Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Strangers on the Internet

It's a strange and wonderful world we live in.

It is also a dark and terrible world.

And yet...

It get's a little bit less dark when you realise you aren't the only one in it.

Case in point, my favourite person in the world that I don't know - Allie from Hyperbole and a half - has been MIA for a while now.  She posted that she got a book deal, then disappeared for the longest time only to resurface with a post on dealing with depression and then disappear again.  She recently posted on Reddit and it turns out despite the hopeful note of her last post, things weren't going very well at all.

"Hey everybody... this is Allie. 

Before I get into what's been going on, I wanted to let you know that I truly appreciate the amount of kindness in your comments. It's wonderful and strange and humbling to know that so many people on the internet care about me (I am also relieved that my lack of updates hasn't caused most of you to hate me yet).
The last few months (and I suppose also the few months before those few months) have been very difficult for me. As you know, I've been struggling with depression. I made a small breakthrough at the time of my last post, but even though I was feeling a bit better, I was still depressed and I knew I probably wasn't out of the woods yet. 

As many of you have guessed, the woods turned out to be much deeper than I had anticipated. And they are full of things that make me cry on the floor for no good reason. However, during a recent bout of floor-crying, I noticed that I was failing horribly at fixing myself and that I should probably seek the help of someone who knew what the fuck they were doing. 

I have since sought the help of several such individuals, and they unanimously agreed that I am horribly, horribly depressed and should absolutely not keep being that way. To that end, I have started taking an antidepressant and talking about my feelings a lot. My feelings have turned out to mostly be "Oh no, I'm probably going to mess everything up and everyone who likes me is going to not like me" and worthlessness-not-otherwise-specified. There are also tinges of "fuck it, what's the point?" 

I have good days and horrible days, but the good days have been gradually increasing in frequency, and the horrible days have been gradually decreasing in severity. It might take a long time to feel normal again, but in the meantime, I'm in great hands. Everyone around me has been nothing but supportive (including my wonderful editor); my mom calls me every day to see how things are going and to try to make me laugh, my fiance Duncan has been doing a wonderful job of making sure I eat and shower and get out of the house every now and again, and my friends have been great about distracting me with all the things I love."

I'm happy to see that she is getting help and is doing better.  It also reminded me that we really can't do this life by ourselves.  No matter how good you are, you will never be good enough to handle it all alone.  But the great news is that we don't have to!  It's easy to fixate on the selfishness of humanity and miss the fact that many of those humans love you and would gladly help shoulder some of your burdens if only you let them.

Isn't it amazing how the internet has changed everything?  We can be friends with people we have never met and may very well never meet.  We can get to know total strangers and be known by them all thanks to the internet and that really does make a dark world much brighter.

So to all my real world and internet friends, thanks for hanging around.  Don't worry, I'm sober and I'm not about to get all emotional.  I'm not going to get all profound either but that's not so much due to self control and more about not actually having anything profound to say.  I just think it's pretty cool that we can care about each other even when we - by all reasonable definitions - are strangers to each other.  My life is certainly better for it, blogging has been a coping mechanism for a while now and the people I have met have made my world a lot better place for me to be in.

I have never met Allie, I probably never will, but I like her super much and I was worried about her and now I'm glad she is doing better.  And I wasn't the only one.

This world is terrible but I still kinda like it.  I still think it's worth saving.


GumbyTheCat said...

Allie is indeed uber cool, and I'm glad she's in good hands.

However, I am furious to find out that I am not your favourite person in the world that you don't know!

[Achmed The Dead Terrorist]I keel you![/Achmed]

Eugene said...

Sorry Gumby, you know I'm your biggest fan but no mortal can compete with Allie, she is in a league of her own! To know her is to adore her. There is no competing with her, she's magical!

digapigmy said...

Can you quote Jeff Dunham and be someone's favorite person? Oh, internet, you give us so many enjoyable interactions.

On a serious note, I am glad to hear that Allie is getting help and doing better.