Quite some time ago a very dear friend said to me "You don't want the fact that you're bi-polar be one of the first things that people find out about you. Let them get to know you first; because many people have prejudices against any mental health issue."
(By the way, some of you may remember that I started my first Moodscope blog with the words "Hello, I'm Mary and I'm bi-polar." You guys are a slightly different audience.)
So, just this year I discovered the joys and use of Facebook — because I always was an early adopter (ahem). I've joined several writing groups and have begun to get to know other writers around the world.
One particular writer accepted my friend request. I started a chat thread initially asking some innocuous question about the time zone they are in and we were off, exchanging details about our families (our kids are roughly the same age), the fact we never get enough sleep, and so on. I read a novel by this writer and sent a message of appreciation and we were off again. Somehow we got onto the fact that this author uses a generic image on their FB profile instead of a photo, to preserve some anonymity regarding their writing and oops, my blabber-keyboard struck, sharing how I'm completely "out" about my bi-polar in spite of my husband's ambivalent views...
For two days I fretted and made the silence mean – well, you can imagine what I made it mean. I thought about it in the car while waiting at traffic lights. I thought about it while looking at Facebook and seeing that this writer was not on line and so was obviously avoiding this mad stalker from the UK. I thought about it in bed as I lay waiting for sleep.
Pretty silly, huh?
Eventually I plucked up enough courage to post "OK, embarrassed now. Oversharing too much? Promise I'm sane and not a stalker at all." After which I felt much better.
And hugely better when the writer came back and said "Sometimes I fear *I* am the one who overshares... Sometimes I read messages and don't reply straight away...then get bombarded with other things and forget to get back!"
That writer was not concerned that somehow my bi-polar is contagious and will spread from the UK to affect them via their computer; they're not concerned about me being a stalker. It's just that life got in the way. It has a habit of doing that.
We need to remember that life happens to other people too. Incredible though it seems, it's rarely just about us.
Think I'll write that one down and stick it above my screen for the next time I'm on Facebook.
A Moodscope member.