Just Snap Out Of It Already

This has got to be hands down one of the worst things you can say to a person, especially a person going through a depressive or anxious episode.  Unfortunately, it happens all too often.  I’ve had it said to me more times than I can count, even by people who have their own anxiety issues and I’m pretty sure that I’ve also said it myself when I shouldn’t have.  When we are depressed or anxious, it’s easy for our actions and conversations to become annoying to others.  We may appear to be constantly complaining, moaning, or just going on and on about the same thing over and over again.  Unfortunately, this is how our brains work at the time and we don’t have a lot of control over what we are thinking and feeling. This will be obvious in our actions and what we say.

I saw a Vaguebook post on Facebook the other day.  We’ve all seen these posts, vague, negative, whiny posts that appear to have just been posted for attention.  And in a way they all are.  Some people Vaguebook for attention from others: ‘Worst day ever!!!’  Then when the comments produce a flood of ‘what’s wrong?’ they just get ignored by the original poster.  The point of the post has been achieved, attention has been received, everyone can move on.  Of course the inbox often gets flooded as well which is another win, any attention is good attention!  Then when that attention dies down, it’s time for another vague post.  These posts are a cry for help, but if you offer help or advice, it won’t be taken.  These people are not ready to admit they have a problem (this takes time) and for the time being just need attention.  I’ve definitely posted things on Facebook like this in the past (Facebook memories has definitely had me cringing some days!)

Then there are the Vaguebook posts that are technically for attention, but are actually a cry for help.  It’s very difficult to distinguish between the two because at face value they often look the same.  But these are generally the ones that aren’t surrounded by happy posts and are often from the people you would least expect it.

The post I saw the other day, I know was a cry for help, but it was disguised as attention seeking.  And people were annoyed because ‘it had been happening all too often’ (at least that’s the only way I can begin to understand their reactions).  The very first comment on the post was ‘what’s wrong?’ to which the person did respond, negatively but still vaguely, to which the first commenter said, ‘oh yes, I forgot you are in full on victim mode, snap out of it mate.’

This comment attracted a number of likes.  That is not okay!  I get it, people are over Vaguebooking, I’ve definitely gotten sick of it in the past, although more of the first type of people than the genuine cries for help, but that does not make it acceptable to put the person down with a complete lack of understanding of what they are going through. I was pretty angry when I saw this.

I proceeded to reply to the comment, offering sympathy, advice and letting the original poster know that I understood what they were going through.  I was quite clear about the fact that I was not impressed by the ‘get over it’statement and offered an explanation as to why.  I also suggested that Vaguebooking wasn’t the way to go about things, as it can attract negative attention.  Someone else jumped in with me and it ended up being quite a string of comments of support and advice which I thought was awesome.  The original poster joined in the conversation and I really hope that we were able to help.


If you see a Vaguebook post or have an experience with a person going through mental illness in real life, don’t be a dick.  Don’t tell them to get over it, that won’t help.  It will make them feel worse about themselves and they will hide how it’s made them feel, something that we get far too good at when we are going through a rough patch, something that ultimately prolongs our recovery.  If you don’t like it, ignore it.  If you don’t know what to do, ignore it or ask how you can help.  If you understand the reasons behind why they are acting this way, then be there for them.  You don’t have to fix the problem, only they can do that, but it sure is easier with support and without other peoples negativity.  We create enough negativity ourselves in these situations, we don’t need others to do it for us.

Smiles and Sunshine


7 thoughts on “Just Snap Out Of It Already

  1. Vaguebooking. Learn something new everyday (thank you urban dictionary). Sage advice — it would be nice if all the people lurking out there would heed it. [not holding my breath]. But it was great that you jumped in and put your two cents in.

    I’ve gotten to the point that when I get one of those snap-out-of-it comments (“there’s nothing to be anxious about” “just cheer up” “just calm down” etc etc), I just sneer “gee, why didn’t I think of that.” If I’m a foul mood, I’ll add, “You’re sooooo brilliant.” This, of course, is not a healthy approach to such comments, letting their ignorance or whatever become toxic feeling in me. Yet it is so frustrating to hear a person say they “understand” what you’re going through (to the point they won’t listen to you try to explain further), but then respond with a snap out of it. One my recent bosses was like this. Actual conversation after I really screwed up a project because I didn’t do something that would have taken a few minutes to do:

    Boss: Why didn’t you just do it?
    Me: I don’t know. It made me anxious to make the phone call.
    Boss: That’s irrational!
    Me: Bingo! That’s why I don’t know. I wasn’t in rational frame of mind.

    On another thread, in a recent comment to a post, the memory of when I first started blogging and commenting: back in 2008 during the Obama and Clinton race for the nomination. I’ve seen some pretty damn vile stuff on the web comment sections (not to mention blog posts themselves), but the nasty vitriol between the two camps was between people who basically were on the same side. One of my take aways from those days was we are as a community just learning how to communicate through this new medium. Up until the web, we communicated face to face, or received opinions through the television we couldn’t respond to. Talk radio was about the only thing that broke down the wall before the web, but one can only see how poorly that manifested as a medium of communication. We all kind of need to remind ourselves that we are still in our web / blogging / social media infancy.

    Thanks for this thoughtful post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I too can get very sarcastic and defensive when told to snap out of it, I think it’s human nature, because we know how ‘simple’ it should be, but the reality is as far from simple as it could possibly be. Thanks for the comment, you’ve definitely given me some things to think about.

      Liked by 1 person

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