If you were my Facebook friend between 2009-2012, I greatly apologize. I know whenever my “On This Day” memories come up I am going to stare at the screen for ten minutes straight, with question marks in my eyes, and wonder how I managed to have friends. Thanks to social media we can now have a written account of how stupid we used to be then receive a reminder to look at it! What a time to be alive. 2009 was the “prime” of my existence. I am going to go ahead and assume that 99% of those posts were made while I was drinking a Joose, drunk on the beach somewhere. Later that year I became pregnant with my oldest, so obviously a wild and crazy time.
I think the most amazing part about the posts are how much I overshared without actually sharing anything. I told people what kind of cereal I ate or whose house I was about to go to but never shared what I was actually going through. I think that is the problem with social media today and why we feel such a strong disconnect to each other.
I have always been pretty open but my sarcasm and humor can deteriorate the seriousness of what I go through. It is a coping mechanism of sorts but I also just happen to find some of my struggle funny. Depression makes you super whiny. I own up to that whineyness. I am one of the whiniest people I know. I think part of the reason people do not open up when they feel depressed is because they feel whiny and that boxes you in. The feeling that only you could feel this way is extremely isolating. You become alone in this box trapped by your own emotion with no way out. While you are stuck in this box your thoughts keep adding more and more duck tape to the walls making them harder and harder to break through. To try and escape this box you hop on Facebook. JENNY WHY!? Jenny just got back from the Cayman Islands and is living it up while you are stuck in this box.
Oh no, here comes more tape.
When you have constant access to someone else’s life you forget that you need to see them in real life too. Jenny failed to mention that this trip was paid for by her parents. Jenny failed to mention she has also been feeling the same way you do and that is why this trip was so important for her. Jenny just is not going to share that mess with you on Facebook.
I have to take periodic breaks from Facebook for my own mental health. It is not that I do not love seeing people’s happiness (I am a huge sucker for a chunky baby and new puppies) but sometimes I also want to see something real. I want to know what life is like with people first hand not just what they want me to see. I want to walk through struggle with you and cry on your shoulder. I want to grab your hand during the times where you feel alone and reassure you that I have been there. At some point or another, we need that.
At my middle school there was always a big ordeal with “fake friends.” Back then it is what you called someone when they were your friend to your face but talked about you behind your back. Now we have all grown up and have a bigger, BETTER, collection of “fake friends,” but instead of talking behind our backs we do not talk at all. Thankfully, once we break out of that box we have placed ourselves in the real people will find us and we will find them. It is up to us to take that first step. There may be seasons where we feel we have no one and there may be seasons where our heart is so full we could burst. Either way, take it and own it. Learn from it and grow in it. Share the highlights but also share the outtakes. If you are still searching for “your people” it just means they are still searching to find you too. They need you as badly as you need them and they can not wait to meet you. In the meantime, take care of you. Water and tend to the gifts you have been given so when you do find them you will be ready to fill each other up. Set up a standing schedule with someone you want to get to know better. Step out of your comfort zone and reach out to those you feel drawn.
Stay hopeful and keep running the race, my friends.