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Monday, May 17, 2010

just one of the ways

As I write this it's Thursday afternoon. The weather outside is beautiful - feels like in the 50s, you can hear lawn mowers running and kids playfully screaming and laughing. Me?

I'm in my room, writhing.

Here's what happened:

I saw that a certain artist whose work I enjoy was having a giveaway on a blog, so I clicked over to join the fun. Without even searching the site I knew what to comment -- that is, what exactly I'd choose with my gift certificate, should I be the winner -- so much do I enjoy this artist's work. Upon seeing certain pieces for the first time in real life, my breath was taken, so struck was I at how perfectly the art would fit my home & family. A few months ago I finally made a purchase, and then of course kicked myself for not getting those pieces sooner.

Back to the giveaway. Of course, an extra entry if you follow said-artist on twitter, which, of course, I already was. Just to make sure, though, I clicked the link to see that 'follow' was an option. I thought that was weird, because I KNOW I had already chosen to follow her. Simply to complete the instructions for the blog giveaway, though, I clicked on 'follow', and that is when I saw the message:

This user has blocked you from following them.

I've blocked people from following me on twitter -- specifically, people whose tweets are filled with profanity (and I'm a girl who doesn't mind the swears) or vulgarity. My own logic follows: What have I done?

I emailed the artist, identifying myself as a fan and owner of their work, and told them that I noticed I had been blocked from following their tweets, and apologized on the off-chance I had been offensive.

For a mentally-healthy person, this is where they shrug, say, "Huh," and move on with their day.

Not me.

No, I stew and I wring my hands and I send text messages to a friend who knows the artist personally. I check my email obsessively, hoping for a response. Recognizing that getting outside helps at times, I step onto the back steps, closing the door behind me. I sit down while my son is telling me that, "It's not a teeter-totter, it's a totter-teeter!" and my head is in my hands. I can feel the warmth of the sun and the cool breeze, a combination I like, but cannot enjoy because my emotions are out of control. I step back inside and take a look around -- my older kids have come home from school. They are lovely children. I have a wonderful home, a beautiful life, I recognize it, but my self-doubt has taken over. What do people think of me? What is the image I portray? I can't help but wonder what percentage of my rising rage is now from how pathetic I am, the fact that the whole situation is even an issue: I'm obessing about what someone may or may not think of me -- someone who has never met me. Someone for whom I am merely a customer and a name on their computer screen.

So I let my oldest know that she is in charge while I take a time out in my room to detail just a portion of how I am affected by depression -- that even with medication and everything just as I've always wanted it to be -- I stumble and I sink. It happens. It's who I am.


post-write, pre-post update:

Not three hours after I wrote this, I received a very sweet & sincere email from the artist, who apologized for the mixup and asked for my twitter address so that I could be unblocked. I was very grateful and relieved, but physically exhausted and emotionally drained from the haunting of my own thoughts.


Melanie Gao said...

Thanks for sharing this story. I think we all have moments like this but not everyone is brave enough to write about them.

For me it was when a colleague I respected a lot dropped me on LinkedIn. It took me a long time to get over that. But just today at lunch I told someone about it and I said, "That's okay, not everyone has to like me." And I surprised myself when I realized I really meant it.

But I hope you like me. Even though we've never met. :)

La Yen said...

I love you.

I have had people tell me that they have been blocked, and I have had nothing to do with it--sometimes Twitter gets overzealous.

I love you.

Found the penny yet?

Camille said...

I would have done the exact same thing! Glad to hear it ended amicably :)

Emily said...

Oh Jenny. I love you. i am so sorry that you had a bad day. I know how it feels to fall into the dark hole...even when things are better for the most part. I am so sorry.

Isn't it crazy that little things...that don't really matter...can get us so down and upset us so much? It is so annoying.

I think you are awesome...I seriously do...and I think you have a wonderful family. I am glad that I know you...and I appreciate who you are and what you stand for. You rock sister!

sue-donym said...

Thanks for writing AND posting this. I'm sure it was hard. And I'm sorry you suffer with this. I wish I could help you know how amazing you are! I love you. 

cw said...

I love you. Thanks for sharing your story.

{natalie} said...

honestly, i quit twitter because i was feeling bad if people didn't @ me and stuff. the fun of twittering wasn't worth the self doubt that came with it.

i think you are awesome and i hope you win the giveaway.

Jane of Seagull Fountain said...

Something very similar happened to me in the past year. I was blocked from someone's twitter feed; only difference was I wasn't entering a giveaway, I just wanted to follow her. It really bothered me for a few days. I emailed the person and it turned out to be a twitter mistake (though I guess there is always the fear that maybe she just said that to be nice :P).

But now, I can't even remember who it was.... Like Sue says on her sidebar abt the "followers" gadget -- yet another way for bloggers to feel bad about themselves.

Sassy Salsa girl said...

Ug, how stressful! Been there done that. Not exactly, but similar and I didn't get a reply :( Glad you did ;D

bookette said...

Hmmm. After reading your post, and some similar ones on other blogs, from this weekend, I wonder if there was just "something in the air". I had just about the same kind of day, starting late Friday, and going into Saturday.
I'm still a bit drained, feeling like I need a day off.
I don't tweet, and now I wonder if I ever will. Just one more place to find rejection. No thanks. My real world does enough of that for me.
Like you, I know I have a good life, a great family. Sometimes, though, the "mean reds" take over.

lisa said...

On Facebook I never ask for anyone to be my friend. I'm afraid they will say no.

Also, I don't have Tupperware parties because I'm afraid no one will show up and the Tupperware lady will think I have no friends.

I would have felt the same way.

Love you bunches.

Heather of the EO said...

I totally get it. Totally.

And also, I accidentally blocked a gazillion people who I didn't mean to block and now I writhe hoping that not one of them tries to follow me and has hurt feelings when they see "this person has blocked you" I have no idea how to fix it, so I just worry about it. It's great.

The Kooky Queen--Rachel said...

Whew! What a relief it was just an accident! I hate accidentally offending people too! SO happy it was nothing. :)

vanessa said...

oh Jenny!! Don't you know Twitter is weird like that!

Although I have done the EXACT SAME THING. ;)

Anonymous said...

What pisses me off is when people you have conversations with purposely block you. It's baffling and so passive aggressive.

kacy faulconer said...

I block people just to mess with them and then I tell them it was a Twitter tech problem. Kidding!

Social media can proliferate my social anxiety. I try not to think about it too much. Ellen helps out with this by making me wipe her bum a lot.

TheOneTrueSue said...

I get this.

I love my bloggy/internet friends, but honestly, I find I'm a lot happier when I just stay away from the computer. There can be so much room for misunderstanding online, so many hurt feelings over nothing. Offline I'm not insecure about my friendships, but there is something about friendships online that seems to make me fifteen again, with all of my fifteen year old insecurities.

Monica said...

I can absolutely relate. In fact I had a similar experience last week, only it wasn't being blocked from a Twitter feed (I'm still twitter illiterate) It was someone in a group presentation I gave asking how we finance our child's health ccare. You should have heard the Twitter feed in my head:

He's criticizing what I'm doing!

He thinks I'm sucking the system dry!

He thinks I should have let my child go!

He thinks I should take her off the ventilator right now!

He wants me to take her off the ventilator right now while he watches!

It spun totally out of control by the time I got home and stayed out of control for a couple of days.

... which is one of the reasons your panel on depression gave me the courage to post about depression and anxiety on my blog ... even though it scares me ... even though my in-laws read it ... even though I live in Happy Valley.

Tonight after the kids go to bed, that's my task.

I think I'm going to have an anxiety attack thinking about it.