you can ever achieve that. I don’t know where to go to achieve a literal perfect stillness and quiet in this physical world, and I certainly can’t escape to a cognitive version of it, even with meditation, with this “dis-ease” that seems to be swallowing my mind and consciousness.

I have been getting to know a new, light-warrior friend via Instagram through chat, and I was just expressing a similar (but not nearly as immediate frustration) in a conversation last night, during the peak of that episode of insomnia. I relayed how I have found myself simultaneously nodding my head and saying, “yes,” out loud as I’d read each thought they shared, whether in their posts or conversation on my posts or the human transactions that were being shared via DM, and how I was so grateful for that but it was also overwhelming.

Isn’t that so odd! To connect with someone who also wishes to spread love and positivity and happiness… Light…. And to be so blinded by that because of my condition. It both took me by surprise and made me sad. I was so happy – ecstatic, almost – to have felt such a deeper level connection with someone again and to have these conversations, but also sad and annoyed at my brain and chemicals and processes being as they are so that I also felt such an immediate and almost panicky need to express all of this I was feeling because I’d forgotten it all once before and I didn’t want to lose it again before I understood it, but mostly before I LEARNED from it.

A conversation ensued about the issue of “dis-ease” and I shared about how I will have down days, sad days, mad days, doubtful days, as part of my “dis-ease” as they call it (doctors and therapists and so on – the “helpers”). Even as a part of my grief. But the reality is that there can be kindness and love shared from THEIR realities (“normal, functioning” realities that they exist in, within themselves) versus MINE (the disturbed, lost, seeking, hurting, grieving, sick version of myself that I have become). They’re just so judgmental, in their perfect little boxes, conforming to a broad spectrum of socially acceptable norms that I don’t fit.

They don’t tell me or teach me positive things. They constantly teach me or relay to me, whether they mean to or not, that I am broken or in some way not good enough. I know I need HELP with my issues and conditions but I do not need to be FIXED. There’s a difference and that’s very frustrating and counter-productive for me.  This new friend said to me, “what if you just looked at it as down days or feeling anxious, instead of labeling it a disease? Don’t listen to mainstream media, doctors or anyone that has no concepts of living outside of that box. You can help ease some of the anxiety and depression simply by not ever calling it a disease anymore. You just have more ups and downs and anxieties a little more often than others. Yet all the same – we are all sharing these same emotions. You’re not alone – just let them come and go. The words we say to ourselves mean everything – shaping reality thought by thought and word by word.”

It was really fascinating because it was like reading back my own expressions not so long ago – mostly, before heartbreak and death… I LOVE it. I totally get where they were coming from because I used to 100% be and live as that person with that mindset. And then, the “dis-ease” of it became a reality that suddenly touched, and then began to swallow me. It was almost like a suitor, wooing me – that’s how it always happens. It woos me and taunts me with certain aspects of it that are appealing to me (the melancholy, the muse of it, the creative expression that comes from it) and then once it begins it sucks me into this “toxic relationship” whereby I end up swallowed in darkness with NONE of those appealing qualities actually being a part of it. It’s a sneaky little bastard, that one.

And it IS disease. It IS illness. There is no escaping from or denying that, or there is no getting better at all. It’s a variance back and forth, for me personally, with the things I face mentally, between believing that our words can shape and even literally heal us and accepting that sometimes that’s just not the case. It’s like cancer – some people are healed and they claim that their believing was part of the recipe. But that doesn’t work for everyone.

When Dorie died I came to accept that even if everyone else believes along with you, with all they have, with all their being, sometimes it’s just not enough to overcome death. It’s similar with my mental health – it’s a hard balance to find when a) it’s hard to find meaning and purpose and believe in positivity and self-worth (depression, ptsd) and b) I’m working with therapists/doctors to try to get help for the medical aspect of it (replacing/balancing hormones and chemicals in the body, along with healing my physical body from the damages of chronic physical illness and rebalancing and at least stopping further damage, even though I can never really repair what’s already wrong – celiac disease).

Those people, as I just mentioned, may be trying to help you in a gentle way (as human beings doing the best they can) but the system is flawed because it’s always spoken about in such a negativistic way. What COULD you do? What SHOULD you do? How COULD you or SHOULD you change and what COULD you or SHOULD you change? All of this, when from the other side of their mouths (and the spiritualist parts of society and our selves), it’s all about how we’re all good enough, worthy, loved, made of love, perfectly designed, etc. Really? Because that’s not how it feels when you struggle with mental illness.

It’s because it IS a disease, down to a physical level. I can’t pretend it’s not or I end up missing out (due to escapism and avoidance) some of the good and even best ways I can be helped. But, at the same time, what that person shared does apply. The disbelieving and the labels and the basic bullshit of American medicine are not helpful factors and it IS important to try to steer clear of those things from a subjective place within ourselves. I love that suggestion and somewhere inside me I DO still believe and need to live more from that place. But mental illness is part of a two-sided coin of very real medical condition for me and it’s all so very hard to cope and to live with.

I try to remain in that positive space regardless and to not give up on myself or doubt when I step outside the positivity zone – I try to avoid definitions and labels of failure or success from that perspective, and I tried to address that in some writing I did about how just continuing to try is, in itself, success for ALL of us. That’s what I encourage others to do, and I know that I have to walk the talk as much as possible, mistakes though I might (WILL) make, and just continue to walk and grow. I feel like if I owe anything to anyone I owe THAT to my SELF, to my loved ones, and to the world. We all do. Just our best, and our love. You know?

He understood all this, even in all it’s chaotic and insomnia-influenced version of expression. He said, “Definitely – always breathe and be grateful for NOW…and YOUR continued journey. It’s not selfish to live and dance for the ones that no longer can… We are all here by ourselves, really, anyway. Love yourself, talk to yourself. Be your own best friend (again). It could a long one, friend!” And he is so right – that, what he described in those statements, that’s who I’ve always been. Even in my darkest times and struggles with depression and mental illness in my past, I was always able to hold on to that somewhere and  now, with her death, it FEELS like that is gone. And I’m so terrified at every level because I literally feel as though I have lost myself.

I love his perspective and his confidence in life and in love – and so many of my other kindred spirits in that community. I can’t even wait to write more posts from the food for though he/they have gifted me. I can’t wait to continue these conversations together and with the world at large. But it’s also daunting, because I have very little faith in myself that I CAN do that. The darkness says, “there’s no light, tunnel or not, you are deluding yourself.” The me that desperately seeks to not become wholly lost forever strives to believe and convince myself that that itself is the delusion. How ridiculous this carousel is, and seems to remain…

In closing, for now, I thank you for reading, and for existing as a very important part of the tool set for me to at least attempt to express myself. I am so grateful for you.  I wish you all the love and light that I want to believe is out there and within you and me – all the light, everywhere. May we all continue to seek it and to find it, and even if in the most unexpected of places and ways may we always allow it in.

C.