Hello everyone! Thanks for not unfollowing me in my two months of inactivity. This is not one of those posts I’ve been planning for a long time, but one I just came up with because I wanted to interact somehow with alL of you again. As anyone who has mental health issues would know, one’s social landscape changes when living with stuff like these. Long time friends become unreliable in the face of phenomena they don’t understand and some choose to lash out at you instead of approaching issues calmly. Some unexpected people turn to be the best in this time of your life while for some unfortunate few, family are the ones who aggravates the situation.
Similarly I’ve been doing some adjustments to how I interact with the people around me, in real life and online. I’ve stopped talking to certain people about mental health the first time it’s been proven they are not capable of seeing beyond themselves. If anything, trials and tribulations by mental health has trained me to be perceptive and more observant of non-verbal cues in people, and to take seriously what people put out the first time. It calls for fast learning, unless one loves to be doubly persecuted for living with mental health issues.
Recently, I made the move of being a lot less active on my socials. I deleted the Facebook app on my phone. I even ‘disappeared’ from instagram for one full week without posting anything on my feed, and stories were significantly reduced (though the number of daily stories has gone up again. But I definitely self censor more now). After every kind of criticism I’ve been through regarding my PTSD et al, I genuinely felt triple punished for it and I’ve come to that point where I relished the freedom of being virtually missing and posting cryptically on stories if I ever needed to rant.
My most recent move on social media was to privatise my instagram account so that I’ll get less unsolicited messages from strange men for unknown reasons. Unfortunately, one aspect of social media is that it has made harassment of women all too easily, and platforms still have a lot to do when it comes to handling stuff like this. The last incident that happened to me was just a few months back, when some white guy in the US sent me videos of his appendage. Facebook could only send him a warning to abide by community guidelines. It is, simply a slap on the wrist.
The time which led to me privatising my instagram was when I almost got a full-blown anxiety attack when a strange guy sent me a benign, non-explicit message (simply just saying hi with some heart emojis). This kind of reaction- has never happened before.
Since my privatisation I definitely have regained control on what I have to see and it’s been helping. Just tonight I blocked one guy from my church life group from viewing my insta-stories. He says I’m the one who ‘has been complaining the most’ today. I’m not sure if he’s referring to IRL or on my socials, but I definitely have given up on talking about my mental health in detail in lifegroup gatherings ever since I found out it harms me so much more than it helps. This guy in question is also the kind who will always say discouraging, unhelpful stuff to people on the group who shares stuff from their life, so a big pinch of salt should he taken with whatever he says. If he thinks me talking about mental health in general on instagram because I have no one else to discuss it with is ‘complaining’, then he definitely shouldn’t view my stuff if it bogs him down.
Frankly,my new-found interest in psychiatry and talking about it on socials is due to my thesis, which I just submitted last week. A combination of mass communications and medical information, partially inspired by my own trials with mental health. Strangely I find psychiatric information easier to understand now, pertaining to conditions I do not have personal experience in. Maybe in another life I would survive med school after all (would take on this path if I WERE an immortal vampire) .
I am choosing not to apologise for the things I have to go through. Also, I, heard this week is World Mental Health Week, is that true? That may explain the many tags beyond Oct 11 on instagram!