Depression and Social Media

A friend of mine shared a very poignant video with me this morning. It’s a smidge long, but I felt compelled to watch it in its entirety once he started speaking.

I’ve alluded to how I feel about this before, but I’m starting to think my focus on the blog was not what I’d originally intended.

I love what he says about how we always show the summit, but not the hill. I think we all need to share more of the hills and the struggles if we hope to send a message that the outdoors is really for everyone. My problem is that the hill is often so damn hard that I don’t take the time to stop and pull out my camera. But I suppose being a responsible(ish) adult, I could just use my words.

crazy hike straight up to the crack
Ugh. Up there?

I was thinking the other day about my intention, specifically that it wasn’t clear. Is it to get followers? No. Well not exactly. I definitely want to reach people that I could potentially help, but I’m not stressing over numbers and likes and whatnot. The things that get me in the old heart strings are those messages of kindness. The people who are inspired to go outside because of something they read. Or the folks who didn’t think they could, who did. Those are the people who inspire me!

We all have struggles.

The number of kids out there suffering with depression breaks my heart. I think realism is something lacking online these days. Just like the dude in the video mentioned. We all post our best selves, but never the struggle. That’s a huge part of the troubles the younger generation is facing right now.
A good friend of mine once said that he always shows my blog posts to his daughter so she can see that a woman can do anything solo that she sets her mind to. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but I like the thought of that. Let’s make a better example for these kids.

Sometimes people see these pictures of places I’ve been and want to visit as well but feel as if they couldn’t make it themselves. I think anyone can with just a little care and thought. Maybe it’s the care and thought involved that I need to talk about more often.

The journey isn’t about the summit. It’s about the trip up the mountain. It really doesn’t matter how long it takes to climb it, or even if you make it to the top at all. It’s the adventure in getting there and trying something outside of your comfort zone.

Let’s all resolve to build others up. Do something nice for someone else just because you can. If you see someone struggling, lend a hand. And definitely if you witness bullying, Internet or otherwise, speak up! Most of all resolve to be present with others. There’s no better gift than your time.

After seeing this video I’m resolving to talk more about the whole story… and to put down my cell phone!

What are you going to do?

18 thoughts on “Depression and Social Media

  1. Very timely post Joyce. Much wisdom and insight in what you’ve written. Depression, whether found in adolescents or adults is far more prevalent than the vast majority of us realize. The CMHA suggests that 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental health illness in their lifetime. Almost 50% of depressive illnesses go untreated, due in large part to the stigma attached to mental illness.

    But, getting back to your post, social media they way it gets used and specifically FB in my opinion provides the perfect medium for “presenting the veneer” if you will. Many of the points in the video the guy made where spot on. Especially about what gets present on-line about ourselves and our life. Obviously, this isn’t everyone or certainly not everyone I know, but there are people I know who present one aspect on social media that life is “tickety-boo” when in reality their life and our lives for the most part aren’t necessarily “ticket-boo”; it’s called living.

    That’s where the realism component is missing. Life just isn’t the summit. Sometimes, we don’t even reach the summit. It’s the journey or the gut-wrenching step after step up the mountain that needs to be emphasized. It’s the failures along the way that create the strength to continue along – “one more day.” By not showing the pain along the way, don’t present only half the picture?

    Relating to the outdoors, if we climb a mountain or hike up a hill realistically how long do we actually spend on the summit. Not long when compared to the time and energy spent getting to the top. But, what picture do we show on Instagram – the summit view. What about the journey along the way. That’s what people need to see. More often than not, it was the journey just to get to the beginning of the trail that was the neat and exciting part.

    As I’m well into the second-half of my time on the planet, I sort of see success as taking just another step – not quitting. It’s the journey. Focussed on the summit as the success, I think sets us up for failure if we don’t make it to the top.

    That’s sort of why, we’ve called our blog/social media stuff “justabitfurther – you never know what’s around the next bend.” Hopefully to encourage people to get outdoors, and as you say get a bit out of their comfort zone.

    Anyhow. Great post. Thanks for sharing

    Like

    1. Thank you thank you thank you! So much gratitude right now 💜

      I could not have said this better!

      I’m hoping to share more of the struggle and more of the journey instead of the great stuff. I think showing people how we deal with all the obstacles will give them ideas to deal with their own 😊

      Thank you so much for the kind words and the support! With more folks like you, we’re going to knock that stigma on it’s butt! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I have been following your blog for awhile now and without noticing just did my own article on social media and depression!

