Hiding In Plain Sight

We like to believe that the Internet is this open public place. This place where everyone shares everything (even to a fault). Where if someone is struggling, they will surely share it on their blog or tweet it or post it on some wall. That you will have some chance to reach out and offer real help.

In fact, quite the opposite is more often true. The Internet is the perfect place to hide in plain sight. One can appear to be a part of this world while, in spirit, they left it a long time ago. We can put a good face on our otherwise anonymous lives and never mention the darkness that envelops and consumes us. We can focus public attention on our work and not our person. We can disappear for a whole year and then come back as if nothing has happened and most people won’t even notice. (“Oh, yeah. I guess you haven’t posted in a while.”)

It is far more difficult to hide such things in person. There are too many other cues that give our disposition away. Body language or a look in the eye or even a lack of skip in an otherwise skip filled step. Those who watch closely enough, especially those who we are closest too, can often tell the signs of the suffering. Such intimacy, for this reason, is always measured in distance.

I think, for many of us, we notice these things because we have seen them in our selves. As one who, far too often, has such darkness looming, thankfully untouchably, before him, I see it well in others. I’ve seen it’s face just behind my eyes when I have looked the mirror. Therefore, if I can be face-to-face with someone, I can almost always spot it.

Can’t do that, yet, on the Internet.

I only wish I knew the words and tools I use to keep it at bay well enough to impart to others no matter where and when it is made known to me. Such skills are often unique, individual, and mostly non-transferable. I barely manage myself most days. Most often all I can do for others is offer to let them know they do not suffer alone.

If that is you, hiding such suffering in plain sight, know that you are not alone and are welcome to reach out to me, in person or through the Internet, anytime.

I’m a writer. Writing is how I make this world better, friendlier, stronger place. If these words improved your day, please let me know by contributing here.

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