A few of you may have noticed that I often make note online of when things aren't exactly fantastic for me. I often talk about when I'm in a depressive spiral, or when I've failed at a task (as in today, the second day in a row when I failed to get to the gym, for no really good reason), or if things are generally shitty.
It's a decision I made early on, when I first started blogging and appearing online in a professional capacity, which is to say, when I first started trying to promote myself as a writer. I wanted to present an honest me. The real thing. Not really a curated image of me. Not the partial picture. Sure, it would be nice to be perfect, but I'm not, and life is not.
There are a number of reasons for why I chose not to always act like everything is absolutely spectacular all the damned time. Mostly, it's because it's utterly dishonest.
Things aren't always spectacular, and while looking at the bright side is generally a good way to move through life, ignoring the darkness only permits that darkness to grow, to fester. Ultimately, I think that's far more dangerous than just admitting that things aren't all that wonderful at the moment, facing the darkness, shining a light on it. It's lying. I don't particularly like lying. Honestly, I think lying to people is disrespectful. People deserve something a little more authentic.
Also, I was very aware of the fact that, if ever I got big in the publishing, there would be a lot of eyes on me. That's a lot of people comparing their lives to mine. They deserve to know that even really successful people struggle sometimes, and that's okay. Perfection is impossible, and that's okay. Their lives are not lesser, because it couldn't possibly live up to what I'm putting out there (you know, assuming I was really successful and got invited to conventions and speaking gigs and so on).
People are tearing themselves apart trying to live up to the perfect lives that are constantly being broadcast from 'influencers' - these ridiculous, impossible lies that are a part of a highly-curated social media presence. That's not real life. That's not even their real lives. It's just what they want to put out there, to gain followers, praise, envy, whatever it is that sets off the reward centres in their brains.
I don't want that for people who might follow me. I don't want them to see my life and think that if they just destroy themselves enough, they'll have it all so damned perfect. It's impossible. Never going to happen. Even if they reach my hypothetical levels of success or exceed it, they'll find out that everything is a lie. It's not happy all the time, even then.
Another reason I talk about the not-so-great things in life is because it's important that these things are represented and discussed. I was only able to come to grips with my depression and seek out therapy because a well-known person I would consider a success spoke openly about it on his blog. The symptoms he described, and the encouragement he gave made me feel like I wasn't alone anymore, and there were people who struggled, even successful people. Getting successful wasn't going to cure me. I wasn't going to magically get better if I publish a book. What was going to help was therapy, was recognising the symptoms for what they were, for taking action when I get them. If this man had never spoke of his mental illness, I'd probably have kept it to myself in shame and silence. Given how bad it was when I stumbled across the blog, chances are, I would not be here today.
If my talking openly about when things aren't so good can do that for even one other person, it's worth it.
Not everything in my life is great. I have depression. There's no cure for it. I will always have depression. But now I can manage it without all the unhealthy mechanisms I used prior to seeking therapy. Some days will be fantastic. Some will be utter shit. Life is not always glamorous, even for the glamorous. Everyone struggles. We're all human.
I want my online presence to reflect that; for myself, and for whomever it is that looks up to me (you fools).
And now I have to write.