All alone in a digital world


The following post is not meant to make anyone feel guilty or wonder if they should have leaned on me for support over the past few months. Everything I’ve done to support others has been of my own volition and if I needed to step back, please know I did so. It’s because of what i do that I’m writing to you today.

It’s been a helluva summer over here in my world.

I’ve not talked publicly about the details and will not do so now but I am now divorced. So when I say it’s been a helluva summer, I mean it. Over the course of this past summer, I’ve had a lot of emotional upheaval come my way. There have been things in addition to my divorce, which, I also will not divulge the details of, but these things have shaken me to my very core. I’ve gone to bed in tears. I’ve screamed. I’ve cried. I’ve wailed. I’ve wondered why I have to wake up. If I wanted to wake up. And yet… here I am.

In Nashville, I arose at 530a CT, made my bed, got dressed, drove to a nearby park and hiked 1.5-3 mi, showered, ate breakfast, made coffee, then onto the job hunt. I didn’t find a job. So at the beginning of July, I moved back home with my parents. Which, hello, humbling.

I lost my drive. My routine. I’ve been job hunting but I’ve also felt frozen. Frustrated. Scared. Rejected. Dejected. Alone.

Me? Alone?

But you’re a well-known blogger. The founder of #ppdchat. Giving. Compassionate. Funny. Awesome. One of the best friends I could ever imagine. Always there when people need you.

Surely you have people.

I have people. But I type to them on the computer. On my phone. They’re electricity, phantoms at best. In person?

I have my parents. People with whom I have been close with from a distance for the better part of the past 11 years. And let’s face it – you really don’t want to sit down and share everything with your parents.

Here, in person? I have no friends. I’ve lost touch with them all and really, at this point, don’t want to reconnect. I haven’t had an in-person best friend (other than my former husband) in nearly 11 years.

Then.

Trey Pennington.

Well known. Over 100k followers on Twitter. Committed suicide.

Alone.

Trey’s death scared the shit out of me.

Why?

Because there have been thoughts. A lot of thoughts.

Oh look. That tree is sturdy. I bet it’d destroy me and my car if I hit it going 70mph. Or… A steep hill… a ravine…. And trees. Surely I wouldn’t survive that.

But the one that scared me into really reaching out to someone?

Standing in front of my bedroom’s second story window wondering if I had what it took to fling myself out of it – at what angle would I have to do this in order to hit the cement wall? How long after I hit the ground would I survive for? Would I feel anything? Surely that pain had to be better than living in constant anxiety and frustration.

As I reached out to push the screen, I recoiled and rushed downstairs. Too close. Too.FUCKING.CLOSE.

A friend had reached out and told me if I ever felt Not OK, to text. So I did. We talked. He searched for some local agencies and found one for me. Today was my second therapy appointment. It rocked me. Hard. I drove for nearly an hour just to be okay enough to come home.

I’ve been wanting to write this post for almost a month now. I’ve been lying to myself. To you. To people who love me. I’m not okay. On my good days, I’m okay. But most days? Most days I’m a shell wrapped around shattered porcelain supports threatening to break any second. I rock, I pace, I can’t get my leg or my hands to stay still. I’ve been telling myself I’m okay, that I can do this, that I’m strong, that I have to make it through this because there’s no other choice but through. I can’t get out of this. It is my life. But – I’m alone in my life right now and I’m not so okay with that even though really, I have to be. There I go again.

Why now? Why today?

Because over the past week or so, I’ve had a couple of friends who have been in the same place come to me for support. I’ve watched myself type things to them I should be heeding but haven’t been. Words I need to live by but haven’t been.

It’s so very easy in this day and age to isolate ourselves. To live in an ivory tower connected to the world only with Wi-Fi. There are walls we put up, a lack of contact, a lack of true connection even if we try to impress upon others how much we care, they are, ultimately, still alone in their private hell. Our words are not three dimensional. They’re not hugs. They’re not “real” no matter how real they may seem or feel to those sending them. You can’t hug an email, a tweet, or a comment on a status update. Well, you can.  But it’s awkward. And you’re still alone in the dark. It hurts, y’all. Like hell.

Trey’s death especially hit home because again, here was someone who was not only connected online but in person and yet he felt so profoundly alone and lost that the only way out he could locate was death.What’s really scary is that from initial suicidal thought to completion, time lapse is typically only 10 minutes. 10 MINUTES, people! Which, in the Social Media Realm seems like forever but in the real world? It’s only 10 minutes. That’s not a lot of time to do anything. No amount of Klout in the world is powerful enough to prevent someone from going through with suicide if they’re truly determined.

I don’t want that to be my way out. I don’t want to be a statistic. I can’t let myself be a statistic. I’m fighting as hard as I can but it’s exhausting. Some days, I may be quiet. I may not be able to handle supporting you. I need you to be okay with that. I need to be okay with that. I need to be okay with not being okay right now and admitting that I’m tired. It’s a work in progress and I suspect will be such for quite some time to come.

I’m not posting this for pity. I’m not posting this for attention. I’m posting this because the more honest we all are about how we feel and the more truthful we are with facing the hard, the easier it is for us to make strides in healing the hard. The easier it becomes for the NEXT person to talk about the hard, especially when that hard is suicide or a mental health issue.

I’m refusing, once again, to remain silent. I hope my refusal to stay silent about this will help someone somewhere.

