“Facebook is a place of facades where you try to make your life appear better than it is, so you definitely don’t post pictures like this…I wish I could post them on Facebook to show people what mental illness really looks like.” a post from The Mighty (which is a great resource if you’re in need of one.)
This struck me, in a number of ways.
While I agree that a lot of the time, what we see on social media is the “better version” of life, I’ve come to truly appreciate those who do ‘put it out there’ for all to see. I have friends who are on their own journeys – with weight loss, with other medical/health conditions or who are simply dealing with the ups and downs of life who have chosen to share authentic pieces of their crazy, dirty, messy, difficult puzzles. I appreciate those glimpses because it makes me think about my life and what I’m dealing with on a daily basis. This is not to say that I don’t love to see the celebrations and joyous occasions or the sharing of talented images or other talent – I do, they are just easier to digest and are more of a normal than the other.
The post also made me stop and examine what I put out there, am I being authentic or am I hiding behind my feed? I don’t think twice about putting a controversial political post out for the world to see, but I get nervous about putting a post out there that says, “Damn, tired today – is this a sign that my meds aren’t working anymore?” or “I’m so freaking tired of having to take 3 pills every single day in order to function.” I’ve accepted that mental health is no different than physical health, that it needs to be cared for and nurtured as our physical health does, but why don’t I act like it? The truth, if it needs to be told, is because I’m still afraid of what ‘putting it out there’ would look like, and more truthfully, how others would react if one of those posts magically made it into my feed. Would that be oversharing, TMI? Why is it ok for someone to post a picture of a sprained ankle or nasty scrape/bruise without thinking a second thought? Would my authentic post be seen as not ok?
Maybe it’s also because I don’t dwell on my mental health – it doesn’t permeate every move I make or thought I have – at least it doesn’t anymore. When I was in 2015/2016 it did. Now they are more of a rarity – which I think is a good thing. I’m able to be frustrated with my medication routine and be worried that a day of being abnormally tired is a signal, and instead of dwelling on them, for the most part these are passing thoughts. Is this my ‘new normal’. It might be.
As open as I try to be about this part of my life, I guess there are still things I’m not strong enough to share. I think that’s ok, and maybe someday I will be able to write about this someplace other than here. For now, this is it, but who knows, maybe tomorrow will be different.