The above quote is attributed to Will Rogers, and is what social networking means to me.
As someone with bipolar disorder, I tend to isolate. I dread meeting new people, worry that they’ll think I’m stupid or crazy. I am afraid that they’ll see through my facade of normalcy, and see the real loon that lurks underneath.
It’s difficult not having anyone to talk to who can relate to what I’m going through. I do have some very good friends who are understanding, but how can they truly know what it’s like to have a mental illness? This feeling of being alone just feeds the depression, then the depression makes me want to be alone. It’s a vicious cycle.
I started using facebook and Twitter as a way to stay in contact with my eldest daughter, enabling me to know what goes on in her little family more often than a phone call, and to see pictures of my wonderful grandsons. I also used Twitter to follow news and some interesting miscellaneous feeds; then I did a search with the term bipolar and struck gold.
Here were people that really knew what I was going through. It was amazing to find people who were supportive and appreciated my input as well. I have learned about different aspects of the disorder as well as other mental illnesses. I have learned about different medications and how they affect people. I have learned that I am not alone.
People can argue that I am still isolating myself, but perhaps this will give me the courage to venture out in the world and meet strangers that could become friends.