Know I’m on my way to my new okay. I don’t have a plan right now and I am seeking help. In the meantime though, and especially right after I post this, I’m going to need some time to myself because wow has this been hard to write. I imagine deciding to hit Publish will be even harder. Because once I hit that button there’s no more hiding this from anyone.  And also? I’m supposed to be strong. I’m supposed to be the support. Once I hit publish, that flips. Being on the opposite side of the equation is a bit scary… it’s territory I’ve not been in for quite some time. At least not publicly. Or ever, really, because I didn’t go through my PPD in real-time through my blog or on Twitter. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes and click. Like Pin the Tail on the Donkey except this is Bare your heart and soul to the entire fucking Internet and never take it back. It’s a pebble which, once dropped, will create uncontainable ripples.

Also? Make those connections. Online and off. Lean on them. BE HONEST when you’re not okay. Lying about your well-being only hurts yourself. I am SO sorry for not being honest but it’s hard to be honest with others when you’re not even capable of being honest with yourself. Now that I’m somewhat heading toward self-honesty, I will do my best to be honest with you too. I pray you’ll forgive my dishonesty and understand my struggles. I know most of you will. But I do worry some of you will worry unnecessarily about me as well or even wonder if you’ve done anything to add to my issues. Rest assured you have not, I promise.

I love all of you to pieces and hope you’ll continue to support me as I go through this new and not so stable time in my life. I know you’re going to want to help but a lot of this involves things I need to work through on my own. Just knowing you’re out there to support me as I’m moving forward will be more than enough.

I’m working to find my happy again. I promise.

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44 thoughts on “All alone in a digital world

  1. Pingback: In which I thank a friend for saving my life | My Postpartum Voice

  2. I am currently going through PPD/PPP, I have my first doctors appointment to find out whats wrong with me tomorrow. I have been googling for days and today I landed here, on your blog and who’s name do I see? Trey Pennington. A friend to my mother and her friend, Marshall. This shows what a small world we really live in at times. I am going through something horrible at this time in my life, my family and friends have abandoned me. Its hard to cope but I am trying to find the courage to stay strong in my fight.

  3. It is always easier to help someone else then to help yourself. You have not only helped others with your post but you were able to help yourself also. Always take time for yourself. You are an amazing and passionate woman. Never forget that.

  4. I can’t imagine what it feels like to go through so much change at once. Even though it doesn’t feel like it, you’re rocking it. You’re getting the help you need and practicing self-care–the things you lead so many of us to do! I can’t speak for the whole Army, but I’m proud of you and proud to know you.

  5. I’m glad you published this Lauren. Because you are being honest with yourself. You are admitting that you need help, and you are getting help, and that is wonderful. I worry for you. I know you must miss your children and I know you must feel so strange in your parents’ home and I know you must be so frustrated with the job hunt (as are almost all the people searching for jobs these days, it seems) and with just about absolutely everything. It must feel like such a heavy weight. But people believe in you. We believe in you. And you know — you have the experience to know — that you can and will get better. You will have the time to heal, and you will have (I hope) really good help from the therapist, and you will circle back around, away from all this messiness and upheaval, to the Lauren you know and everyone else knows. Please be patient with yourself and allow yourself the time to get there.

  6. Pingback: Dear #PPDChat Mamas

  7. I’m so sorry to read this. Four of my close friends divorced this summer (married between 10-23 years)…it was a heck of a year. I don’t know if something is in the water, but I do know that we all need someone to talk to, and even if it’s online, you should be afraid to talk to others who may be able to share their own experiences. It’s what you offer to others, so you would understand the value of it. I hope everything works out.

  8. Lauren, the only reason I joined Twitter was to participate in the #ppdchat. I had read your posts, and I wanted to be a part of the chat as well. I am struggling with this, but I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You have provided me with so much support, and I am so grateful. I have taken the scary step and opened up to some of my friends IRL. Your courage and honesty inspires me on a daily basis. Sending you love and support. Keep working to find your happy.

  9. Is it actually possible to read about you feeling alone and somehow feel less alone myself? I wrote about feeling forgotten couple weeks ago and fear kept me from hitting the publish button. Thank you. Your strength shines even when you let us in on your darkest thoughts. Amazing as always. I wish you well in this painful journey

  10. There is nothing for you to apologize for. You’ve supported us for so long, we are here for you. *awkward Internet hugs*

  11. Okay, I so want to kick your butt for thinking that you should be asking for forgiveness and that you were dishonest! Nothing could be further from the truth and you have nothing to be forgive for.

    I am so sorry that you feel alone. That is one of the worst feelings in the world. As my first marriage was coming to an end I admit that I began to wonder what would it matter if I just drove the car off that bridge or turned into the path of that truck. Obviously I didn’t but it scared me that I felt so alone, so disconnected from everyone, that that even became a thought.

    You have been such a source of strength for so many of us. I sincerely hope that you allow me to return that kindness and I can be a source of strength for you. You are an amazing person and the world is truly a better place because you are in it.

  12. My heart aches at the thought of this sense of aloneness.

    A few years ago, it took my foot creeping off the brake pedal as a semi-truck approached for me to realize what was wrong. Realizing what was wrong helped me take steps to fix it, the first of which was reaching out to two of my dearest friends and allowing myself the benefit of their comfort . . . no matter how hard it was to speak the words I first had to for them to understand how vast was this difference between who I was and I was then pretending to be.

    I wrote a short post about this a few months ago. In response to that, my sister (one of the two) and I got to talking about everything I would’ve missed out on. I was building this whole huge list when she boiled it down in a single bullet: “You never would’ve met Li’l D.” That’s a thought I held onto a couple months ago, when I was faced with that same void. I would’ve missed so much.

    Ganbatte, as they always said when I was teaching in Japan. Figh-to.

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