Calling Bull on the Validation of Unhealthy Behavior on Social Media

***Originally posted on lifeinthespectrum.com.

We all have down days, and some of those may almost drag us under. We don’t know how to work through the emotions so maybe we get a loose-lipped and dark and twisty with our feelings on social media. It happens. However there a delicate tipping point you can hit once you begin to feel validated by the negative attention. And if you don’t get out of your own way, you will immediately be setting yourself up to become your own worst enemy.

I posted the picture and sentiment above on Instagram earlier today. I love the memory of that beautiful morning, and I genuinely believe what I wrote there. After adding the photo, I wanted to see if any other posts or quotes spoke to my spirit, so I searched under the hashtags #loneliness and #depression. Biggest. Mistake. Ever.

I felt so frustrated at the endless barrage of posts that reflected outright self-sabotage and overt negative attention guzzling. It was even more disconcerting to see the number of followers and people leaving comments that directly cheered on the “bravery” (a.k.a. blatant unhealthy negativity).

So many entries said something to the effect of “I choose to be alone” or “I feel so lonely and don’t want anyone in my life” and included the #loneliness and #depression hashtags in the posts. In return they received hundreds or thousands of likes, e-high fives, “I agree” responses, and similar additional hashtags added into the comments.

What a complete crapfest of a story. This may sound ice cold but that is a personal pity party that has been posted for public approval. You don’t love to be alone if you feel the need to write about it on social media. If you must post about your love for loneliness and hashtag #loneliness for your followers on a platform with a billion other users, you are seeking out negative attention and feeding the monster once more.

People talked about how a single word from another destroyed their lives. I considered (but decided against) leaving the comment, “So how is that even possible? Is it like 42 for the universe, but instead in this case it’s a secret code word spoken only uttered the life-smashers?” Again. Total crap. If you are allowing one word to take you down, your problem is not the other person who spoke it. I don’t care who they are. No others have that power unless you choose to believe that they are right.

As for the bystanders (people leaving likes and cheers in the comments), how is liking and encouraging those posts you helping that person off their dark bandwagon either. The intentions may be sincere, but what message are we sending?

These writers and artists are brilliant beautiful people, but they are unconsciously sacrificing their opportunities to bring in more joy in exchange for more daily likes and potential followers. It’s a crappy trade my friends. No number of likes on a social media post will ever translate into sustainable love for yourself in real life. Trying to win over the fickle short attention span of the world of social media is a fruitless chase. Aim for winning over your image of yourself instead. The odds are better and the results will hold much much longer.

Maybe you don’t land ten zillion comments or likes for being happy, or maybe you don’t even get two. So effing what! You will still feel better when you get out of your own way. Your mind will find more clarity and balance when you validate the positive parts of your life and yourself. As I said before, focus on what you want in your life instead of celebrating what you are trying to escape.

This is a tough love post intended for people who operate with these behavior patterns as their standard, not rough periods here and there. We all have those. My hope is that my abrupt words will jar someone – any individual person at all – into recognizing that they are poisoning their own water if they continue to operate this way.

I didn’t write this post from a self-righteous place of judgement nor did my words come from emotions that I couldn’t directly comprehend. I struggled deeply with depression for decades, I embraced the blackness and believed the lies my mind fed me, and I barely escaped that period of my life alive. I sincerely believe that divine intervention saved me, and though I wouldn’t change my past, I would not wish for anyone in the world to experience the kind of pain I endured.

There are many elements of loneliness, depression, and mental health struggles that we cannot control. Don’t sacrifice the parts that you can change for the better. As you have likely heard, happiness is an inside job. If you can’t figure out how to find it, maybe start by trying to recognize what you might be doing to blockade it.

Best wishes to all of you always.

Jo Price

***Originally posted on lifeinthespectrum.com.

14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Whippoorwill
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 06:46:41

    Right on! 🙂

    Reply

  2. Blueinkwriter
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 07:23:32

    Vaguebooking, attention whoring on ANY social media – it drives me bonkers. Which is why I’ve become very removed from most of it. Facebook free for 6 months and loving it. On Instagram only to stalk my child and cute dogs and laugh at The Onion. Snapchat because I play with filters and make my own self laugh.
    Down with the negativity. Especially the kind of our own creation that we then wallow in.
    Depression is a beast. But not undefeatable.

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Sep 11, 2018 @ 07:40:51

      1. I ADORE THE ONION!!
      2. I have tremendous sympathy and empathy for anyone battling a mental health issue, but those feelings take a serious nosedive when I can see that somebody is absolutely perpetuating and exacerbating their problems. I have walked in those shoes as well so I know what it’s like to do that. If somebody genuinely wants to get better, they need to cut that embrace the darkness crap out.

      Reply

  3. Blueinkwriter
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 07:54:17

    1. Something told me you probably did. 😜
    2. I care deeply about others struggling with depression and anxiety. And I give the name of my therapy clinic to everyone that acts like they’re dealing with it. That generally shuts them up if they’re only looking for emo gratification. Weeds out the posers. 😏

    Reply

  4. José María López
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 08:07:28

    I love your post!! So much wisdom!! That phrase “Others are not given the power…”. Is that yours?I´d never seen it before and I also loved it.

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Sep 11, 2018 @ 08:52:47

      Yes mine but I think of it more as a hat tip to Eleanor Roosevelt’s “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” I have seen a million quotes in my lifetime, but that one may be my favorite. I’m also pretty big fan of Willy Wonka’s lines. 😉

      Reply

  5. José María López
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 09:56:51

    Yours sounds much more poetic. I like it better. It is simple, yet so elegant. I love it!!

    Reply

  6. José María López
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 12:47:39

    You are the only person I know who is more modest than I am. 😉

    Reply

  7. A. Shepherdson
    Sep 11, 2018 @ 13:15:47

    🙂 I avoid these kinda blogs, I’m convinced this genre of negativity drains a reader’s spirits, oh and I could see that pic on a nature calendar. ❤

    Reply

    • Jo Price
      Sep 11, 2018 @ 13:46:43

      Aww you’re such a lovebug. Bottle that up and sell it! I’ll buy that sweetness any day of the week. ❤️🤗❤️ Big hugs to you my friend.

      Reply

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