1. katybe says

    I’m going totally off topic here, but I thought I remembered a post from you about supporting a friend with depression, and I’m trying to find it. That may not have been the main thrust of the post, of course, but it was what stuck in my head, and the reason I’m trying to track it down at the moment. Sorry about this, but can anyone help me find it.

      • katybe says

        Thanks Kate – that was exactly what I wanted. A friend of mine has had some pretty serious issues for years, but has had it under fairly good control for the last couple (about the same time period as my education and awareness has taken off, as it happens), and has stuff going on in her life right now that she’s concerned will leave her at risk of isolating herself and slipping back into instability. It’s important to me that I support her, in ways that she needs, rather than hinder her by assuming I know how to help, and I wanted to re-read that to give me a good foundation.

  2. says

    I had one problem with that Slate article, and it’s related to something that’s been sticking in my craw since yesterday:

    All of our Internet interactions aren’t helping and may be making loneliness worse. A recent study of Facebook users found that the amount of time you spend on the social network is inversely related to how happy you feel throughout the day.

    This “objectively” assumes the perspective of people who are necessarily comfortable with interacting verbally and/or face-to-face. Some people have difficulties doing this, which is part of the reason they’re isolated and lonely. I do, but I won’t bother describing what it’s like because Jen did a pretty good job already. But, of course, our culture is dominated by people who can do face-to-face and verbal interactions, and those are often considered somehow better (I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to reject ‘requests’ from local 9/11 Truthers and other conspiracists to “sit down and chat over coffee” because I can’t do face to face well, especially not when it involves factual discussions).

    Thing is, IME there’s a lot of unfair stigmatization towards people who communicate primarily or exclusively by text, specifically electronically (though this may just be because text communication was rather unwieldy before the internet and text messaging came along). It’s hard for me to put it into words other than that a lot of us who grew up with the Internet (I was born in 1991, for reference) and found that it helped us communicate have probably been exhorted to ‘go play outside’ and ‘get some real friends’ at one point or another by concerned family/friends who don’t have difficulties with offline interactions like we do. I can sum it up in a microaggression I shared to highlight this stigma: a sign at a coffee shop saying “No, we don’t have wi-fi…TALK to people!”. Not having wi-fi is perfectly fine, but the exhortation to talk to people, face to face, with words? That brings the memories of my family telling me the only people who thought I was worth talking to weren’t “real” friends because I talked to them using a computer. The mode of communication I’m comfortable with isn’t “normal” and my difficulties aren’t “real”, I’m just some weird person who should either act normal or go somewhere else and be invisible.

  3. says

    Yeh I live in pretty extreme isolation, having lost my family and extended family due to getting out of a cult, and then again years later due to their transphobia. I’ve suffered extensive trauma going back to and including early childhood, I am Autistic, transgendered, disabled, PoC, and lower class. I’ve lived in extreme isolation now for five years, and severe isolation going back before that, off and on, since I was 17 years old.

    I’m stil waiting for social justice warriors to break my isolation and actually visit me. So far, peoples’ prejudice has precluded them actually putting their money were their mouth is.

    I need physical interaction and lots of it (far more than so-called ‘normal’ people) yet I don’t get any of this in any kind of dependable way, and often go months without any physical contact of any sort with other people. All because people prefer the comfort of their prejudice to getting to know me better. It’s hilariously absurd and traumatic, one and the same. I’m still waiting for people to visit me from this social movement, as well as from so-called ‘marxist’ movements elsewhere, still waiting for people to get past their prejudices and embrace me, physically and socially. I’ve already been into social movements around were I live and been rejected, shunned, and marginalized. I’m not interested in going back to those social groups, I’m not interested also in morons who tell me to ‘just get a library card’ any more than vulnerable elderly people would be if idiots told them the same thing.

    I’m at risk of suicide from this extreme isolation, and I have one suicide attempt so far in life, one I might add that happened when I still had a family and an extended family, and I was not inhabiting extreme isolation. I’m totally cynical of the idea other human beings actually have the compassion to come and visit me and integrate me socially, into anything; people are too marred in their bigotry, in their prejudice to do that. People from this website or anywhere else actually.

    I too have problems with face to face and verbal, but if people still visited me anyway I think it would do me so much good-especially if they were able to stay quiet and interact with me physically (like holding me) or do some activity with me recreationally- and if they integrated me into their social get togethers. People know these statistics, they know this stuff, they don’t care, they only care about looking good, not doing good.

    I’m very cynical about this, and if I’ve insulted you or anyone else, I’m really not sorry. People like me get ignored and marginalized by people like those on FTB or from marxist movements, because people like me are ‘icky’ people that are social lepers. That’s only my problem because people insist it’s my problem by shunning and marginalizing people like me, rather than changing their attitudes and embracing me socially.

    I stay alive and don’t kill myself for reasons I won’t get into, but suffice to say they’re not something I can go into but revolve around spiting the society at large. Thanks for this article, at least you’ve had the honesty to post it. The same can’t be said of others when it comes to discussing social isolation.

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