Social media is weird

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From a Quad-City Times article (linked below)

Social media is weird, and I think sometimes it’s weird because each person uses it in a very unique way. Of course, not knowing someone else’s thought processes through open communication makes it even murkier to attempt to understand motives behind actions.

For me, if I take the time to block someone on social media, it’s simply because I don’t want that person in my life anymore. In general, it’s because I’ve been hurt by the person, or sometimes it’s because of a close association with someone who has hurt me. It’s very personal. (And very rare.)

Unfriending is a little easier by comparison, I think. I’ve unfriended people because of their posts. (I don’t tolerate racism, y’all. If I see it, you’re gone. In fact, if you’re racist, go ahead and unfriend me to save me the trouble.)

I’ve also been blocked and unfriended by some people. Some of those people are shitty human beings. Some of them are good people. I’m not perfect, and I sure as hell can’t please everyone. I’ve made mistakes.

I was recently unfriended by someone, but I think that person only added me in the first place to spy. Weird. I didn’t realize that until way after the fact because I was not privy to a certain situation at the time. (Apologies for that sounding so vague, but I’m not here to put other people’s business out there.)

I was also recently blocked by someone. That’s where this whole seemingly-blathering, long-ass intro has been leading to.

The person that blocked me was never on my friends list. We have mutual friends. This person has a reputation for being a good person. I don’t know that we’ve had more than one small interaction ever. I have no idea what this person heard or has been told… but I get it.

I get it.

I’ve had a somewhat similar experience to what this person is going through. That person was done wrong by someone. A couple of people actually. People acting selfishly, with total disregard to how others would be affected by their actions.

Without knowing the specific details of that person’s mindset, I can still understand getting blocked because I’ve done it. I’ve been there. I’ve been hurt, and that pain doesn’t just stop with one person – it gets spread around to acquaintances and strangers and even people we once thought friends who turn their backs.

Social media is weird because emotions are weird and people are weird and this whole planet sometimes seems way-fucking-batshit-out-there.

And a lot of people are hurting and struggling and just trying to make it through the day. Full disclosure: lately I’ve been one of them.

Recently, I’ve seen some billboards around that simply say “just be kind.” (Here’s an article I found about those.)

I try to be kind. I try to make sure that I act in kindness. I make a conscious effort. I still fuck up. But I try.

For that stranger who blocked me, even though they’ll most likely never see this – I’m sorry. The pain sucks. I hope it gets better soon.

And a reminder for all of us:

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

― Socrates

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‘The cow was an antidepressant’

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Recently, I was having dinner with a few people. We didn’t know each other all that well, in fact one I had just met that day. As we shared a meal and some drinks, at some point the subject of mental health came up.

Even not knowing each other well, we were all being open about our struggles with depression or anxiety, sharing experiences and discussing the stigma around it. It was a very authentic experience, and one that I think doesn’t happen often enough.

It reminded me of a podcast that I had recently listened to. The author Johann Hari had gone on Sam Harris’ “Making Sense” podcast to discuss his books Chasing the Scream, which deals with addiction, and Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions. You can find that podcast here.

Hari shared a story in that podcast, so when I began reading an article on Vox with a similar story, it caught my attention – and then I realized the author of the article was Hari.

He tells of a psychiatrist researching the psychological effects of unexploded land mines on people in Cambodia – around the time antidepressants were first being marketed there – and how the community approached depression after a worker lost a leg in a land mine explosion. (The title of this blog post comes from the story.)

Read “We need new ways of treating depression” on Vox.

Hari discusses studies on antidepressants, “social prescribing,” economics, and much more. It is a very interesting read.

From the article:

I learned there is broad agreement among scientists that there are three kinds of causes of depression and anxiety, and all three play out, to differing degrees, in all depressed and anxious people. The causes are: biological (like your genes), psychological (how you think about yourself), and social (the wider ways in which we live together). Very few people dispute this. But when it comes to communicating with the public, and offering help, psychological solutions have been increasingly neglected, and environmental solutions have been almost totally ignored.

There are a lot of interesting things to examine in that Vox piece. I haven’t read Hari’s books yet, but I plan to get Lost Connections at some point. (I’m way behind on my reading… currently – slowly – going through about three books as I get time.)

One book I did finally finish is related to this post though, and I’ve shared it with a few friends as well – The Upward Spiral by Alex Korb. Korb is a neuroscientist, and the book’s subtitle is “Using Neuroscience to Reverse the Course of Depression, One Small Change at a Time.”

Thanks for reading.

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‘The Way Forward’ + show + updates

Me, C. DeWayne Cunningham, and Tonya Scott Williams, March 28, 2019.

(L to R) Me, C. DeWayne Cunningham, and Tonya Scott Williams, March 28, 2019. (Not pictured: Royce Williams.) Photo from AISJ Facebook page.

Last year, I had the opportunity to begin working on a documentary project telling the story of the Alabama Institute for Social Justice. I served as Director of Photography on the project and worked with C. DeWayne Cunningham and Royce Williams under the direction of Tonya Scott Williams.

Last Thursday, the organization debuted the short film at their Racial Healing and Reconciliation event. You can see it here:

In other news…

Barrens has been in the studio lately. We’re tracking at Headless Dinosaur Recording (the same studio that recorded Hail the Titans’ “Hymns of Mare Nostrum” album.)

To see/hear some pics and teaser clips, be sure to follow our Instagram: @barrensmusic

We’re also playing at Bomber’s Pub in Montgomery this Saturday with V8 Death Car and the McRyatts.

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And yet still in other news…

I hope to be able to announce soon details of another documentary project, and I’ll be acting in a short film soon as well. So more news to come on those fronts.

Thanks for reading. Much love.

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