In this post I am taking a step away from fashion for a moment, because I feel I must talk about something that is important and will be of relevance to a very large part of the population who live, play, create in SL.
Recently, I have been going through a lot things in my RL, in fact all of 2014 and 2015 have been two of the worst years of my life without exaggeration. To go into it all would take too long, and I’m also not comfortable with sharing so many details of my personal life here on an SL related blog. I will confess that I suffer from mental illness, which consists of severe Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, major chronic depression (chemical imbalance based, not all circumstantially caused), mood swings and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). All of these things have made me very disabled, I live on disability money from the government at this time and have for years.
A few days ago, having to do with RL as well as things that were happening to me in SL, I was feeling suicidal. I was contemplating what my life was worth and why I try and try to achieve something, to really get far in my SL modeling career and so many in the fashion world here will not let me live down an incident that happened over a year ago now where I got into a fight with a top designer. I was kicked out of agencies I was working hard for, magazines, and other opportunities were lost due only to this drama they heard about, which should have remained privately between the designer and me but she had decided to share it with everyone on flickr and her high traffic blog.
So it was all these elements of RL and SL that prompted me to reach out on facebook to all those in SL who knew me in any way, friends, acquaintances, or just admirers even of my blog. I turned to them because sometimes, you don’t have your mom or other relatives around right then, and you don’t want to talk to a suicide help line where they are PAID to talk you out of it and know nothing about you.
But there are some people, who shall remain unnamed, who do not approve of opening up and reaching out in a cry for help on their SL facebook. They comment on your post telling you that facebook isn’t the place for this and to “take your pity party somewhere else”. They even write a blog post all about this, getting on a high horse and accusing you and others who share real crisis feelings and problems on FB of taking suicide lightly and not truly being depressed in a real sense if SL is what is making them want to end their life, and also saying that they who write this blog rant are more depressed and mentally ill than anyone else, like it’s some sort of contest for attention. Talk about a pity party!
Well, to this person, and to others who respond in this most insensitive, presumptuous and self-righteous fashion to people just trying to reach out in a time of desperate need for convincing that they are worth something to people, and that life is worth living…I say, what gives you the right to judge and presume to know their motivations and deepest reasons? Also, why is one reason less valid than another for suicidal thoughts?
I think everyone should react the same to someone saying they want to end their life. They should extend support, love, tender compassion and even empathy if they can, and if they can’t do that, then just refrain from saying anything at all to them or about them. This is not too hard to do. If you think they’re overreacting or being drama and attention-seeking, if you look down your nose at them, then why don’t you just stay out of it, like any decent person would?
To say someones’ not “normal” for using facebook in this way to reach out and ask for help and support from other people in a time of personal crisis or breakdown, is only adding to the stigma surrounding the mentally ill. And since so many who use SL have depression and other mental issues, then shouldn’t they all the more try to get help however way they feel will work for them? If facebook is an option they feel safe and secure with, then let them, and I encourage all of you who need to, to do the same as I did when you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you can’t go on.
Don’t be afraid to let the tears flow out onto your social media outlets. We use these to stay connected to others, so whether they’re friends or strangers, they are out there reading your posts and some people are bound to want to help you so it IS worth it.
If you think it can save your life even for one night? Do it. Don’t hold back. Don’t let anyone else tell you this or that is not normal for facebook. They don’t make the rules about this, they have no authority over it no matter how much they’d like to pretend they do.
So, take your shaming, self-righteous parties somewhere else. People who use SL are REAL people behind the avatars, with real problems, and real emotions, and they can be fragile and needy and it’s all part of life and being human. It’s in your power to use compassion rather than shaming tactics or laughing at them, which could just be the difference between life and death for them for all you know. Do you really want to risk that?
Thank you for reading this. Onward to fashion posts, many to come this week so don’t worry.