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Tempted to overshare on facebook... help.

(11 Posts)
hopethisncworks Thu 09-Jul-15 14:13:36

"I know this post is going to be awkward, but I feel like there are a few people on here who I owe an apology/explanation.
When I was 17, I developed pretty serious depression and social anxiety. I was not particularly nice to a lot of people over the following 6 or so years, particularly when I was at the peak of my illness. I can’t exactly attribute that to being unwell, because plenty of people manage to be ill and behave with more consideration than I did, but I also don’t think I would have acted like that were I not a hugely unhappy person at the time. My support network was pretty much non-existent, and then I became pregnant… and I became very selfish and sometimes rude towards anyone who wasn’t me or my son, because things were really very difficult and I was extremely isolated, and I went into self-preservation mode. I just did not have the energy for very much outside looking after my child and myself.
But now that things are significantly better, I really cringe thinking about the way I acted. I want people to know how much my behaviour was shaped by my being unwell, and that I’m genuinely sorry for acting rude, dismissive, unsociable, seemingly-ungrateful, etc. A lot of social stuff was just really beyond me at the time."

I strongly suspect that posting the above as a fb status would be cringey and oversharing and an awful idea. But can anyone else understand the temptation, and give me a possible alternative? I've considered messaging people individually, but there are literally scores of people it could apply to, and also the idea of 1-on-1 messaging seems more intimate and therefore more awkward.

Should I just completely ignore this feeling of wanting to 'get it out' and say nothing? That would be the safe option, I know. But to be honest, I also really want the cathartic feeling of distancing myself from the person I was during the peak of my mental illness. I want people to KNOW that it wasn't the 'real me'. If I'm 100% honest, I want people to know, if only to some small degree, how much of a struggle those years were for me. I suppose that whilst a primary motivation for posting is to apologise, a lesser part of it is just a desire for some sympathy. Which I guess is a bit tragic.

Can anyone relate/advise?

(Sorry if this posts multiple times btw! My Internet keeps losing connection, and I've clicked 'create conversation' a ridiculous number of times now so it's going to be embarrassing if they show up after all!)

Tinfoiled Thu 09-Jul-15 14:20:50

I understand why you might feel the need to do this but I think it would be far better to make peace with yourself, accept that you couldn't possible explain 'why' to every person you feel you might have upset, and move on. I strongly suspect that your behaviour probably wasn't as bad as you think it was as depression anxiety and low self esteem very rarely give people true perspective on their own behaviour. Have you got someone you could talk to one to one who would be able to just say 'I'm sorry this happened to you, it must have been shit'. It's completely normal to want validated when you've had a terrible time but I really think facebook is not the way to do it.

hopethisncworks Thu 09-Jul-15 14:33:06

Thanks for your reply smile

Unfortuntely, my behaviour was bad enough that a few members my extended family have stopped contact with me, so I know it has caused offence. I was never intentionally rude, but I did become extremely insular and selfish.

I don't really have anyone tbh. I think you're right that if I could have some kind of validation from one person I would feel better, but there really isn't anyone. I tried talking to a member of my extended family and they completely backed off and obviously didn't really want to hear about it. The closest things I have to close friends are the people who USED to be close friends before the social anxiety hit when I was 16ish (I'm 25 now), all of whom I have on facebook - which I think is partly why I'm tempted by facebook in the first place...

NotAJammyDodger Thu 09-Jul-15 17:01:18

Your proposed FB post sounds like you are asking forgiveness to make you feel better about your past behavior, especially as you seem to need to explain your actions, rather than just offer a simple apology?

Whilst this is ok, especially when dealing with shame which is a powerful emotion, I'm not sure that you will get this by posting a generic message on FB. Also, as it happened over a number of years, others may have well 'moved-on', or see it as an attempt by you to excuse your behaviour (despite your best intentions) which may alienate them further.

I agree with tinfoil, it might be better to move on. I don't think you will get the relief you seek this way, especially if you don't get the response you hope for from people?

If there are a few specific people who you still care for, perhaps do reach out to them individually? Either way, sometimes it best to move forward and not try to right your past.

Tinfoiled Thu 09-Jul-15 17:30:09

Perhaps it's them that should apologise to you then, for not being able to have a bit of empathy and understanding for a young person who was ill and in need? Maybe you should approach some of the people who you were closest to and just try to rebuild a relationship with them again, without any motives of 'getting forgiveness' for something that is in the past. If they're not interested then it's their loss as you sound like a thoughtful, nice person. And no facebook winkgrin.

hopethisncworks Thu 09-Jul-15 21:57:10

Thanks again for the replies. I know you're both right and it's a bad idea - I will hold myself back from facebooking! I don't think there's anyone specific I can reach out to without looking like a complete weirdo - it's just been way too long. I'll have to hope I end up developing close relationships in the future when my social anxiety is (hopefully) even more improved.

