On the Topic of Depression and Social Disconnect

I was scrolling past some social media on my feed yesterday night, and I saw a post casually addressing depression. It was one of those gif’s with commentary that read “me replying to messages 10 days late and blaming it on my busy schedule to hide the fact that my depression has me thinking simple correspondence is an actual workload.” It’s clearly social commentary, but it also shows how common place and quiet depression is. It’s talked about, but I think it’s still not empathizing with society. The topic definitely resounds within Millenials and Gen Z, but out main concern right now is more keeping the earth alive long enough to have more generations. Priorities right? But seriously, it’s an important message because I think so many of us born in or after the Millenials generation completely understand that feeling of simple correspondence as a chore. I definitely feel it. I’ve been feeling this way since I turned twenty.

I got my very first cellular phone when I was 16. I was quickly addicted to texting. At 18 I started college, at 19 I had dropped out and at 20 I was in my second semester at a new college. A lot happened, definitely that dropping out of college part of my life left me feeling depressed. When I was 20, at that particular moment in my life, I just needed to seclude myself away from others and deal with my feelings of loss and disappointment and beginning anew. Instead I was constantly surrounded by text messages, invites to go out that very moment or later that night, social media and all sorts of information thrown my way via the instantaneous communication. It was really overwhelming and never gave me the moments I needed to just be out of society for a little while and deal with my emotional and mental stability. There were other circumstances that added to that too. My family constantly surrounding me, and I mean constantly. I didn’t have a bedroom. I was sleeping on the living room couch, and every weekend I was seeing and hanging out with my family members instead of.. anything else that might have been solo time for me to deal with me. I moved to a new state, California. It was a culture shock for me. I never went out so much in my life prior. Basically every single day, Monday through Friday, was spent going to school and out with friends, then the weekends out with family. I’m an introvert more than I am an extrovert. There’s lot of nuanced details I could go into about that, but for this post’s sake, it means that I was getting zero time to recharge my energy levels. To sum it up, I began to feel an avoidance for people. Simple things like a text message asking me “how are you” became a chore. If I said fine, I’d be lying and probably would get an invite to go out. If I said not well, it’d lead to a conversation of talking to others about my feelings that I hadn’t yet sorted out. Sustaining a conversation, much less beginning one, was something I was constantly trying to avoid.

Even now I am avoiding messages. There is now a culture where people reply instantly. There’s also a split in this culture now where people just don’t reply until much later. It’s really crazy how instant messaging and internet and cell phones have blurred the personal boundaries line. I personally do not like to have a constant back and forth text conversation unless it’s been a long time and I really am trying to catch up with that person. However, once in a while phone calls work just fine for that too. But things like learning how to let a conversation die out is a skill people need to learn. Conversation topics die out, and if it’s a text message conversation, please, I want and need people to understand or learn that everyone has a life outside of the ’til then current conversation. And texting every day? Humans live by routine generally. What am I up to? Well x, the same damn thing I’ve been up to the other four days of this week, last week, and the past year really. Aka, working, eating, cleaning, and sleeping. Not much new to tell. Please stop asking me this every damn day.

Okay, this somehow became a rant. My apologies readers. Anyways, I want to sum this all up to depression is real, though it doesn’t manifest into something like constantly sad or anything super visible like that. It’s also different for everyone. Their reasons are their reasons. Not everyone will think they are depressed either, because you can still function. You can still communicate with people, you can still go to work and do your daily life routines, and you can take care of yourself well enough to function in society. Depression is something that leaves you feeling empty. Simply interacting with people becomes a chore, and you want to leave the interaction, but leaving also leaves you feeling empty. It’s become something of an age where there’a disconnect between people, and most of the blame is put upon technology, but there’s also blame in people not actively taking accountability to their own actions. Create boundaries, stick to them, let people know them. Boundaries doesn’t mean you don’t want to communicate and be friendly, it means you are taking care of yourself, and others should do the same for themselves and respect your boundaries. There’s no “if this were in person you wouldn’t xyz” comparison. This is an entity on its own, the internet and instant messaging age, which means that we need to set up new rules for this new setting/situation.

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