Recovery Faux Pas and Facebook

I’m writing this because I’m tired. In fact, I fought and fought to never write it, because I shouldn’t need to. But I have reached my boiling point. 

I need to talk about mental illness. 

Mental illness knows no restriction. The realm of problems this even includes can go on for an entire blog post in itself. Depression, Anorexia/Bulimia, PTSD, Bipolar Disorder — anyone, and I mean anyone can suffer from these illnesses. And I don’t use the word suffer lightly. 

Before I dig in, let me stress that I know first hand this immense suffering and that I am the last person on this planet that would ever discount anyone’s personal struggle with any of these diseases. However, there is a time and a place to talk about these things. That place is not Facebook.

I am seeing an increased amount of posts on Facebook that, for lack of more sophisticated terminology, look a lot like cashing in mental illness for Facebook karma or ‘likes’. I see someone’s personal (and I mean personal in every sense of the word) struggle depicted in a series of emotionally charged paragraphs. These people lay it all out, bearing their deepest secrets and tragedies for the whole wide web to read. This is not appropriate! This is not my business! I barely know you! And I’m not the only one that doesn’t! If we’re being honest with ourselves, a minuscule number of Facebook users can say that they know even 50% of their Facebook friends on a level that such intimate information is appropriate to share. Not to mention, the broadcasting of such an individualized, personal, and even sacred struggle in such a cavalier manner – amidst the dozens of moronic Buzzfeed lists and your most recent selfie- is particularly disrespectful and quite possibly the hardest part for me to stomach of it all. It does not fit the social networking bill. Facebook should not exist as a diary. That’s why we have blogs. 

Do not confuse my intention as dismissing the authenticity of the diseases these people are suffering from or the struggle that they have undoubtedly gone through. I hear you, dear friends in recovery. I commend your courage and understand the pride in making it to the other side of the struggle. But recovery belongs to no one else but us, and the only approval we should be seeking or needing is our own with the help of God, not from the strangers we mindlessly pressed ‘Accept’ to one day. 



3 thoughts on “Recovery Faux Pas and Facebook

  1. Hmmm… a really good post. It is an reminder about the level of info we decide to allow the world to see. I was thinking, as I was reading, that there may be a possibility that the writer does not only lack the privilege of having a blog but quite possibly knowing about one as well. The second thing that came to mind is the therapeutic effect of writing. In the event that someone else may be experiencing a similar, should they be able to help, a likely encounter of such a person is what they hope to experience. General encouragement through such a difficult process-despite not requesting it directly-may also be something they are seeking, especially if they do not even know that.

    At the risk of being taken lightly, being in a situation where in their lives there could be no one trustworthy enough to pour out deep, painful and touching thoughts, Facebook, being the only interactively social site they know, they choose to let their thoughts flow there instead. It kind of has a double-edge sword effect taking into consideration everything you said.

    Thanks for this post.

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