The Problem With Memes

Hello everyone. I’ve mentioned before in blog posts and on Twitter how I dislike motivational memes. I generally find these sort of things to be at best sickly sweet, at worst really damn patronising. But I’m a big girl now.  I know how to scroll past stuff I don’t like on my timelines without causing a big fuss.
White sparkly background. The problem with memes written in purple

However there’s been one doing the rounds recently that has rather gotten under my skin. It goes along the lines of

” Be nice to people and appreciate them, because you never know what lifes got in store and this could be the last time you ever see them “.

On the face of it that’s far from the worst bit of advice you could be given. For a normal person this gentle reminder to appreciate loved ones is fine.

However ……. I’m not normal …..

Or more to the point I’m a bit mental. This isn’t a  secret to people who know me.  I try to be quite open an honest about  my mentalness. I suffer from crippling anxiety, social phobias and depression. I think its important  to speak about  these conditions in person and on social media sites, because it helps people become more aware of the huge range of symptoms associated with each.

One group of  symptoms that don’t get discussed often though are obsessive thoughts. Obsessive thoughts are persistant, intrusive and negative.  Although most commonly associated with Obsessive Compulsive Dissorder (where obsessive thoughts trigger a range of behaviours) people with generalised anxiety disorders often suffer with them too. People can obsess about a huge range of things.

“Have I got cancer, have I turn off the cooker, what happens if I drop the baby, what If I suddenly decide to walk in front of a car one day?”

What makes these different from normal thoughts is they usually include worst case scenarios, and once active it’s very difficult to focus on anything but those thoughts.

What has this got to do with that meme?

Well, as you will probably have gathered I suffer from obsessive thoughts. Mine relate to people suddenly dying.

Yellow sign tied to a chainlink fence. Black triangle on sign with a man being electrocuted. Danger of death written under triangle

They use to focus on Mr A. But now includes my eldest boy because  he has moved back home. I’m fine during the day as they follow their normal routines. (Mr A going to work, and M going out to visit friends in town). However if they’re later home than expected my brain automatically goes into worse case scenario mode.

There has been an accident, probably a car crash, maybe M has got into a fight, could Mr A have had a heart attack or a stroke? ……..

Obviously to date none of these things have happened. There’s always a normal, mostly boring reason for their delay. You would think therefore that as an intelligent woman (I still maintain this despite being mental) I could simply brush these thoughts away.

Its not that easy though. For every rational explanation I come up with for why they might be late my obsessive brain will throw up an example of when someone I know lost someone close to them suddenly. And this for me is the main problem point. I can think of a lot of examples of friends ot family who have lost loved ones suddenly.  The obvious one being my birth mother. She said goodbye to  my birth father one morning when she was 8 months pregnant with me. He was killed in a car crash on the way home from work. Fighting your own brain in this way nearly  every day can be exhausting.  So for me personally, this particular  meme can act as a trigger setting off my obsessive thoughts during the day, long before they would usually occur.

So what to do about memes like this?

Usually at the end of a post I like to summarise my thoughts and write a positive conclusion. I’m not sure that is possible in this case. I appreciate I can’t be a snowflake and demand that other people stop sharing these type of things.  I am however going to publish this somewhat rambling post. Because I’m sure I’m not the only one who is bothered by this meme.  If this post is read  someone who has similar obsessive thoughts, I want to say you’re not on your own. And if people who regularly share memes like that read this and think a little about how some people may react to such memes then that has to be a good thing.

Scientific Fact ~ Bloggers feed on blog comments. Please help keep this blogger well fed♡

Thank you, Mrs A Xx

39 Comments

  1. likeherdingcatsblog

    November 19, 2018 at 11:17 am

    I think your post raises a really good point. I love a good comedy meme as much as the next person but the smiley, positive ones don’t do it for me. I opften think they are dismissive of mental health issues as they portray a smile as being all you need to be happy etc or your family should make you feel complete. It’s not always that easy, I personally know it isn’t and people shouldn’t be made to feel bad if this isn’t the case for them.
    #mixitup

  2. Jo (A Rose Tinted World)

    November 19, 2018 at 10:22 am

    I have OCD. Not obsessive along these lines, but can see how it would affect others. Give me a sarky meme every time #MixItUp

