Social Media is a Warm Gun

“Depression exists in selfish people. Step outside yourself, helps others [sic] & you will feel better!”

@TheDailyLove

The scary thing about social media is it has a nasty habit of allowing some dude who Googled stuff that one time and thought about some things and then decided maybe it would be fun to share them with his MySpace friends (I’m loosely paraphrasing, but seriously, only loosely) appear to be an expert of some kind.

Mastin Kipp, founder of The Daily Love — and the dude who sent that mess of a tweet out into cyberspace and called it “inspiration” — has 305,322 followers on Twitter alone, countless numbers of whom have their own accounts set to auto-RT everything he says, as evidenced by a quick Google search for the now-infamous tweet. Plus, thanks to the endorsement from Kim Kardashian Kipp credits with launching his “career,” I’d be willing to bet that quite a few of TDL’s devotees are looking to this guy for some sort of spiritual guidance, or secrets on reaching celebutante levels of success, or something of an equally disturbing nature. Kipp does not disappoint, delivering his (self described) “e-multivitamin for your soul” to the hungry masses via blog, email list, clothing line, and COMING SOON…personal one-on-one mentoring.

Maybe you think I’m being a dick.  Most people would probably recognize Kipp’s tweet (which has since been deleted with an apology) for the misguided attempt at “self help” that it is, or for those really lacking any semblance of a clue maybe you nod your head in ignorant agreement and go about your day.

But to someone who is struggling, truly struggling with depression — especially undiagnosed or untreated depression — those 140 characters might just be your worst nightmare.


That’s me one year ago today.   New Years Eve, 2009.   I showered that day for the first time in a week, and even then, only in an attempt to ward off the overwhelming anxiety brought on by the fact that Randi and Adam were (graciously) coming over to spend their New Years with us and our infant.

Randi.   One of my closest friends in the world.   A bridesmaid in my wedding.   A person who’s been a positive presence in my life since I was literally Delilah’s age…RANDI, who doesn’t have a judgmental bone in her body, just coming over for dinner caused me to panic.   Like, really, heartstoppingly, panic.

But my rational self, the me who never struggled with depression for a day in her life, the me who returned phone calls, and showed up to stuff, and didn’t have three hundred unread emails waiting to induce hot flashes and agonizing, stomach churning nausea at the very thought of their existence, the ME who I always KNEW myself to be, was locked so deep inside of the solitary confinement of undiagnosed postpartum depression I couldn’t even begin to see how irrational the fears and anxieties that gripped me actually were.

Depression is a slippery little sucker.   Having never struggled with it pre-pregnancy, I didn’t recognize the signs.   I didn’t know that the thoughts and the darkness and the sheer and utter self loathing would feel so…justified. So…organic.  So real.   Depression played on my insecurities…the loss of my job, my colossal weight gain, the paralyzing fear of losing myself and my ambitions to “Mommy” and it put on such a spectacular showing that I was unwaveringly goaded into believing the judgment and loathing were coming from the outside rather than within.

So instead of asking for help, I felt ashamed.   I hid.   I sobbed that the New Year had arrived and I was still an epic loser with nothing to show for my life.  I flagellated myself for letting down those around me, all the while letting them drift further and further and further away, unaware of the darkness that was threatening to take me down like a tidal wave.

“Depression exists in selfish people. Step outside yourself, helps others [sic] & you will feel better!”

Asking for help was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.   Letting go of the denial and feeling all of the terrible feelings I’d stuffed down so hard for so long was physically painful at times, and had those 140 characters passed across my screen while I was fighting with everything I had to reach out for a hand to help me climb out of that abyss?   I don’t know if I would have done it.

* * *

I’m not writing this post to be snarky or dramatic, or condescending, or mean.   I love social media.   I pretty much think it’s the greatest thing since Rock of Love Bus.   But seeing that tweet today sent shivers down my spine, because, Mastin Kipp, whether I like it or not, what you say matters.   Especially to those who are lost in the darkest corners of their own mind, just waiting for someone to agree with them.   So…be careful with which words you wield, okay?

