When I first had Aislyn I suffered form a serious case of PPD (and for those not fluent in the ‘mom’ lingo, that would be Post Partum Depression), scrolling through my Facebook feed became one of my favorite past times. But as time did pass, and from my personal change in interests, so did Facebook eventually morph my feed selections to feature mostly my fellow mommy Facebook posters. My screen overflowed with babies in hats, babies with pets, and dead babies. Everything in my life had changed: my friends changed, my priorities had changed, even something as commonplace as Facebook had changed from a social outreach to a place to feed mass hysteria.
Articles bombarded my feed about dead babies lying at the side of the road, in their cribs, or even just napping in their car seats! There was no safety net and I was falling down a void of panic and angst with each passing post. I would weep, no sob, for the parents, I would vividly picture their faces, relive their anguish and shock. These simple typed words would seize my body with cold chills and goosebumps. My husband attempted to console me, but there was no shutting it down. For each post I would experience the seven stages of grief through the night, the next day, and the next night, leading me into panic attack after panic attack over a mortality that was not even my own.
So for a while I put away Facebook. I missed my family and friends, but their insistent obsession with tragedy had taken it’s toll. When I returned to Facebook I just agreed to not open any article that were shared, ever. It didn’t matter wether the title hinted to a happy or sad ending; I was not going to open it.
Now my mommy friends have found other avenues of torturing me, and I request they please stop tagging me in the comments of tragic tales. I had a dear friend, just a week before we left for Disney World, tag me in the comments of a young two year old eaten by an alligator. For the first time in years my mind retracted back to the grief. I would break down and cry in the mall shopping for special Disney clothes, imagining the mom doing the same. I would drop to the floor in anguish when packing our suitcases, imagining the mom folding the tiny T-Shirts with the greatest of excitement. I relived the shock and grief at night, never sleeping. I stressed myself out so much that the day we were driving to Disney I came down with my first ever case of hemorrhoids. This was not only a sign of my ever aging body, but just another reminder of to myself of my ridiculous inability to channel others’ suffering from my own.
Second are the videos that autoplay in the feed. I watched three car-fulls of passengers slaughtered by a speeding 18 wheeler running a red light yesterday while just innocently reading a post located just above the unavoidable video. “And this is why you’re no fun to watch videos with,” my husband tried to make light as I tried to communicate my anguish for the witness. “He didn’t ask to be there, he didn’t ask to witness that. Now not only does he have the trauma of witnessing that, but because of his rotten timing and location he now has to watch as the entirety of the carnage unfolds. He has to reencounter the entire event to the cops, it’s not enough that he has to sleep at night living with it, but to be forced to stay through the aftermath, that’s just inhumane!” A disclaimer above the video would be nice, so that I know, please pause if you are a crazy Jess who is too sensitive to everything.
So why I wonder? Why must we spread anguish and panic? Why must we share the misery and anxiety? What is with this sick obsession?
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