Depression, Encouragement, Mental Health, Suicide

Those Dreaded “Copy and Paste To Show You Care” Posts

For those of you with a Facebook account, I know that you have seen the following post.  It’s been around for quite some time. 

“Maybe if people’s heads weren’t buried in the sand of ignorance and they took the time to understand, instead of judging and thinking it won’t happen to them because they have the perfect family, life would be a little bit easier for people that do experience this! This hits close to home for me, for family and friends who live under this shadow. The days of ‘it’ not being talked about or being taboo should be over. In the most difficult moments of life you realize who your true friends are, and the people who really appreciate you. Unfortunately, most social media ‘friends’ aren’t true friends. They will send you a “like” here and there, but, they do not take time to read your status if they see it’s lengthy. More than half will stop reading right here, or have already scrolled on to the next post on their page. I decided to post this message in support of all those who continue to battle with their mental illness. (Suicide is at an all time high). Now, let’s see who will have taken the time to read this lengthy post right through to the end. If you have read everything so far, please “like” it so that I can put a thank you on your page. More mental health awareness is urgently needed. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean people aren’t suffering. Please, try to spare a little of your time with someone who may just want to talk (about anything). Talking can help us all to cope a little more, keeping things bottled up just makes it worse. Most people will say, “if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me, I’ll be there to help you” but will they? I believe a select few of my friends will post this, to show their support for those who may be struggling. You just have to copy and paste rather than sharing. I’d like to know who will take a minute out of their day to read this all the way to the end and then copy and paste it to their page, will you? If so, please write “done” in the comments. Thank you! Maybe if people’s heads weren’t buried in the sand of ignorance and they took the time to understand, instead of judging and thinking it won’t happen to them because they have the perfect family, life would be a little bit easier for people that do experience this! This hits close to home for me, for family and friends who live under this shadow. The days of ‘it’ not being talked about or being taboo should be over. In the most difficult moments of life you realize who your true friends are, and the people who really appreciate you. Unfortunately, most social media ‘friends’ aren’t true friends. They will send you a “like” here and there, but in reality they do not take time to read your status if they see it’s lengthy. More than half will stop reading right here, or have already scrolled on to the next post on their page. I decided to post this message in support of all those who continue to battle with their mental illness. (Suicide is at an all time high). Now, let’s see who will have taken the time to read this lengthy post right through to the end. If you have read everything so far, please “like” it so that I can put a thank you on your page. More mental health awareness is urgently needed. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean people aren’t suffering. Please, try to spare a little of your time with someone who may just want to talk (about anything). Talking can help us all to cope a little more, keeping things bottled up just makes it worse. Most people will say, “if you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me, I’ll be there to help you” but will they? I believe a select few of my friends will post this, to show their support for those who may be struggling. You just have to copy and paste rather than sharing. I’d like to know who will take a minute out of their day to read this all the way to the end and then copy and paste it to their page, will you? If so, please write “done” in the comments. Thank you!”

Each time I see someone post the above message, I have the same feelings.  I think it’s unfair to many people.  And it’s not the people you think – it’s not those who are suffering – it’s those who are in the dark.  I think it’s unfair to them.  Let me explain how and why.  And remember, these are MY thoughts.  If you don’t agree with them, that’s fine.  We are all entitled to our own thoughts. 

1.      I think the post is judgmental.  I remember the first time I saw this post and read the first line, I thought, “Well, geez, aren’t you just the perfect one?”

Is Mental Health something that should be understood by more?  Of course.  But accusing them of burying their heads in the sand of ignorance is not going to make them want to research anything.  And blaming their lack of knowing on the fact that you think they have a perfect family or life is not going to endear them to you.  I don’t think that many people are won over by a challenge to them to get smarter from someone on Facebook.  We all pretty much think we are smart enough and don’t like others telling us that we are not. 

2.     I think the post is one of those threatening posts in which the poster shames the readers with that old “copy and paste and if you don’t do so, it must mean you don’t care”. 

I hate those copy and paste threats.  I think it’s because I’d rather use my own words.   If there is a topic that I feel the need to share on Facebook, why would I use someone else’s words to do so?  Most of the time, if you read through those things, they are filled with errors, make statements that everyone knows have nothing at all to do with you, and are just so insincere.  It’s kind of like those aggravating private messages that people send you because — this is something that you MUST know, it’s VITAL for you to know, or IT’S GOING TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.  Well, dang, if it’s that darn important, why are you sending the message just to me, why not send it to everyone from your Facebook wall?  And why not use your own words to let me know that it’s coming from YOUR heart?  I detest those boilerplate warnings or threats or life-saving messages.  My friends know that I’m a real big proponent of “Use your own words.”  

3.      Now, for the meat of the post – Mental Health. 

Yes, I absolutely think that Mental Health has gotten the raw end of the deal as far as Medical Advancement goes.  However, through some of the recent books I have read and some of the documentaries I have watched lately that deal with Mental Illness, we have come a long way.  It wasn’t that many years ago when people were sent to Mental Health hospitals just so that someone in the house could get a break.  Doctors have most certainly diagnosed and treated mental conditions with medicines.  So, yes, advancements have been made. 

Are there still millions who have no clue?  Absolutely.  How do we change that?  I think that the best way to change this is for those who do suffer to talk or write about our experiences.  I know that it makes it much more real for me to hear about something happening to someone who I know and care for.  It makes it REAL.  I can read books about faraway people all day long and it doesn’t make an impact on me.  But, let me read something about someone I know, and I’m all in it.  I want to find out about what it is they are suffering from.  It connects me to them.  And by making that connection, it becomes MY problem, too.   

We must make Mental Health REAL to others so that they see the importance of education.  We must make it REAL so that they can see the actual suffering.  We must make it REAL so that it becomes their problem, too.  Perhaps by making it REAL to others, we can share our suffering in such a way that it lessens the impact it has on us.  

4.       So, in the end, do these “copy and paste Facebook threats” do any good?  Maybe they do.  Maybe they encourage those of us who live with Mental Health problems to share with others on a one-to-one basis.  Maybe our friends who never imagined that we suffered will become aware of what a nasty thing Mental Illness can be.  Maybe it will help others to learn.  Maybe these posts are not so bad, after all.  Who knows?  Maybe I’m the one with the wrong ideas about them.  Maybe. 

~~Betty

Depression, Mental Health, Suicide, Uncategorized

Depression Has Won Another Fight

My heart is so very heavy right now. I just learned of the death of a dear friend.

It is sad to learn of anyone’s death, but to hear that depression is involved in that death makes it that much worse.  Why did it happen?  Was something missed?  Were there signs?  Could it have been prevented?  How did I not know?  How will the poor family get through it?  Those are all questions that we ask.  Sadly, many of those questions will never be answered.  

Clinical Depression — An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way a person eats, sleeps, feels about himself or herself, and thinks about things. Clinical depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished away. People with clinical depression cannot merely ‘pull themselves together’ and get better. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people with clinical depression. The signs and symptoms of clinical depression include loss of interest in activities that were once interesting or enjoyable, including sex; loss of appetite, with weight loss, or overeating, with weight gain; loss of emotional expression (flat affect); a persistently sad, anxious, or empty mood; feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness; social withdrawal; unusual fatigue, low energy level, a feeling of being slowed down; sleep disturbance and insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping; trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions; unusual restlessness or irritability; persistent physical problems such as headaches, digestive disorders, or chronic pain that do not respond to treatment, and thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts. The principal types of depression are called major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disease (manic-depressive disease).

Clinical depression is such an awful, debilitating thing to deal with. Those who suffer need to know that you care.  Please, people, reach out to those you know to be depressed.  Be gentle in the way you reach out, though.  You don’t need to go into “save them” mode and tell them to just think positively and or turn it over to God. Those remarks do not help someone struggling with depression. Clinically depressed people already try their best to think positively and if they are believers, they have most definitely turned it over to God and He is working on them. The problem is that the depressed person is so mired down in self-hate and despair that they cannot see past that. They don’t need or want your “I know how to fix it” comments. Those types of comments just make them feel that much more broken. The absolute BEST thing to say is that you are there and that you love them. And then, let it be. Pray for them during your own prayer time, but please don’t push the sufferer.

 I am sure that some of you are now thinking that my remarks are pretty curt and “know it all”. Maybe so. But, that’s because I’m speaking as someone who struggles with major clinical depression on not just a daily basis, but on an hourly basis. I speak as someone who has fought to not end it all. So far, I have won that battle. I speak as someone who “turns it over to God” on a daily basis and I know that He is working on me, but I am still depressed.  I speak as someone who has others tell me constantly that I just need to think positively. I speak as someone who is told that I have much to be thankful for.  I speak as someone who has others tell me constantly that I am depressed because I just don’t trust God. I speak as someone who is torn down just a little bit more each time I’m told those things. I speak as someone who knows in her head that I am worthy, but who feels none of that in her heart. I speak as someone whose heart is now breaking because another friend has lost the battle — that battle that “looks so very inviting”, but is so dangerous, that battle that would end the personal suffering, but would cause so much suffering for so many others. I speak as a depressed soul who struggles each and every day to be here and who is terribly sad when someone loses the fight.

I pray constantly that others will learn to understand the hell that a clinically depressed person lives with each and every day. This lack of understanding causes such a stigma about mental health problems.  If we look at the many problems in today’s world, we can easily see that we need to do more concerning mental health.

It’s not that we’re just sad. It’s not that we just don’t want to go out and play today. It’s that we can’t. We struggle each and every day to just get out of the bed. We struggle to just go to the corner store. We struggle each and every time we are forced to communicate with others. And we struggle with ourselves constantly because we don’t want to be this way. We don’t want others to fix us. We just want others to love us and not judge us. We want to be just like you, but don’t know how. We just want to love ourselves. But, we don’t.

Pray for those who suffer.  Let them know that you love them.  Be there.  Just be there.  

I will miss you, my friend.  I’m sorry I was not there for you.