 

And if you’re suffering from depression, you’re not selfish, you’re sick.  And you deserve to feel better.  Please ask for help.  I know it might feel like you’ll never find your way out, but you will.   I promise, no matter what that nasty little voice inside your head (or the internet) is telling you, you will.

[Unfortunately, while I can't offer personally vetted resources for all types of mood disorders, if you're a Mom struggling with postpartum depression/anxiety/psychosis there is a weekly tweet chat using the hash #PPDCHAT that has been an incredible touchstone for me and many other survivors of PPD and it's related disorders.   Even if you can't open up or reach out in your real life, make up a secret twitter handle and GO HERE for more information.  This amazing group of women will show you that you are SO not alone, your mind will be blown by how not alone you are.]

45 Responses to Social Media is a Warm Gun

  1. Melaina25 says:

    I couldn’t agree with your last paragraph more. As someone who’s had anxiety and depression problems I can’t even fathom someone telling me I was selfish and to get over it (although once a doctor did tell me to just have a warm glass of milk).

    Thank you for speaking out x

  2. law momma says:

    I love you.

    That was just what I needed this morning, thank you.

  3. Sarah says:

    So I have to admit that when I first the quote, I thought wow that is really profound. Thank you for shedding much needed light on the stupidity.

  4. Katie says:

    At the height of my PPD and PPA I had a good friend say those almost exact words to me, and she meant it. We haven’t spoken since. I truly think if you haven’t experienced depression for yourself you can’t understand it.

  5. Katie says:

    People that haven’t experienced depression JUST.DON’T.GET.IT. Thankfully they won’t experience it, but honestly, they shouldn’t be such douche canoes about it.
    *hugs*!

  6. You always manage to say exactly what I feel, only more eloquently. Thank you for that.

  7. BuenoBaby says:

    I have wrestled with depression all my life. It runs in my family, like blue eyes. No surprise it worsened after the birth of each of my three babies.

    You’re right that those 140 characters could be very devastating to someone in the midst of a depressive episode. I remember thinking when I read that tweet yesterday, “I’m glad I’m having a good day!”

    My reply to @TheDailyLove: You know who’s also “selfish?” All those people with asthma! They just need to breathe better!

  8. marzipan says:

    It’s like you pulled the words directly out of the dark part of my brain that doesn’t get much air time. This post was brave and honest and I adore you. That’s all. HAPPY NEW YEAR! oxox

  9. Iva says:

    you are such an amazing writer Morgan. I feel honored to ‘know’ you. A truly amazing post, a beautiful message and your strength is undeniable.

    You are a wonderfully strong woman, who is incredibly talented. DG has an exception example of realness, beauty and strength in you. A truly blessed little girl.

    xoxo

  10. i love that you wrote this and think you’re a fantastic badass. as one who struggles and battles, i’m grateful for your words.

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  12. Erin says:

    Thank you for writing this. When I read that quote, I felt (and then blogged) sentiments very similar to yours. I appreciate your taking it one step further and reminding all of us of the power of social media and our voices, for better and for worse.

  13. I love you and admire you and think you are all kinds of awesome. <3

  14. Abbie says:

    Thanks for writing this – I hope these words touch many people who are/have battling/battled depression.

    I just added this to my blog hoping to reach more people I know battling depression.

    Take Care.

  15. Jeni says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for saying this, as those that have never suffered from depression do not know the agonizing pain it causes.

    I suffer from severe depression and have gained a massive amount of weight. I have sat miserably for days with no way to crawl out of the black hole in which I have lived.

    I wish I could publicly debunk the myths and disspell the rumors about this sickness, but alas, I am just one person. I wish I could quiet those like Mastin Kipp that are quick to judge, but may never understand the pain of depression.

    Thank you.

  16. Meg says:

    Ugh… of course I’m the lone soul who disagrees. I’ve never posted on your blog though I’ve been a follower for some time. I think you’re writing is snarky (in a good way) and very entertaining. You and your little family are adorable and I love reading updates. But, I have to agree with the quote.

