I’ve always been quiet, prone to dips into the depths of gloominess but having been that way for as long as I can remember, it became easy to accept it as the norm — but things started to get too much for me. In the bleak spiral of blackness, the idea of picking up the phone, going to see someone, is just too much. An absolute impossibility. Bashing out a few words on Facebook, however, was far more manageable.
Being able to reach out to people who knew me, whilst simultaneously being able to keep them at arms’ length (or draw them closer, as required) was much easier online than in the real world. Those in direct contact with me, of course, cared, but familiarity breeds contempt and it can be hard to try to explain feelings that have been hidden away for three decades. The distance the likes of Facebook and Twitter offered was perfect.
It seems selfish — sometimes you have to be selfish in the name of self-preservation — but speaking to people in person or on the phone all too often results in the conversation being on the other person’s terms. Social networks are frequently home to people who like to hide behind the anonymity such services afford them. While I was not seeking anonymity, Facebook gave me a chance to step back from myself, write about the way I was feeling at my own pace rather than in a real-time conversation where day-long pauses would be, well, weird.