    I totally relate to the summit and not the hill. Social media is just a highlight of peoples lives, which paints a terrible image for everyone else.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Joyce,
    I’m just a little behind on your blogs and regret not seeing this one sooner. Your message is so important and one that should be shared. I’ve recently completed a mental health first aid training course and cannot believe how much I learned from it. I think a big challenge is getting over the stigma of mental illness, which of course includes depression. There is so much to say but I’ll finish off with…it’s posts like yours that help push the real threat of mental illness to the forefront and letting all know that they are not alone and people do care. I truly believe you make a positive difference in peoples lives and that’s something to be proud of. I hope one day someone can say the same thing about me. Thank you Joyce…and by the way…what you’ve been sharing this whole time IS your journey as you continue to grow as a person. We love reading them. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hard to improve on what Ced above said. Well done.

    Only thing I might add is, Joyce shared that regardless of were one might be, sometimes all it takes to start, is to take one step. The key is that’s it’s YOUR STEP and not someone else’s.

    One word in Ced’s comment which caught my key is stigma. I have my own spin on it, but after 14 hours today, I’m not sure I can articulate it correctly. So, maybe tomorrow.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Ced’s post was sweet. Bet it made you feel great. It was the word stigma that stood out, amongst others. Had a the opportunity to kind of think it through. But, so tired tonight. I’ll have more time tomorrow. It’s a bit of a different slant, at least I think so.

        Anyhow, well deserved on your part.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey Joyce

    So, this is my take on the word stigma and it’s relationship to mental health. Let me first say that this is my opinion; sort of how I see it. It’s not based on any research or an empirical look at things, it’s just as I view, it based on my own personal experience with mental heath issues(depression).

    It’s long. I apologize for it now. lol

    I think the best way to get at this, to just call it what I think it is, then try to unpack the statement as best I can.

    Stigma as it relates to mental health is rooted in a perverse judgement and value based view.

    Let’s start here. We would all agree that the word stigma in this context has a rather negative or bad connotation to it. If it didn’t, then why are we trying to break the stigma attached to mental health issues? Seems logical.

    Ok. We might also agree the mental illness is illness that requires treatment by professionals and alike. I think we would also agree that an mental illness, like any other illness affects people, causing them to become sick. So, let’s says that generally illnesses are a bad thing that make people sick.

    So, we have an illness(mental/emotional) which is bad, and makes people sick. Agreed?

    But, would we also agree that there are hosts of other illnesses/diseases that make people sick. Right?

    Cancer, Crohn’s, MS, Parkinson’s to name a few. But, let’s use cancer in this case. We would all agree that cancer is a terrible disease/illness. But, when I think of cancer I don’t hear the word stigma attached to it.

    I hear things like: kicking cancers butt; fundraising for research; walks that celebrate peoples victory over the disease, as well as for those who have be taken by the disease(walking in memory of someone). I hear that cancer is bad, but what I don’t hear is a negative stigma attached to it.

    I might be wrong here, but that’s kind of what I see and hear.

    So, two illnesses. Both bad that have awful results on the people affect and their families. One has no negative stigma attached to it, but the other one does. Why?

    This is were it get’s dicey.

    I think that we would all agree that if and I say if, there is a scale to value people as people and it goes from 0 to 100, it should always be 100 on the scale. Because we should value people at 100 because why? They’re person, a whole person, regardless.

    So, if you look at Jane on one day and you value her at 100, would you value her less the next day if you found out she had breast cancer. Of course not. In fact you might in a way place more value on her for her will to fight; resolve to beat the disease.

    So, an illness that effects someone, but we don’t devalue them because of the disease. So, no negative stigma attached to it. Disease bad yes. But, no stigma. I don’t hear that there is a movement to remove the negative stigma attached to cancer of other diseases. Ok so far?

    Mental illness/health. We just all agreed that people should always be valued in this scale at 100. If we apply the same logic to mental illness, then someone who suffers say from depression should be viewed as a whole person, thus value of 100. Therefore, no stigma, no negative aspect. But, we know that’s not true. Why?

    Because, we’re discussing the work necessary to remove the stigma, the negative aspect of mental illnesses/heath. Why is this?

    Here’s the kicker.

    Disease regardless of the type, is always linked to a person. So, cancer(bad) linked to a person, but no stigma. Mental illness(bad) linked to a person, but with stigma(negative)

    I think when people view others with mental illnesses, they apply a judgement on them. Judgment always involves a value system. Think gymnastics. Score are based on someone’s judgment of anothers ability.

    Society, (and I can’t think of another word), when faced with someone with a mental illness devalues that person, because of the disease. And that’s the perverse part.

    The devalue could be based on fear, ignorance, media portrayal of the disease. My guess is a host of reasons.

    I think for the most part, it can be hard to tell if the person standing beside you has depression just by looking at them.

    Cancer. Well, maybe you can guess by hair loss, or results of an operations. Because people who have cancer may generally look sick. People with depression may not look sick at all.