    Even your own comment seems to justify that the quote holds true: “Depression played on my insecurities…the loss of my job, my colossal weight gain, the paralyzing fear of losing myself and my ambitions to “Mommy” and it put on such a spectacular showing that I was unwaveringly goaded into believing the judgment and loathing were coming from the outside rather than within.”

    The judgment and loathing do come from within. That’s exactly it. Depression doesn’t “play on” your insecurities. Depression IS your insecurities, magnified by 1,000+. What else is depression aside from constant worrying about the things you mentioned? Your weight, your loss of employment, etc.? The constant worrying starts to take over your life and drain your energy. That’s all it is. Not saying it isn’t downright crippling and a HUGE challenge to overcome.. but that’s all it is.

    And before you all jump all over me, this comes from someone who is currently battling depression. I’m about to turn 30 and have just moved with my husband 3,000 miles from home to a new city without a friend or family member in sight. Try being 30 and childless (by choice) and see how easy it is to make new (meaningful) friends. I was unemployed for several months, and when I did find work it was part-time making 1/3 the salary I used to make. Our house back east hasn’t yet sold, so we’re essentially paying for 2 houses on a reduced income. It’s been on the market for 16 months now.

    It’s been a rough year. These have been some of the darkest days of my life. But not for one minute do I think I have an illness or that this was brought on by anything other than myself. It’s been said that depression and suicide runs in my family but I don’t buy into that. I’ll accept it’s possible that perhaps I’m wired to get more mopey than my peers from time to time. But I’ve found that some people use the “it runs in the family” as an excuse (absolutely NOT pointing any fingers here, just sayin’).

    I’m not trying to get preachy or push this on anyone but felt the need to speak up. I understand that, as a writer, it may be helpful for you to write about your healing. Again, I really enjoy your blog but just thought another perspective might be useful. I agree with the quote, although must admit that the author’s qualifications are questionable.

    • Morgan says:

      Meg, I’m glad you spoke up, and thanks for reading – it’s not a conversation unless someone respectfully disagrees, right?

      So, here we go: I think maybe I failed to properly put that statement in context if that’s what you took away from it. I don’t know what your personal experience of depression has been, but for me, it has ABSOLUTELY NOT been simply “constant worrying” about the aforementioned issues. I highlighted those issues in an attempt to illustrate why I believed, as you seem to, that I had brought that darkness on my self. Because I had had a tough year, because I’d had to deal with a little more strife than I was used to, I allowed those things to become excuses for the way that I felt.

      In reality, very little of what I was going through was “worrying.” I didn’t worry – I accepted that this was my new life. That this was what I was destined to live with. I was a piece of shit. Period. What I was going through was the complete and total inability to motivate myself in any way shape or form. My life fell into complete disrepair, almost as if it were an abandoned property – me, the caretaker, had completely checked out. I couldn’t eat or sleep. I had constant systemic symptoms – the chemical imbalance that was responsible for my postpartum depression affected my blood pressure and heart rate, and even caused loss of consciousness on a couple of occasions. When in public, I would become disoriented, sweat to an embarrassing degree, and was constantly being asked to sit down and offered water and assistance. Humiliating. At it’s worst, I would vomit (or worse) to the point of expelling blood from both ends whenever I tried to eat. That was a physical symptom of my alleged “worrying.”

      In layman’s terms, my fight or flight reflex had gone haywire and my adrenaline wasn’t turning off. EVER. Combine that with the low energy typically associated with depression, and you have a very special kind of physical and emotional hell. I couldn’t remember to take the medication I was prescribed. I could barely motivate to get off the couch to pick up Delilah when she cried. Or to feed myself when I felt dizzy from dehydration and starvation. And all the while, I was sweating and overheating and feeling like my heart was racing 100 miles a minute. I contracted scurvy – a fucking obsolete pirate disease which is cured by merely eating an orange. It was significantly more than worrying about all the shit that had hit the fan that year and feeling “drained” as a result.

