Two years ago today I wrote a blog about the events of the previous day, it was harrowing stuff for someone who loves Dogs as much as I do to describe the final hours of our Labrador Bonnie. Its been two years and yet it still hurts to remember that day, that’s the price you pay for getting attached to animals I guess.
Writing that Blogpost was a bit of a release, it helped to have nice people comment on it and offer support, it was a good way of expressing emotions that had no other outlet.
But that was two years ago and times change, and with time comes the realization that even though the world we live in is very much an online one…we don’t have to live our lives online!
Like most people I have had accounts on My Space…Bebo…Facebook and Twitter as well as quite a few other Social Media experiments. They become an obsession in many ways, driving your days in directions that they otherwise wouldn’t take…from waking up and thinking that the most important thing to do is check Twitter or Facebook, your day is in the online spectrum.
This Blog very much became an escape for me, a chance to rant as well as allow others to enter a world that I was up to that point keeping very private. The world of Depression.
I read people making comments online about being depressed, but for many it is just sadness, sadness isn’t depression, its sadness…if you are truly depressed than the last thing you would be doing at that moment is writing about it online! You wouldn’t have the ability to turn on a computer to write anything.
I’m not making light of the issue here, because some people who feel sad do end up depressed, and if their sadness is heading that way then they need to seek the medical help to get them through it, because Depression is an illness, a medical condition and not just a feeling and it needs to be addressed as such.
I convinced myself for a very long time that I could fight what I felt myself, and in doing so I made things an awful lot worse for myself and those around me.
Depression is a cancer of the mind – I read that one day and it is a very good description of the condition…a cancer of the mind.
Being clinically depressed has cost me a lot, from having a good job and career, owning a flat, having a car and holiday’s abroad it has left me where I am today, with none of those things…and no immediate prospect of that changing. It has cost me friendships because I couldn’t be bothered to work at them and it has hurt those around me who I should have been concentrating on the most. It is a cancer of the mind and unless you have experienced the absolute low it takes you to then it is easy to dismiss and not appreciate the damage it can do.
I understand people who commit suicide, I get it…that feeling that you have let everyone down and the feeling that you cannot see a way forward that will make it better…I get it…and I know how easy reaching that point must be!
People who commit suicide aren’t cowards as some would label them, they are the strongest they will ever be at that moment when they decide to end it all, because a coward doesn’t kill themselves.
It is a month and a half since I took my last tablet for depression, I needed to get some control back over my mind and the drugs don’t allow that, and even though it is a day to day thing to fight it…it is a fight I am up for.
If the ‘me’ of twenty years ago could see the ‘me’ of today they wouldn’t recognise the person in front of them…the ‘me’ of twenty years ago was a lot more fun as a person to be around than today’s version…I wouldn’t mind a bit of that older ‘me’ coming back now and again although it might frighten those who are used to me these days.
And so as I survey the wreckage of the life I have around me I realise that things need to be different or they will just stay the same, and living a life online is something that can be changed and can make a difference…by not doing it!
Facebook has been great in many ways, it has brought me together with family members in far off places who I would never have been able to contact. Family research is a massive hobby of mine and I can trace my family tree back to the mid 1700′s…a great use of being online and something I will now be looking to go back into and work on again with the same enthusiasm that I did five or six years ago before everything really started to fall apart.
When Facebook has good uses it is a fantastic tool…it has also allowed me to make some friends online in far off places that I would hate to lose now, people who in some cases I have never met but who make me laugh and share similar outlooks on things as I do…Facebook did that and I am grateful for it.
But Facebook also brings into your day to day existence the happy lives of others and when you suffer from depression and feel like you have nothing to offer the happy existence of babies and people in great jobs and having fantastic holidays can be a real kick in the teeth…the desire to post hurtful comments to burst a bubble or two gets strong and is a genuine issue…that isn’t the person I am but I can understand how jealousy of others ‘perfect lives’ can really hurt a person who is on a down spiral.
The need to follow the day to day stuff is something that I am quitting, I have already deleted the Facebook App from my Blackberry and stopped checking the page when I am on the laptop, its not easy but amazing how much calmer not getting involved has made me these past few days. The next stage will be to strip the page down to just the essential people I need in my life, the true friends and family that I have around me…not being included in that may upset some people but those who really care won’t mind…having asked anyone who wanted to keep in touch to message me with their email addresses or whatever the fact that no-one did speaks volumes…those who know I am not going to walk away from them didn’t need to worry anyway, I already have their contact details…but some may be amazed when I am gone from their online world and they finally realise that the end has come!
We live in a fickle world online, and its a world I plan to leave as soon as possible…the use of the internet can be a fulfilling thing and an informative thing without the likes of a status or ‘friendship’ required to make it worthwhile. Some people who I genuinely cared about have gone from Facebook and not said a word, just deleted their accounts…and in a previous mindset I have often wondered how they could do that, just go without saying goodbye, but now I understand that need to clear the decks and stop living your life in the public arena online, and although I still struggle with the idea of just disappearing I can accept it. Needless to say I have adopted the long goodbye method but the end result will be the same.
Twitter is something that I will not be quitting, but I will be removing it back to the bare bones as well, because I use Twitter best for getting information and I don’t really need to interact with anyone to do that, the information is there if you just know how to find it…I check my twitter feed all the time as I am a self confessed news junkie and I love that aspect of it…the people who I have interacted with through that medium are pretty sound folk, and yes in the main they share my interests and views, that is what makes it a completely different thing to Facebook…and why it will survive the removal of my online existence although interactions will be severely reduced in the coming weeks as I find new uses for the time on my hands.
Privacy has always been an issue with the online world, doing a google search on yourself can sometimes throw up some things that you maybe didn’t realise you had placed in a public domain, not that I have ever found anything online about myself I wasn’t sharing anyway but the people who complain (and Facebook is a killer for it) about privacy setting etc need to just follow a simple thought…if you don’t want it made public, don’t put it online!! I learned that lesson with the news story issue a few weeks back I blogged about and it is very true…if you don’t put it online then it will usually stay offline!!
So anyway, I have had a bit of a ramble here today but the crux of it is that this will be the final post on this blog. I doubt anyone will care too much anyway and stopping blogging will just be one way I will start to remove myself from living life as an online entity…the changes on Facebook and Twitter will complete that process in the weeks ahead but the blog dies today…two years after the blog really took off it will quietly slip away just as befits an old friend…I shall remember the happy times and leave it at that.
And so, thank you if you have read all the way to the end of this post, and an even bigger thank you if you are one of the people who subscribed to the blog in the past couple of years…I hope I haven’t bored you too much with my rambling on…The final thought of the Grumpy Old Man is that he doesn’t want to be grumpy anymore…you get one shot at life and I have made about as much of a mess at it as I possibly can…hopefully there may only be one way to go from here!
Take care and goodbye….