    So, people are afraid to talk about mental health issues because of fear, ignorance or whatever. So, out of fear and ignorance it’s easy to use words like: nut case, crazy person, looney bin and so on. After while there develops this white elephant in the room that no wants to acknowledge. Why, we know that Aunt Sally out there had a mental illness and she was difficult. So, these stereotypes develop over time that are so far from reality, that its ridiculous.

    So, people not dealing with mental illness or not wanting to acknowledge its existence so to speak see mental issue wearing one type of glasses.

    So, what about the person who say has depression as an example. They’re seeing the world wearing in a different type of glasses. They hear the negative comments; they experience the negative results(job loss, maybe loss of spouse, family friends, things they used to enjoy).

    So, they don’t want to say anything, because now I feel i have less value than someone else, because of what people say. How do I know this is true.

    Here are a sampling of what was told to me. Want to take a guess how much value i felt about myself after hearing these:

    he’s faking – he’s not sick
    can’t he just be happy
    think happy thoughts
    why can’t he get out of bed – lazy bast@@@@
    better take your happy pills
    but, you’re the crazy one
    and the list goes on

    Here’s a real gem

    A counsellor said this to me: I really wanted to be a medical doctor so, but I couldn’t make it. So, I thought I could make it as a mental health counsellor.

    That little gem made me feel really valued. Gee, am I that sad(no value) that the best I can get is the “second hand consellor”

    So, the white elephant is in both rooms. No one wants to talk about to learn from each other and thus the cycle continues and continues.

    When in reality, if we all sort of sat down and tried to learn from one another that people suffering from depression, anxiety and other mental health issues aren’t crazy; don’t run around the neighbourhood causing havoc. That they are really just someone’s spouse, child, mom, dad, friend, brother, sister who has an illness and really, desperately wants to feel and get better

    But, there is a bright note!

    So, some gal called Joyce writes a blog telling HER story. There are trip reports and neat things, but her story is there; you just have to read it. Not my story, or someone less story, but her story It’s Joyce’s story. She says: this is me; I was here; I did this; I took a step. What I did, might not work for you. But, I’d really love to see you take a step as well. Whatever that step might be.

    Because Joyce knows that there is this perverse stigma attached to mental illness/health. And she’s determine to give that stigma a damn good kick in the ass. Because, maybe she feels that there could be someone out there who needs to hear her story; maybe they’ll find hope to take a step. But, she knows(at least i think she does) that she can’t do it alone.

    And i must add, she does all of this with elegance, grace and a soft and accepting spirit.

    Then, there is this other guy she kind of knows(happens to be writing right now) who is also determined to kick this stigma. He’s been there;’ but now he’s in a pretty good place; feels he has a story to tell as well. That someone may need to hear his story and find hope to take a step.

    And there are others doing the same thing.

    You see I think the stigma is a giant puzzle with 1000’a of pieces, and that maybe some of use have been assigned a piece of the puzzle. We may need to do some work, encourage or whatever to ensure that our one piece fits correctly.

    Thanks Joyce for giving me the chance to kind of lay this out.

    Would love to had what others are think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t agree more. I don’t really understand it myself why people still seem to blame the person who’s sick for their illness. I wonder if it’s just an education thing? I don’t know really. Or that someone who’s never been thru it maybe equates it with sadness. Like how you legitimately feel when something terrible happens. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard someone say that they needed pills because they were sad because something happened like a relationship ended or some other sad life event took place. That’s not clinical depression. I always suggest that they try to imagine feeling that way but even worse, every day, but for absolutely no reason at all. And too many assume that you can just snap out of it if you try harder. But you can’t snap out of cancer or a heart attack. It just doesn’t make sense. I’ve supported many folks over the years who’ve had legitimate struggles and to hear how they are spoken of breaks me inside. Seems we’ve had a lot of new research come out lately though that explains why some people get it and some don’t… that seems promising to me. The more people understand it, the more people can talk about it freely. But society clearly isn’t there just yet. But I’m optimistic that day will come 🙂

      Thanks so much for your thoughts!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Joyce. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you just said. You’re right there is a huge difference between sadness and clinical depression. I think almost anyone who has dealt with depression would have gladly just “snapped out” of it if they could have. I guess its, ignorance of the subject, education or lack of it that causes the stigma part. But, it is encouraging that at lest some people are talking about it. The Bell Let’s Talk day and other initiatives they all help.

        Anyhow, thanks for providing the venue to add my little bit. After reading it, I’m thinking I should invest in a better grammar check, or get Lynn to proof it first.

        So, keep moving forward with your gentleness of spirit, your words of encouragement, and compassion for others.

        Thanks again

        Glen, Lynn and Katie

        Liked by 1 person

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