      And lastly, and I think this is where we will have to agree to disagree – I don’t believe that depression is something you can “buy into” or not. I don’t think it’s up for debate really. It is an ILLNESS. It’s tangible. It exists. But it IS totally treatable. I’m thrilled for you that you’re able to manage your symptoms without medication, but I implore you not to let that desensitize you to those who aren’t so lucky.

      • Meg says:

        I finally checked back & read my initial comment… lol x1000 at my “you’re” typo. Brilliant.

        Anyhow, I’ve had about a half-dozen physician-diagnosed symptoms related to my stress levels in the past 18 months. In the past 6 months, I’ve had an alarming loss of motivation and energy. I believe this is depression that is a direct result of my physical stress levels… I still don’t feel right classifying it as an illness, though.

        Being without children myself, parenthood is something I haven’t gone through and have no clue about–so I can’t pass judgment there. I definitely believe that having a child (an earth-shattering change in one’s life) could be cause for chemical imbalances galore.

        We can compare symptoms till the cows come home, but you’re absolutely right about the need to agree to disagree. I don’t believe it’s an illness, and there’s no real need to take it any further than that. This blog entry struck a chord with a lot of people, obviously :-)

        For the record, I think you have a pretty sweet life–best wishes for the future.

  17. Jessi says:

    I think you are beautiful, inside and out. And so flippin’ brave to post something that reveals your inner self to the masses… nothing is private on the internet, which you know, so that took some serious cajones. And depression is so very deceiving, indeed. I’m glad you are getting better a little each day. Remember, you are an amazing soul with a little light that this world needs, and your light is just as important as the next person’s!!
    xoxo J

  18. Gillian says:

    I came out of my mother’s womb a worrier. I have distinct memories of myself repeating prayers over and over in my head because I thought if I didn’t, my parents would die. This went on from 5 years old to 20 years old. I was constantly being told that I was overly-sensitive and dramatic and that there was nothing physically wrong with me. Just imagine telling a thirteen year old girl that no, she didn’t need a therapist, she just had a terrible personality defect that she needed to fix. Thankfully, I ended up at the doctor in desperation and I was finally medicated. Cipralex saved my life.

    You’re kind of my hero.

  19. TheNextMartha says:

    You are amazing. Hugs.

  20. Aunt Becky says:

    Thank you for this. Just thank you. It’s perfect and beautiful. xo

  21. Natalie says:

    I saw the tweet and had a fit. I too suffered from PPD with both my pregnancies, and suffer from depression as well. I’m so glad that you wrote this post, and that I saw @TheNextMartha tweet about it. Following now.

  22. Mrs. Jen B says:

    I would like to add that what Meg describes in her comment sounds more like “being depressed” (and rightly so, it seems) than depression. Depressive episodes can occur regardless of what’s happening in a person’s life. They don’t have to be a result of any bad thing. Being so physically exhausted and weak that you literally can’t get out of bed has nothing to do with insecurities. Not having the energy or wherewithal to visit with family and friends, to care for children, to even pick up the phone because it’s too difficult, is not insecurity. It’s an imbalance. And it can be dangerous if left unchecked.

  23. GuiltySquid says:

    This was beautifully said and very honest. Well done.

  24. It sounds like we went through something eerily similar. Thank you so much for posting this! I seriously wish I would have read it right after I had my daughter.

  25. Amanda says:

    When I read that tweet I felt the same shiver down my spine. Then the anger kicked in. I don’t have depression but both my parents do, and I am quite afraid that I may be next. Watching my father struggle with bipolar disorder and anxiety has been heart breaking. My mother has ‘mild’ depression, I think the mild part means diddly squat. There are days when neither of them take care of themselves, they are both in their fifties. Extending yourself outside yourself when horribly depressed is impossible when you don’t feel like you deserve to breathe. Thank you for writing this and I am so glad you’ve come out of the fog.

  26. Ginger says:

    Be aware that there is clinical depression, and there is “being depressed.” Clinical depression, a chemical imbalance in the brain, is an illness, however, it is a much rarer illness than our current society wants to believe.