I've just been so depressed about it lately. My cousin got married very recently and I wasn't invited despite other extended family attending (I saw this all on facebook) - a while before her wedding I'd sent her a message apologising for my behaviour (not responding to some messages, being avoidant etc) and explaining that I had social anxiety, and she completely blanked it and I felt like a twat. That said, I could understand her not replying to the message (even if I was mortified) because we weren't close and it must have come across as way too much information... but then not being invited to the wedding was like a kick in the teeth. I just feel like I've upset people and humiliated myself and messed so much up and I don't know how to fix it.

NotAJammyDodger Thu 09-Jul-15 23:58:43

Hi Hope that must have been so painful for you sad, and is hurting you very much.
A couple of questions if I may?
- You say you don't know how to fix it. I wondered what fixing it would actually look like to you / what you really want to happen.
- Is it that you want to fix the actual situation or change how you feel about what happened (or maybe both)?
I will understand if this is too intrusive. Just feel that your 'guilt' is causing you a lot of distress.

hopethisncworks Fri 10-Jul-15 11:56:24

Not intrusive at all, I'm finding talking it through very helpful.

I have an image in my mind of the way I think things could have been if I hadn't developed these issues. My real personality wouldn't have been masked by things that made me behave oddly and irrationally, and I would have retained my social skills rather than losing them through lack of use. I would be a positive element in people's lives rather than problematic and offensive, and people would generally like me. I wouldn't be the black sheep of the family.

Fixing things would mean getting closer towards that ideal. Obviously I can't go back and change things, so it seems like the next best thing would be people understanding that the way I behaved was neither intentional nor representative of who I actually am.

I'm not sure to what extent it's about changing how I feel rather than actually changing things externally. I would definitely like to stop feeling guilty about it all, but I'm not sure if that's really possible without changing how other people feel about it too...

Part of the issue is that my anxiety issues are ongoing, and even though it's not as bad as it used to be, I know I still confuse and upset people with my behaviour - people automatically assume that it's about them when I behave anxiously, and I don't really have a way of explaining otherwise. The "school-gate mum blowing hot and cold with me, what a cow" threads that occasionally pop up on here are examples of this.

Wow, this is a long post - sorry!

NotAJammyDodger Sat 11-Jul-15 09:50:35

Glad that talking things though helps smile. Always here to chat to.
I too have burnt a lot of bridges in my time, mainly because I am very judgmental of other people, can be really rude / dismissive, then feel really bad about it and worry like mad.

I've been doing contract work now for a couple of years. One of the things I have been doing with my therapist is working through how I come across and not being so immediately judgmental of other people - sort of using my contract work as a social experiment as well. I have been really surprised at the results and have made many positive relationships. It's also really helped with my confidence and self esteem - hey some people actually like me grin.

You say that you want to, "stop feeling guilty about it all, but I'm not sure if that's really possible without changing how other people feel about it too."

With people that you already have a pre-established relationship it is really hard to change any prejudice towards you, and they have to have a reason to want to even try. Some just won't be bothered no matter how much you want them to, or how hard you try to show them the real you now. It also takes time - is more like 'influencing' people to alter their perception of you, which means presenting a sustained, reliable, stable (no blowing up grin) positive image of you going forward over months and years, building trust.

Sometimes it is better to try establishing relationships with new people as there is no prejudice there. You could 'practice' on some of those challenging school mums! Also, as you don't have any 'baggage' with people you don't know, your not so much on the back foot confidence wise. You can redevelop those social skills and behaviors, see how its works out without too much risk and build your confidence up. May be then you could try with people you already know?

I know this is going to sound really cliche but have you looked into therapy to help with your anxiety and building your self-confidence. Self-help books are also really good, but I think it's better to also have the opportunity to discuss what's working and what's not - it's hard by yourself as its really easy to only focus on the negatives. May be also discussing with your family that you are seeking help to build better relationships, and that you would really value their help too.. would they be supportive at all???

You need to give yourself permission to forgive yourself. You are trying to make changes, give yourself big credit for that, but know that it will take time.

Sorry, my turn for a long post wink.

slightlybonkers Sun 12-Jul-15 16:06:49

I really relate to your post. I have similar issues with friendship, although I am a lot older than you. It's hard! Bear in mind that dredging up old friends may bring up negative emotions. Draw a line under it and move on. lots of people (most?) move on from their teenage friends. maybe wish them a happy birthday on fb, don't mention yourself, just wish them well and move on. Try to find your kind of people. School gate mums can be a nightmare as we are thrown together by our kids. Just smile sweetly, invite kids around to play and keep it casual. I had a best friend that I unceremoniously dumped when I was 19. I was in a bad place, immature, drinking too much and feel mortified / embarrassed by my behaviour now. But you know I didn't murder anyone! It was just stupid immaturity.

MummySparkle Sun 12-Jul-15 23:30:32

How about sharing some links to articles about social anxiety? You don't even have to put a comment with them, but people might read them and make the link to you? It's a bit cryptic, but it wouldn't be cringey. Maybe post one or two over the space of a week and see what comments / likes you get on them. Then maybe post one with a caption 'this was how I was a few years ago' or 'I'm so glad to be feeling free from this' or something else simple, relatively positive, but without over sharing. You may find you get more responses than you think x

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