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.
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.
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.
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Thank you, Mrs A Xx