    More often than we’d like to admit we’ve made mistakes, dwelt on ourselves and our own worries, just happen to be feeling down, or, as this Tweeter implied, allowed ourselves just to get inward-dwelling selfish, doing something for others can be the cure. Hey, this is normal, and any human can go through periods. It’s important to know the difference when you can get out of it without chemicals. If it’s not our fault, it’s not our responsibility to make the hard choices to get out. We live in a “blame something other than myself” society. So medication, deadening our brain to the problem, is a quick solution. If there is an actual problem, fix the solution, not the symptoms. I don’t run and take a asprian for the pain if I’ve just chopped my arm off.

    I love the blogging world, but simply telling someone they’re great, won’t fix either.

  27. Powerful post! I followed a link here from the SITS site. Thank you for your vulnerability.

  28. Clutterholic says:

    Wow . . . thank you so much for your raw honesty and your courage to be so open about your struggles. You’re an inspiration and I hope others read this and know they’re not alone.

  29. Susan Walker says:

    hi morgan (is it weird that i’m addressing you by name as a total stranger? i hope not) – i found this from the SITS site and i think it’s really an awesome post. i have a seven month old baby and it’s been a struggle to come back to normal and “find myself” (ugh. really, did i just write that? ugh, ugh. but hopefully you know what i mean). i’d also never really experienced depression before and to suddenly find myself so unable to see inside my own head with any clarity, has been life-changing. i can completely identify with you and it’s good to know i’m not alone. also, profanity rocks. :) good luck, i’ll be reading along!

    • Morgan says:

      Totally not weird – I totally know what you mean about finding yourself – if feels dorky, but there’s no other way to describe the feeling – if your experience was anything like mine, then you’ve lost all the spark that makes you you. You’ll get it back. You’ll grab it with both hands, and you’ll never let it go again.

      xoxo

  30. MJ Scott says:

    Morgan,

    I work in the Social Services Field and I want to thank you for sharing.

  31. Came over from SITS. great post. people who say “get over it” and “stop being selfish” just have no idea.

  32. misssrobin says:

    I am sorry for the difficulty you had after your baby. I struggle with chronic, recurring depression. I can’t imagine having it sneak up on you like that at a time that is already so difficult. Good for you for seeking help and speaking out.

    I cringe whenever I hear people spew their “wisdom” about any mental health issue when they have zero experience. I’m right behind you in your opinion of that horrible tweet.

  33. Katie Gates says:

    I’m catching up on past SITS features, and I am glad to have discovered you. This is a powerful post, with insights not only about depression but also about social media. Social media is a democracy with no boundaries — a remarkable evolution of technology that sometimes is much more evolved than the twitterers who add content. I’m glad you’re part of this media, as you provide balance to the TDLs of cyberspace.

    • Morgan says:

      Thanks for coming by – and for the thoughtful comment. I ended up having lunch with TDL. I’ll have to post about it one day. Hope you’ll stick around.

  34. Meg says:

    Thank you so much for this post. I suffer from sometimes crippling anxiety and it’s nearly impossible to explain to someone that blinding black vacuum of a hole that you enter when an attack is coming on. I’ve been with a wonderful man for over a year and while he’s usually wonderful, this is the one place that he just doesn’t get it. When I tell him I’m feeling anxious, he says “Well. Just don’t..” We’ve finally come to a mutual understanding but nothing breaks my heart more than having the person I love just not get it.

    However (and here I go, about to totally contradict myself) sometimes it’s nice to have a person who doesn’t baby me and sees me as someone who is strong enough to have power over her own mind. That pushes me to maybe take away some of the power that I give my anxiety. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It’s a crap shoot anyway.

    Anywho, thank you for your wonderful post (And, although I receive TDL’s emails, I only do it for the quotes. I never read what Mastin wrote because I find his tone wildly arrogant and inappropriate and I don’t see how he’s an expert in any way – curse of the internet fame machine IMHO).

    xoMeg

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  36. Found you via twitter. Weird similarities we have. My husbands name is also Scott and my youngest daughter (Zoe) is the last chick in the best. Nice blog.

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