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      November 19, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Oh yes, I love a bit of sarcasm 😁

  3. Lisa Pomerantz

    January 22, 2018 at 6:45 pm

    Oh Mrs. A, I’m giving you the biggest hug possible, as it is sent via blogs and all! Obsessive thoughts are just awful. Been there and experienced them form both ends (my mom, and my own). xoxo #familyfunlinky xoxo

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 22, 2018 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you lovey, cyber hugs are still good hugs xx

  4. daydreams of a mum

    January 21, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    I’m a bit nuts myself and I have to agree some memes really do feed into my already a bit off the wall thoughts #globalblogging

  5. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...

    January 19, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    I have obsessive thoughts too and always think the worst 🙁 I don’t pay too much attention to memes! Thanks for linking up to #globalblogging

  6. Alana - Burnished Chaos

    January 19, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    Returning with #FamilyFunLinky
    Thanks for joining us x

  7. Alana - Burnished Chaos

    January 17, 2018 at 6:41 am

    I’d never really considered the impact of memes like this before. I do get slightly obsessive thoughts when people are late or a long distance away and I haven’t heard from them. This can be especially tricky with a husband who works away for months at a time on a ship and can sometimes be hard to reach. I do have a love of motivational quotes and sayings and use them a lot but never anything with a suggestion of people dying, that would just have the total opposite affect. I have a real problem with getting stuck in negative thoughts that can just spiral till I either become really agitated and angry or completely withdraw, neither of which is great when you’re solely responsible for the care of two children. I’ve found repeating some of my favourite quotes like a mantra can sometimes help me claw my way back before I spiral too far. #MondayStumble
    Thank you for joining #FamilyFunLinky x

  8. Jessica - A Modern Mom's Life

    January 16, 2018 at 11:45 pm

    Interesting point of view here. I never think further into memes or similar social media items, but I can see this could be. Good for you for pointing this out, and being vocal about these things that others may not think about. I really hate the images that are created without anyone taking even a second to think about what they’re saying – or how untrue it may be!
    ~Jess
    #GlobalBlogging

  9. jeremy- thirstydaddy

    January 16, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    I don’t usually share anything unless its really stupid and made me laugh. I don’t need facebook reminding me to be nice or about how short life is. I recently wrote about how tired I am of all the “noise” that seems to be such a big part of life now, I think memes are a part of that. take care of yourself Tracey. #familyfun

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 16, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      Oh I love the really silly, rude ot sarcastic memes they far more reflect my attitude towards the absurdity of life xx

  10. Baby Isabella

    January 16, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    We haven’t really thought about it that way before, however my mummy does suffer from obsessive thoughts which seem to get worse the more stressed she is. The majority of time she lets things blow over her like a breeze and tries not to focus too heavily on a whim made by someone else x #FamilyFunLinky

  11. Susan

    January 16, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I can’t say that I’d thought much about this before, but I can see how this would have an effect on some people. Definitely, something we all need to take into consideration x #mondaystumble

  12. Susan

    January 16, 2018 at 12:23 pm

    I can’t say that I’d thought much about this before, but I can see how this would have an effect on some people. Definitely, something we all need to take into consideration x #mondaystumble

  13. Stephanie (Complete Communication)

    January 16, 2018 at 3:33 am

    I totally get what you saying here! I have severe depression and anxiety and have been triggered by memes in the past. Some have been seemingly innocent, like the one you mentioned, and some have just been plain ignorant. It is definitely frustrating because, like you said, there’s no clear cut solution.

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 16, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      They are a gross over simplification of what are big complex issues xx

  14. Mackenzie Glanville

    January 15, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    My Grandmother used to say to my brother and I ‘be nice to each other, don’t fight as you never know if one of you will die’, it really stuck with me from that day, I would have only been very young at the time and I think we were arguing about something, but now I always think about it. I get what you are saying, I have OCD and anxiety and the intrusive thoughts can really be hard to ignore. I always worry if my hubby is late, actually I worry a little every day when he heads off to work if he will die. I am better at putting rational thought to it now, but it lurks there in deeper parts of my mind. I really hate the one ‘happiness is a choice’, I agree that we can control our happiness to a degree, but when depression takes over it is very hard! You can not just say “I want to feel happy now’ and magically you do. I get that we have to be proactive and make choices to seek help, exercise, mediate, and perhaps even medicate, but it is just that that saying makes it sound way to simple. Sorry for rambling on xx #MondayStumble

