CALL ME!!!

Has anyone else noticed that the whole “we’re in this together” thing has sort of morphed into “now I’m depressed and you’re in this alone”? CALL ME!!!

Take me off this thread before I turn it into a noose and hang myself!

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“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, PLEASE TAKE ME OFF THIS THREAD ASAP. I CANNOT DO IT MYSELF AND NEED TO BE PERMANENTLY REMOVED. Thank you and happy new year.”

That is the first text I sent this year. It was 12:02am on January 1st, 2019. After receiving a flurry of ridiculous celebratory texts with exploding fireworks, streamers, and flashing metallic symbols, I simply snapped.

Texting can be useful. I am still young enough that I prefer to text than call via old fashioned cell phone. Texting is easier, less complicated, more to the point. I admit to being frustrated by folks who insist on a more “personal” approach and only respond to an actual voice a la old- timey Ma’ Bell telephone line. But come on, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

I joined my most recent group text because my good friend was undergoing back surgery in Phoenix and I wanted to be kept abreast of all surgery-related details. I fully understood how overwhelming it would be for her out-of-state brother to text all 35 of her BFFs  with multiple and individual updates. I dutifully followed her as she prepped for surgery, went under the knife, and began her convalescence. That was two weeks ago.

I’ve been able to talk with her since, visit her in person, and gratefully acknowledge her slow and steady commencement towards recovery. So why am I still receiving 50 texts a day from her family and entourage? I know I sound mean. I sound selfish, nasty and uncaring. But I can’t take it.

I have a lot of people in my circle who require time, energy, attention, patience, bolstering, etc… I do my best to be there for those to whom I’ve promised those things. I also love meeting and inviting new people into my personal realm. But I did not choose all 35 of these newcomers and I don’t need to know how much “love and healing energy” every one of them is sending twelve times a day. I really don’t. Nor do I need to know who is making the CVS run at 2pm, who is “not really stepping up,” or who looks best in their NYE sparkle.

Plus I’m fairly annoyed by technology in general these days. 1. It works for everyone except me and only works for me when I don’t actually need it. This serves to piss me off on an hourly basis. 2. Nothing technological is intuitive to me. For a time-saving, revolutionary mode of communication, it takes me an absurd amount of time to accomplish the simplest tasks. The other day I spent 3 hours (literally) trying to figure out how to post a blog on my new website. (Luckily my 14 year old son heard me sobbing in a corner of my closet and accomplished this nearly impossible feat within seconds.) 3. Apple is evil.

I have a love/hate relationship with Apple. I love my MacBook pro, my iPhone 10, my awesome camera and video capabilities,  and  the ease of editing on iMovie. I hate that every few months all of my charger cords stop working, you constantly need to upgrade hardware and software with the newest and shiniest stuff, not because it offers you any improvement in performance whatsoever, but because the almighty Apple stock holders and executives need access to ever- growing revenue streams. Finally, I hate Apple because  I cannot stop iTunes from randomly playing “Abba Dabba Dabba Said the Monkey to the Chimp.” every time I put my Fiat 500 into reverse. It’s weird. And creepy.

But now I have truly discovered their sick, twisted plot to drive us all insane. There is no way out of group texts! Oh sure you can find easy-to-follow instructions on line. They tell you to simply click here and here, then  hit “leave this conversation,” and you’re free. But that only works if everyone on the flippin’ list is using iMessage. If there’s even one Android user, you’re screwed. I am not making this up! If it’s not a “pure race” of apple users, the best you can do is mute the ever-constant notification bings. But you can NEVER fully escape!

I am not a big “regulate the internet” advocate. I actually dig the whole wild west spirit of bold risk leading to bold rewards. But somehow we need to protect those of us who made the mistake of gently joining a thread of well meaning do-gooders, only to learn that they are eternally and inextricably bound to this gaggle of arbitrary strangers until death do us part.

Please, write to your senator or something. Or at least remove people from your thread efficiently, kindly and respectfully.

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I get depressed…often. I hate it. But it is my reality. I used to feel totally alone in this state of dismay. But since I’ve committed to shattering the stigma around mental illness, and have been increasingly vocal about my depression, I’ve discovered how frightfully communal this dark state of being actually is.

So I started pressing people for specifics about their particular depressions. “Is it purely a chemical imbalance?” I would ask. “Or angst over a particular hurdle in life? Painful  family situation? Lack of social network?” The answers have been fascinating. But one in particular continues to stand out to me.

“I just feel like I’m missing all this joy,” one of my interview subjects proclaimed. As we talked further, I surmised that her feelings had a lot to do with envy. “It just seems like everyone else is so happy and connected and out there enjoying life.” And suddenly it hit me, this is about Facebook. OK, not just Facebook, but social media in general.

Social media is destroying our happiness. Now this isn’t a new concept.There are lots of studies that prove that the more you’re engaged in social media, the higher your likelihood of suffering from depression. Plus the numbers don’t lie.

We have teens killing themselves in epic proportions. The teen suicide rate has increased more than 70% over the last decade. Our median age of death in this country has decreased for the past two years in a row to 78.7,  which now falls below Canada, Germany, Mexico, France, Japan, and the U.K. Consensus is that both suicide and substance abuse account for the decrease in life expectancy in this country.

But if we look a tad deeper, I say we are depressed, suicidal and self medicating because we are constantly being bombarded with images of everyone we have ever known looking ecstatic, loved, successful and sexy at every moment.

So I have the solution to all of this! It’s my new social media platform called Koob Cafe! It’s the opposite, well almost the exact opposite, of Face Book (Think anagram, sort of). It’s the dark platform where everyone tells the bitter, jealous, angry truths about their lives. You can only post hideous pictures of yourself and anyone you know. The ones where your husband is picking his nose or your kid’s eyes are crossed. Or the ones where you’re like, “Seriously, do not fucking take this picture!”

We plan to closely monitor the site for anything that resembles positive personal PR, hyperbolic happiness, or polished photoshopped images. Koob Cafe is 100% bleak. You tell the truth no matter what. Your fucking husband left you because you got old and fat and you’re tired of pretending it was a mutual decision that’s “best for both of you.” You’re 28 year old son is in rehab…again. And the good news? He’s moving back in with you if he ever gets clean.

You’re addicted to pain meds.You’re broke because you keep spending every last dime on Botox and Restalyne injections. Your sister is having an affair with your husband. Your lawn is dead and the HOA wants you to move the hell out of the neighborhood. Your neighbor threw a dead raccoon on your porch because he thinks your non-organic fertilizer killed his beloved Western Larch tree.

JUST TELL THE FUCKING TRUTH!  Then we can all get back to living our stupid, empty lives without feeling like we’re missing out constantly on every good time party, love affair, family event, or travel expedition.

It may sound negative. I get that we’re supposed to project positivity, visualize the dreams we have for ourselves, fake it till we make it. But enough is enough.

Examples of acceptable posts:

This is what I look like when I wake up in the morning.

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My kid told me he hates me more than life itself before he slammed the door and drove off in my BMW because I suck as a parent.

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My house looks like it was hit by a natural disaster. But this is how it always looks!

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If we start owning up to the reality of our lives, maybe we wont all feel like we’re always missing the happiness mark. Life is not easy. And it’s not perfect. But it is what we make it. So find your bliss in the inconsequential successes of your son taking out the garbage without being asked, or your spouse remembering to text you that they’ll be home late, or appreciate the five minutes of sun that shone in the Seattle sky today. It’s really that simple.

And please stop comparing your life to the best moments of everyone else’s