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When I Lied About Being Happy on Social Media

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“J’ai décidé d’être heureux parce que c’est bon pour la santé.”

“I have decided to be happy because it is good for my health.”

This quote is something I told people on social media because I thought it was so important that people thought I was happy and “healthy.” I lied. I was fresh out of a psychiatric unit for a suicide attempt and in the process of a seven-week intensive outpatient program. I was far from healthy. I was 21 and my husband of six months had just told me he didn’t want to be married to me anymore and he wanted to sleep with other people. I lost my job that I worked hard through college for and was living with my parents for the first time since high school. I was lost, scared and not happy.

To this day, I don’t know why I said I was deciding to be happy because it was about to be a hell of a fight for the smallest amount of happiness. Maybe I wanted people to know I wasn’t happy or that something horrible had just happened to me, and I was lonely. Maybe I wanted my ex to see it so he would think he had little effect on me. I theorize that I posted it because I knew the importance at the time to “fake it till you make it.”

I also find myself wondering why it is so important to me that I put the quote in French. Perhaps to seem cool because I know another language, and that I am unique. Ironically, that makes me so incredibly normal because so many people speak other languages and know this super famous Voltaire quote.

This idea that people have better lives than us because of social media is getting old to me, and I am sure it is to others too. But it was so important to me then that someone know there was something going on, whether it was good or bad. Today, almost three years later, I can tell you three things I have learned about social media and my health since then:

1. The people I needed to know what was going on with me already knew and were already there for me.

2. It is likely if someone had reached out to me after that post, it would have been to hear about the drama in my life and not because they truly cared.

3. My health (my journey) is not important to social media nor the business of others. It is my personal journey, and those who love me know where I am.

So, here is my social media life lesson. If you want to share your story, great. If you want to help people share their story, even better. If you want a little extra attention from people on social media, that is fine too. But never forget who you are in the process. Never forget you are living for you, and your progress in health is for you. And you are happy for you, and only you. It is OK to be selfish, because in the end you need to be a little selfish in order to be happy and to stay alive.

Getty Image by Koldunov

Originally published: October 2, 2019
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