What Happened When I Posted About Anxiety and Depression on Facebook
Author’s note: The following was created from actual Facebook posts and comments. However, all names have been altered and profile pictures removed.
“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met… And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.” ― Alan Bennett, “The History Boys“
I used to be afraid to post about mental health on Facebook. I was afraid to be judged or that people would think I was suicidal or would not want to comment or share. I thought Facebook was a place for cat memes and silly videos, not for meaningful, in-depth conversations about people’s thoughts and feelings.
I was blown away by the response I received. The post received 763 likes and 5.1K shares. Most of all I was intrigued by the comments on my post and on the shares.
One of the things I discovered once people started sharing my post was that there were so many people who not only agreed with me, but who finally found the words to completely articulate their feelings. I felt voyeuristic getting a window into each person’s story. We all had a common connection of living with depression and anxiety.
Something I loved seeing was people coming out to their partners and supporting one another. I would see people tag their partner, hoping they would get the hint. I was glad they expressed their desire to stick by each other’s side.
Sadly, I wasn’t surprised by how many youths were struggling and trying to make sense of it all.
Some of the people I least expected to speak openly about depression and anxiety shared the post, albeit in their own unique language.
I learned there is still a lot of work to do to educate people.
I learned people can speak out about mental health without currently being in crisis, despite what their son might think.
The post inspired some to reflect on their faith.
Although Facebook can be a place of negativity at times, I was glad to be able to witness so many people from different corners of the world being able to come together and share our common struggle.
After this experience I was even more committed to fostering dialogue about mental health. I’m convinced people do want to talk about it. It’s just that some needed the language to describe what they were feeling all along. So maybe Facebook doesn’t always have to be so silly after all.
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