The advent of social media has opened up the world to a lot of people who can’t afford to travel. It has allowed them to keep in touch with distant friends and family and to re-establish contact with old friends who have moved away.
Navigating social media is hazardous enough for normal people. Misunderstandings arise when intentions are misunderstood. People who “troll” for fun might trigger an angry response from someone who has a sensitivity to certain words or suggestions. It is difficult to judge what will set someone off. There are also people out there who want to inflict pain on others, to detract and humiliate others for the sheer thrill of it. Most people can see these potentially explosive situations and avoid them.
Social media also offers an outlet for people who feel trapped inside their homes. Different illnesses account for this confinement; some are physically debilitating, while others are psychically so. One of the least understood, but more prevalent, of the psychic hobbles is depression.
Depressed people will not always recognise the “mines” and will find themselves caught in a situation that they aren’t capable of handling. They lack the skills to avert misunderstanding because they did not develop the social skills necessary to express themselves properly. They mistake trolling for real interest.
Someone suffering depression will experience an endorphin high when they experience a period of popularity. When that period of popularity ends, the novelty having worn off, they crash in a flood of negativity, paranoia, and physical exhaustion. If they become dis-enchanted with their own behavior, they may lash out at those who remind them most of their own misdeeds. The object of their anger isn’t the recipient of the chastisement; they are angry at themselves.
It can be very difficult for them to recognise this and next to impossible for anyone who hasn’t been there, done that. Depression is a hidden illness. It is complicated and not something you can just snap out of. But you can learn to cope and deal with it.
If you are out there and depressed, take your time with social media. Hang back and watch others, but always be mindful of who you are, what you believe, and how you want to be perceived. Having people to talk to can relieve the feelings of loneliness, dissipate some of the pain, and share some of the joy that others have to offer.