Last month I finished my column talking about social media. The miracle of or curse on modern society? It depends on who you talk to but either way it’s dominant and engrossing. Here at the mag, I use it for work and then there are my personal pages, and never the twain shall meet.
It can be a negative experience no matter what you use it for, especially Facebook. Some studies have shown that you can come away feeling so depleted or angry that it’s not really in your self-interest to engage. People carefully craft their profiles and their sharing to only show you the best of their life so if you use it as a yardstick with which to measure your own position then you can come away feeling like a failure! And others, the ubiquitous trolls, well, while they exist in ‘real life’, social media has given them a platform to air their acid views virtually unchecked.
Now, this is an RV magazine and you may be wondering where I am going with this – I can assure you it ends on a positive note.
People take to the road for many reasons. From simple travel, to explore, to live free, for economic reasons, and to escape. And many choose or have to travel alone. That can be terribly isolating. In this situation I guess social media can be a useful tool for friendship because let’s face it, you can travel to campsite after campsite and not everyone engages in happy hour. However, spare a thought for those that’d love to but due to issues like depression and anxiety find it all but impossible. It’s very difficult, even if you are in a group, to reach out and say something. To anyone. About anything, let alone what’s wrong.
And that’s what pleased me so much this week, to see a post doing just that on a Facebook page of one of the popular caravan groups. A brave soul came out and asked how others managed to cope with depression while travelling. The poster was obviously suffering and upset. Now while they may have been physically alone at that moment, they certainly weren’t with what followed. Many, many messages of support and love came pouring out – offering a shoulder and sharing; some knew the poster, but most did not. It was a wonderful thing.
It’s still a very tough thing to do, to tell people that you’re not okay – so it’s helpful for everyone else to ask. The question might not always be well received, anger is a form of defence, but the more people that ask a question, then the more answers will be forthcoming. And if you get an answer be very prepared to listen.
That means the world.
Please keep talking. It’s what makes us human.
Need someone to talk to?
Lifeline: 13 11 14
Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636