In order to get to the main chunk of this post, we’re going to have to embark on a little story time. So grab a cuppa, a bar of choccie, a pizza, a roast dinner – whatever your vice is and join me in story time with Jenny on why you shouldn’t feel bad for expressing your emotions on social media.
Story: So a little while ago I was checking my “Twitter un-follows” app (yes I’m THAT person) and I noticed that a person I had spoken to on multiple occasions, one that shared similar interests to me and someone I thought I got along with quite well, albeit only over social media, had unfollowed me. “Hmm” I thought, that’s strange. I’ve never done anything to upset this person so I went onto their profile to have a little look around – see if they’ve been hacked or to see if they’ve unfollowed everyone and given up on Twitter completely.
They hadn’t been hacked nor had they deleted their Twitter. I had simply been unfollowed. Now, I don’t usually care when someone unfollows me. And in a normal scenario, this wouldn’t have bothered me either. But it was their most recent tweet, which they wrote at around the exact same time as I was unfollowed which bothered me. A lot. They had basically said that they needed to unfollow lots of people due to the negativity on their timeline: which is fair enough. We all need to look after ourselves in that way. But they also said after that, that most of the people who they are unfollowing, who post “negative” or “depressing” tweets need to change their attitude and things wouldn’t be so bad. Basically implying… it’s their own fault.
Now I knew this tweet was about me or at least I was one of the people this tweet was referring to… I had recently felt completely and utterly shit and a fair few of my tweets were quite down and not all sunshine and rainbows. I understand everyone’s rights to be able to see what they want on their social media. If someone is bothering you with their tweets then unfollow them as you are the most important person at the end of the day. It’s not the unfollow that bothered me. It’s not the fact that they don’t want negativity on their timeline that bothered me. It was the fact that they were basically implying that it’s my own fault some things were shit and if I just “changed my attitude” and “be happy” then it would all go away.
That. That is what bothered me.
Life is not rainbows and smiles all the time. Far fucking from it. And if you have a social media account, you are well within your right to talk about you problems (if you want to) and express how you’re feeling. Whether that be happy, sad, anxious, ecstatic, depressed or whatever. But how dare anyone ever suggest that your problems are caused by your attitude – especially someone who only knows you through social media and has no idea about your life, your mental wellbeing and what you’ve been through. Depression is not just a “attitude” that we can switch on and off. Anxiety isn’t just an “attitude” we can change at the click of a finger. If it was, would so many people suffer from it?
I am so utterly riled by this that I had to write something. How dare someone falsely assume that I am my own fault. That I am the cause of my problems. That it’s my fault for being so sad so anxious so depressed on any given day and to anyone that feels the same, you are not your own fault. You are not to blame for what happens to you. You are not to blame for having depression or anxiety or any other mental or physical disorder that might stop you being happy 24/7. And you know what else? You are well within your right to talk about it on social media. To reach out to those who might be feeling the same. You should never be made to feel bad by anyone for expressing your emotions on social media and you should definitely not be made to feel like your feelings are a burden on other people’s happiness.
Most importantly, you should not be made to feel like you are your own worst enemy.
Especially by some random person you meet on social media.
Before I wrap this up, I just want to illiterate that I don’t care that someone un-followed me because my tweets weren’t always happy and it might have been bringing them down. I am all for focusing on your mental health and doing everything you can to find your peace of mind. I’m very much in the stance that life isn’t always great and I think people should show that on social media. Being happy all the time is completely unrealistic. But if you only want to show the great parts of your life that’s cool too. As I said, it’s your social media accounts to do what you want with, to share what you want on and share those with whom you choose.
But please… Don’t accuse people of attention seeking or having problems because of a bad attitude. Social media is something very subjective and it can quite easily be read wrong. 140 characters on Twitter is not a lot to express everything. But never think you know someone better than they know themselves. Don’t ever think they are causing their own problems by being too anxious or too sad or too miserable or too stubborn or what0fucking-ever. You don’t get to decide how people feel. You most certainly don’t get to decide why people feel it.
Over and out.