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In Defense of Texting, From a Woman With Depression

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There are a few things I do (a lot) that many people may consider inappropriate, impersonal, unnecessary, rude, bizarre or some combination of all of the above. Today, I want to talk about the pros of texting, since I often hear about the cons. Sometimes I second guess my decisions and the doubt starts to creep in, and I want this out there in black and white to remind myself I feel strongly about this issue.

I know texting is somewhat impersonal and that a face-to-face meeting or phone conversation is a much better way of connecting — most of the time. But as a parent and full-time teacher, texting allows me more time and energy to spend with my kids. I can get important information, answer questions or make plans (to see someone in person) on my terms. This happens at times that are convenient for me, such as during my lunchtime at school or while my girls are upstairs cleaning their rooms or folding laundry (insert laughter here). When I want to schedule a phone conversation… I usually text my loved one to make sure we can find a mutually convenient time! In the past people had no other options, but it’s wonderful to not have to worry about imposing on someone else’s time.

Until two years ago that is where my argument in favor of texting would have ended. But here is where the fact that I have shared and spoken openly about my depression collides with the texting issue. I have heard from so many others who have depression, and I know it to truly be the case for me, that texting allows you to be in some type of communication with friends and loved ones when you literally can’t pick up the phone. When you feel that bad, the idea of having to talk can be paralyzing — and texting is a lifesaver.

The texts went both ways. My supportive people were able to check in with me and I tried to respond; however, I will readily admit that sometimes that was even too much and many of my incoming texts went unanswered. But when I was crying so hard I couldn’t audibly verbalize some of my intense feelings, I could text them to the people who would come to my rescue or sit and hold my hand. There were times when all I could handle was to text “:(” and my husband, therapist or one of my closest friends would know I was in need of support. There is now a Crisis Text Line where all you have to do is text 741-741 to speak to a crisis counselor. I am positive there are many people who will text as a cry for help because it feels safer, more accessible and immediate than any other form of reaching out. That is how powerful and wonderful texting can be. That being said, when my daughters’ get cell phones and begin texting, I will probably not be as big a fan (I’m nothing if not honest).

I’d write more, but I have to go and text my therapist!

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Originally published: October 19, 2016
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