Connecting (a response to responses)

So I got some…unexpected responses to my last post, which I felt I needed to address before too much time had passed (also I’m on a bit of a roll when it comes to blogging, so while I’m in the zone I want to keep it up before going silent for three years again or something).

The most common response I got was “So…have you considered therapy?” I understand the sentiment behind this (“I have no idea how to be helpful, but maybe a professional does”), but it’s not exactly good form to suggest this to someone in a public space. That’s akin to seeing someone who’s a little out of shape breathing hard and saying, “Whew! There sure are a lot of stairs up to this building!” and responding, “Well, have you considered changing your diet and exercising?” loudly in a crowded room. If you have suggestions for me to help me out, let me know; just be aware of where you are giving that advice. Private messaging is preferable when talking about such subjects. I post personal stuff on this blog, sure, but I try to do my best to keep it anonymous when talking about others, and it doesn’t give anyone else leave to discuss my personal matters publicly too.

As for the actual matter of therapy, to be frank, it’s not something I feel comfortable talking about publicly at this point. Just know that whether or not I’m seeking help should not reflect on what I’ve posted and what you take away from it.

This brings me to my second point: intended takeaways. I posted my last post, not as a personal cry for help, but to 1) open the eyes of people not in my situation to some of the issues we deal with, and 2) connect with anyone going through similar issues, to help and support one another. I want to re-emphasize #2 here: I know that there are a lot of people who struggle with being alone and feeling like nobody else feels the way they do, but don’t feel like they can be open about it, for one reason or another. I know this because some of them have reached out after I post something personal, and probably for every person who contacts me there are probably several who at least feel a kinship just by reading, even if they don’t actually let me know. I know this because I’ve done the same thing in the past: reading somebody’s personal blog and finding some reassurance that people struggle with things I do and we’re all in this together, even if I don’t feel comfortable contacting them.

I write on this blog mainly for myself, but also for the people like me out there. If you read my stuff and your only reaction is, “I wonder if he’s looking into therapy?” then maybe I’m not writing to you. But if your reaction is “Wow, I thought I was the only one who felt like that! This makes me feel a little better about my life! (Also, I wonder if he’s looking into therapy?)” then my mission has been accomplished, even if I never know about it. (Though I would like to hear from you if you’re the second person here, if you are comfortable doing so.)

Usually when I get blog-happy it’s because I’m in a contemplative mood. I do have a slight tendency to over-dramatize my struggles when writing to drive home some important points, but the flipside of that is that it tends to blow my weaknesses and struggles out of proportion. My blog often represents only about 10%-20% of who I am and what I’m going through. The other 80%-90% is that I’m fine, going through life working, earning money, spending my free time enjoying myself by gaming, or going for walks, or watching people speedrun games (the charity drive Awesome Games Done Quick, where people play through video games as fast as possible to raise money for cancer research, is going on right now and I’ve been watching all week). I do spend good times with family and friends. It may not be enough to leave me completely fulfilled at this point, but my life is not a slog either. I don’t wake up each morning struggling to get out of bed. I don’t suffer from clinical depression. There is so much good about my life. I just don’t post about it because 1) I don’t like to brag, or trivialize others’ suffering, 2) people connect better through shared hardship rather than shared prosperity, and 3) I don’t need to “work through” the good things in my life by writing about them.

For those of you who have connected with something I’ve written and have talked to me about it: thank you for doing so. I’m not super-great at providing insightful replies to everyone who contacts me, but it means a lot when you do. For those of you who have connected with something I’ve written but have not let me know: I understand completely, and I continue to write with the hope that I’m helping people out even if I never hear about it. And for those who just don’t know what to say: you don’t have to say anything. Even if you don’t relate to my viewpoint, at least I hope you understand me, and people like me, a little bit more.

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