Bludgeoned by awareness

hands in front of face
Trying to sustain my recent ebbing of bipolar depression during suicide awareness month, is much more difficult than I anticipated. Perhaps part of the problem is that I didn’t anticipate the magnitude of the impact from the onslaught of social media posts on suicide. Please don’t misunderstand that last statement. I understand the importance of this issue, and am supportive of the people who are making a difference in this tragically elevating problem. One might ask, “Sheri, why don’t you just stop using social media?” It’s not that easy for me, since that is where the majority of my support network resides. “Sheri, you need to get out more.” Well, yes, that would be lovely, wouldn’t it? But that’s a whole other issue.

My heart aches for people who are devastated by suicide, whether those who have survived, or those left behind. I’ve done my part during the first week of the month, disseminating important information and memes of encouragement. But it didn’t occur to me to don my protective gear before this became too overwhelming. It’s all too raw, too recent, too close to home. I’m just not that brave or strong, and it’s worming into my brain as a suggestion rather than a deterrent.

Last night I was composing a wonderful post about how, after the longest bout of the worst depression in my memory, I am finally beginning to want to live. Hopefully, I will write that post soon. Hopefully, I will participate by reading and commenting in the blogging world once again. Hopefully, I will recharge my own protective force field and continue clawing my way out of the depths of despair. For now I shall retreat back into my protective cocoon of silly cat videos.

I just saw that the word “bludgeon” is today’s (11/02/2016) The Daily Post prompt. I hope it’s ok to link a previously written post.


Social Media and Bipolar Disorder

The thing that scares me most about social media and bipolar disorder is the overwhelming amount of disinformation out there. Bipolar disorder and mental health in general have a stigma attached to them that is very difficult to shake loose. We are often perceived as out of control raging lunatics. Once in a while a post by someone in a manic state will show that perception to be somewhat true, and the public latches on. This only exacerbates the situation with the back and forth then elevating to an unreasonable level.

Then there are the armchair psychiatrists who think they know what they’re talking about merely based on anecdotal information.  Sure there’s a place for that type of input, there’s a feeling of camaraderie when one can relate to someone else’s information. But when that information is used irresponsibly, when someone’s extreme measures are touted as a possibility to work for everyone, then possible harm can be caused unless a medical/mental health professional is consulted first.

On the other hand, as mentioned previously, the feeling of knowing one is not alone with their symptoms is very comforting. And often, some anecdotal information can be very helpful. Sharing medication experiences as well as what types of things help alleviate one’s symptoms can be very helpful when used responsibly.

There are many social networking support communities which are very positive environments. Information is disseminated in a responsible way, discussion groups are moderated, and well-being is boosted by knowing that you’re not the only one going through a particular symptom or situation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve received a lot of support from social media. Being able to say things on Twitter and get virtual hugs can seem very minor but it can be very uplifting. Expressing ideas and feelings will get an almost immediate response which can be very helpful and satisfying. I’ve found links to quite a bit of good information on Facebook, and on a whole my mental health experience with social media has been quite positive. Every now and then, I just come across something that makes me stop and think how important being knowledgeable about your own mental illness can be so that you don’t get sucked into the negativity.