Originally published August 21, 2014
Today is one of those “brain fog” days. The voices took it easy on me last night, but I am still having a hard time getting moving. Many days lately it just seems easier to rest than to get up and go anywhere. I really need to get off my bottom and get to the eyeglass place, where I have a couple of pairs of glasses waiting for me. One regular pair and a special pair for the computer. At least your exciting blog correspondent should be able to see better soon.
Today I wanted to talk about faces. I guess we’ve pretty much all got one, and depending on our self-esteem…well, it can be a gorgeous face, a plain face, or a disaster. Mine lately has been a disaster.
After two solid years of fairly bad depression, I can really see the toll it has taken on my face. Of course, some of this is due to aging, but a lot of it is downright exhaustion. My eyes are very dark underneath, which is something I don’t recall. It’s just not a good look. When I go out somewhere, I’d like to look healthy and energetic.
I don’t consider myself a vain person. I don’t constantly look in a mirror, and I am embarrassed to tell you what a small amount of time it takes me to get out the door. I’m not big on make-up and I don’t spend a lot of time on my hair. Part of this is because I have the big “bipolar shower fear”. Did you know that a lot of bipolar people have an aversion to showering? Probably goes along with the depression.
Anyhow, I’m going to be doing some public speaking in the next week or so. (More about that in upcoming entries). So I decided to get a make-up lesson. I’d like to look somewhat professional. This woman that did the lesson, Robin, was very nice. She had flattering things to say about my face. However, my realistic brain brought me back to the idea that she was SUPPOSED to say something nice. She wouldn’t sell much make up if she said, “Dear, you look like a rabid dog…there is no help for you”. So anyway, she went through the 32 steps needed for a decently made up face and I dutifully checked myself out in the mirror after each step or two. It was fun, although at the end I did feel like a raccoon. (I am not huge on eye make up).When she finished, I still thought I looked pretty exhausted. I think I’m going to make a serious effort to drink a lot of water and see if that helps at all.
Which brings me to my next face, Facebook.
There is an entire thread on my psych website devoted to bipolar people and Facebook. The opinions are all over the place. Several people like Facebook and think it’s a great way to keep up with people. The vast majority have some trouble with it, and says it causes problems for them. One woman said she ‘ABSOLUTELY HATES IT.” (I wish I knew the story behind that.)
My husband has an account but does not care for it at all. He says he would delete it if he only knew how. My daughter loves Facebook and pays close attention to it. My two boys don’t use it at all.
I have an account but I don’t do too much on there. I tried to get into it, but I just couldn’t. This sounds terrible maybe, but there just wasn’t enough happening on there to hold my interest. Pictures of dogs and grandchildren can only hold you for so long. I decided that maybe I needed to weed out some of my “friends”. So I cleared the thing of everyone but my 32 closest acquaintances. And you know what? There still wasn’t enough on there to keep me interested. It seemed like everything was the same.
Some people insist that they use Facebook for a reason. A friend of my husband’s says he is able to secure more clients by using it. I know others use it for their professional activities. Some people keep up with family and friends. And young people use it for everything.
I kept reading on and on about the trouble Facebook causes bipolar people. And the bottom line? I think those who are depressed are not served well by Facebook. Those who are dealing with mania are not served well by Facebook. My guess is you have to be fairly mentally healthy to enjoy that thing.
Young bipolars go on and on about who unfriended them, who ignored their posts, who didn’t return their messages, and who didn’t comment. This stuff causes serious agony for these people already struggling with self-esteem. You can’t be thin-skinned on Facebook. I love manic bipolars who get on there and start ranting and raving about one thing or the other. They are inevitably sorry. Some of them even get panicked calls from friends and family inquiring after their mental health. If you start telling your Facebook friends that you are God and you are watching them, you have a good chance of winding up in trouble.
I do get lonely sometimes when I am on Facebook. But I don’t think that is the idea of the whole thing. However, I know I am best when I interact one on one with people, either in person, or on the phone/text. I try to limit that to people I really care about. And then I don’t mind pictures of their puppies so much. If you are struggling with Facebook, get the guts to get off of it for a while and see how you feel. No point in adding to an already sad situation.
I appreciate all comments and would love to hear from you. What is your opinion of Facebook? Do you ever feel that your depression has etched itself onto your face?