Dear Facebook, Re: all the things I never told you

Your seemingly innocent question stares back at me from the screen.

What’s on your mind?

The cursor blinks, waiting for a response.

What would happen if I answered truthfully? If I just laid it all out there for you to see. Put it out in the open for you to judge.

A quick scroll through my timeline reflects the life of a mother who adores her family. Just look at my boys in their superhero Halloween costumes, and their matching hockey jerseys. Could they be any cuter?

And there’s my husband, handsome as ever, curled up with the dog. How precious is that?

And that family photo in front of the Christmas tree – the one where the stars somehow magically aligned and we’re all looking at the camera and smiling. Oh yah, that’s the money shot. Eat your heart out Norman Rockwell.

Don’t get me wrong, Facebook. I didn’t lie to you, I swear. These moments are real and so are the beaming smiles on our faces. These moments happened and yes, they were worth sharing. But they don’t tell the whole story – not even close. They are mere glimpses of a life that is far messier and more complicated than anything that can be summed up with over-filtered selfies and meaningless hashtags.

It’s what I didn’t share that’s eating away at me. It’s all the things I never told you.

You see FB…can I call you FB? What I failed to mention is that I struggle with my role as a mother nearly every day. In between the moments of joy that I post, there’s an ugly side to this life that doesn’t get captured on my phone or shared on social media.

What if I told you that I feel uncontrollable anger sometimes? I’m talking zero to 100, real quick kind of anger. What if I said that I never felt that kind of anger before I had kids? If I posted about the inescapable shame and guilt that comes with this inexplicable rage, would you still want to know what’s on my mind?

Should I tell you about my anxiety? About that time I had a panic attack after I dropped the boys off at daycare? How I drove back home in tears, parked in the driveway and struggled to breathe. How I felt so completely and utterly alone in my panic? Is there an emoticon for that?

What if you knew how scared I am sometimes? How my mind spins with worry and negative thoughts about how I’m not good enough to be a mother. How I’m just not strong enough to handle the overwhelming responsibility of raising these kids. Would you respond with a “like” and a thumbs up?

That’s the kind of shit I don’t tell you, FB.

What will you think of me now that I’ve said these things? Will you judge me? Trust me, it won’t be harsher than I judge myself.

But here’s what I’ve come to realize. Every time I open up to someone about my mental health, I am met with compassion. Every time I let my guard down and show my vulnerability, I am embraced with empathy. Time and time again, without fail. It’s a beautiful thing that catches me by surprise each time it happens.

That is what’s on my mind today Facebook, and I’m more than happy to share.


16 responses to “Dear Facebook, Re: all the things I never told you”

  1. mandanicoleshakes Avatar

    Absolutely incredible. Fantastic writing and I can relate to you on more levels than you know.
    Facebook really can be replaced with all of our friends and family, can’t it?
    And really if we replaced those faces behind the ‘Facebook’ button then it’s all about what we may or may not be able to say to all of them. Those people, who see your perfectly adorable life through social media but can’t really see the deeper truth behind the beautiful life you share.
    Truth is, we all are scared shitless on a daily basis (the normal ones) and posting perfection online, is just another therapeutic way of us playing make believe and convincing ourselves that — everything, will be…..okay.

    💛 beautiful post.

    1. Thank you for reading and taking the time to post a comment! That means so much to me. You are so right about Facebook representing everyone…that was exactly what I was trying to express.

  2. I’m often scared and daunted by parenting too. I think anyone who takes the job seriously probably is. It’s easy to look around and think someone else has it more figured out, packs healthier lunches, is more patient, makes awesome homemade gifts, doesn’t use the effin’ elf to threaten good behavior. That’s why a little honest reality check, like the one you provided, makes it all okay. Thanks for being so open Julie. Honesty and humility are powerful. Cheers to 2016.

    1. Oh that effin’ elf! Don’t even get me started 🙂 Thanks for the kind words Terri. I really appreciate the positive feedback.

  3. Starting a blog gave me the anonymity to balance out the perfection of social media with a commentary on the gong show that is my life. As I wrote, I connected with a lot of women who were so fed up at being compared with shiny happy facebook posts that they rallied behind my failure flag, ready to call out every single success story and rip it to shreds. But what if we didn’t have to compare? What if we were all welcome at the facebook table? The rock stars, the hot messes, and the cractpots. Women are amazing and if we could just stop criticizing ourselves and each other we could get on to the good stuff like taking over the world 😉

    1. Yes, yes and yes! Writing and blogging has connected me with so many amazing women. It really has been a form of therapy for me. Thank you for commenting on my post. It means so much to me.

  4. Hippieprincess2 Avatar

    Thanks for writing so honestly about the shameful rage I sometimes feel as well. It hits me mostly in the middle of the night when my mini man is inconsolable from teeth or growing pains or huge developmental spurts. You know, just doing what babies do. Then again sometimes it’s when my toddler is ready to party at 615am and I feel so exhausted I can’t even handle his adorable toddlerness. Zero to 100 in a blink, then tears of shame. I was only just recently able to name it as ppd and talk to my husband honestly about the inexplicable anger I sometimes feel towards our beautiful boys, Most days I cope okay. Then one night puts me over the edge. I’ve been able to open up to a friend and my homeopath as well. Then I stumbled across your post. You spoke the words in my head. Thank you for helping me realize I’m not alone in my feelings

    1. By far, the rage I’ve experienced on and off since having kids has been the most difficult to open up about to anyone beyond my husband. I learned through therapy that it’s a common symptom of postpartum anxiety. But of course we moms don’t know that because no one talks about it. We need to talk about it. We need to be honest with each other. Thank your for sharing your experience.

  5. Thank you!

    1. So glad you liked! Thank you.

  6. Carla Zielinski Avatar
    Carla Zielinski

    I was deeply moved by your article. I also felt like your words were reflecting exactly how I feel regularly. The mom guilt is an albatross for me & this sort of open, honest dialogue can be so therapeutic. I am a serious introvert & I believe this may be why I keep my fears, sadness & immense mom guilt to myself. I have never joined a blog. Not sure I know what it means or entails but you have a fan in me!

    1. Thank you so much Carla!

  7. I too feel this way but I don’t have panic attacks like others. My panic is rage, I was taught through others words that tears and sadness are weak and anger is strong. After getting the roll of the eyes from someone enough my tears turned to rage. And I’m learning to go backwards even though this person is still in my life. I NEED to go backwards for me and my children. I need help were did you start? JULIE? Did you do CBT? Meds? I have a long history and has gotten help many times money keeps me away from consistent help.

  8. I am so glad I came across this and read it. This described me to a tee on everything I’ve been feeling and thinking with my aniexty and depression as well as being a mom and handling it all together. To know I’m not alone in how I think and feel about certain things seems to help a bit to be honest. So thank you.

  9. I just read your piece on Scary Mommy and shared in on my FB group page–I have a blog about all of my anxiety and depression and parenting stuff. Honestly could have written this myself. Especially the anger part. Wowee, that one scared the heck out of me. So glad I have been able to get this one about 80 percent under control. But yikes. Never ever have felt rage like I did after my kids. I had to laugh though when I read about what we share on FB, I think some people wish I wouldn’t share so much. I put all the crap out there now. Everyone knows I’m a mess! ha ha ha. All the best. Glad to have found your site.

  10. How beautifully said. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: