Therein lies the great catch 22: The burden of keeping it all inside is cumbersome, but so is sharing the true extent of your illness to extended family members, people you hooked up with one and a half times, your sister’s husband’s brother’s daughter, even actual friends. Social media has made it easy to keep my illness a secret—how could I be depressed if I’m chilling in a pool drinking rosé? Fraternizing with Rick Ross? Sharing Bloody Marys with a pug? I worry about showing a fuller, truer chronicle of my life, one that includes crying faces side-by-side with Funyun binges, because I don’t want to push people away.
This is a fear common among many people with mental illness—especially as they navigate social media’s impossibly cheery landscape.
This is a difficult thing for many. I will admit that even I struggle with this, and much of my real mental health issues are in my past. Still, in between some of the cool stuff that I get to see because of my job, and the cool places I get to go, how much do I also tell people about the loneliness of being on the road so much, or the struggle of being away from family and friends who are also struggling wishing I could be there to support them. That’s not as much fun, and doesn’t really make my life look so fantastic, but it’s real. It’s part of it. If I want to truly stay in touch with the people I claim to want to stay in touch with through social media, I need to be willing to show that too. And if I truly want to advocate for those struggling with mental health issues, don’t I want them to know they are not alone in their struggle, that everyone on Facebook isn’t living some fantastic, perfect, life without problems?
Just maybe not “everyone” needs that many details though, so I struggle along, trying to figure out how to share, and still keep some privacy for myself.
How do you do it?