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 16, 2018 at 12:29 pm

      Oh don’t apologise, I totally get where youre coming from. Being positive is a choice but depression is far from a choice xx

  15. Pickinguptoys

    January 15, 2018 at 9:38 pm

    I would normally see something like this and avoid because it’s cheesy but I hadn’t really thought about it in the way you’re describing. This must be really hard for you to cope with. Much love xx

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 16, 2018 at 12:27 pm

      I have my phone friends to keep me distracted xx

  16. Chloe

    January 15, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    I can’t say I really thought of memes before reading your post. I have to admit that sometimes thoughts of the day work for me and point me in the right direction #MonadyStumble

  17. Modern Gypsy

    January 15, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    I can’t say that memes bother me, but this is an angle I hadn’t thought of before! I can see how a meme can be triggering when you suffer from anxiety or depression or any other mental issues. This is food for thought, for sure!

  18. Misa

    January 15, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    I’m not particularly anxious, but like you I do tend to worry when my husband is late home. He works all over the north and that involves a lot of motorway travelling. I love them for how quickly you can get from A to B, but I hate them due to how quickly something minor can become something major. In regard to the meme? I fully support making the most from every moment and appreciating what you have, but this one is a little too morbid for my tastes.

    #Mondaystumble

  19. Jeff Wood

    January 15, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Memes don’t bother me much but I know I have had to be more aware of them. My oldest daughter has anxiety and I can see some of them bother her. Never really thought about it until I saw her reaction to some.

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 15, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      Yes, some of them, especially the ‘you can be happy if you just try’ type can really make you feel worse if you are already down.

  20. Enda Sheppard

    January 15, 2018 at 1:11 pm

    Not a great fan of memes either, usually life is a bit more complicated than a a simple thought for the day. But I wouldn’t worry about them unduly!

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 15, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      Usually I just scroll on past without a second thought, but this one is harder to ignore xx

  21. Sophie

    January 15, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    This is not a rambling post! I love that you have described so eloquently what so many people feel. I think, as a parent, I get these thoughts sometimes; surely it’s normal to worry and obsess on occasion. Take care. Good post. #mondaystumble

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 17, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Thank you, im glad you dont think it was a ramble. I think its the frequency of the thoughts that becomes draining at times xx

  22. Ross Hunt

    January 15, 2018 at 10:11 am

    I like silly memes and like making my own, not so bothered by motivational ones though

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 15, 2018 at 11:10 am

      I like rude ones 😂

  23. Rach

    January 15, 2018 at 7:01 am

    I have OCD with intrusive thoughts. It almost broke me a few years ago. It’s awful so I totally and utterly understand where you’re coming from with that.
    With motivational Meme’s I’m not a huge fan. I prefer piss taking ones. #globalblogging

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 17, 2018 at 1:27 pm

      Oh yes give me all the rude and sarcastic memes 😁

  24. Michelle

    January 12, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I can’t say that any memes really bother me but I do understand the intrusive thoughts. I used to get them all the time about my kids, or my siblings, or my ex-husband. Every now and then they will still pop up but I now have the skills I need to squash those thoughts. I know that’s not easy for people to do though and it takes a long time to actively work on developing those types of skills, especially when someone has had these thoughts for a really long time.

    1. hooks_and_dragons

      January 15, 2018 at 11:11 am

      I could do with some extra skills to put down those thoughts. Its tireless at times

      1. Michelle

        January 16, 2018 at 1:11 pm

        Coming back again from #MondayStumble

  25. Star

    January 10, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Oh my goodness this is so me! That meme does the same for me. That is exactly how I think and I think it all stems back to when I was a kid and my mum made me say goodbye properly everytime I went anywhere telling me “because you never know what might happen or if you will see each other again” ! She lost a few friends to motorbike crashes years before she had me and thats why she said it but Im sure its made me think that way now and if someone is two minutes late I cant stop myself thinking the worst!

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