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!!!
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.
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.
My house looks like it was hit by a natural disaster. But this is how it always looks!
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
Do you need to feel better about yourself? Seriously, I watched a tv show the other night and I realized that whatever problems I have, they are MINUSCULE compared to problems out there in the world.
I hate to sound like an old fart, but tv has really sunken to a new low. I watched this show called “Strange Addictions” on TLC because my only other viable options were the Kardashians and Bill O’Reily. I couldn’t stomach either of those. Not surprisingly, this show deals with people who have strange addictions. They basically define an addiction as something that distracts a person from the real pain in his/her life. Last night they profiled 4 addicts.
The first was a man addicted to his “synthetic partner.” Basically, this odd little guy was living with a human size (quite beautiful) doll with whom he was deeply in love. He spent all of his time with her. He loved conversing with her and described her as open, loquacious and clever. He was rather shocked though, by her surprising bashfulness during the television interview. He ate every meal with her. Fortunately her dietary needs were negligible. He even slept with her, and yes, I mean that in every sense of the word.
I felt badly for this man. But he kept insisting that he was perfectly happy this way, that his “girlfriend” kept his loneliness at bay, and that there are hordes of other people out there enjoying the benefits of “synthetic relationships.” Really? That’s kind of alarming.
Next up was a woman addicted to her blow dryer. (I’m not making this up.) She needed to have it with her as some type of security blanket. But the key component to this addiction was her inability to fall asleep and stay asleep without having the dryer turned on and lying next to her in her bed. I’ve done a bit of research and there are actually a lot of people who suffer from this addiction. There have even been documented tragedies of fatal house fires that began due to blow dryers catching fire in beds or on carpets. But even this dangerous reality could not sway this woman from sleeping with her nighttime hot air machine.
There was a young woman addicted to tanning. It was scary and sad, but not all that uncommon. But the final segment featured a woman who was addicted to eating coach foam. This was truly tragic because the synthetic fibers were poisoning her insides. But all I kept wondering was, “How does an addiction like this start?” I mean, what prompts someone to begin chowing down on her sofa? I’ll admit I often find myself too tired to meander over to the fridge during Jimmy Kimmel Live. But I’ve never even contemplated digging into the couch for sustenance. Frankly it sounds kind of primitive and cannibalistic to me. I mean, my couch is like part of my family.
Anyway, the point here is that you may be suffering. You may battle depression, feel enraged by society, yearn at times to strangle your two small children, but in reality, there are people out there eating couch foam, sleeping with their hair dryers and having sex with mannequins. Come on, how bad is your life really?
Just finished a long day. Close friend on suicide alert. Not sure that’s actually the right term. But it’s a scary prospect. I’ve never known anyone who killed himself. I’m more than a little familiar with folks who have teetered on the brink, and I have personally faced off with the kind of darkness that leads one to the edge of that cliff. I often wonder if someone who hasn’t suffered from major depression can even begin to understand how suicide can honestly seem like someone’s best or most viable option. If you’ve never experienced the halting and insurmountable pain of that darkness, how can you even approach an understanding of it.
A lot of kids commit suicide. They’re often bright kids; heads of their class, well liked, accomplished in several areas. But in spite of how the rest of the world sees them, they are internally drowning in a turbulent sea of blackness that is unrelenting, overwhelming and hopeless.
I think about my own kids a lot; will they ever fall prey to the merciless and unpredictable villain of depression? My funny, playful little boys who race around the backyard chasing puppy tails and running through sprinklers. Will they ever be so overcome with pain that they will contemplate leaving this world, just as I have done? And will I know it in time to help? Will I see the signs? Will I be capable of objective observation; the distance that’s necessary to see the bigger picture?
My friend is still alive. And aside from the obvious, maybe there’s another gift that comes with this kind of close call. It allowed us to hear the warning cry, the blaring siren of distress that screams, “Stop being so self-absorbed. Stop living in your tiny, self-contained little world. Look around. See who needs you. Reach out. Step up to the plate. Share your life with people you care about. Stop pretending this couldn’t all end in a millisecond.”
Do you ever just get tired?
Tired of cleaning up, settling in, watering down?
Today I’m tired.
I’m tired of cutting back, reigning in, buckling down.
I’m tired of home-making, meal-planning, car-pooling.
I’m tired of managing money, making ends meet, paying through my nose.
I’m tired of missing the trees, seeing the forest, carrying too much baggage.
I’m tired of thinking ahead, missing the mark, walking on eggshells.
I’m tired of asking the right questions, smelling the roses, wishing on stars.
I’m tired of beating around bushes, meeting people half way, putting my nose to the grindstone.
I’m tired of digging in, making waves, going with the flow.
I’m tired of burning bridges, grinding axes, knocking on wood.
I’m tired of last straws, bowls of cherries and keeping my head above water.
I’m tired of spinning my wheels, turning my cheek, and running as fast as I can.
Some days you just want to give up, give in, give it a rest.
Maybe I’ll feel better in the morning.
Doubtless the sun’ll come up tomorrow.
I’ve lost my mind again. Remember how we decided to get a puppy and everyone thought it would send me into a psychotic tailspin from which I’d never emerge? Well, it didn’t.
The fact is we got lucky. We got the one and only perfect puppy on the planet. It’s true. She has yet to do anything wrong. I”m not joking. This puppy is like from heaven. She’s never chewed up anything. She learned to use the doggy door in like an hour and a half and has not had any accidents in the house. She has the most gorgeous ebony coat and does not shed even a single hair.
I am madly in love with Maggie. The only issue is that she LOVES the company of other dogs. She adores us and everything. Finds people delightful and loving. She’s very affectionate with humans. But there is a deep, intense joy that eminates from within her when she gets around other dogs.
While we were out of town she vacationed with her foster mommy who had 3 or 4 other dogs. She was in her element. She did clearly miss us. But she played from sun-up to sun-down and had the time of her life.
. She’s lost some of the spring in her step. She just seems like she’s lonely, no matter how much love and attention we give her.
So I think the only answer is another puppy. My sister hung up on me when I told her I was thinking about it. Everyone says I must be insane. The fact is, this is not what I necessarily want. I am liking having a dog for the first time in my life. But I never imagined myself the owner of more than one of these playful pooches.
But now that I am devoted to Maggie, I feel obligated to do what is right for her. Without a doubt, she needs a companion. It’s like her soul’s calling is to connect with another canine. What kind of person would keep a living creature from it’s truest, deepest purpose in life?
So I’m looking for the second most perfect puppy in the universe.(and a new prescription for Ativan). Any suggestions on where to find either or both?