May 21

man depressed

As human beings we tend to come off as being competitive by nature due in part to our comparison check whenever we hear about somebody’s success or failure. As an employee, when we learn of someone being in the same field as we are, we always want to know how much they make. Sometimes it doesn’t even matter how long someone has done their job, how much education and experience they have towards it and at what situation a company was in when they hired them; if they make more than we do, we get upset and feel small for it.

A couple of average looking girls will tear a beautiful stranger down behind her back because a guy that they like is trying to talk to her (happens all the time). A skinny, nerdy guy will be ridiculed quietly in the gym for having a sexy, fit girlfriend working out with him. Women get self-reflective whenever a girl they know of gets married in a shorter time-period than they did… some will feel happy if the engagement is called off, or worse the marriage ends in divorce. Nobody cares that you got a raise… even though they congratulate you while secretly wondering when their time will come.

We have to admit that in some facet of things we are all guilty of the line of thinking described above. We want our proper dues, and no matter the amount of effort put into things by the successful person, we still want what they have… even if we aren’t driven enough to take it. So imagine the amount of depressed, angry, bitter but silent people that reside on our Facebook friend’s lists. Imagine what happens to them whenever you brag about popping bottles in the club on weekends, take pictures of your perfect baby, announce your engagement, put up graduation pics… make a new album for your globe-trotting vacation pics?

Knowing this it makes me want to post less of my life to Facebook. It is the hipster in me who wants to be different from the herd, as well as wanting to stay relatively neutral from the hell in people’s lives yet stuck here doing what everyone else does anyway… which is to remain silent. Do you see what I’m getting at? The active players affect the silent without realizing it because amidst the “congratulations” and the 50 or so “Greg likes this”, there are a number of people thinking “damn, what I wouldn’t do to have that guy’s life!”

Facebook reflects life in this dynamic on so many levels; some of us are Rock stars, others are their audience. Life kind of happens that way, but unlike the non-virtual world of social media, we cannot block it all out now can we? You can’t stop watching television; looking at magazines and talking to successful friends in order to filter the sadness of your current state to make it seem like one of normalcy can you? In the virtual world that timeline can easily be a minute by minute reminder of just how crappy and meaningless our lives are compared to those we call friends.

Doesn’t this make social media seem like a slow draught of poison disguised as text when you think about it? But it doesn’t have to be… that’s the beauty of the thing.

Facebook can be a great motivator instead of a depression battery for the pessimist. Facebook allows you to see the local restaurants that friends have visited and propped as delicious. It can give you an idea of what vacation spot to shoot for next, and it can do exactly what it was meant to do – which is help you keep up with the lives of your friends (unless you’re my friend at which point you only know what I tell you).

Social media can be whatever we want it to be within our own lives and if it depresses you then it’s only because you allow it to.  Get positive and proactive about your timelines and unsubscribe from people whose marriage, baby pictures, trips to Aspen, and reminders of how much money they have is subconsciously affecting you. Take back your virtual world within the tool that you are able to, and if that’s not enough then bow out and close your account.

Is Facebook really worth your sanity in the long-run? If it isn’t buffing your life positively, then it’s probably depressing you more than you think. Then again, you may be the one fueling the depression. So what are you in the world of Facebook my dear denizen… are you a Rock star, or are you the silent reader rolling your eyes at the pictures and wishing people would shut the hell up already?

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