It’s been interesting to watch people’s reactions on social media after my friend’s decision to take his own life.
Once I let go and accepted that each person has the right to grieve in their own way, it was much easier to watch it all play out in such a public arena.
One thing that really stood out was a number of his best friends rehashing his older posts that were cries for help.
Some of these original posts got one or two likes. But by his friends’ reactions it seems that few thought to ask if he was okay.
All I can wonder is, did people see his posts? He had over 1600 friends surely more than one or two people saw them.
Did they scroll past them and not think twice? Did they wonder if he was okay but never asked?
I wasn’t there so I’ll never know. What I do know is that there are a lot of people now regretfully reposting his cries for help wishing that they’d asked what they were about.
Online platforms give us a greater reach but are we now so numb to the constant barrage of messages from friends and companies that we don’t hear anything anymore?
Social media is supposed to connect us, but we don’t really connect, we scan. We scan for gossip, we scan for information, we scan for things to entertain and amuse us.
Among all of this, sometimes there’s an honest cry for help. A subtle, silent wish that someone, anyone will ask if they’re okay.
When I was much younger and struggling severely with depression I put on a happy face, and few would have seen anything different. I’d always say I was fine even if people looked at me sceptically on a bad day.
I kept doing the regular things and smiling through it all. No one knew for sure.
There were days though where I did give a very subtle cry for help. On those days, pre social media, I wished so badly that someone, anyone would ask if I was okay.
In that moment I would have said no.
But they never heard my cries on those days. They never asked. So I never told them.
This is something that happens for so many who are truly struggling and in deep despair. The kind that they can’t see a way past and is swallowing them whole.
It’s not easy to spot the difference between attention seekers and genuine cries for help at a glance, I know. That’s why it’s so important to be present with those that we love.
We can’t save everyone, but we can remind them that they’re seen. That they’re heard. That they’re not alone in a world where so many are.
This doesn’t mean fixing everyone. It doesn’t getting involved in people’s business or even the situation.
It can be a simple sentence that shows a compassion and connection that we seem to have lost.
“Are You Okay Day should be more than one day”, is something I heard someone say.
I agree. It shouldn’t be a day at all, it should be an automatic reaction.
Compassion, consideration and presence should be a normal part of society again. Have we lost this?
Whether it’s on social media or in real life, remember that life is about really experiencing things. Really connecting.
The world needs more love. Let’s start here.